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Beauty and the (endless) beach

Lying stretched along the Equator, steamy and volcanic Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, home to over 230 million people. Lately "Indo" has had a string of bad luck, from tsunamis to earthquakes, fires and political instability. Being a country of islands, though, it is by nature regional, and it would be a mistake to write off this massive area because you'd miss so much. Lush green rice terraces line mountainsides, jungle animals roam freely, and pristine beaches and lakes abound. Behind the headlines, this mosaic of cultures remains a land of stunning beauty, friendly people, and one of the best values in Asia. Not to mention the language is easy to pick up, and the food is excellent. Selamat jalan ("Bon voyage")!

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