Indonesia is a land of extremes and contrast. It’s home to so many different cultures, people, adventures, dramatic landscapes, customs and cuisines, it’s like several continents all rolled into one.
Bali is spectacular, with the Tanah Lot Temple perched on a rocky outcrop, black sand beaches and traditional dances that so inspired European theatre-makers in the 20th century. Wander through the terraced rice paddies in the shadow of volcanic mountains and you’ll meet local artists at work in their homes.
Sumba island is less populated and its people mostly follow the ways of their ancestors. As you amble along the long sandy beaches, you’ll find yourself drawn to the water – in surfer-speak, it has some of the world’s best left-hand break waves.
If the cold stare of a Komodo dragon appeals, Moyo will deliver. It’s an unspoilt island to the east of Bali that’s covered with tropical rainforest and coral-laced beaches. It also houses a fascinating nature and marine reserve. Moyo only has one resort on the island, Amanwana, a private paradise surrounded by the turquoise waters and pristine reefs of the Flores Sea. You can often spot Macaque monkeys and rusa deer make morning appearances on its shores.
Wherever you visit on the archipelago there’s a sense of spirituality. This, too, is varied, and jumps between Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. In Magelang, Central Java, you’ll find Borobudur Temple, the Buddhist site. Imagined as a vision of the cosmos in stone, it’s said to take you to Nirvana.
When to go
We find it best to go in the dry season, which runs from April to September. December to March are generally the wetter months.