For many reasons, when people think Indonesia tours, they think Bali. Why? Soaring volcanic peaks, immaculately terraced hillside rice paddies, picture perfect beaches … endless activities and dreamy accommodations welcome every kind of traveler. Indonesia itself is almost unimaginable in its of thousands of islands, spread over an expansive seascape between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
From the humble bird feeder in our yard to the exhilaration of watching a herd of massive elephants from the back of our safari jeep, few feelings compare to those of having a close encounter with wildlife! There is growing evidence - Scottish doctors prescribing time in nature to their patients, the emerging disciplines of wilderness and animal therapy, and more - that landscapes and their biodiversity are good for our wellbeing. The growth of the safari tour, birding tours and nature-oriented travel back this idea up by their growth year by year, but how can we get the most out of the precious time we spend on our trip in these areas of natural splendor? Let’s dig into how we can learn about the natural environment, especially the wildlife, of the country you’ll be visiting on your trip.
In our “24 Hours In” series, we present good ideas of what to do in the featured city over a full day. The destinations we’ll be covering include cities that are often traveled through, but not in. These cities often act as international flight hubs, and layovers can extend from hours to a full day at times. So if you’re in a city on your way to or from your destination, following are some of our favorite things to do there!
Have 24 hours to spend in Singapore during Indonesia tours? Well hold onto your hats friends, because you are in for a wild ride.
Ever since the first boats were traveling back and forth through the seas of Southeast Asia, Singapore has been a hub of international travelers. Traders realized the value of this island’s real estate very quickly, but it wasn’t until the British colonized the place in the 19th century that the Singapore we know today was born. Since its independence from foreign rule in 1963, and subsequent full sovereignty in 1965, Singapore has boomed as an international trade and travel hub. One of the wealthiest, most diverse, and modern cities in the world, Singapore is an extreme contrast with most of the Asian continent.
The city’s image is that of a business-oriented, overly-clean, state-run shopping mall, but if you chip away the lacquer, you will find a vibrant, crunchy center of culture worthy of its Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, and Western roots. In 1963, most new Singaporean citizens were Chinese, Indian and Malaysian immigrants brought in by the British government for hard labor. Enough time to fully mesh these cultures has not yet passed, and Singapore remains a diverse nation of immigrants. Though about 75% of its citizens are Chinese, one must remember that over a third of Singapore’s residents are not citizens at all. This is a true international city; religions, languages, and cultures come by the dozen.
Documentaries come and go, and sometimes they are as easily forgettable as they are initially impactful, but we think Born to Be Wild, a film directed by David Lickley, deserves a little more attention. Nature documentaries have always been commercially and critically successful, and over the last few years the popularization of marching penguins, along with BBC-produced hi-def documentary series have certainly raised the bar for commercial success. High definition, 3-D and IMAX formats, along with the narrations of a man named Morgan Freeman are the new formula it seems.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
After decades of isolation the 60 plus islands surrounding the southern coast of Cambodia remain largely untouched. Koh Rong is the biggest Cambodia island off the coast of Sihanoukville. The majority of the island is undeveloped, though there are plans to develop it into a luxury resort destination. Right now, travelers can visit for a day trip, or stay in one of the few small beach resorts. There is around 27 miles of beaches, one of the most beautiful being Long Set beach. There are seven bays on the island, all offering great snorkeling and diving. There are also several nearby islands, easily accessible by boat. Other activities include swimming, hiking and fishing. From the mainland, it takes a little over 2 hours to reach Koh Rong, but it is well worth the journey to experience this tropical paradise. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this incredible island before it becomes a tourist hot spot!
Bantayan Island, Philippines
Visit Bantayan Island, located northwest of Cebu, where life is slower and you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the beautiful beaches. Until recently, foreigners did not frequent Bantanyan. Though the tourism industry is growing on the island it still retains a secluded feel. There are no large shopping malls, major hotel chains, movie theaters, etc. There are a handful of restaurants and bars in Santa Fe, though Bantanyan is definitely not the place to go if you’re looking for nightlife. Bantayan is a place for travelers looking for a tranquil getaway and hoping to spend most of their days lounging on the beach. The warmth and friendliness of the locals allows travelers to learn about day-to-day life on Bantayan, where locals farm and live simply in bamboo houses. The island is just 7 by 10 miles, and has crystal clear waters. Renting a scooter is a great way to explore the Bantayan.