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Indonesia

Indonesia

An archipelago of over 17,000 islands set between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is still largely undiscovered. Containing the most volcanoes of any country in the world, this mountainous land is a magical sight. As the mist rises in the morning, these massive giants appear to be floating in the clouds; a truly mystical spectacle. Lush rainforests and dense jungle are abundant in Sumatra and Borneo. Undiscovered species and unique wildlife, like the giant Komodo dragon and the Javan rhinoceros, animals that exist nowhere else on the planet, make this country a must-see for tourists. Buddhist temples, including the famous Borobudur and Prambanan on the island of Java, add to the lure of Indonesia, accentuating the rich culture that is found in this distinct country.

Bali, a popular tourist destination for surfers and romantics alike, is a predominantly Buddhist island where the scent of burning incense drifts through the beach breeze. A relatively small island with a lot to offer, Bali boasts miles upon miles of rugged coastline and beautiful beaches, with an equal amount of rice paddies and mountainous terrain. With no lack of temples, culture and unique experiences, Bali is suitable for all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, bike through the rice fields, hike up one of the rice fields or take to the water for some world-class diving, it can all be found in Bali.
Indonesia

Locations

Bali

Bali

Bali’s beauty embraces you almost instantly as the sweet scent of sandalwood and spice drifts along the breeze, and delicate hand-woven baskets holding devotional offerings of rice and flowers decorate the pavement. The countryside is a dreamscape of rice terraces carved into lush hillsides and misty peaks dotted with ornate Buddhist temples. The cities are thriving centers of tourists and traffic, markets and modern resorts, tamed only by the pounding of the surf at its backdoor. Hire a guide and weave through mountain roads to secluded villages or forests filled with inquisitive monkeys. Barter with merchants for colorful sarongs and elaborately carved woodwork in alleyway bazaars, or marvel at the serenity of a colorfully clad Kecak dancer as she performs by torchlight.
Ubud

Ubud

The fast-growing town of Ubud is Bali's cultural center and one of the highlights of the island. Ubud has a wonderful atmosphere where the main streets are energetic without being tiring, and the people are laid-back and friendly. Turn down any side street and you will be away from the bustle and traffic and in the heart of Balinese village life.

If you're interested in art, you'll want to visit a number of Ubud's museums and galleries. Ubud has also become a center for fine food, with a number of world-class restaurants that have created a distinctive cuisine blending Balinese, other Indonesian and Western elements. The locations are often just as spectacular as the food.

Be sure to leave time for exploring the many surrounding sights. Walk through the Monkey Forests (a treat in itself, but watch your possessions-the monkeys are prone to theft) to the adjacent village of Nyuhkuning, which is lined with the shops of wood-carvers. We particularly enjoyed renting bikes and cycling past rice fields and out-of-the-way villages. The area between Ubud and Denpasar is thick with even more craft villages, each with its own specialty.