Unless your idea of adventure travel stops at the end of a yoga mat, it’s time to go further into this massive archipelago than Bali. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on the planet — right behind the United States — and the 264 million people here have a lot to show you. For starters, the country is made up of over 17,000 islands and has both densely populated, active urban centers and vast expanses of untainted natural splendor. On the island of Java, the sprawling capital city of Jakarta is among the best places in the world to sample cuisine from across south and southeast Asia. Tour Kota Tua, the city’s historic Old Town, and walk off the street food while gazing at Dutch-colonial-era architecture.
Divers come from around the world to explore the waters off the islands of the Alor Archpelago, where you can get your fix with black sand critter diving and also experience the rapid currents of the Pantar Strait. Excellent diving is also found off Lembeh, Raja Ampat, and Komodo, giving you another reason to visit Komodo National Park besides gawking at the giant lizard that bears the park’s name. Komodo’s tree-lined coasts and rolling hills stretch across 29 islands, and you can take in many of them via boat tour from the island of Flores. Komodo beckons all who’ve had enough of the traffic in Ubud, and it’s just a boat ride away.
The islands of Raja Ampat are some of Southeast Asia’s most underrated destinations, the type of place that comes to mind when you picture perfect turquoise water and afternoons swept away over rum cocktails and the sounds of crashing waves. Here you can snooze beachside in complete solitude, save for a few pygmy seahorses just offshore. If you’re hooked on Indonesia and never want to leave, Indonesia is actually one of the easiest Asian countries to expatriate to due to the relatively straightforward process of getting a work permit. Plus, it’s much easier on the wallet than just about any US city — exceptionally comfortable living comes for about $1,400 per month.
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