Is easy island life
The Indonesian archipelago covers over 5200km between the Asian continent and Australia, all of it within the tropics, and contains 17,000 islands. Its ethnic, cultural and lingual diversity is excellent – more than 500 languages and dialects are spoken by its 246 million inhabitants, whose beautiful customs and lifestyles are an essential attraction. The mostly volcanic landscape of the islands has built tall cloud-reaching mountains draped in the green of rice terraces or rainforests, dropping to eye-blinding golden beaches and striking blue seas, the backdrop for Southeast Asia's most important wilderness areas and wildlife refuges. All of this gives an endless source of brave trekking, surfing, scuba diving, or just resting by a pool in a five-star resort.
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Around Komodo & Rinca (4days)
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From the dark, richly scented alleys of Chinatown and Glodok to Kota's traces of colonial history, the old city is packed with surprising corners. Newer parts of the city like Merdeka Square are where Indonesia presents the face it wants the world to see: firm and convinced. Further south the city's diversity is on constant display with luxurious mega-buildings bumped next to some of Asia's most quiet areas. Across the city's streets, you can rub shoulders with Indonesia's new leaders, artists, intellectuals, movers, and shakers in a bohemian cafe or a sleek lounge bar and then go clubbing till dawn and beyond. In Jakarta, you can discover all of Indonesia. Not only people pouring in from all corners searching for a better life (as they've done for ages), they bring with them their own cultures, religions, and desires from the country's 17,000 islands. The result is a wonderful melange. Walk through an alley with food stalls, and you'll find a vast variety of flavors. Who knew chicken could be prepared in so many ways? Goods and produce pour in from all over and can be seen being sold from small shops and street corners around the clock.
The vibrant and diverse history of Bali can be found at all levels here, from the beautiful flower-petals put everywhere, to the parades of joyfully garbed locals, closing major roads as they march towards one of the many temple services, to the mysterious traditional music and dance performed everywhere. Everything here has a spiritual meaning. The center of Bali is dominated by the impressive volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island's counted 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island's central spiritual spot. On Bali, you can let yourself lose in the chaos of Kuta or the sensual pleasures of Seminyak and Kerobokan, surf untouched beaches in the south or just mingle around on Nusa Lembongan. You can bring your family to Sanur or enjoy a lavish getaway on the Bukit Peninsula. Ubud is the core of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most available, and it shares the island's most stunning rice fields and ancient masterpieces with east and west Bali. North and west Bali are low-populated but have the kind of diving and surfing activities that can make any journey worthy.
Komodo & Rinca
Snuggled between Sumbawa and Flores, the islands of Komodo and Rinca are the main parts of Unesco-acclaimed Komodo National Park. The islands' ragged hills, covered with savannah and encircled by mangroves, are home to the famous Komodo dragon, or ora. The world's biggest lizard, it can stretch over 3m in length and feeds on animals as large as antelope and buffalo. These secluded islands are surrounded by some of the wildest waters in Indonesia. The merging of warm and cold currents produces nutrient-rich sunny climes, rip tides and whirlpools that draw large circles of pelagics, from sharks and dolphins to manta rays and blue whales. The coral here is mainly pristine. Sum it all up, and you have one of the best diving areas in the world, which is why hundreds of tourists ply these waters between April and September when the water is quiet, and the diving is at its best.
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