The floating emerald islands of the Indonesian archipelago have for centuries lured everyone from missionaries to pirates, mining companies and backpackers to their sandalwood and spice breezes, their Bali Hai lifestyle and their magnificent beaches, mountains and volcanoes.
However, the myth of paradise is often marred by deep racial divides, religious warring, high-handed autocracy, government corruption, economic mismanagment and natural disasters. The latest rounds of violence have made Indonesia a problematic destination for Western travellers.
Refreshingly though, much of the country remains barely touched by mass tourism. Despite great improvements in communications and transport connections, Indonesia's thousands of islands and multitude of cultures still offer adventure that is hard to find in the developed world. And despite the hammering Bali tourism has taken due to the tragic 2002 bombing of the Sari nightclub, all of Indonesia's remarkable sights remain to be explored and enjoyed.