The Indonesian archipelago, which is made up of more than 17,000 islands, is ideally suited for adventure cruises.

They are one of the best possible ways of gaining access to some of the country's most exquisite, isolated tropical islands - plus there's the added advantage that getting there can be every bit as exotic and as exciting as the destinations themselves.

An extensive selection of charter boats is available in Indonesia, from luxurious state-of-the art cruising ships to traditional inter-island trading boats, which have been refitted to carry passengers. Some of these boats offer dive or surf cruises, where guaranteed action is built into the daily agenda. They give you access to the best and most remote dive sites and reef breaks.

Two of the best locations for adventure cruises in Indonesia are the spectacular islands of Nusa Tenggara and the Riau Archipelago. The Nusa Tenggara chain of islands stretches 1500 kilometers from Java to Irian Jaya and includes Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, Flores, and Timor.

Nusa Tenggara

Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, many of them accessible only by boat. Its here that you really find nature in its raw form: pristine reefs, exotic environments and unique animals like the Komodo dragon.

To make the most of Nusa Tenggara, charter a refitted bugis schooner and visit the spectacular natural environments of these remote islands. The region's astounding natural wonders include the colored volcanic lakes of Keli Mutu, exquisite diving and snorkeling on Flores and exotic creatures such as the three-meter-long Komodo lizard and the bird of paradise. The islands are also home to hundreds of isolated ethnic groups that still follow their traditional ways of life.

If you want to explore the region's spectacular underwater world, live-aboard dive boats operate around the islands of Flores, Sumba, Moyo, Komodo, Sumbawa and Lombok. These waters are reportedly home to more than 3000 species of fish. in the course of a cruise you can expect to see everything from magnificent pelagics to rare species like the chambered nautilus and seahorses and a phenomenal array of reef creatures.

Live-aboard trips in Nusa Tenggara also give you access to some of the country's hottest surf spots. Most surf cruises set out from Bali and sail along the south coast of Lombok and Sumbawa, pulling in to isolated and otherwise inaccessible bays that contain some of the best waves in the world. The breaks include the legendary Desert Point on Lombok; and Scar Reef, Super Suck and Yo-Yos on Sumbawa. There's also a host of smaller reef and point breaks that can be visited, depending on prevailing wind and swell conditions.

Riau Archipelago

Cruises in the Riau Archipelago are ideal for travelers passing through Singapore who want to escape the big city for a few days and experience real tropical island adventures. Most cruises here are about exploring and enjoying isolated beauty rather than relaxing on a luxury yacht. Some tour operators offer cruises that combine trekking, kayaking and mountain biking in the unspoiled wilderness of the islands. Most of the Riau islands are deserted, but a few are home to sleepy farming and fishing communities, which can also make a pleasant visit.

The Riau Archipelago is just as spectacular below the water as above. Since the Indonesian government reopened the waters around the Riau Archipelago two years ago, live-aboard operators have identified a number of excellent dive sites that are easily accessible from Singapore. Standard trips Lake you down past Bintan to the island of Mapor, where visibility is better, the reefs are teeming with marine life, and rugged volcanic rocks and canyons add drama to the underwater landscape. These sites offer very good diving by any standards.