Thursday, 5 April 2012 12:31 PM
We are all familiar with the exotic delights of Bali – which featured in the film Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts – however there are so many destinations in Indonesia that are just waiting to be discovered. From diving in Raja Ampat to marvelling at Borobudur Temple in Java, here’s where to head to on your next holiday in Indonesia.
Raja Ampat: A diver’s paradise
With the sort of marine life you usually only see on Blue Planet and scenic beauty to spare, the Raja Ampat archipelago is a mecca for divers.
This 15,000sq mile area is considered to be the most bio-diverse region on the planet (a fact only discovered in the last decade) – boasting an amazing 75 per cent of all known coral species.
Found at the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat (also known as the Four Kings) is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo.
Nihiwatu Resort, Sumba: An undiscovered idyll
To call it ‘off-the-beaten track’ would be a huge understatement. This 10-room eco resort (pictured left) is located on one of Indonesia’s most undiscovered islands, Sumba. Just a couple of hour’s flight southeast of Bali, the island is unlike its better-known neighbours.
Here ancient religions still hold sway and the vast majority of the island’s tourists are surfers hoping to ride the fabled waves. Yet Sumba with its sun-baked beaches, azure waters and lush forests isn’t just for surf-junkies but also perfect for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of diving with scuba diving, diving, fishing, hiking and mountain biking on offer.
Borobudur in Central Java: The essential pilgrimage
A world away from the megalopolis of Jakarta, rising from a mishmash of emerald rice paddy fields and visible above the swaying palms is the colossal Buddhist temple of Borobudur (pictured right).
A temple to rival Angkor Wat – built in the second half of the 8th century AD, three centuries before the famous Cambodian religious complex – Borobudur, a UNESCO world heritage site, is one of Southeast Asia’s wonders.
This three-tier mammoth structure is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and home to 504 life-size statues of Buddha.
Amanwana, Moyo Island: Safari-style exploration
Far from the madding crowds, on the intoxicatingly remote island of Moyo – a nature and marine reserve 15km off the coast of Sumbawa (east of Bali) – is the jungle-chic tented camp of Amanwana.
Twenty tantalizing tents make up the island’s only resort. In the turquoise seas that surround the seductively beautiful island the diving is superb; on land, you’ll find an abundance of birds and monkeys in the lush forests.
When staying on Moyo, not only is deer-spotting a must but so is island-hopping – Amanwana’s private boat can take visitors to nearby Rinca and Komodo islands where the legendary Komodo dragons reside.
Mount Bromo: The summit of volcano experiences
Proving that size truly doesn’t matter, Mount Bromo (pictured left) may be small in comparison to Indonesia’s other volcanoes, but what it lacks in height it more than compensates in spectacular scenery.
Located in the heart of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in east Java, in a place called the ‘Sea of Sands’, the rumbling mountain is a photographer’s dream landscape and the place to see one of the world’s most spectacular sunrises.
Yogyakarta: The cultural capital
Known affectionately as ‘Jogja’ to the locals, this city is Java’s heritage hotspot. A centre of the arts and learning, it is set against a backdrop of mountains including Mount Merapi – the island’s most active volcano.
Highlights include the 200-year old Sultan’s palace, the Kraton; the old-world charms of Dutch colonial architecture, the delights of traditional Javanese dance and the shopping – get your batik here.
If you want to travel to any of these destinations, browse Ampersand Travel’s Indonesian itineraries, which start at £3,170 per person and range from 11- to 17-day tours.
For more information on Indonesia visit our Indonesia travel guide.
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