Active volcanoes; real live dragons. Indonesia’s natural wonders are not for the faint of heart.
1.1. Batur Caldera (Aspiring Geopark)
The Batur volcano lies at the heart of the 100-square-kilometer Batur Global Geopark in northeastern Bali: the mountain sports two concentric calderas, with Lake Batur in its midst. The park is more than just its breathtaking scenery: the lake helps irrigate thousands of hectares of rice paddies downstream using the traditional Subak system, and the island in its center hosts a community of Bali Aga, whose traditions have remained unchanged over a thousand years.
1.2. Rinjani National Park
The 3,726-meter-high Gunung Rinjani is Indonesia’s second highest mountain, and stands in the midst of a 41,000-hectare National Park. The mountain’s lush forests, steep hiking trails and amazing views draw plenty of visitors, among them the Balinese who climb to the Segara Anak lake who perform a yearly ritual here to appease the mountain spirit. Trekkers strike out from Senaru to climb up to Sembalun Lawang, a three-day trek and exhilarating test of endurance.
1.3. Komodo National Park
The Komodo Dragons (Varanus komodoensis) are only most famous denizens of this National Park in East Nusa Tenggara. The unspoiled savanna and rainforest terrain of the park’s three islands host wild buffalo, deer, and several species of birds. Offshore, divers venturing into the park’s depths will find an even more colorful array of wildlife: over 380 species of coral, 70 species of sponge, 10 types of dolphin and an almost endless assortment of fish, sharks and stingrays. Tel: +62 381 780 2408, www.gokomodo.org.