Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
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- Population: 251,160,124 (July 2013 est.)
- Capital City: Jakarta
- Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands
- Time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Renowned for its beaches and culture, the Indonesian island of Bali plays host to the annual Bali Arts Festival from June 13. This celebration of traditional art and dance includes tribal dress—resplendent golden headgear, vibrantly-colored saris, and ornate tribal masks—and traditional dance unlikely to be seen anywhere outside the remote villages where it originated. A terriﬁc way to immerse yourself in the unique traditions of the Eastern world while soaking up some glorious rays.
I ’d spent the day with Mr. Khun, my translator, as we hopscotched between meetings in Rangoon, Burma, on a sultry morning. I had arrived in the middle of monsoon season and the day’s torrential rains had bathed the city clean. Now, the tropical, noonday sun was boiling the puddles into a steamy vapor that embraced the city like a hot Wet-Nap. A pair of large, sliding glass doors glided open and a wave of air-conditioned cool slammed into me.
The last decade has seen the rise of the low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia. Cheap, short-hop flights now criss-cross the region—much of it spread across the ocean in archipelagos like the Philippines and Indonesia. This boom in no-frills flights means cheap travel and it’s one of the reasons that my wife Lisa and I can travel so much. We live in Penang, Malaysia, but whatever Asian destination you chose for your home you’ll find it easy to explore the region.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed and mysterious ancient ruins. Many of these once-bustling cities and monumental religious sites lay forgotten until relatively recently, jungle-shrouded and known only to a few locals, who thought them the haunts of ghosts and spirits. These marvels of the ancient world are now more accessible to travelers than ever before. Some are well known and easy to reach, others are more of an adventure. Here’s a rundown…
Visit the old royal capital of Kyoto, Japan, the weekend of June 1 for Takigi O-Noh to celebrate Japan’s ancient musical-theater traditions at the city’s Heian Jingu Shrine. Burning torches illuminate the stage and the costumed performers. Across the East China Sea, the Dragon Boat Festival in Xiamen, China, falls on June 2. Gorge on sticky-rice snacks, watch the race, and place a rice parcel in the water in memory of ancient poet Qu Yuan.
Many emerging markets are actually in much better physical shape than the United States. So for instance, while people think of countries like Indonesia as being highly risky from a fiscal standpoint, Indonesia is actually on much sounder financial footing than the U.S.
You’ve just weighed anchor on another night of bliss, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of your sailboat in the calm sea. Before you is a small cove lined by craggy cliffs. Clear blue waters end at a white-sand beach. You’ve had it all to yourself for the last week. It was supposed to be just an overnight stop. But it was so beautiful, you decided to stick around. After a quick dip, you’re enjoying a cup of coffee and a light breakfast on deck as you contemplate which island paradise you’ll go to next.
From 1993 to 1999, I traveled and lived all over the world. And during that time, I got to experience wonderful places like the white-sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands…the cafes of Aix-en-Provence, France…the wild summer parties of Corfu, Greece…the exotic culture of Bali, Indonesia…and more.
I happen to think that I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world. Not only do I live in Malaysia, a beautiful country on so many levels, but also I love what I do. I travel at will, pretty much at the drop of a hat. I’ve enjoyed complimentary meals and hotel upgrades along the way.
Asia beckons for many reasons. Tropical islands with white-sand beaches, lush rain forests filled with fragrant blooms, tree-covered misty mountains, and—if you’re more a big-city type—some of the most frenetic cities on earth, a heady mix of the ultra-modern and exotic traditions.
When my husband and I wanted to escape the rainy Seattle winter weather in 2012, we planned a trip to South East Asia and spent a month on assignment exploring luxury resorts and spas in Bali, Indonesia. Last summer we relaxed on a luxury barge floating down the Burgundy canal, sipping French wines, visiting local villages and eating fine food along the way. And we did some other business while we were in the neighborhood—in Paris, London, and Wales (nice neighborhood!).
From Bali to Belize, retreat centers are popping up to meet the demand of busy First World clients in search of relaxation. Janine Hall has found a niche for women-only retreats focusing on surf and yoga…Carrie Tengler has made a solid living from the spa and yoga business in Belize…and Kristin Gilbert-Ramirez missed yoga so much on her Costa Rican travels that she set up her own classes and decided to move there permanently.
Start the month on a full stomach by heading to Portland, Jamaica, for the annual Portland Jerk Festival. Barbecues will sizzle on July 1, as traditional dishes are devoured in celebration of a cooking technique synonymous with the Caribbean island.
No matter how small the world gets due to technology, Asia retains an exotic allure for North Americans. Maybe it’s the distance—on the other side of the globe. Or the huge variety of cultures, cuisines, languages, and ways of life.
Surfers and divers have been coming to the Island of Sumbawa, Indonesia since the 1960s; it’s a mecca for both sports. They stay for months, returning lean, tan, and relaxed. When their friends back home ask where they’ve been, they often lie and say Bali. But this island’s days as a secret paradise are coming to an end.
In the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the Flores Sea, lies the island of Sumbawa. It’s a magical island, beautiful, traditional, and one of Indonesia’s best preserved. And the warm, turquoise waters surrounding it are a relaxing 90 F.
Ubud, on the Indonesian island of Bali, is a lovely place to spend time. Green rice paddies…mixed Balinese and Dutch colonial architecture…and a “big village” feel. Ubud has kept the artsy, Hindu feel that seems mostly missing from the modern beach fronts of Southern Bali.
At 129 square feet, this apartment is what real-estate agents call “cozy.” But it’s Paris, city of love and romance. From your fifth-floor balcony you have a view of Place de la République. The square gives its name to the historic neighborhood that surrounds it, where the 3rd, 10th and 11th arrondissements (districts) come together. Le Marais, where some of the oldest buildings in the city line winding, narrow streets, is just a five-minute walk away.
Here’s a quick round-up of some of the events coming up over the coming weeks and months.
Hidden behind a plain-looking building at the end of Monkey Forest Street, it’s the busiest spot in Ubud before sunrise. Hours before a ruckus of motorbikes, tourists, taxis, and noisy cicadas compete for air time in the streets, women gather here daily to collect food for their families and offerings for the gods. It’s the main market.
Towering volcanoes…world-class surfing…superb beaches…fiery Indian Ocean sunsets…. Bali is a feast for the eyes
The big news this week is the bailout of Ireland by the European Union and the IMF. Ireland’s problem is straightforward: the liabilities of its banks exceed the assets of the state. Put simply, the country is broke.
China, Brazil and India were the big emerging-market growth stories of recent years. Indonesia is this year’s story.
What to do when your world is crashing down around you? Find a new world. Travel. Traveling and retiring overseas has been International Living’s beat for 30 years. IL’s writers and editors have been exploring everywhere from Europe to Latin America to uncover the world’s most desirable retirement and travel havens.
Anna Skellern discusses Indonesia for its white sand, mountain hideaways, and lychee martinis
It’s a jungle out there. A jungle of macaques, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and the mouse deer, which is a little bigger than a rabbit. Pythons, hornbills, bee-eaters, carnivorous pitcher plants. Lazy brown rivers and crocodiles. Hundreds of orchid species. And the “People of the Forest.”
Although still steamily exotic, Malaysian Borneo has turned into a realistic expat option. (The world’s third largest island, Borneo is shared by Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.) A local real estate contact, Mr. Chong, says his foreign clients include Brits, Australians, and Koreans. One legacy from colonial times is that almost everyone speaks English. Malaysian Borneo […]
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 Learn more about making money overseas in International Living Postcards—your daily escape Dear International Living Reader, After the tsunami hit Indonesia in 2004, many of the survivors had no homes, food, or jobs. I couldn’t stand by and watch this suffering continue, so I sat down to devise a business plan […]
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