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Indonesia

Blessed with 1,000 islands, stunning volcanic geography, fascinating cultures, natural diversity above and below water, and more than its fair share of remote and unexplored lands, there is nowhere in the world that can compare with Indonesia.

Most travelers into Indonesia will arrive in Bali, an internationally served holiday island, and gateway to travelers in the vast archipelago of Indonesia.

Starting from Bali you can cross the imaginary Wallace line to the Komodo National Park and beyond, where the flora and fauna of subtropical Asia make a sudden and dramatic change into those typical of Australasia. In this area all holiday types are possible: pristine beaches, world-class surfing and diving are found in abundance.

Indonesia's cultural diversity is as varied as its natural diversity. Bali, a Hindu island with 1000's of temples, offers luscious green landscapes, terraced fields of Padi, and mountainous retreats that serve as a relaxing alternative to the buzzing parties found in and around Kuta, Legian & Seminyak.

Crossing eastwards to Lombok shades of green turn to shades of brown, and vast landscapes open up. Further east again, the island of Komodo is home to giant monitor lizards, buffalo, and deer. The protected waters surrounding the island offer world class diving.

Several hundred miles to the northeast of Bali, the Moluccas and Banda islands were once highly prized spiceries fought over by the Dutch, English and Portugese in the 16th & 17th Centuries. It is no exaggeration to say that the age of exploration, with far-reaching consequences, was launched in search of spices, with pepper and nutmeg so valuable in London's markets that sailors and merchants willingly risked their lives on extraordinarily arduous voyages. Today these small islands are only footnotes on the world map, but to illustrate their importance, 17th century copper plate maps show islands in the spiceries out of all proportion to their size.

To the north of Banda and west of Irian Jaya (West Papua) are the islands of the Raja Ampat, at the heart of the Wallacea Triangle. Comprising dozens of idyllic islands and bays, Raja Ampat harbours the world's greatest diversity of marine life, with over 1,070 fish species, 537 coral species, and 699 mollusc species. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs. Suffice to say the variety of marine life is staggering and dozens of new species being discovered each year.

Vast and varied you're never sure what you will see when embarking upon an Indonesia expedition, however you can be assured that you'll leave wanting to return.