Ocean Cruise Expeditions

Exploring the Malay Archipelago

  • Duration 16 Days | Darwin to Manila
  • From $10,740 AUD
Call 1800 889 088

Trip Overview

Board the luxurious Le Lapérouse for a 16-day crossing of the Malay Archipelago voyage. You will experience a wide variety of unique destinations, discover ancient tribes, explore the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on earth and uncover historical locations that changed the face of history forever.

Join your expert expedition team, selected for their knowledge and experience, along with local guides to explore these unique destinations by foot, Zodiac® or local transport.

This bespoke experience will showcase the astonishing diversity of cultures, landscapes, flora and fauna across the Malay Archipelago.

From the lush rainforest topped karst islands of West Papua, through the sun-kissed islands of the Moluccas, to the remote regions of the Philippines, discover one of the world’s great adventures in waiting.

Trip Highlights

  • A cruise in partnership with GEO.
  • Expedition voyage discovering culture, landscapes, fauna and flora of the Malay Archipelago.
  • Zodiac® outings and shore visits with your team of naturalists.
  • The Kei Islands and their stunning beaches.
  • Expeditions in a Zodiac® to Triton Bay’s karst islands.
  • The Malukus, the paradisiac Spice Islands.
  • The historic island of Rhun, traded by the British for Manhattan Island.
  • Visit the Tangkoko National Park to look for the famous Tarsier, one of the tiniest primates in the world.
  • Swimming and snorkelling in warm tropical oceans teeming with colourful fishes and beautiful corals.

Itinerary - 16 Days

Day 1 DARWIN

Embarkation 08/09/2020 from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure 08/09/2020 at 18H00.

Darwin is located in Australia’s Northern Territory which is also known as the “Top End”. It is the capital city and the most populated town of the Northern Territory. Darwin is a beautiful tropical city, a melting pot of people and cultures, over 50 different cultures live and work side by side that prides itself in its unique and friendly laid-back lifestyle. Discover the new Parliamant House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that has survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.

Day 2 AT SEA

Arrival 09/09/2020. Departure 09/09/2020.

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 3 KEI ISLANDS, MALUKU ISLANDS

Arrival 10/09/2020. Departure 10/09/2020.

The Kei Islands are blessed with kilometres of stunning, yet almost entirely empty, white-sand beaches and a deeply hospitable population. Beneath the mostly Christian facade, Kei culture is fascinatingly distinctive. Local history holds that ancestors of contemporary Kei islanders came from Bali, part of the expanding Hindu Majapahit kingdom from the western archipelago. Enjoy a day of swimming and snorkelling on an idyllic uninhabited picture postcard tropical island.

Day 4 TRITON BAY, WEST PAPUA

Arrival 11/09/2020. Departure 11/09/2020.

Triton Bay is one of three regions in Indonesia’s West Papua province that comprise the Bird’s Head Seascape (the other two are Raja Ampat and Cenderawasih Bay), which is now considered by marine biologists to be the epicentre of the Coral Triangle. It contains more fish and coral species than anywhere else on the planet. Its unparalleled marine biodiversity and endemism, habitat richness, and relatively intact nature of its ecosystems are unique. Join your expedition team for a zodiac voyage through the spectacular rainforest capped karst islands. Later in the day enjoy the opportunity to explore the richness of the underwater realm.

Day 5 AT SEA

Arrival 12/09/2020. Departure 12/09/2020.

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 6 BANDA RUN

Arrival 13/09/2020. Departure 13/09/2020.

The first English overseas colony under the sovereignty of James the first, the Island of Rhun has played several important roles in world history, particularly during the spice wars of the 17th century. Such was the importance of this tiny outpost to colonial empires that it was a significant trade Lynchpin during the treaty of Breda that ended the second Anglo-Dutch war. During the negotiations England ceded control of Rhun in exchange for the Island of New Netherland. The exchange complete, the English renamed the small settlement on the Island from New Amsterdam to New York. Join local guides and your expedition team for a walking tour amongst the many historic locations.

Day 7 BANDA NEIRA, MALUKU ISLANDS

Arrival 14/09/2020. Departure 14/09/2020.

From age-old traditional cultures and ancient vestiges, to coral reefs and lush green jungle… The attractions of the remote Banda archipelago seem endless. Better known as the legendary “Spice Islands” of the Ancient World, these small volcanic landmasses were the fabled prize of colonial powers for more than four centuries. Every colonial power of significance fought for control of these ten small islands that today have become largely forgotten. Walking the streets of Banda Neira is a surreal experience as your eyes are drawn to the eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture, the remnants of a rich and tumultuous history. It is without doubt the most historically significant and interesting of all the “Spice Islands”.

Day 8 PULAU SAPARUA

Arrival 15/09/2020. Departure 15/09/2020.

East of Ambon Island, which hosts the capital of Maluku province, discover Saparua, the largest and most populous of the Lease Islands. Largely undiscovered by mainstream tourism, the Lease Islands are known for their friendly population, quaint villages, historical sites, fine white sand beaches and coral reefs. In the small historic town of Saparua, do not miss to explore the many cultural sites and the Duurstede Fort, built by the Dutch in 1691. You will then have the oppportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters of Pulau Molana, a small, uninhabited island known for its coral reefs and having the finest white sand beach in the Lease Islands.

Day 8 PULAU MOLANA

Arrival 15/09/2020. Departure 15/09/2020.

Day 9 AT SEA

Arrival 16/09/2020. Departure 16/09/2020.

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 10 TANGKOKO NATURE RESERVE, SULAWESI

Arrival 17/09/2020. Departure 17/09/2020.

Tangkoko Nature Reserve is home to at least 127 mammal, 233 bird and 104 reptile and amphibian species. Enjoy a guided walk through the rainforest in search of the Celebes crested macaque, Sulawesi bear cuscus, and the Spectral Tarsier, one of the smallest primates in the world.

Day 11 PULAU NITU

Arrival 18/09/2020. Departure 18/09/2020.

Pulau Nitu is an uninhabited picture postcard perfect island located in the Sangihe archipelago roughly halfway between Sulawesi, Indonesia and Mindanao in the Philippines. This small remote group of islands combine for a total area of 813 square kilometres and many have active volcanoes, with the largest being Karangetang on Siau island. The deep waters at the junction of the Celebes and Molucca seas provide a rich diversity of marine life amongst crystal clear warm tropical waters. So, you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel amongst the schools of fishes and brightly coloured corals.

Day 12 AT SEA

Arrival 19/09/2020. Departure 19/09/2020.

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 13 HIMOKILAN ISLAND, CUATRO ISLANDS

Arrival 20/09/2020. Departure 20/09/2020.

Day 14 SIBUYAN ISLAND

Arrival 21/09/2020. Departure 21/09/2020.

Sibuyan is the second largest island in the Romblon archipelago and has always been isolated from the other islands in the Philippines, a particularity that is due to its geological history. The island remains very much untouched and wild. It boasts an exceptional ecosystem and is home to several endemic species, which is why it is sometimes dubbed “the Galápagos of Asia”. Dominated by Mount Guiting-Guiting, which rises to an altitude of more than 2,000 metres or 6,750 feet, it will provide a perfect insight into the natural beauty and culture diversity of these parts. Right near Sibuyan, you could get the chance to swim at the beautiful white-sand beaches on the minuscule Cresta de Gallo Island, surrounded by crystal-clear waters.

Day 15 AT SEA

Arrival 22/09/2020. Departure 22/09/2020.

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 16 MANILA

Disembarkation 23/09/2020 at 07H00.

On first sight, the Philippines' capital shows its highly Americanised Asian megalopolis side, with ultramodern skyscrapers set all along the waterfront. But when you stroll through the cobbled streets of the Intramuros district, you'll discover a different side of Manila, one that's full of old-world charm. An enchanted pause in the middle of urban bustle, Rizal Park's 60 hectares of magnificent green parkland is perfect for recharging your batteries. To see the city from a different angle, take a walk along Roxas boulevard, a popular seaside promenade.

 

EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIPS

National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.

Our Ocean Cruise Expeditions are offered in partnership with PONANT. To learn more about the itinerary, explore the PONANT ship or secure your spot, click here.

Exploring the Malay Archipelago

From AUD $10,740 Call 1800 889 088

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