Journey across the Malay Archipelago for a 16-day expedition cruise that will take you from Darwin, Australia to Manila in the Philippines. Discover a wealth of unique destinations during your expedition including the lush rainforest-topped karst islands to the sun-kissed islands of the Moluccas. From ancient tribes that still populate the many islands to the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on earth.  This bespoke experience will showcase the astonishing diversity of cultures, landscapes, flora and fauna across the Malay Archipelago as you get up-close with the help of a National Geographic Expert and Photographer. Special Offer: 500€ discount for first-time cruisers with PONANT. Book by the 31/12/2018.

Trip highlights

Explore the pristine Malay Archipelago with a National Geographic Expert and Photographer onboard to enrich your expedition experience.

Visit the Tangkoko National Park to look for the famous Tarsier, one of the tiniest primates in the world.

Discover the Malay Archipelago up close as you enjoy regular Zodiac® outings and shore visits with a team of naturalists.

Itinerary - 16 Days

1 Darwin

Located in Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin is Australia’s tropical capital that offers a melting pot of all people and cultures. Its vibrant and welcoming atmosphere is loved by many travellers who flock here throughout the year. Discover the new Parliament House opened in 1994, a magnificent example of tropical architecture and Admiralty House declared heritage place, a tropical-style home elevated on stilts that have survived two cyclones and numerous air raids. You will also enjoy the bustling waterfront on the Timor Sea.

2 At sea

Your first day at sea should be spent getting to know your surroundings and making the most of your time aboard the magnificent Le Lapérouse. From world-class entertainment to a luxurious spa, infinity pool on deck and photo gallery, there is a wealth of things to do onboard. You’ll be joined by a National Geographic Expert and a Photographer onboard so why not make the most of this opportunity and get to know a little more about their work.

3 Kei Islands, Maluku Islands

The Kei islands are home to some of the most beautiful, pristine and untouched beaches in the world. They are the most accessible islands of southern Maluku and offer visitors a tranquil escape from the bustling nature of Darwin. Referred to as the hidden gems of Indonesia, Kei Islands are relatively unknown and therefore make for the perfect place to enjoy a day of swimming and snorkelling on an idyllic uninhabited picture postcard tropical island.

4 Triton Bay, West Papua

Triton Bay is one of three regions in Indonesia’s West Papua province. It is home to the epicentre of the Coral Triangle, comprise the Bird’s Head Seascape, where an abundance of underwater wildlife and coral thrives. It contains more fish and coral species than anywhere else on the planet and you will get the opportunity to delve into the underwater life. Join the expedition team for a Zodiac® outing through the spectacular rainforest capped karst islands.

5 At sea

Enjoy a day of relaxation at sea in the luxurious spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. If the weather is nice, head to the infinity swimming pool or relax with some sunbathing on deck. You can also visit the boutique shop or see what shows and activities are scheduled. Alternatively, meet the National Geographic photographers in their dedicated space or head to the upper deck to enjoy the views.

6 Banda Run

Banda Run is one of the smallest islands of the Banda Island. It is part of Moluccas in Indonesia. Its picture perfect shores are lined by white sandy beaches that are met by turquoise waters and rich green forestry on land.

7 Banda Neira, Maluku Islands

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. Its rich history is still tangible today with an 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”.

8 Pulau Saparua

East of Ambon Island, which hosts the capital of Maluku province, discover Saparua, the largest and most populous of the Lease Islands. Remaining largely undiscovered, the Lease Islands are known for their welcoming nature, quaint villages and historical landmarks as well as their pristine white sandy beaches and rich coral reefs.

8 Pulau Molana

Take the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the clear tropical waters of Pulau Molana, a small, uninhabited island known for its coral reefs and perfect beaches.

9 At sea

During your day on the Le Lapérouse, make the most of your surroundings and enjoy the onboard amenities and services. Relax in the spa, head to the fitness centre for a workout or take a dip in the swimming pool. If you’re interested in wildlife, head to the upper deck where you’ll get the best view to observe marine species, should you be lucky enough to pass any.

10 Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Sulawesi

Tangkoko Nature Reserve is home to 127 mammals, 233 bird and 104 reptile and amphibian species. Here you will be able to 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.

11 Pulau Nitu

The uninhabited island of Pulau Nitu is located in the Sangihe archipelago roughly halfway between Sulawesi, Indonesia and Mindanao in the Philippines. Renowned for its tropical wildlife, 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. Take the opportunity to swim and snorkel amongst the schools of fishes and brightly coloured corals.

12 At sea

During your day at sea aboard the Le Lapérouse, make the most of the amenities and services onboard. Take a moment to relax in the spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. There is plenty of entertainment to keep you entertained as well as access to the upper deck which allow you to take in the journey from a spectacular viewpoint.

13 Himokilan Island, Cuatro Islands

As we travel through the eastern province of the Philippines, discover some of the last remaining pristine environments and remote untouched villages scattered throughout this nation of contrasts. The Cuatro Islands are relatively unknown but boast incredible white sandy beaches, traditional fishing villages and colourful marine environment. Here you will have the opportunity to witness village life in a remote, traditional fishing village and snorkel in the clear tropical waters.

14 Sibuyan Island

Sibuyan is the second largest island in the Romblon archipelago and has always been isolated from the other islands in the Philippines. It remains predominantly untouched and wild, meaning it boasts a thriving ecosystem where it is home to several endemic species, which is why it is sometimes dubbed “the Galápagos of Asia”. 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.

15 At sea

During your time at sea, make the most of the services and facilities onboard. Enjoy a day of relaxation in the luxurious spa or head to the fitness centre for a workout. If the weather is nice, head to the swimming pool or relax with some sunbathing on deck. You can also visit the boutique shop or see what shows and activities are scheduled. Alternatively, meet the National Geographic photographer or head to the upper deck to enjoy the views.

16 Manila

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and on the approach, you’ll notice the magnificent ultramodern vibrancy that comes from the skyscrapers set all along the waterfront. But don’t be fooled, there is a wealth of culture, tradition and history rooted within the cobbled streets of the Intramuros district, and you'll discover a different side of Manila. To see the city from a different angle, take a walk along Roxas Boulevard, a popular seaside promenade.

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