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Bali to Komodo - In Search of the Dragon!

Tour Code: IDN01

A 13-day wildlife holiday, including a 9-night cruise (11-day / 7-night cruise in 2019) from the beautiful island of Bali to the Komodo National Park, in search of cetaceans, Manta Rays, the formidable Komodo Dragon and other wildlife.

13 days from £5395(inc flights) Land Only Price: £4695 SRS: £0 + an optional 3-day extension

The archipelago of Indonesia comprises a staggering 17,000 islands, of which Bali and Komodo are two. We begin our 13-day holiday in the beautiful island of Bali, where we will spend one night before embarking the MV Mermaid, our home for the next nine nights as we cruise east to Komodo, which is well known to naturalists for being home to the world’s largest species of lizard, the Komodo Dragon. As we cruise we will be on the lookout for a wonderful variety of wildlife, including cetaceans such as Eden's Whale and Fraser’s Dolphin, as well as birds such as Red-tailed Tropicbird, and the mighty Manta Ray! We will travel by day, and each evening moor in a sheltered spot to allow time for snorkelling before dinner on board. We will cross the ‘Wallace line’ and notice the change in wildlife as Asian fauna gives way to Australasian wildlife, and spend a whole two days exploring Komodo Island and the neighbouring island of Rinca before cruising back to Bali.

  • Led by world-renowned marine biologist Dr Chas Anderson
  • Exclusive charter, with a maximum of 14 passengers
  • Superb snorkelling opportunities on the most 9-night cruise aboard MV Mermaid, which has en suite air-conditioned cabins
  • Look for Komodo Dragons on Komodo Island & neighbouring Rinca Island
  • Cetaceans of the area include Melon-headed Whale, Spinner Dolphins & beaked whales
  • Greater & Lesser Frigatebirds plus tropicbirds among birdlife to be seen at sea
  • Island birds include Green Junglefowl, Flame-breasted Sunbird & Wallacean Drongo
  • Extend your trip with a stay on Bali for pre- or post-cruise relaxation


All included in the price except for lunches and dinners in Bali. Allow £60.


For this cruise we have exclusively chartered the 14-passenger 'MV Mermaid', a 28-metre motor-yacht featuring seven en suite and air-conditioned guest cabins. In 2019 we have chartered her very similar sister vessel, MV Mermaid II.

Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London.

Day 2 Arrive Bali and overnight.

Day 3 Board 'MV Mermaid' and begin cruise.

Day 4/5 Cruising east.

Day 6/8 Komodo National Park.

Day 9/11 Cruising west.

Day 12 Disembark 'MV Mermaid' and fly London.

Day 13 Arrive London.

Bali and Komodo are just two of the 17,000 islands that make up the archipelago of Indonesia, the largest in the world. This is a country born of fire, a region shaped over the millennia by huge tectonic forces and the slow, but inexorable, collision of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian Plates. From the tropical paradise of Bali a great arc of volcanic islands stretches to the east including Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo and Flores. Some of these are now quiet, the heat from beneath having subsided long ago, whilst others still retain their internal furnace and awaken from time to time. All, however, lie in warm tropical seas, home to the most diverse marine-life anywhere in the world with over 3,500 species of fish (more than enough to keep the keenest snorkeller enthralled!) and a wonderful array of tropical whales and dolphins. On the islands themselves, an equally fascinating variety of birds and other wildlife may be found, including their most infamous inhabitant of all, the formidable Komodo Dragon, the largest species of lizard left on Earth!

This exciting holiday is led by marine biologist Dr. Chas Anderson, a leading authority on the cetaceans and fishes of the tropical Indian Ocean and pioneer of whale and dolphin-watching in the region. Our home for the 9-night cruise will be ‘MV Mermaid’, a comfortable liveaboard motor-yacht featuring eight en suite and air-conditioned cabins for a maximum of 14 passengers.

First though, we must fly to the palmfringed island of Bali and overnight in a beachfront hotel. Bali is located at the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, between Lombok and Java, and is just as exotic and beautiful as you would imagine! We board ‘MV Mermaid’ at Benoa port, located in the south of the island, and from there we begin our journey east. The exact itinerary for this cruise will be kept flexible to take account of such factors as the weather and wildlife sightings, benefiting from the unrivalled experience of Chas Anderson and his crew.

As we travel from island to island, past Lombok and Sumbawa, we will stop to enjoy the scenery, cetaceans and other wildlife we meet along the way. Flying fish skitter away over the water’s surface, whilst high overhead menacing flocks of Greater and Lesser Frigatebirds endlessly circle, occasionally joined by their rare Christmas Island cousin, while the beautiful Redtailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds are also likely. We will travel by day and anchor early each evening in a sheltered spot to allow plenty of time for snorkelling and to appreciate the wonderful diversity of underwater life that abounds here, including, we hope, Manta Rays! Then, as darkness falls, far from the light pollution that blights so much of Western world, we can make our way up to the top deck of ‘MV Mermaid’ to enjoy stunning views of the night sky.

One of the main focuses of this cruise will be the tropical cetaceans that live in these warm waters, especially those in and around Komodo National Park where we plan to spend three full days. Species we are likely to encounter include False Killer Whale and Melon-headed Whale, plus Spinner, Spotted, Risso’s and Fraser’s Dolphins. Other possible species include Blue Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale, Rough-toothed Dolphin and we will be keeping a sharp look out for the little-known Eden’s Whale, a pending split from Bryde’s Whale.

The further east we travel, the drier and more arid the islands become. The wildlife that lives on this archipelago is of particular interest to the naturalist as it is here that the Asian fauna finally gives way to the Australasian wildlife, the boundary being marked by the famous ‘Wallace Line’. Komodo and Rinca will be the furthest east that we reach on this cruise — these two rugged islands being the infamous home of the fearsome Komodo Dragon, the largest species of lizard in the world, which can grow to over 3 metres in length! We aim to make a landing on both of these islands and, as well as keeping a careful eye on the local reptilian inhabitants, we will be looking for some of the region’s landbirds including Green Junglefowl, Variable Goshawk, Wallacean Drongo, Flame-breasted Sunbird and the endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo.

Finally, we will take three days to cruise back to Bali, watching for more cetaceans and seabirds as we go, and anchoring overnight at different spots from those on the way out to allow us to explore different reefs and landings. Your holiday does not have to end here, however, for Bali is the perfect place for a few days of post-cruise relaxation and reflection before beginning the long journey home.

Frasers Dolphin (Charles Anderson)Komodo Dragon (Charles Anderson)Bali (Charles Anderson)Sangeang Volcano (Charles Anderson)Blue Whale (Charles Anderson)Featherstar (Charles Anderson)Frigatebirds (Charles Anderson)Bali (Charles Anderson)Indonesia Butterflyfish (Adiogaster) (Charles Anderson)MV Mermaid (Charles Anderson)Komodo Dragon (Charles Anderson)Komodo National Park (Charles Anderson)Komodo Sunset (Charles Anderson)Manta Ray (Charles Anderson)MV Mermaid (Charles Anderson)MV Mermaid off Rinca (Charles Anderson)Seafan (Charles Anderson)Snorkelling (Charles Anderson)Spotted Dolphins (Charles Anderson)Timor Deer (Charles Anderson)Cetacean spotting from MV Mermaid (Charles Anderson)Komodo Dragon (Chas Anderson)Komodo Dragon (Chas Anderson)Frasers Dolphin (Chas Anderson)Spotted Dolphin (Chas Anderson)Sea Squirts (Chas Anderson)Volcanic Bubbles (Chas Anderson)
Crew fantastic & exceeded all expectations. Scenery out of this world & snorkelling amazing. A trip of a life time, dragons, manta rays, dolphins and brilliant fish.
I most enjoyed the variety of things we saw, the superb standard of the boat MV Mermaid I & its very helpful crew, the snorkelling, especially when we had good sunlight, benefitting from Chas Anderson's immense knowledge and sailing through the archipelago It was a wonderful holiday- thanks to all involved for making it so.
Fabulous dolphins, terrific viewing of Komodo Dragons on a secluded beach. They came into the water to see us off! Wonderful spacious boat with great one to one crew, amazing leaders, terrific snorkelling with great helpers for the inexperienced like me. Lots of time to relax. Great food. Terrific scenery. I don't use the phrase holiday of a lifetime lightly, it is often overegged, but this was truly THE HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
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Mon 10th September 2018 - Sat 22nd September 2018



more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: More info

Land only cost: £5095 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Bali Barat National ParkMore info

Thu 12th September 2019 - Sun 22nd September 2019



more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: More info

Land only cost: £4695 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Bali Barat National ParkMore info

Visiting: Indonesia

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Tour Extensions

If you wish to prolong your holiday we offer the following extensions.

Bali Barat National Park

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Kerrie Porteous
Operations Manager

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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

Crew fantastic & exceeded all expectations. Scenery out of this world & snorkelling amazing. A trip of a life time, dragons, manta rays, dolphins and brilliant fish.
A.G., Pembrokeshire