Japan Times Best Places in Asia

Indonesia, represented by Sumba, Borobudur, Bunaken, Prambanan, Keli Mutu, and Lake Maninjau was listed several times in the report
Excerpts from the report by Jeff Kingston:
Best beach
Well, who would want to give it away — and last year's paradise is ever at risk of becoming next year's overrun oasis. Thanks to Leonard Decaprio, the search intensifies, but Thailand still boasts many of the best ones. Ko Tarutao is a good place to look, but if you really like to get away from it all, check out western Sumba.
Best snorkeling / diving
Bunaken Island off the coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia offers perhaps the most stunning coral, arrays of tropical fish and clear water in the region. The coastal reefs of East Timor are a worthy of an honorable mention.
Best lake
Lake Issyk Kul, at 1,600 meters in Kyrgyzstan, is a stunning and massive expanse of water with an alluring alpine backdrop of 4,000-meter snowcapped peaks. It is also a pleasant journey from Bishkek, the leafy capital. I have twice tried to see the renowned Keli Mutu crater lakes at 1,600 meters in Flores in eastern Indonesia, but on both occasions clouds prevented me viewing these multicolor wonders. However, if the postcards are to be believed, they are truly wondrous — but only slightly more so than Lake Maninjau in the Batak highlands of Sumatra.
Best sacred sites
Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Bagan (Burma) and Borobodur (Indonesia) are perhaps the grandest and most enthralling of Asia's many sacred wonders, and shouldn't be missed. Mrauk U in western Burma, despite some unfortunate restoration, and Aukana in Sri Lanka, are also magnificent.
Best off-the-beaten-track locale
Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia is like a time machine where ancient traditions remain vibrant, especially in the west. The stone carvings and ikat weavings are the finest in the archipelago, although the roads have a lot to answer for. Surfers swear by its waves.
Best outdoor theater
Prambanan in central Java, near Borobodur, where the staging of the "Ramayana" on full-moon nights with a cast of hundreds scampering about the lovely 10th-century ruin that serves as a stage is incomparable. Alas, since a recent earthquake, the site has been closed for repair, and alongside there is a large modern outdoor theater with cushioned seating that reminds you just how hard the stone benches were. Occasionally, there are cultural events at Angkor Wat that are nearly as magical.
Best house ornamentation
In Sumba, the dead are buried in swathes of ikat cloth in large stone coffins with beautifully carved lids right in front of the houses, while homes in Bali have their own altars for offerings to the gods, and there are similar adornments throughout the region. However, these all pale in comparison to the exuberant paintings that adorn houses throughout Bhutan.


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