Spread across the equator, Indonesia is a series of emerald jewels scattered across a broad expanse of tropical sea. This is one of the world's great adventures in waiting - hidden away in dense jungles on secret islands are tribes still living in isolation from the modern world and animals hardly known to science.
Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation on Earth with an incredible legacy of people, culture and geography just waiting to be explored. This archipelago boasts more than 18,000 islands, from tiny islets not much bigger than a palm tree to rugged expanses of land like Borneo, shared with the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
Many visitors come specifically to seek out their own island paradise, complete with white-sand beaches, swaying palms and emerald waters. Below the waters, there are some of the world's best dive sites, swarming with huge sunfish, giant rays, sharks, porpoises, turtles and a blindingly colourful array of tropical fish.
For others, the attraction is cultural. A fascinating range of civilisations has developed across these tropical islands, from animist tribes in remote jungle villages to the elaborate Hindu kingdoms of Bali and Java. In Indonesia, timeless temples jostle for space with golden-domed mosques and beach resorts crowded with sun-seekers and surfers. The surf resort of Kuta in Bali has become one of the world's favourite tropical escapes, and the beach parties rave through till dawn every day of the week.
Those in search of a real escape can venture to the volcanic islands that drift eastwards towards Australia. There are towering volcanoes to be climbed, national parks to be explored and tropical rainforests to trek. You might even get lucky and meet a babirusa endemic to Sulawesi or the world's largest living reptile on the island of Komodo, home to the eponymous Komodo dragon.
Best of all, flights and ferries link all of the major islands, so you can island-hop right across the archipelago, stopping only when you find your own perfect piece of Southeast Asia.