Spotlight on Indonesia
The floating emerald islands of the Indonesian archipelago have for centuries lured everyone from missionaries to pirates, mining companies and backpackers to their sandalwood and spice breezes, their Bali Hai lifestyle and their magnificent beaches, mountains and volcanoes. However, the myth of paradise is often marred by deep racial divides, religious warring, high-handed autocracy, government corruption, economic mismanagement and natural disasters. The latest rounds of violence have made Indonesia a problematic destination for Western travelers. Refreshingly though, much of the country remains barely touched by mass tourism. Despite great improvements in communications and transport connections, Indonesia's thousands of islands and multitude of cultures still offer adventure that is hard to find in the developed world.
Bali - Known as the "Island of the Gods," Bali is famous for its shimmering beauty and fascinating culture. Hundreds of Hindu temples, towering mountains and verdant rice terraces form a spectacular backdrop to the charm of the Balinese people. Here are mysterious volcanic lakes and jungle-shrouded volcanoes, wondrous ancient temples, fabulously creative painters and wood-carvers, and the legendary dancers who re-enact the stories of their Hindu deities
Jakarta's history began as a flourishing port north of the city and developed southward over the centuries. Five autonomous municipalities emerged, together offering a veritable city of contrasts. As overwhelming as the crowds and congestion may be, the metropolis contains pockets of attractions that make a gratifying stay for those who plan their trip well. Jakarta is a fascinating city of wide contrasts, a melting pot of cultures from across the Indonesian archipelago and beyond. It therefore comes as no surprise that you can find a wide range of entertainment to suit most tastes, from cheap and cheerful bars in Jalan Jaksa to expensive nightclubs where Jakarta's flashy young and urbane hang out. Plush cinemas in modern, air-conditioned shopping malls screen the latest Hollywood blockbusters, as well as Indonesian films and the occasional Hong Kong Kung fu movie. For more highbrow options, check out the regular traditional Indonesian performances such as wayang kulit (shadow puppet shows) and gamelan (traditional Javanese) music, in addition to Western art forms such as classical music and ballet.
Komodo Island - A rare discovery awaits the traveler who ventures onto this remote island of Komodo. Walking through the dense vegetation, hearing and seeing a variety of bird and animal life, you may feel you've landed in another epoch. Indeed, the last vestiges of long-gone dinosaurs survive here, in the form of the legendary, giant lizards called Komodo Dragons.
Lambok - There is a common saying that Lombok is what Bali was 20 years ago. It is e nriched with rugged landscape of unspoiled earth. Here, the island offers its virgin beaches, excellent for snorkeling and diving and the breath-taking Mt. Rinjani complemented with rural villages and waterfalls. Although the island has a majority of Moslems, many still maintain animist traditions with strong root to their ancestral culture, just like the Balinese people. Located strategically between Bali to the West, Komodo Island in the East, and Tanah Toraja to the northwest, Lombok is an excellent starting point. Only 20 minutes flight from Bali or 3.5 hours by ferry you can see "New Heaven". White sand Senggigi beach, and three Gili Islands, often mentioned by visitor as "Hoping Islands", are worth visiting. The Sasak, Samawa and Mbojo cultures live in harmony on West Nusa Tenggara.
For more information on these cities, visit the wCities link below.