The oddest islands to add to an island-hopping odyssey

The swimming pigs of Exuma in the Bahamas. Photo / Forest Simon, Unsplash

There’s nothing like an island for capturing the imagination. Thomas Bywater suggests five stops to add to an island-hopping odyssey.

Socotra, Yemen

Full of scaly dragon blood trees and desert blooms – Socotra has been described as the Galapagos of the Middle East. Its position in the Indian Ocean, between Yemen and Somalia, has kept it off the radar of all but the most adventurous travellers. Since gaining weekly direct connections from Abu Dhabi it’s a little more accessible but not much. The Greeks claimed it was home to the mythical phoenix. You’ll not find any magical firebirds but there are plenty of other weird and wonderful plants and animals.

Socotra is the Galapagos of the Middle East. Photo / Andrew SVK, Unsplash
Socotra is the Galapagos of the Middle East. Photo / Andrew SVK, Unsplash

About 800 endemic species, according to Unesco. It’s not an easy place to get to and there’s not much in the luxury range, however Engage Socotra runs guided eco-tours to the island and helps run a conservation and community fund for the world heritage site.
engagesocotra.com

Aerial view of the island 'Pulau Padar' at the famous Komodo National Park, Flores, Indonesia. Photo / Getty Images
Aerial view of the island ‘Pulau Padar’ at the famous Komodo National Park, Flores, Indonesia. Photo / Getty Images

Flores Island, Indonesia

Yes, here be dragons, but here also be underground caverns, volcanic pools and funnel-shaped padi fields.

Flores is famous for its reptile neighbours from the nearby islands of the Komodo National Park. The largest lizards in the world, the Komodo monitor can weigh in at more than 150kg. Guided tours are a must for naturalists.

Once you’ve satiated your Jurassic Park fantasy you don’t want to overlook the other amazing natural features of the lesser Sunda Islands. The Liang Bua caves are remarkable karst tunnels that, at one point, were home to tiny prehistoric humans. Yes,

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