Jakarta may be the nation’s capital, but the Javan identity is at its strongest here, in the island’s historic heartland. As the seat of Java’s first major Indianised civilisation, as well as the great Islamic sultanates centred on the kraton of Yogyakarta and Solo, Central Java (Jawa Tengah) remains the province in which the island’s cultural pulse beats loudest.
Ko Phi-Phi & the Southern Andaman Coast
Ko Chang & Eastern Seaboard
Sapporo & Hokkaidō
Few Japanese, and even fewer tourists, make it as far north as Hokkaidō, Japan’s final frontier. A shame, since the sweeping vistas, amazing wildlife, wide open roads and spaciousness offer a refreshing contrast to the often claustrophobic density of Honshū.
This region includes Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, a bustling, buzzing hub of IT, shopping, dining and crazy traffic. If all that gets too much, you can limber up for some Ashtanga yoga at Mysore where a slower pace is dutifully rewarded. South of Mysore, Bandipur National Park includes the sanctuaries of Nugarhole, Mudalmai in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala.
Kuta & Seminyak
Ubud & Around
Hua Hin & the Southern Gulf
When travellers talk about the amazing Andaman, they are probably talking about Krabi, with its trademark karst formations curving along the coast like a giant limestone fortress. Rock climbers will find their nirvana in Railay, while castaway wannabes should head to Ko Lanta, Ko Phi-Phi or any of the other 150 islands swimming off the bleach-blonde shores.
South Bali & the Islands
At first glance, Ko Samui could be mistaken for a giant golf course floating in the Gulf of Thailand. The greens are perfectly manicured, sand traps are plentiful, and there’s a water hazard or two thrown in for good measure. Middle-aged men strut about donning white polo shirts that contrast with their cherry-red faces, while hired lackeys carry around their stuff.
Zhèjiāng may be one of China’s smallest provinces but it’s hardly insignificant. For centuries it’s been a prosperous culture centre, home to some of China’s most influential thinkers, politicians and artists. Today Zhèjiāng is a thriving commercial hub, with tourism as its number one draw.
Well-to-do Jiāngsū is the envy of its neighbours because of its lush, wet landscape and fertile topography. Because of its abundant agriculture, it’s been dubbed the ‘land of fish and rice’ since ancient times. Situated on the east coast bordering the East China Sea, it’s one of China’s most densely populated provinces and also one of the most prosperous.
Formerly known as Shinshū and often referred to as the 'Roof of Japan', Nagano Prefecture is a wonderful place to visit for its regal mountains, rich cultural history, fine architecture and cuisine. In addition to a hefty chunk of the Japan Alps National Park, Nagano boasts several quasi-national parks that attract skiers, mountaineers and onsen aficionados.
Surat Thani Province
Southern Thailand’s largest province is home to Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao, as well as the stunning Ang Thong Marine National Park.