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INDONESIA


TOTALLY TROPICAL Indonesia


With beaches, adventures, ancient temples, characterful villages, different ethnic groups and a fi ve-star experience at two-star prices Indonesia is worth the long haul trip, says John Oates


T


he fi rst thing you need to know about Indonesia is that it is truly vast! In fact, although Bali is familiar for its beaches


and great diving spots, the country at large is actually an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands stretching from as far west as Myanmar to a border with Papua New Guinea in the east. The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia has great geographical and cultural diversity. Bali, Indonesia’s most famous tourist destination, has not


been without its troubles, most shockingly the 2002 and 2005 bombings. However, the FCO does not advise against travel to Bali and today the island attracts more tourists than ever. The result is undeniable overdevelopment in some parts of the island, but away from the worst excesses Bali’s appeal remains intact in the combination of living traditions and glorious landscapes. Even on the highly-developed southern tip of the island it’s possible to fi nd some lovely beaches: head for fashionable Seminyak or to the quieter beaches further


north, rather than to Kuta which is known for its surf schools and hard-partying holidaymakers. Alternatively, there’s the security-gated enclave of Nusa Dua’s international resorts. Most visitors looking for a culture fi x head north from Denpasar’s airport to Ubud, a small town nestled among rice fi elds. There they fi nd nightly demonstrations of traditional dance, some of Bali’s best food, a temple complex inhabited by monkeys, art galleries and handicraft lessons. There are also some great day trips from Ubud, for


example to the imposing shrines of Gunung Kawi and the holy springs of Tirta Empul. Further afi eld, it’s still possible to get away from it all. “Head along the east coast to Candidasa or to the black sands of the north coast at Lovina for resorts away from the crowds,” suggests Escape Worldwide’s Mark Haughton. Indonesia is more than just Bali. The island of Java, home to the capital, Jakarta, is popular with operators. The UNESCO-listed Borobudur temple is stunning at dawn, as is the volcanic Gunung Bromo. The palaces of Yogyakarta


Background picture: smoking Mount Bromo in east Java. Above, from left: Hindu statue; picturesque rice paddies; the Tanah Lot Temple on Bali’s coast


www.sellinglonghaul.com • January 2013 41


FRANK LUTS/SXC


NINO SATRIA/SXC


MEE LIN WOON/SXC


VLADIMIR FOVANOV/SXC


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