IN CENTRAL JAVA We discover the ideal accommodation for exploring one of the region’s great religious monuments. Just 15 minutes away from Borobudur, built in the 9th century and the largest Buddhist temple in the world, Villa Borobudur is a cluster of six individually designed luxury villas with fantastic views (and fantastic ratings on TripAdvisor). It was created with the aim of giving an authentic Javanese experience, from the architecture to the staff and cuisine. It’s a suitable destination both for a romantic trip for two or a trip with friends and family. Aside from the temple experience (our tip: book the early morning visit to Borobudur to beat the crowds), there’s hiking, mountain biking, rafting, art, cooking, jeep safaris – even a reptile rescue centre! The best times to visit are the drier months from June to August and October and November, and you would ideally stay at least four nights to make the most of all that’s on offer. Flight time from Singapore to Yogyakarta is 1.5 hours, and then there’s a road trip of around one hour to Villa Borobudur. CULTURE & ADVENTURE |

When’s the best time to visit? The best season in North Sulawesi is from the middle of May to the middle of October, and the period from November to March is also very decent, with an occasional shower in the late afternoons or evenings. The wettest months are January and February, but the cooler water temperatures bring in more sharks and whales. We’ve had occasional sighting of manta rays, whale sharks, sperm whales and orcas between December and April too! Can we bring the kids along too? North Sulawesi is safe and child-friendly. While you’re enjoying your underwater dives, the resort can provide a free-of-charge babysitter service to keep an eye on them on the boat or at the resort. There’s also a spacious kiddy pool, and older children can try snorkelling or the PADI Bubble Maker programme, which teaches how to dive safely in the pool.

The waters around Indonesia’s North Sulawesi are home to vibrant coral reefs and a huge variety of ocean critters. We asked the team at Thalassa , a five-star PADI dive resort and training centre based there, for advice on planning a trip. Diver’s Delight

GOING GREEN An environmentally conscious resort, Thalassa provides reusable bottles and refill stations around the property to reduce plastic waste.

For more information on bookings and diving, visit | Ethan Daniels



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