Monday, April 27, 2009

Forbes Traveler: Off the Beaten Path

As Southeast Asian tourism heats up, it's harder than ever to find breathing room at the most popular destinations.

Where can you experience authentic Southeast Asia without sharing it with busloads of other travelers?

The answer is simple: Find the places that fewer people know about. Throughout Southeast Asia, it's easy to find viable alternatives to the wonderful but overcrowded destinations to which throngs of travelers typically flock.

Perhaps the best example is Lombok, the Indonesian island located directly to the east of its much better known neighbor, Bali. About 131,000 Americans visit Indonesia every year, and the vast majority of them head straight to Bali, leaving the rest of vast Indonesia unexplored. Lombok is a less-manicured, less bustling Bali, with all the culture, food and scenery that make Bali an ideal vacation destination—only without the crowds. And, it's accessible via non-stop flights from several Asian hubs. Luxury resorts have been slow to arrive on the island, but they're popping up now. The best thus far is the small, ultra-luxurious Tugu Lombok, tucked away on the secluded Sire Beach on the island's northwest coast.

Forbes Traveler Slide Show

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