Travel for… Transformation
Whether you come for the jungles or the temples, you’ll leave changed—in both mind and body.
Furthermore and the travel experts at Indagare have partnered to bring you a three-part travel series covering adventure (Chilean Patagonia), transformation (Indonesia), and renewal (American Southwest). For more about the series, read this intro.
A deeply spiritual land, the Indonesian archipelago, which comprises more than 17,000 islands, including Bali, Sumba Island, and Java, encourages physical and emotional transformation. The country is blanketed with both volcanic black and pristine white sand beaches, lush jungles, emerald-green rice paddies, ancient temples, and bungalow-chic hotels. It’s known as a destination for travelers looking to overhaul their lives, whether it be with a digital detox, yoga retreat, or months-long meditation sabbatical.
WHAT TO DO
Can’t-miss experiences revolve around wellbeing, whether through a karma cleansing ceremony to rebalance the spirit, a Hindu rite of passage, or a local-led hike to a sacred temple like Besakih. Eating and getting pampered here can be transformative as well—most of the resorts incorporate local products into their culinary and spa programs (the latter are some of the world’s best), and many fund foundations that guests can volunteer with. Thrill seekers can experience some incredible wave breaks and attend full moon bonfire dances. It’s also a bucket-list destination for scuba divers.
WHERE TO STAY
Como Shambhala, Ubud
The 22 guesthouses that make up this 23-acre property are made of local stone, wood, and traditional alang-alang roofing. The villas are situated in one of five themed residence clusters, each boasting a sumptuous communal outdoor living space and semi-private pool. Rooms showcase Asian antiques, local crafts, and offer dreamy four-poster beds with white mosquito netting. The famed open-air jungle spa, with its pools near the resort’s two restaurants, is world-reknowned.
- Transformation Moment: Book a consultation with the on-site Ayurvedic practitioner, who can arrange a customized roster of spa treatments according to your physical and spiritual needs.
Modeled after the world’s largest Buddhist monument (Borobudur, located one kilometer away), Amanjiwo’s focus is on culture and spirituality. Set in central Java, the 30-suite resort is located in a mountainous, rice-terraced region and provides a serene hideaway with a yoga pavilion and 120-foot-long swimming pool. But off-property excursions are the draw here, and guests are encouraged to immerse themselves in the Javanese way of life, whether on elephant treks through the lush banyan tree–strewn hills or at a religious ceremony at a nearby village.
- Transformation Moment: Take a sunrise hike up Borobudur, followed by a picnic breakfast overlooking the monument.
The only resort on Moyo island, the 20-tent Amanwana (meaning ‘peaceful forest’) highlights the elements that make Indonesia so great—the rich flora and fauna and the belief that relaxation and adventure can provide healing. Sitting within the Moyo nature reserve, which is filled with jungle waterfalls, macaque monkeys, and wild boar, the luxury resort looks out at the Flores Sea. Guests can also expect private beach BBQs and evenings under the stars.
- Transformation Moment: Book a milk bath at the Jungle Cove Spa.
Amanikan or Amandira
Both based at Amanwana, the luxury hotel brand’s two phinisis (traditional Indonesian sailing ships) provide five-star luxury for guests looking to explore the Indonesia archipelago by sea. The Amanikan and Amandira, with three and five cabins, respectively, are both decorated in the resort’s signature minimalist style and sail the same routes. From the comfort of the private charters, guests can access the most biologically diverse underwater sites in Indonesia.
- Transformation Moment: Visit the World Heritage Komodo National Park, one of the few locations where the endangered Komodo dragons can be viewed in their natural habitat.
Nihiwatu, Sumba Island
Nihiwatu was a longtime surfer’s mecca before being taken over by Chris Burch (co-founder of Tory Burch) in 2012. Although he upgraded the eco property to include chic villas and restaurants, he kept the focus on preserving the local community and landscape. Visitors get access to “The Wave,” one of the best surfing spots in the world, and the stunning hotel doubles as a charity; the Sumba Foundation aims to eradicate Malaria from the island and 90% of its funding comes from Nihiwatu guests.
- Transformation Moment: Partake in activities with local schoolchildren through the Sumba Foundation, which has had a profound impact on the local people.