Tailor-Made Tours

Tribal Weaving of The Lesser Sunda Islands

Maumere I Lembata I Alor I Savu Island I Sumba I Komodo

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The diverse Lesser Sunda Islands, stretching eastwards from Bali, offer the most alluring landscapes and a glorious cornucopia of weaving for textile lovers. Together we will explore the extraordinary ancestral traditions of these islands where textiles are the predominant form of artistic expression, still playing a central role in every significant stage of life, especially marriage and death. Some islanders tell us, “Without cloth, we cannot marry.” However, change is underway in even the remotest villages, and weavers are no longer passing on their skills to the next generation. With this cruise, we will be given a unique opportunity to witness a dying art form before it is gone forever.

We will enjoy the luxury of cruising effortlessly from island to island, crossing a rugged, isolated region where travel by land can be difficult. Along the way, there will be time to enjoy the amazing volcanic scenery, meet the villagers, visit traditional markets, buy local textiles, swim and snorkel over psychedelic coral reefs, relax and have fun. This is a fantastic, adventurous way to travel, providing memories that guests will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Activities: cruise - live on board, sight-seeing, culture, nature, leisure & adventure.


This is a cruise group tour, with a fixed itinerary and scheduled start dates.


After arriving on the morning flight from Denpasar to Maumere, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Ombak Putih in time for a delicious welcome lunch on the deck. The ship will moor on the beautiful Bay of Maumere against the backdrop of the extinct volcano of Ile Kimang. After everyone has settled into their cabin, we will visit a nearby fishing village, built over the water on stilts where we will witness the lifestyles of the local Bugis and Bajao sea gypsies. In the evening, we will relax over cocktails while David and Sue give an introductory talk about the culture and textiles of the local Sikka region before enjoying dinner on the deck. Meals Included : lunch & dinner


We will disembark at Maumere for a short drive to the busy Wairkoja Friday market, where the vendors sell local ikat and a variety of weaving supplies. We will then drive up into the scenic Iwang Geté highlands to visit a small village where we will also hear welcome music and dance. After gaining our first insights into the local techniques of spinning, binding, dyeing, and weaving, we will have the opportunity to purchase some of the finished textiles. The adventurous among us will be able to try betel nut, tobacco, and locally distilled liquor. After lunch on board, we are going to head out to Ledalero for a brief visit to the oldest museum on Flores, the Blikon Blewut Museum, established by Father Verhoeven, a Catholic SVD missionary. Our final stop will be at a second Sikka village where we will see a different style of ikat, typical of the central Krowé region. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


This morning we will pass Larantuka, the capital of East Flores that located at the foot of the imposing Ile Mandiri Volcano. After breakfast, we will go ashore and see in detail how local Lamaholot villagers produce their fantastic earthy-brown ikats decorated with small white seashells. We will then be guided around this picturesque well-kept village before returning to the Ombak Putih for lunch. Then, we will sail to some small islands close to the northeast coast of Adonara Island for swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing. We will moor nearby overnight. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


Today, we will arrive in Lembata and drop anchor on the north coast below the towering active Volcano of Ile Api. We will go ashore to see some of the superb ikat textiles produced in this region. After a formal welcome and demonstration of local weaving techniques, there will be a selling exhibition of textiles, giving you the chance to add a fabulous bridewealth cloth to your collection. Later, during lunch, the boat will cruise across Waienga Bay to another small rarely visited weaving village and a nearby location for a refreshing swim or snorkel. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


After arriving in Kalabahi Bay on Alor Island, we will head east before driving up into the forest to the remarkable Village of Takpala, occupied by Papuan people belonging to the local Abui tribe. Dressed in colorful local textiles, the villagers will entertain us with their hypnotic ‘lego-lego’ circle dance, used to celebrate weddings and other lifecycle events. Afterward, we will explore the village market and take a look inside the villagers’ two-storey thatched houses. We will also see their excellent display of textiles and moko drums from across the island in Kalabahi Museum. As we enjoy our lunch on the deck, we will sail out of Kalabahi Bay into the Pantar Strait, heading for the small weaving village of Uma Pura on Ternate Island. On this small volcanic island, we will discover how dyes are obtained from sea sponges. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


This morning we will cruise into Labala Bay and go ashore at the unique whaling village of Lamalera with its row of thatched boathouses lining the beach. The resident weavers will be waiting for us in the village square to show us how they produce their stunning kewatek ikat sarongs. Later, we will go up the hill to the upper half of the village to see the church and the view over the lower village. After visiting a local school, we board the Ombak Putih to watch the whale hunters demonstrate the hazardous techniques they use to harpoon the sperm whales from their small outriggers. After making our farewells, we stop for a short swim before cruising due south across the Savu Sea towards Kupang in West Timor. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


In the seventh day, we will disembark at the colourful old harbour where Captain Bligh landed in 1789 and drive a short distance to the Museum of East Nusa Tenggara which has a fine collection of textiles and other artifacts from across the Lesser Sunda Islands. Then, we will head south through stunning scenery into the territory of the Amarasi tribe, to be escorted to a reception by the King and Queen of the Amarasi in their Royal Pavilion. One of the Princesses will demonstrate how she makes paper from local plants. Before returning to the boat for lunch, we will visit a small weaving cooperative that uses a wide variety of natural dyes. In the afternoon, we will visit a nearby village occupied by members of the Helong tribe who will give us an excellent demonstration of indigo and morinda dyeing before offering us a selection of their ikats to buy. In the evening, we will cruise towards the tiny remote Island of Savu. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


This morning we will go ashore at Napae Bay. A very scenic drive in trucks will bring us to our next group of weavers who live in a small hilltop village. These master dyers and weavers will demonstrate how they spin, bind and dye their cotton before weaving their unique ikat tube-skirts which locally referred to as ‘ei.’ After exploring the village and watch the ritual clan house where the heirloom baskets for textiles are kept, there will be time to select from a colorful selling exhibition of textiles. After lunch on board, the ship will turn landward to the Village of Namata. Here we are welcomed on the beach by local dancers and ikat-clad horseman, and we will see the local ritual where priests of the ancestral ‘Jingi Tiu’ religion use megalithic stone platforms to conduct rituals and sacrifice. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner


Today, we will explore the small, rarely visited Island of Raijua. After landing on a sandy beach, we will look at the differences between the textiles of Raijua and neighboring Savu, and walk to a traditional fenced village that formally known as the seat of the Rajas of Raijua. After lunch on the boat, enjoy a relaxing afternoon by swimming or snorkeling, and perhaps we will have a memorable evening beach barbeque. Overnight, we make a short crossing over the Savu Sea for the first of our two days in East Sumba, one of the essential weaving regions in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10

Arriving on the eastern coast of Sumba, we will land on the sandy beach at Melolo where local buses will take us to the Village of Umabara. We will find tall thatched houses and megalithic carved tombs, and come across to the nearby Royal Hamlet of Pau that is famous for its exquisite supplementary warp weaving or ‘pahikung'. A show from two finest local princesses will tell us about their work there. Then, we will be heading to Royal Village of Parai Yawangu, a place where the best warp ikat comes from. With its traditional houses and a magnificent line of tombs, it remains the seat of the Raja of Rindi, whom we will visit provided he and his wife are in residence. Back on board, we enjoy a late lunch while the Ombak Putih cruises north towards Waingapu. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11

We are going to leave the harbor to visit a small workshop that produces some of the highest quality of ikat hinggi. Here we will see how the designs are created and transferred onto the warps and we will begin to comprehend the laborious process of binding that is necessary to produce such complex and intricately patterned cloths. A superb collection of ikat will be available to buy before we explore the neighboring royal village of Prailiu by foot and will be accosted by eager textile sellers at every turn. Next, we will have lunch, and we are going to meet with friendly ikat-cad warriors who greet us from horseback. After departing for Rinca, our guests are invited to dress lavishly in their finest ikat cloths for tonight’s farewell dinner party with the captain and crew, who will entertain us on deck with traditional Indonesian songs and dances. Meals Included : breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 12

On our final morning, we will moor close to the starkly beautiful Island of Rinca for an early breakfast followed by a short trek in the Komodo National Park led by a park ranger. No textiles here, just amazing three-meter-long Komodo Dragons – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs! Back on board, we will cruise to a small island for our final snorkel before heading for Labuan Bajo where we will have lunch before transferring to the nearby airport for our late afternoon flight back to Bali. Meals Included : breakfast

  • Eleven (11) night accommodation in luxury phinisi Ombak Putih - based on twin bed sharing (notes : For the single traveller who wants to secure their own cabin we do charge a 75% supplement. If you are a single traveller and don't mind sharing a twin cabin with another person of the same gender, then this fee will not apply).
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, snacks & soft drinks) as mentioned in the itinerary, except alcoholic drinks.
  • Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited.
  • Professional english speaking guides.
  • Domestic & international airfares to and from our start and end points + departure taxes if applicable (notes : The price of this cruise does not include any domestic airfares to and from our start and end points, however, our reservations specialists are more than happy to help arrange domestic flights on your behalf and advise on scheduling. We book hundreds of flights each year on behalf of our guests and we know the best routes to take to ensure you arrive on time. We only book with IATA-approved airlines that have met with international standards of safety and dependability. Except for Bali, transfers to and from local airports to the boat are also included. If you are booking flights by yourself, do not book any flights before checking with us first. Our first and last day programmes rely on strict time scheduling, so please confirm with us to ensure that you arrive and depart at your destination with plenty of time to spare and to avoid disruption to other guests' schedules).
  • Additional tour or activity if available (optional).
  • Personal expenses (mini bar, laundry, room services, additional food & drink at hotel/restaurant, etc).
  • Personal travel insurance & visa fees.
  • Tipping to captain & crew (notes : on your final night on board, you will have an opportunity to discretely contribute to a collective ‘captain and crew’ tip fund, which will be distributed equally among the crew members. We believe that between US$ 5-10 per cruising day is an appropriate amount (i.e. seven-day cruise = $35 to $70 total, not per crew member). However, this is just a suggestion and remains entirely up to the judgment and discretion of the guests. We do ask that you please refrain from offering tips to crew members at any time, except during cases of exceptional service, when it should be arranged through the office. Tipping of your tour leader for their hard work is also welcome, and is at your discretion. There will be an envelope provided for both crew and tour leaders in the cruise bag in your cabin).
Price & Additional Information
Age Accommodation Room Type Price/Person
Adult Ombak Putih Twin Bed Sharing $7,450/Person

David and Sue are passionate researchers and collectors of Asian textiles and since first visiting Indonesia in 1980, David and Sue have systematically visited every part of the archipelago, both overland and by sea using a variety of local vessels. Over the years David and Sue have assembled one of the finest and most comprehensive private collections of Indonesian and other Asian textiles, many of museum quality. They are members of the Textile Society of America as well as the Oxford Asian Textile Group, which is affiliated to the Ashmolean and the Pitt Rivers Museums of the University of Oxford. The Oxford Asian Textile Group was until recently chaired by Dr Ruth Barnes, a leading academic expert on the textiles of Eastern Indonesia.

David has a doctorate in quantum physics from Cambridge University and in his early career he spent several years working with the Ministry of Education in Jakarta on two major government aid projects to completely re-equip the universities of Indonesia with scientific equipment. Sue is an English graduate who spent her career in training and human resources for a leading chain of British department stores.


  • Clothing - The tropical climate means you can safely leave all of your warm weather gear at home. Bring cool cottons, T-shirts and shorts. We cruise during the dry season in each of the regions that we visit but rain is always a possibility so bring a lightweight waterproof jacket; it can sometimes be a bit windy on the boat and this will also help keep you warm. Likewise, a lightweight fleece could be useful for pre-dawn trekking or if there is a cool wind on the boat – even if you don’t need it onboard, it will be useful for the plane. Adventure Archipelago is respectful of the local cultures and customs; bring clothes that cover your shoulders and knees for village visits. Finally, you might want to bring at least one smart-casual outfit for sunset cocktails and evening meals on the boat. Ladies: beach throw-overs, kaftans and sarongs are always useful; choose fabrics that dry easily. Also, bring a lightweight sundress or two – the boat offers a great setting for a photo shoot, live it up.
  • Bags - A day backpack is essential on day hikes to carry things such as your water bottle, camera, binoculars, and rain jacket. Ombak Putih or Katharina provides each guest with a metal water bottle, which can re-filled as often as required, and makes a nice souvenir to take home. A waterproof wet/dry bag is a good idea for your phone, camera etc.
  • Footwear - Pack comfortable trainers, trekking sandals, sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots for hikes and walks. Bring socks to wear inside your walking shoes to avoid getting blisters. Many travellers appreciate the added stability of a walking stick or hiking pole; lightweight telescopic poles are easy to pack. You might also want waterproof sandals or reef shoes for wet landings and water activities. Flip-flops are great for the beach. Note: Standard practice is to go barefoot on the boat.
  • Sun Protection - You’ll be spending plenty of time out in the scorching tropical sun, so be sure to pack sunscreen with a high enough SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, which are stronger in the water, and some sun-protective clothing as well. Cover-ups, sarongs, sun shirts, and other such clothing will ensure that you come back from your trip with just happy memories and photographs – and not sunburn. A good hat is essential; a wide brimmed hat or cap will keep the strong equatorial sun off your face and neck. Sunglasses keep your eyes protected and add a little glam to your photos. A strap to hold your glasses can be a good idea on more active adventures. Just in case you fail to avoid getting sunburnt, bring an aloe-based lotion to soothe burned skin.
  • Swimwear - Don’t forget your swimsuit/bikini/shorts/trunks/Speedos —and preferably more than just one swimsuit, so that one or two can be drying while you are wearing another. Luckily, swimsuits and/or swim trunks don’t take up too much space in your luggage. The water is warm but a rash guard (or a wetsuit) will protect you from the sun, abrasions and stings.
  • Skin & Hair Protection - Ladies, it’s important that you take good care of your skin and hair. The sun, seawater and salty air may be beautiful to experience but it can be tough on your body and will wreak havoc on your locks. Bring moisturising lotion to soothe skin parched by the sun and the saltwater; bring a leave-in conditioner to de-tangle your hair with ease because the water, mask, and hair-ties will leave it in knots. Also consider bringing a scarf or headband to hold back unruly hair, or hair-ties/pins to keep your hair off your face and therefore prevent water seeping into your mask. Note: Your cabin is outfitted with towels, shampoo, conditioner and bodywash.
  • Camera Equipment - If you are photo enthusiast bring all of the camera and video equipment that you will use as you can expect exceptional opportunities for photography. If you prefer the ease of a point & shoot, bring that. If you want to take underwater photos you might want to invest in a waterproof camera/GoPro or waterproof housing to capture photos of the incredible marine life.  It’s a good idea to bring a spare memory card; our cruises explore remote regions where memory cards cannot be purchased.

Unforgettable experiences you’ll get:

  • Twelve-days liveaboard experience, cruising from Maumere to Komodo, Flores by the luxury phinisi vessel, Ombak Putih.
  • Learn about the uniqueness of local textiles culture and explore the extraordinary ancestral traditions of Lesser Sunda Islands where textiles are the predominant form of artistic expression with cruise led expert - David & Sue Richardson.
  • Visit isolated region & remote village and opportunity to buy good quality of local ikat textiles.
  • Enjoy the amazing volcanic scenery & snorkel over psychedelic coral reefs through Lesser Sunda Islands.
  • Nature trek searching giant lizards-komodo dragons in Rinca Island, Komodo.


Maumere I Lembata I Alor I Savu Island I Sumba I Komodo

Cruise - Live on Board

12 Days

from $7,450 per person

Each of our itineraries is here to inspire you. We use them as a foundation for your bespoke trip or design your trip completely from scratch based on your requirements. Contact us with your holiday's ideas, no matter how big or small, our travel specialists will start planning a unique and personalized trip just for you.

Adventure Archipelago Team

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