Temples, Dragons and Volcanoes
The vast archipelago of Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world, the fourth largest country and holds over 17,000 separate islands, with a wealth of biodiversity and different landscapes that offers superb opportunities to get off the beaten track.
Starting our trip in Java, we spend some time exploring the charming city of Yogyakarta and its surrounds, a hub for traditional Javanese art and home to the largest Buddhist temple in the world. We then fly to Sulawesi and Tangkoko National Park, to look for wildlife including the tiny tarsier, and continue on, to discover the traditional ways of living in the Minhasa Highlands and the villages around Makassar.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of our time in Sulawesi, will be our visit to Tanah Toraja, where we spend time among the rice terraces and bamboo forests of this beautiful region with the Toraja people, learning about their unusual death and burial rituals. The eastern part of the archipelago and the island of Flores, brings us to a fascinating place where only ten years ago the remains of a separate human species were found. We visit tribal villages where the supernatural is still part of everyday life, and discover the amazing crater lakes of the Keli Mutu volcano. In bustling markets we rub shoulders with traders and farmers, and journey through stunning landscapes to find pristine beaches where fishermen haul in their daily catch.
The trip finishes with a real highlight – a boat trip to the adjacent islands of Komodo and Rinca, where we search on foot for the near mythical komodo dragons, incredible creatures that can grow up to three metres and were only discovered by western science a hundred years ago. Many people visit Indonesia each year, but few make it this far, to the far-flung outposts of the islands, and those that do are rewarded with a sense of discovery that is often lacking elsewhere.