select - Island Nations
Written by Brian Johnston
Islands have always fascinated travellers as havens for escape and retreat. We’ve found 115 reasons to make islands your getaway – and another 17,000 reasons why islands also boast distinctive cultures and landscapes that make them among the world’s most alluring destinations.
Indonesia is the island nation to beat all island nations: some 17,000 islands spread over 5,200 kilometres of ocean, many of which have their own highly distinctive cultures, languages, character, landscapes, and ecologies found nowhere else on Earth. In Java, historic sultanates and ruined temples still survive among volcanoes and rice paddies; in Sumatra, leopards and orangutans still roam the rainforest, and travellers can follow the legendary Trans-Sumatran Highway. In Sulawesi, villagers maintain age-old traditions such as spectacular funeral ceremonies; volcanic crater lakes are as much a marvel as the magnificent surfing in Flores; while Komodo is renowned for it’s giant lizards. Bali is the jewel in the crown, with its distinctive Hindu culture, friendly people, and stunning landscapes and beaches that have made it a centre of tourism for decades.
Dynamic and diverse, Indonesia offers a marvellous array of landscapes, wildlife, cultures, and sights.
This vast archipelago spreads between mainland southeast Asia and Australia, from Sumatra in the west to Papua in the east.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily direct flights to Bali-Denpasar and Jakarta from Doha.
A nation of 115 islands – only a few of which are inhabited – scattered across a vast expanse of Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is blessed by nature with azure waters, white-sand beaches, and lush hillsides tumbled with rainforest and giant boulders. Once the destination of choice for honeymooners, these days the Seychelles is also gaining quite a reputation for eco-tourism, boasting stunning bird life, giant tortoises, and some superlative diving, as well as notable flora such as the suggestively-shaped and famous coco de mer, the world’s largest seed. Self-catering accommodation and guesthouses are also opening up the country to ordinary travellers as well as those with a hankering for top-notch luxury resorts. But the Seychelles will never be overrun with tourists: the biggest joy of this island nation is its laid-back tempo, deserted beaches, and secluded atolls.
The quintessential tropical getaway of warm waters, lazy beaches, and seductive luxury resorts.
The Seychelle islands lie in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has non-stop flights from Doha to Mahé Island, Seychelles four times a week.
Sri Lanka means ‘resplendent isle’, and there’s certainly something Eden-like about this country: a stunning scenic backdrop of waterfalls and tea plantations; beautiful beaches; the ancient ruins of a remarkable culture at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. National parks, a fine cuisine, precius gems. colonial towns, and gold-capped temples surrounded by misty jungle add to the appeal.
Marco Polo called this ‘the finest island of its size anywhere in the world’, and few would disagree.
The island of Sri Lanka lies like a teardrop just 31 kilometres off the southern tip of India.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has three daily non-stop flights to Colombo from Doha.