Java, Praslin, Grande Comore and many other islands. The Indian Ocean is a treasure to be discovered, not only for the sea but, above all, for the beauty of its atolls. Some popular and sought after, others unsuspected and unknown. Whether you’re looking for a surfing, sporting holiday or a romantic trip like the ones you see on a postcard, in the destinations we’ve chosen, you’ll find everything you’re looking for.
The most important island in Indonesia, between Sumatra and Bali, is an authentic gem with different beauties that correspond to its numerous beaches. Among them, Pangandaran is the best known and, at the same time, the most appreciated by tourists from all over the world. Its long stretch of beach bathed by the transparent sea generously welcomes surfing enthusiasts, but also lovers of other sporting activities, in an ideal context for hotel facilities.
Even in Batu Karas, the beach is white and the sea is crystal clear, but the attitude is less touristy and there is more space to relax. The same goes for Kukup Beach, a small beach hidden in a natural cove protected by a cliff and very quiet, with little wind and storms. Instead, Parangtritis Beach has a spiritual connotation, where an ancient ceremony takes place that reconciles men and spirits. The sand is golden and there are dunes and rainforest hills.
Another extraordinary and unspoiled beach, Timang Beach retains a natural charm. Anyer Beach is the right place for snorkeling and fishing, as is Merak Beach, while Green Canyon is a real surprise with rivers that crept between rocks in a multitude of colors and the possibility to go rafting on water courses. Water. In the southeastern part of Java, Ranu Kumbolo is a mountain lake immersed in the forest. Finally, the Borobudur Buddhist temple, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to 800 AD.
If you’re looking for heaven on earth, then you’re on the right track. Legend says that it is what remains of a very ancient vanished continent, Lemuria, similar to the mythical Atlantis, and that still today conveys this extraordinary lost beauty, but not entirely. Praslin is the pearl of a wonderful archipelago, the Seychelles Islands.
One thousand kilometers from Madagascar, 115 islands of which 36 are uninhabited. The tropical vegetation is lush, the water is emerald and very warm, the granite boulders on the beaches are also characteristic because they change the nuances of color based on light and sun.
The beaches of Praslin, in particular, are dreamlike and – as the saying goes – truly iconic because they often illustrate the idea of fairytale destinations. Among these, Anse Georgette is very popular, a beautiful beach of white sand and warm water, now turquoise, now green with granite rocks around. An extraordinary environment, but also a delicate one, an ecosystem based on balances that the Seychelles try to ensure, focusing on organic materials and strict rules. From May to October: this is the best time to enjoy your dream vacation.
Koh Phi Phi Don
Charming landing place for those arriving at Phi Phi Island, archipelago of southern Thailand. Koh Phi Phi Don – along with Koh Phi Phi Leh – is still the only one to be inhabited. Made famous around the world by the film “The Beach”, with Leonardo Di Caprio, it offers an incomparable spectacle with its cliffs that plunge into the emerald green sea. The beaches have very white sand and the coral reef is absolutely unique, as is the seabed.
Koh Phi Phi Don is made up of two islands joined by a strip of sand and palm trees. The double bay that separates them is very beautiful and perfectly symmetrical: Ao Ton Sai, to the south, and Ao Loh Dalum, to the north. A magical place that also resists the exponential growth of tourism, keeping all its charm intact.
The bay is protected by the natural coral reef defense on the west side, where the palm tree-lined sand path also begins which leads to Long Beach (Hat Yao in Thai language), a fantastic beach and an oasis of peace. This entire area is also protected from the summer monsoons, with the sea always calm.
We are in Malaysia, the island is joined to the coast directly by the Penang Bridge, the longest in Southeast Asia. A place that was once a destination for Chinese and Arab traders and later for British and Dutch companies. In fact, there is no lack of architectural testimonies from the various eras, especially in Georgetown, the capital, and then there are the many kilometers of beaches, the mountainous interior and the specialties of the local cuisine.
Georgetown is a bit of a synthesis of all this, with its cultural and artistic richness and many colors and flavors. In this UNESCO heritage city, West and East meet. Beautiful city streets and Buddhist temples, such as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, with its 33 meter long statue, the third largest in the world, or the Kek Lok Si temple, which is the largest in Malaysia, built on a hill for pilgrims. To visit, in Teluk Bahang, is the Penang National Park which contains lonely beaches, waterfalls and forests.
Off the southwest coast of Africa is Madagascar, a wonderful archipelago characterized by pristine, glittering beaches, great coral reefs and natural forests filled with various animal species, a beauty so proverbial that it inspired the successful series of films. animation.
Nosy Be is perhaps the best known island, which can be reached directly from Italy by plane. You arrive and can go on excursions and safaris and then rest in one of the many hotels. Instead, you’ll arrive by sea or with Air Madagascar flights to Isle Sainte-Marie, much less frequented than Nosy Be, and more prone to rain. Nosja Iranja is actually two islands in one, which at low tide unites into a single strip of sand. Ideal place for a holiday among turtles, birds and fish never seen before.
The capital Ananarivo also reveals jewels with palaces and wooden houses, parks and royal tombs, in addition to the heart-shaped and very romantic lake Anosy. If you want to travel by car, take Route Nationale 8, also called Baobab Avenue, precisely because it is spread across a row of baobab trees and is unpaved, or visit the parks, Tsingy Rouge or Isalo, and the islands of Nosy Komba a Isla Lava.
Saint Anne’s Island
Seychelles’ first settlers settled here on the island opposite Port Victoria, surrounded by the National Marine Park with six islands off the coast of Mahe and home to over 150 species of fish. In its warm waters, snorkeling reveals wonders, while on the island, Hawksbill turtles find the ideal environment to nest. It takes its name from the day of July it was discovered, dedicated to Santa Ana and can easily be reached with less than four kilometers of crossing from Victoria.
It takes only a quarter of an hour to fly from Perth, Australia, and is the realm of beautiful beaches and lush nature. In front of The Basin beach, for example, you can explore, with a mask and a nozzle, this kind of natural pool characterized by crystal clear water. Little Salmon Bay is a long stretch of white beach, while Cathedral Rocks is a seal-watching area, unlike Parakeet Bay, where quokka are found on the beach, very sweet marsupiates also called “the happiest animals in the world” .
Those who want to go hiking can head to Wadjemup Bldl, close to the most beautiful beaches and lakes, which take on a typical pink color due to the alga Dunaliella Salina. A feature that adds more charm.
Nature reserve, small oasis and Australia’s third island by extension, offers magnificent scenery. The name Kangaroo Island (Kangaroo Island) dates back to 1802, when the discoverer Matthew Flinders was impressed by the significant amount of these animals present on the island. However, this is not the only species of animal present here. There are also koalas and equines, wallabies and sea lions, as well as penguins. All of Australia’s iconic animals are represented here.
Known as the megalithic island for the great monuments it preserves, on the west coast of Sumatra, Nias is inhabited by the batacchi, a population of ancient and unknown origins. Mountainous and swampy, the island is covered by a dense tropical jungle and keeps habits distant in time. People here hate the sea and prefer to cultivate the land. Anyway, in addition to the villages, Nias has beautiful and absolutely untouched beaches, such as Teluk Dalam, an idyllic cove still little used by tourism.
The atoll is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, south of the Maldives and in the Chagos archipelago, exactly between Africa and Indonesia. A paved road passes through it and leads to a series of services you wouldn’t expect to find: hospital, hairdresser (you don’t pay) and fish restaurants. There is also a British naval base: the British bought this island in 1965 and then “rented” it to the Americans. Meanwhile, the area was declared a marine reserve. The temperature is constantly hovering around 30 degrees and there is always a pleasant breeze.
The Zanzibar archipelago presents this wonder, the green island. During colonialism, it was a stop on the spice route. Pemba, has green hills that beautify it, in addition to suggestive stretches of sand. Manta Point is the top of an underwater mountain with coral formations, Misali Island is a marine park with walls overlooking the sea where you can see some mantas. The beaches are obviously extraordinary. During low tide they open almost to the coral reefs, offering visitors the possibility of memorable snorkeling experiences.
North Sentinel Island
The most difficult island to visit is the one inhabited by Sentinelians who are the most inaccessible tribe in the world, ready to welcome visitors by pulling their spears. In 2004, the attack with spears on the patrol helicopter to offer help after the tsunami was remembered, documented by television images around the world. A truly unusual scene. The Indian government chose not to get closer to the island’s inhabitants as they are immune to defenses and in contact with foreign travelers would run the risk of contagion and extinction, the fact is that the island offers a truly remarkable natural beauty.
It is part of an archipelago very similar to that of Sychelles due to its natural scenery, even more untouched and almost free of tourists. They are called “Moon Islands” or also “Perfume Islands”. In fact, there are fragrant plants like honeysuckle, orchid and gardenia to spread sweet scents and the aromas of vanilla and coconut dominate the air. An enchanted context. Grande Comore Island is a melting pot of different cultures with Arab architecture mixed with French elegance. A trip through these parts also requires a visit to the inhabited centers and not just the beaches. The experience can be unforgettable in general.
It seems to be in the setting of a fantasy narrative: almost unknown, hit by a constant wind, immersed in a stormy sea, they are as far from the African continent as from Australia. The climate is oceanic and cold, with plentiful rainfall, and if we really mean it all, you can see why explorer John Cook called them the Isles of Desolation. But the opportunity to visit them is attractive precisely because of the unique characteristics that made it primordial, unchanged, or almost, in time.
The name is not deceiving, it is an island in Tanzania, in the Indian Ocean. It is a goal far from the usual tourist routes, but reaching it leads to discovering absolute beauties: an immaculate coral reef, the whale shark that occasionally lets itself be seen in the surrounding waters, people eager to find human contact and available to offer smiles and experiences. You can use the local waterways in a kayak (an additional option for a quick visit) until you reach the sand banks that open between the water and the lush territory forming beautiful oases, or you can use a jeep, from the village of Utende to the village of Kilindoni, climbing the dirt roads.
The story goes that the French ship Utile, in 1760, with a cargo of 150 slaves on board, ran aground on the coral reef and quickly sank. Some crew members and about sixty slaves were saved in the middle of the ocean. It’s hard to imagine a more complicated survival solution. Sailors and slaves collaborated by setting aside established hierarchies, at least until they decided to board the small boat they had managed to build, abandoning the slaves to their fate, after having promised that they would return, which they would not do. But the slaves managed to survive, while the sailors were shipwrecked and on the island they created a new generation that colonized that land for a long period. The burden of history weighs on the visitor who ventures here.
A point of ocean on the Gulf of Bengal, with beaches of unexpected beauty and unexplored forests. Here is the paradise of the Andaman Islands between India, Burma and Thailand, the only one of these islands to be equipped to accommodate Western tourism. A natural paradise that, until 1992, was closed to tourism. In the jungle, it is possible to go hiking to observe 218 different types of birds, as well as 62 mammals, 300 butterflies and 2200 types of plants. There is no shortage of restaurants to enjoy excellent fish dishes under the blue sky.
Koh Phi Phi Leh
We had left the other island of the Phi Phi Archipelago in Thailand, but Koh Phi Phi Leh is also described by visitors as an extraordinarily fascinating place, saturated with very tropical colors, vivid and full of contrasts. A place where the green of the vegetation meets the intense blue of the sea. Absolutely not to be missed.
We are now going to the archipelago of the four islands that represent a distant but accessible refuge. You can arrive from Vilanculos, on the coast, and see dolphins and whales. Diving is the most recommended activity in these parts as it can reveal widespread and unimaginable beauties. The beaches are very attractive, with lots of forests and some villages to visit, always in maximum serenity. Another earthly paradise.
In Kenya, there is an archipelago that is literally out of time. Besides Lamu, Manda and Pate are the biggest islands, but Lamu is the real cultural and political center in the old area. The streets are narrow and the buildings are in a typical Arab style. At sunset, it’s invaluable to be able to take a boat trip, letting yourself be carried away by the waves of the mangroves when night falls, to pass in Lamu between a restaurant on the coast and a cheap hotel in the city centre.
The most beautiful island in Indonesia? Someone defines it that way and they’re not entirely wrong, despite the vast choice Sumatra can offer. But more than the beaches, the seabed is the main attraction of Palau Weh. Coral reefs surround it with their glow but we must know the currents that are very strong in this sea. Warming water in recent years has caused some problems but the coral environment is slowly recovering.
We return to Zanzibar for an excursion to Prison Island or Changuu, the turtle island which in some books is also named as a quarantine island. However, turtles are present in droves in the park and are from the colony of giant tortoises that come from the Seychelles. Altogether, there are about a hundred specimens and the oldest are nearly two hundred years old. As for the quarantine, it was made to spend in a kind of prison that today is the headquarters of a restaurant that offers Italian cuisine.
Isle of Cerf
The Seychelles paradise also offers this island where it is easy to get in touch with the many varieties of fish. Peace and tranquility reign supreme here where there are no roads but only undeveloped beaches with palm trees and deep blue waters. Wonderful colors that paint your vacation with many strokes of magic amidst the pirate stories that have passed through here and maybe even hidden treasures.
The second largest island after Bazaruto in Mozambique. Portuguese explorers named it San Antonio. More than thirty kilometers of sand on the African Ocean coast. Among the peculiarities there is also that of an inn that hosted Nicole Kidman, evidently attracted by the primordial beauty of these places.
Still in Mozambique, a part of the coast separated from the coast and lost forty kilometers in the middle of the sea. It is also an important marine research center known for its studies on coral reefs designated, since 1976, as a protected nature reserve. More than three hundred species of birds have been cataloged in this area.
Another heavenly place, born in a volcano in the Andaman Islands sea. The island is the emerged part of the 2500 meter high giant. Until recently, these territories were uninhabited, but in recent times the islands were populated by nomads from the southwest who live in houses made of palm trees and pieces of wood. Soon, these islands will also receive the designation of protected area.
Romantic heart of the Maldives, one of the smallest islands reachable within thirty minutes from Malè. It is the ideal place for couples looking for an unforgettable vacation. The island surrounds your feelings with wonderful reefs and postcard beaches. Even families with children will find all the right ingredients to experience moments of extraordinary beauty.
A virgin world, deserted beaches adorned with fringed coconut trees and impenetrable forest. Wooden pirogues, yellow tuk tuks: the stress of the western world seems far away. A tongue of white sand that stretches as far as the eye can see before meeting the rapidly rising tide. In reality, there aren’t many places to swim. You can also watch a unique spectacle: an elephant used to transport wood that bathes in the warm waters of the sea. Truly exceptional.
Another islet in front of Zanzibar, surrounded by a surprising color of water, with a thousand hues, which is also noticeable when you arrive by plane and can see it through the porthole. Very fine sand, clean from the tides. Inland, there are no hills but dense vegetation, all immersed in the usual transparent and warm sea.
In the Andaman Islands archipelago, where tourism is still underdeveloped, the wonderful islands of Ross & Smith during low tide are linked by a strip of sand, deserted beaches and fragile mangrove habitats and there are Spartan hotels. But the bravest will be rewarded by getting to know very interesting natural environments, such as the navigable canals in the Baratang area.