Destination Indonesia Paul
Straddling the equator, Indonesia, with Malaysia to the north and Australia to the south, is a country with over 17,000 islands, the majority uninhabited making it the largest archipelago in the world. It is also the fourth most populated country in the world (after China, India and the USA) and definitely the largest country in Southeast Asia.
With a marketing slogan of “Wonderful Indonesia” on their website, Indonesia (often shortened to Indo) certainly commands some wonderful attractions.
It’s tropical forests are the second-largest in the world after Brazil, and are home to many of the last wild Orang-utan on the planet. Driven by exports and local manufacturing businesses, their forests are being decimated at an alarming rate and anyone who strays off the beaten track will be confronted by this destruction, or acres of palm oil plantations that are replacing the native jungle.
Putting all their problems to one side for a moment, I can guarantee that you will not bored exploring Indonesia.
Comprising of hundreds of cultures, it is one of the most diverse countries in the world where you can dive into thrilling caving adventures, test your endurance on a challenging volcano climb, head out on a jungle adventure or immerse yourself into one of the many population centres to spoil your senses!
Over the course of two visits, I have been able to climb Krakatoa, one of the world’s most famous volcanoes, have my first scuba diving experience, relaxed in Ubud, far away from the maddening buskers and (almost) get lost exploring the backstreets of Jakarta.
This is a land of endless new experiences and really does need to be on your travel bucket list!
Set out on the outskirts of Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali, the secluded bamboo built cabins of Bambu Indah are spaced far enough apart that you have the impression of being alone, but not so far that isolation is a risk. This is somewhere to come and enjoy tranquility whilst having a traditional village experience.
Sertung is one of the Krakatoa Islands in the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, between Java and Sumatra not far from the famous volcano. Having arrived from the morning's trek up Anak Krakatoa, we were now able to spend about an hour on the small beach of Sertung Krakatoa.
Gathering the last of my nerve together, I leaned back until I was falling the metre or so into the warm tropical waters of our dive location, just where the underwater shelf went from shallow to very deep in a short distance.
I have to admit that I have been tempted a few times and only held off because I knew my travel insurance did not cover any incident as a result of motor bike riding. It has never been because of fear of injury.
Openly selling number plates seemed to be commonplace in rural Indonesia, but who is profiting from this practice? Do the local constabulary turn a blind eye, or as I was to witness later the same day at a roadside checkpoint, does money change hands to resolve a situation where a rogue trader is not called to answer for their business acumen?
Having emerged from the markets at Ubud, we were standing on the pavement wondering what to do next when we spotted a sign opposite that proclaimed that the "docktor fish skin treatment is the amazing natural way to regenerate your skin".
An hour's taxi ride from the bustle of Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali, it is probably where I have seen the best sunsets ever. There must be something to the tropical humidity and the small rocky outcrop that sets the scene to sunsets that resemble a forest fire.
Located on the northern shore of Java, about a four hour drive from Jakarta and looking across the java Sea to Sumatra, Carita lays claim to some of the most sheltered waters on the Java Sea. It is also one of the key departure points for people visiting the smouldering volcano Krakatoa.
This was a lapse of caution and my excursion into carelessness. In December 2011 I was in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia for my son's engagement, and as time permitted, as I always do, I wandered the streets around my accommodation taking in the experience.