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Indonesia: More than just Bali

Indonesia, a string of volcanic islands straddling the Indian and the Pacific Ocean, is famed for its stunning scenery and fascinating culture. Go beyond the white sand beaches and tumbling rice paddies of Bali though, and discover more of Indonesia’s natural splendour, says Asia expert Charlie

Before departing, I was excitedly explaining to friends about my trip and upon hearing I was going to Indonesia they all said ‘I have heard Bali is amazing’. I have to agree, it most certainly is. With an amazing culture, great scenery and plenty to keep you busy- it’s the perfect destination for your first trip to Indonesia. However, I am going to try and tempt you to board another boat, or hop on a different plane and explore some other spectacular islands of Indonesia and what they have to offer.

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. This spectacular temple is located in central Java, the island to the east of Bali and home to Indonesia’s capital Jakarta. This temple was recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991 and has been beautifully restored to reflect the Buddhist journey to enlightenment and wisdom. Stay locally and get up early to watch the sunrise over the surrounding smoking volcanoes and explore the temple without the crowds.

Amanwana is the only resort of the island of Moyo, making it the ultimate beach destination. Try to spot the resort nestled in the side of the jungle as you arrive by boat, sea plane or helicopter. Be welcomed to your tent by the local macaques who will helpfully oversee your unpacking through the window, before heading to lunch in the company of the local deer. Should you feel like peeling yourself off your sun lounger, take a journey through the jungle in a 1960s Jeep to cool off in the pool of nearby waterfall, first discovered by the resort’s founder.

The only place in the world you can experience real life dragons is in the Komodo National Park, just off the island of Flores. Whether you stay on one of the many Indonesian sail boats or do a day trip from Flores, Komodo dragons are a sight to behold. When stationary, they are almost statuesque. Wait around long enough and they will start to move, impressive not only in size but with their guttural sounds which announce their dominance over others and remind you of their ancient heritage.

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