Draped languidly across the equator, the charismatic archipelago of Indonesia is a smattering of diverse island jewels bobbing around in tropical seas. A visit is a great adventure in waiting – it’s truly one of the last intrepid destinations left on the planet. The third most populous nation on earth has an incredible legacy of peoples, cultures and geography just waiting to be explored.
Visitors will soon be tripping over pristine, white-sand beaches fringed by dramatic volcanic ranges towering over verdant green terraced hillsides and lush rainforest. A kaleidoscope of sealife including huge sunfish, manta rays, porpoises, turtles and blindingly colourful beds of coral await beneath the waves.
The island of Bali is the picture-postcard paradise: stunning scenery, gentle sarong-clad people and sunsets of legendary glory. No wonder it’s the most popular spot in the archipelago. Set inland, the hilly town of Ubud is where visitors can get a sense of Bali’s traditional culture, through the art galleries, temples and museums which dot the area. For the opposite experience, head to Kuta one of the most popular tourist resort areas. Brash and busy and overrun with backpackers as it may be, if you’re looking for a party, this is most likely where you’ll find it. The same goes for surfing as the area has a long history of attracting surfers to its great breaks. Still, there’s a lot more to Indonesia than Bali – there are over 13,000 islands just waiting to be explored.
Hop on a flight to neighbouring Lombok, and here’s where the pace of life settles down to languorous rhythm. Glorious beaches play host to surfers who have moved on from Kuta’s charms, whilst the towering volcano of Gunung Rinjani on North Lombok is the perfect place for trekkers to push themselves to the limit.
Squeeze in a trip to catch a sight of Komodo dragons (also known as ‘living dinosaurs’) feeding on Komodo Island. It will astound as will Borobudur's architectural treasures, which include 5km (3 miles) of Buddhist relief carvings. Adventure-seekers head for Kalimantan's remote jungle interior or explore Sumatra, with its teeming wildlife and wealth of tribal groups.