Bali's breathtakingly beautiful scenery makes it easy to just settle for the cliche imaginary of the island as a tropical paradise and nothing more. But behind the luxury resorts, picture-perfect rice fields and idyllic beaches lies a rich culture, steeped in tradition and spirituality, and one of the friendliest and most welcoming places you're likely to find anywhere. Dare to go beyond the comforts of the resort areas to truly explore all the island has to offer, and let yourself be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
Welcome to Indonesia
Indonesia’s sprawling capital is one of the fastest-growing, most chaotic and most exciting places in South-East Asia. It is the gateway to a vast, vibrant and varied island nation that’s home to dozens of fascinating cultures. Formerly the colonial capital of the Dutch East Indies – when it was known as Batavia – Jakarta has grown from its original seaport district into a huge modern conurbation of high-rise hotels and apartments, thronged shopping malls and wide, crowded avenues.
Founded nearly eight centuries ago, Indonesia’s second largest city has seen empires come and go. The founders of the Hindu Majapahit Empire arrived in late 13th century and remained till the 17th, being shortly followed by Muslim rulers of Mataram. Later came the colonialists of the Dutch East India Company. In recent decades, Surabaya has grown into a cosmopolitan seaport and conurbation where 21st century hotels, apartment towers and shopping malls stand next to historic mosques and palaces.