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Several smaller islands are easily accessible from Bali and Lombok, making these two a wonderful base for exploration. The sailing season for many traditional Indonesian boats is May to September. While a lot of the more established boats are booked up almost a year in advance, an increasing number of charter and sail companies are sprouting up. A lot of the shorter trips, typically 5 days, give or take, will focus on the Komodo islands while the longer ones venture out in to the Banda Sea.

The Royal Bali Yacht Club (www.royalbaliyachtclub.com) is all dinghies and lasers on Serangan Island, a reclaimed bit of scrubland on the road to Sanur. They also have a small facility in Sanur in front of the Mecure hotel on the beach. Visitor membership is only Rp250,000; they have various boats for hire and will provide lessons at pretty low rates (Rp50,000 per hour per person). If you want to sail, or take the kids for the day, it's fun, safe, and low key.

Some of the larger hotels in Sanur and Nusa Dua have their own accompaniment of lasers, dinghies, and catamarans for you to use. If your hotel does not, you will easily find various places along the beach that will hire them. However, you will find no sailing, nor boats for hire anywhere on the west coast of Bukit peninsula as there are few places to safely land them.

In a different league from many other boats, with prices to match, are the offerings of Silolona (tel. 0361/287326; www.silolona.com), Ombak Putih (tel. 0361/766269; www.ombakputih.com), Raja Laut (www.rajalaut.com), and newcomer El Aleph (tel. 08/1337700668; www.elalephcruising.com). These are luxury cruises in traditional Phinisi-styled boats, offering educational adventures that take you to some of the most beautiful, and, other than by boat, inaccessible spots in the archipelago. If you have managed to tuck any money away, pretend this is your rainy day and take a trip on one of these before your number is called.

Pitched somewhere in between the high-end charter boats and the mass-market day trips is a journey on what is affectionately known as the Pirate Ship or the Bulan Purnama (www.bulan-purnama.com). They do both charters and individual cabins and will hire it out for in the region of €1,000 a day, with diving and on-board staff included. This traditional Phinisi wooden boat runs dive and surf charters through the eastern islands, including Komodo to Moyo then Lombok or even Labuan Bajo to Komodo. Home anchorage is Gili Trawangan, and they also organize Gili Island cruises, starting in Bali. For the less ambitious, try a day trip on a large charter yacht: Sail Sensations (tel. 0361/725864; www.sailsensations.com) will take you to Lembongan for the day; the Waka (tel. 0361/723629; www.the-waka.com) will do the same on a catamaran.

Websites www.baliintaran.com/bali-cruises and www.balicruises.com are useful, though are ultimately booking agents. They will have new and updated information on available boats and may be able to better fit your individual dates and requirements.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.