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The island of Bali is of course this country's most fabled and popular destination for honeymooners as well as many other types of visitors. But enormous, sprawling Indonesia has more than 17,000 tropical island, both large and small, which are perfect in their own way - offering tranquility, fabulous beaches, and exotic culture. Come have a look with me at my eight top choices:
The best known of Indonesia's tropical paradises offers magnificent landscapes, it offers visitors gentle Hindu culture (an anomaly in this largely Muslim country); atmospheric inland villages and ecotourism; and of course beaches, beaches, beaches - from buzzing strands to castaway sands. And renting Bali honeymoon villas for your special trip is an unforgettable way to enjoy an unforgettable destination.
Once a desolate penal colony, this tiny island is best known for its fierce giant lizards, the notorious Komodo dragons - which will certainly add a frisson to your honeymoon - but also boasts fantastic diving, as well as sands such as Pink Beach, Merah Beach, and Batu Bolong,
This huge volcanic lake (in fact, the world's largest) in north Sumatra is a perfect spot for a restful swim, strolling, or angling at Parapat Town. You'll also be entranced by the culture and traditions of the local Batak people, whose ancestors emigrated from the Philippines and Taiwan millennia ago, so they are culturally different from other Indonesians.
The main island to the east of Bali, with cultivated lowlands and forested highlands centered around Mt. Rinjani volcano (above), Lombok has an unspoiled natural vibe, with spectacular pristine forests (trekking is especially a treat up here), beaches (Western surfers provided the germ of the growing local tourism industry here) and waters (more spectacular diving).
Just to the east of Lombok, tiny, nearly unpopulated Moyo is mostly a wildlife reserve with wildly fecund flora and fauna, along with a scattering of boutique inns. In addition to wildlife spotting, more incredible beaches, diving coral reefs, and sailing.
Sampireun Village, West Java
A ridiculously romantic, 22-bamboo-bungalow resort in West Java built in 1999 to evoke a traditional Sundanese village. It has an equally romantic restaurant and spa, and the nearby, onetime Dutch hill station Garut is well worth a visit for its Hindu temples and hot springs.
Surabaya, East Java
For those interested in a more urban experience, East Java's capital (and Indonesia's second largest city after Jakarta)
is packed with history and culture dating back to its settlement in the 10th century, with a mix of Dutch colonial architecture, a fascinating Arab quarter, sprawling Chinatown (above), and various mosques.
Takabonerate Island, South Sulawesi
Actually a 21-island archipelago, apart from yet more pristine beaches what makes this little swath of paradise extra special is its fabulous atoll reefs, with a riotous explosion of colorful fish - a paradise for snorkelers and divers (a great place to do this is at Tinabo Island's Wakatobi National Park (top) and its eponymous luxury dive resort.
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