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Download Java and Bali Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival
Arrival in Yogyakarta, the cultural center of historic Java. Transfer to our comfortable and charming guest house (with a swimming pool) in the city for our welcome dinner. Overnight in Yogyakarta.
Day 2: Yogyakarta
In the morning we will take a tour by becak (three wheeled bicycle taxi) through Yogyakarta, a lovely city set in a broad, green crescent of fertile rice lands that blanket the southern reaches of Mt. Merapi. The city is known as the artistic heart of Java where it is possible to see batik workshops, gamelan orchestras, ballet, and all night puppet shows, in addition to some of the best handicraft shopping in all of Asia. One highlight of our tour will be our visit to the "Water Palace", once a splendid pleasure park of palaces, pools, and underground passages and waterways for the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Today, Yogyakarta's artistic community has established itself in this inspiring and serene setting. We will also have the opportunity to explore the Sultan's Palace, the only active Sultanate in Indonesia, and enjoy a buffet lunch on the Palace grounds. After lunch we venture into the exotic Bird Market. Following dinner we will attend a shadow puppet performance, one of the traditional arts of Java. Overnight in Yogyakarta.
Day 3: Borobudur and the Gedong Songo
An early morning drive to the fabled steps of Borobudur (8th c.), the world's largest Buddhist monument and the greatest ancient monument in the Southern Hemisphere. This fantastic complex was buried beneath volcanic ash for almost 1,000 years until excavations in the late 19th century, and remains today a brilliant synthesis of sculpture and architecture. We then continue on to Mendut, one of the oldest sites in Java. The temple here has a statue of the seated Buddha flanked by two Acolytes. Late afternoon return to Yogyakarta. Overnight in Yogyakarta.
Day 4: Prambanan
A morning trip to Prambanan, a splendid 8th century Hindu temple complex not far from Yogyakarta. This will be our first opportunity to learn about Hinduism, which surprisingly co-existed with Buddhism until the overwhelming infiltration of Muslim traders in the 13th century turned the course of history for Java. In the afternoon we will visit the main market of Yogyakarta before some free time in Yogyakarta for exploring (or shopping...) on your own. In the evening we will enjoy a performance of the Ramayana ballet in Prambanan. Overnight in Yogyakarta.
Day 5: To Mt. Bromo
This morning we fly from Yogyakarta to the city of Surabaya, from where we drive to spectacular Mt. Bromo, arriving in the early evening. For those joining our optional adventure hike in the early hours to the summit of Mt. Bromo, an early evening is recommended. Overnight in Bromo.
Day 6: Mt. Bromo
A free day to relax at Mt. Bromo, a primordial volcanic landscape unmatched for its scenic beauty. For those with energy to spare, early this morning we will have a 4 hour hike to the beautiful and rugged rim of the crater at Mount Bromo. This is not a technically difficult hike, but does require a strong spirit. Upon return to our hotel, group members will visit the village market and will be treated to tea or coffee at the home of a local Tenggarese family where we will learn about Tenggarese people and culture, who represent Java's only remaining pocket of Hinduism (all the others retreated to the island of Bali during the 13th century conversion to Islam). This evening, before dinner we will have a private instructional session on how to play the gamelan instruments with a local expert. Overnight in Bromo.
Day 7: Summit of Mt. Bromo, and on to Lovina Beach (Bali)
Early this morning (about 4 am) we begin our off-road drive to the top of a nearby mountain to catch the sun as it rises over the lava fields illuminating Mt Bromo and its neighbour Mt Batok. The rewards for such an early start usually include one of the most spectacular sunrises you could ever hope to see. Silence falls and the power and beauty of Mother Nature strike home. We have an early return down the mountain to our guesthouse, and after breakfast, we continue by minivan to the town of Banyuwangi to catch the ferry boat for the short crossing to the idyllic island of Bali. Our accommodations for the next two nights are at a charming hotel in Pemuteran Bay, just a few minutes outside Bali Barat Nat'l Park on the north Bali Sea. Overnight in Pemuteran Bay.
Day 8: Bali Barat Nat'l Park & Menjangan Island
A short morning drive to Bali Barat National Park protecting 200 sq. km. of stunning scenery in northwestern Bali, and featuring one of the world's rarest and most endangered birds, the Bali Starling. Here we have an early morning option of hiking and bird watching (this area has birds galore; including Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Swiftlets, Warbers, Shrikes, Kingfishers and Swallows - there are also many Silvered Leaf Monkeys, Wild Pigs and Rusa Deer), followed by a boat trip to Menjangan Island for a picnic lunch, and an afternoon filled with swimming and snorkeling, or just relaxing on the beach. For those not joining the morning hike, we enjoy a relaxed morning catch up with your reading or enjoy a nice stroll on the beach prior to the Menjangan Island journey. Late afternoon return for a stroll on the beach before dinner. Overnight in Pemuteran Bay.
Day 9: To Mt. Batur & Ubud
Today we drive to the town of Ubud passing through beautiful rice fields in this magical middle kingdom that is Bali's most exotic and artistic region. On our way to Ubud we will stop at Penelokan for fantastic views of Mt. Batur and the crater lake of the same name, a dormant volcano with a beautiful crater lake. Here we will visit Batur Temple, the second most important Hindu temple in the island. In the afternoon we stop at a local farm to taste their home grown coffee or another local specialty: delicious lemon grass tea. Early evening arrival in Ubud. Overnight at our guest house in Ubud set amidst beautifully terraced rice paddies.
Day 10: Bali Bird Park
Today is a chance to see the beautiful bird life of Bali. Get up close to Bali Starlings, South American Macaws and Australian Cockatoos to name just a few. Be captivated by the radiance of Indonesian Parrots and rare Cassowaries, Black Palm Cockatoos, Hornbills and one of the world's largest and most varied collection of "Birds of Paradise".
Day 11: Ubud
A morning hike to explore the beautiful countryside and artisan's villages set in the rice paddies surrounding the town. We will return to Ubud at noon before going to lunch with a local family in a Balinese home. In the evening we will enjoy a traditional Balinese dance performance at the Ubud Palace Overnight in Ubud.
Day 12: Ubud - the Arts of Bali
We will visit some of the unique art galleries near Ubud, including a guided tour of a gallery featuring traditional and contemporary Balinese paintings. We will also learn about the internationally renowned Balinese artist Antonio Blanco. Later, a seminar led by a master woodcarver and mask maker will teach us about Balinese culture and how it is expressed in the forms of traditional art and dance. Afternoon departure from Ubud to the lovely seaside resort of Candidasa. As we drive through this breathtaking countryside we will visit Besakih, the home of the Hindu mother temple of Bali. Overnight in Candidasa.
Day 13: Candidasa & Pasir Putih
Enjoy a morning of leisure with free time to enjoy the beach. In the afternoon, we travel to a nearby bay using traditional fishing boats. Here we can snorkel and swim in the beautiful reefs, or just stay back at the hotel and relax by the pool while taking in the beauty of the Balinese coast. Tonight we go out to Candidasa for a special farewell dinner. Overnight in Candidasa.
Day 14: Departure
A morning transfer to the airport at Denpasar for departing flights.
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