Insider guide to Indonesia: Sumatran rhinos

Nobody could describe the Sumatran rhino as ‘a looker’. In fact, the stocky, stumpy monster mammal with reddish-brown skin is spectacularly ugly. One Sumatran rhino hallmark – shaggy hair sprouting from its ears – raises the specter of an ageing human male in need of ‘manscaping’.

Unfortunately, unless we wise up, the Sumatran Rhino could be doomed to go the way of the recently discovered Tibetan woolly rhino species []. Only some 270 Sumatran rhinos survive – speckling Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. Read more at Agoda

Jakarta: megacity

STEAMY”, “seething”, “sprawling”: those three words are routinely applied to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. You could also add “sweltering”, “scary”, “smoggy” and “stinky”. Jakarta, or the Big Durian as the city is called in a nod to its size and smell, can make Bangkok feel tame. Read more at the Star…

Yogyakarta guide

Funny place, Yogyakarta. You wonder whose idea it was to build the Indonesian city of half a million people right slap on one of the most seismically active parts of Java, with the inevitable results. Earthquakes and volcano eruptions delight in rocking the general area. On May 27 2006, an earthquake killed over 6,000 people and flattened over 300,000 houses.

That said, the epicenter was 25 kilometers north of the city, which dodged the worst the quake could throw at it. So, if you go, odds are, you’ll be safe. Find out where the fun and fascination are in the history-soaked city with the nifty name often shortened to ‘Yogya’. Read more at Agoda…

Seven sites for sore eyes

These Asian marvels might not be the best known but the ‘wow’ factor is huge, writes David Wilson.

Forget the Taj Mahal and all the other established, over-run Asian wonders. The East boasts a swathe of heavyweight attractions that possess equal charm but have yet to catch up on the glamour and recognition front. Read more at The Brisbane Times…

July 23, 2009

A quiet night with the gods

David Wilson dodges Bali’s crowds to find Wi-Fi and faded gentility at a jungle hideaway.

WHAT Prima Cottage (Pondok Prima).

WHERE Sanur, Bali.

HOW MUCH At time of writing, it was possible to book a room for less than the advertised price as little as $US17 ($21) a night if you book through The price is just high enough to deter the rowdy backpackers who flock to Kuta, yet lower than the other Sanur hotels equipped with a pool and internet access. Big bang for buck. Read more at WA Today…


June 28, 2009