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INDONESIA (including Sumatra, Java, Bali & West Papua)
See also East Timor

 

Mr Anhar's Monumentally Memorable Hotels Anhar Setjadibrata, one-time medical student and lawyer, developed a consuming interest in preserving Indonesia's cultural heritage, then found he needed somewhere to showcase his irreplaceable collections. The avid antiquarian became a highly successful hotelier, the creative genius behind several of Indonesia's most distinctive boutique hotels, spas and restaurants.

Couples, not Cowboys, at Kuta The villa accommodation boom is leading Bali's renaissance as a top-end destination. Self-contained, fully-serviced villas suit couples, and groups of family and friends; providing affordable luxury, privacy, exclusivity and independence, ideal for repeat visitors. As more discerning visitors forsake the old backpacker/beach haunts, outlying districts like Seminyak, come to the fore; and there are some welcome surprises awaiting around the coast, or inland at Ubud.

Coffee plantations usually conjure up images of indigenous workers toiling in tropical heat for a few pennies a day. At Losari Coffee Plantation Resort, a Dutch colonial estate turned boutique resort deep in the Indonesian heartland of central Java and surrounded by smouldering volcanoes, work is a distant memory as I luxuriate in my free-form bath, watching the equatorial rain pelt down outside the picture window. Twin volcanic cones lurk behind the sodden clouds, a vista framed by tropical foliage in russet and emerald green. The coffee bushes - arabica, robusta and other varieties - on this old-established estate still flourish, and all the trappings of the harvest, the grading and the roasting remain to titivate anyone smitten with the romance of the bean. The plantation tour is a must.

The Big Durian: South East Asia’s favourite fruit provides an apt metaphor for a city which no longer deserves to be dismissed as squalid, dirty and charmless. However, a rich feast of sticky, custard-like flesh awaits those eager enough to withstand the noxious smell of this football-sized fruit and wrest open the formidable spiked carcass. The Batak, the Sundanese, the Minahasa, the Irianese and the Javanese are all pieces of the ethnic jigsaw making up Ibukota Jakarta, Indonesia's Mother City.

Javanese Wedding An invitation to a full-scale traditional Javanese wedding means participating in five ceremonies, three days of pomp and circumstance, switching between three languages.

Java by Train: Amidst Java’s teeming millions, a comfortable express train is a capsule of calm .

Off The Edge On the southern coast of New Guinea lies an ill-explored region where snow-capped ranges fall abruptly towards trackless forests and pandanus swamps, down to the tidal shallows of the Arafura Sea. West Papua (Irian Jaya is the last frontier in Australasia: a little-known land where Muslim Asia coexists uneasily with Melanesia;  a little-known land which long concealed the world's richest deposits of copper and gold. 

Order any of the above stories by contacting Philip Game

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