17. December 2012 10:44
Venetia Rainey spent a week getting to know the Minangkabau people, an indigenous group based in the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia.
The world's largest matriarchy is surprisingly elusive.
After a bit of research online, I was convinced that this Indonesian female-ruled society would instantly become apparent, yet by the end of a week spent exploring the picturesque highlands of West Sumatra, I felt as if I had barely scratched the surface. More...
13. November 2012 14:40
Last month, Venetia Rainey travelled to the Togean Islands, an unspoiled Indonesian archipelago off the coast of the Central Sulawesi province.
As the boat sails past yet another tiny white sand beach tumbling into glassy turquoise waters, the captain taps me on the shoulder.
"Poyalisa Cottages," he grunts, pointing past me to a distant smudge of green. I try not to get my hopes up.
Getting here has taken 30 hours: eight reclining on a luxury, air-conditioned coach with a book; 13 battling travel sickness on a rickety bus More...
11. September 2007 12:03
After a terrifyingly choppy five-hour ferry trip across the Strait of Malacca from Malaysia, then a lost number of hours with a minibus driver negotiating dusty, potholed roads at top speed, I eventually started my exploration of Sumatra in Bukit Lawang. Here, thanks to the Bohorok orang-utan reintroduction centre, backpacker cafes and guesthouses once lined the riverbanks, until almost the entire town was destroyed by a flash flood one night in 2003.
Now, the resilient locals are even more welcoming than ever as they are starting to rebuild their businesses. I stayed at Jungle Inn, a brilliantly constructed jumble of fairytale accommodation, with log cabins overlooking waterfalls, and furnished with oversized carved wooden More...