Beach, island, camping – there are so many choices for Indonesian holidays; so, why not all three? For those who’d rather not sacrifice resort-style service for a shot at calm and quiet, there is glamping. The concept has taken off in India and China – countries with an abundance of open sky – but the tourists of Bali often just flock to the beaches.
Found just 10 miles off the Sumbawa coastline, to the east of Bali on the largely uninhabited island of Moyo, is Amanwana, part of the Aman Hotels and Resorts brand. And, yes, the luxury hotel brand does not exactly lend itself to camping; however, this lavish wilderness hideaway is the kind of sun-drenched tropical solace that doesn’t lend itself to your average hotel experience.
Tent on an Island Paradise
Tucked into a secluded cove on the island’s west coast and looking out over the Flores Sea, the resort has a choice of two types of high-end “glamping” accommodations: the Jungle or Ocean tents. Amid the dense rainforest or near the sparkling sands of the sea’s edge, the 20 tents are designed to be eco-friendly but are nonetheless luxuriously equipped with hardwood floors and soaring, air-conditioned canopies, complete with daybeds, ensuite bathrooms, and net-draped king-size beds.
As the Amanwana provides the only accommodations for travelers on the island, there is a nary a soul on the 55-thousand-acre paradise to interrupt explorers. Visits from friendly monkeys and inquisitive deer are not uncommon and hint at the abundance of nature to be found further inland, or out to sea
Getting there requires a 45-minute trip from Sumbawa to Moyo Island, a remote island with a population of very nearly 1,000 spread over six villages, an opportunity to truly escape the hustle and bustle of a normal holiday in Bali.
Wonders Above and Below the Water
Indeed, Moyo is a remarkable location. Almost all of the island is part of the Moyo Island Hunting Park, and is inhabited by a wealth of macaques, wild cattle, wild pigs, barking deer – along with 21 bat species, such as the unusual flying foxes – alongside 86 species of bird, including the endangered yellow-headed parrot.
Adventurers who strike out to explore the island will discover the remarkable waterfalls and lagoons that dot Moyo, where vivid waters of blue and green cascade over smooth limestone rocks and crash into the pools – perfect for reinvigorating tired limbs.
The entire coastline of Moyo Island was declared a marine conservation area recently, its pristine coral reefs and all their inhabitants protected from overfishing and pollution. Divers and snorkelers, however, are still welcome to explore the biodiversity so associated with the warm waters off this part of Indonesia.
Amanwana is an excellent base for sailing expeditions around the archipelago, where guests can head off in search of the elusive yet fearsome Komodo dragon on Flores and Rinca. Less adventurous travelers might want to explore the Spice Islands and the waters of Raja Ampat – the site of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystem.
Despite staying a tent, that signature Aman quality is apparent in the after-adventure fare. Guests can sip an aperitif at the resort’s hospitable teak-top bar, before heading to The Restaurant, the resort’s central gourmet eatery, where patrons can opt to have their evening meal served by the sea or in the jungle.
Of course, the camping element is more of an aesthetic; travelers won’t feel the spirit of Bear Grylls running through their veins on this outdoor adventure.