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Destinations in Indonesia
Tan-hungry bodies beautiful come for Bali's sun, sand and surf; fashionistas flock to the Seminyak night scene, and urban escapists head here for stress-easing jungle tranquillity.
Cast adrift within three azure-blue lagoons, Bawah Island is made up of six paradise islands with 13 white-sand beaches and an expanse of untouched hinterland – and all for just 70 explorers at once.
Gorgeous, tropical Lombok is a life-enhancing antidote to bright lights and bling for honeymooning couples who prefer their barefoot luxury to be less bland.
If you love Bali, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven when you set foot on wildly beautiful, crowd-free Moyo Island, a nature and marine reserve a short flight away in Indonesia's Nusa Tenggara archipelago.
‘Undiscovered tropical idyll’ barely does it justice – with perfect beaches, swirling cerulean surf and lush tropical forests, the island of Sumba, almost untouched by tourism, is somewhere you’ll want to keep to yourself…
Yogyakarta may be difficult to pronounce, but it's easy to love: it has temples to rival Angkor Wat; a centuries-long history as a centre of academia and the arts, and an atmospheric mountain backdrop.
Hidden in the heart of beachside Seminyak, The Amala’s a holistic retreat of sleek thatched-roof pads, plunge pools and herb-infused showers. Balis’ finest wellness gurus are at hand to soothe and restore with yoga and water Pilates.
Ubud Hanging Gardens’ villas, spectacular infinity pool and Balinese spa hug the steep hillsides of the Ayung River. Thankfully, there’s a funicular for those after a truly languid retreat.
Ringed by eight cloud-shrouded volcanoes and lush jungle foliage, MesaStila’s antique-filled villas are set in hectares of lovingly tended gardens. Watch the sunrise at Borobudur before indulging in an authentic hammam and coffee-infused spa therapies.
Fried, grilled, boiled or steamed: Indonesia’s food is rich, subtly spiced and delicately fragranced. Food carts gather at street corners, peddling moreish crispy chicken, hearty bakso meatball soup and all manners of nasi (rice) and mie (noodles). Bali’s a tempeh-and-tofu haven for detox junkies, but also offers star-worthy dining and masterful fusion dishes. Métis’ foie gras and sweet soufflé menus bookend memorable meals; call ahead for a paddy-field perch and a taste of Bebek Bengil’s smoked duck (+62 (0)361 975489). Don’t leave the island without sampling its two meatiest finger-licking roadside eats: Ibu Oka’s lemongrass-stuffed suckling pig (+62 (0)361 976435) and Naughty Nuri’s coal-grilled ribs, washed down with as many dirty martinis as required (+62 (0)361 977547).
Borrow a sarong and sash to gawp at sea-perched temple Pura Tanah Lot, or climb Borobudur’s nine platforms to its majestic crown of stupas. Uluwatu’s clifftop temple is an atmospheric sunset setting for the percussive kecak monkey dance; for a closer encounter with scrabbly-pawed macaques, stroll through Ubud’s Monkey Forest and keep a sharp eye on your belongings. The islands are peppered with active volcanoes, surfing waves, trekking jungles and diving sites teeming with everything from whale sharks to pygmy seahorses. When you tire of all the adrenalin-seeking, surrender to the siren call of Indonesia’s divine spas, where you’ll be poulticed and pampered to a blissful state.
Mount Agung’s lunar landscape, the white waters of the Ayung river, Lovina’s black-sand beaches, rugged Ahmed’s snorkelling hostpots: there’s more to Bali than endless paddy fields, surfing beaches and designer boutiques, and much much more to sprawling Indonesia than this breeze-blessed island of gods. Dizzying Jakarta is the vigorously modern hub for committed shoppers and dyed-in-the-silk party people, and the jumping-off point for the archipelago’s true wonders: untamed Sumatra, mystic Yogykarta and the deep, clear diving waters from Komodo to Sulawesi.