Java and Bali - Volcanoes and Gamelans in a tropical Eden

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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 hotel (with a swimming pool) in the city for our welcome dinner.

Overnight in Yogyakarta.

 

Day 2: Ancient Hindu Temple of 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 3: Yogyakarta - Artistic Heart of Java

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 4: Sunrise at Borobudur - World's largest Buddhist Temple

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 at hotel inside the gates of Borobudur.

 

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: Volcanic Landscape of 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.

Overnight in Bromo.

 

Day 7: Bromo Sunrise, to 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 return to our guesthouse, and after breakfast, we continue to Banyuwangi to catch the ferry 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, you can enjoy a relaxed morning to catch up with your reading or enjoy a nice stroll on the beach prior to the Menjangan Island journey. Late afternoon return for 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 on the island. In the afternoon, we stop at a local farm to taste their home grown coffee or lemon grass tea. We have an early evening arrival in Ubud. Overnight at our majestic guest house in Ubud.

 

Day 10: Bali Bird Park

Today is a chance to see the beautiful bird life of Bali. Get up close to the rare Bali Starlings, South American Macaws and Australian Cockatoos to name just a few. Be captivated by the radiance of Indonesian Parrots and massive Cassowaries, Black Palm Cockatoos, Hornbills and one of the world's largest and most varied collection of "Birds of Paradise".

As we stroll through the park, relax with the sounds of the waterfalls, and the tropical temperatures as you learn more about the flora and fauna that lives here.
Overnight in Ubud.

 

Day 11: Traditional Home & Dinner with a local Balinese Family

Enjoy 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 before going to lunch with a local family in a Balinese home.

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. Later, an informative talk 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. We also we visit an interesting and informative puppet museum.

In the evening we will enjoy a traditional Balinese dance performance at the Ubud Palace.

Overnight in Ubud.

 

Day 13: Ubud, Besakih Temple, to Candidasa

Today we can enjoy a well deserved relaxing morning.

In the afternoon, we depart Ubud to the lovely seaside resort of Candidasa. As we drive through this breathtaking countryside, we visit Besakih, the home of the Hindu Mother Temple of Bali. After our tour of Bali's most important temple, we continue to the relaxed seaside resort of Candidasa.

Overnight in Candidasa.

 

Day 14: Candidasa: Tirtagganga & 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 blue waters, or just stay back at the hotel and relax by the pool while taking in the beauty of the Balinese coast.

Overnight in Candidasa.

 

Day 15: Candidasa, fly to Flores

Today we depart our lovely seaside resort and drive to Denpasar for our flight to Labuan Bajo, Flores. During your flight, you will pass by some the of stunning islands and volcanoes of Indonesia. Upon arrival, we are transferred to our ecolodge just outside of town.

Flores, unlike most Indonesian islands is predominantly Catholic. The mountainous island of Flores is part of the Lesser Sunda chain that stretches from Bali in the west to Timor in the east.

In the afternoon, you can relax by the pool, look for birds by the lodge or explore on your own in town before dinner.

Overnight in Labuan Bajo, Flores

 

Day 16: Dance Ceremony of the Manggarai

Today, our adventure focuses on the fascinating Manggarai culture, who inhabit the western 1/3 of Flores and represent the largest ethnic group on Flores. In the past, heroes and knights perfomed their famous dance to celebrate and evoke a battle between villages. Today, the people of Manggarai perform the caci dance during celebrations such as welcoming guests, weddings,and thanksgiving during harvest season.

Time permitting, we will also visit a local school.

We return to Labuan Bajo for overnight.

 

Day 17: Komodo Dragon Adventure - to Rinca Island by overnight boat

Today we have an early start as we drive to the harbor to board our comfortable boat in search of the massive Komodo Dragons. The Komodo Dragons are actually monitor lizards that can grow up to 12 feet. The 2 main islands where the Komodo Dragons live are on Komodo Island and Rinca Island. Our adventure is not limited to searching for these massive lizards. We also make visits to pristine beaches to swim and several spots where we can snorkel, including Manta Ray point. We may also see flying foxes, a variety of birds as well as deer and monkeys, which are also a food source for the lizards.

As we journey to these remote islands, the setting is idyllic. The islands, inlets, topography is simply stunning! Our overnight journey is not the usual way to visit these islands, but we feel it is the best way. Firstly, our boats are of a higher standard and we actually sleep on board. Our cabins are air-conditioned. We can travel at a much more relaxed pace as we do not have to return to Labuan Bajo as most visitors will be doing.

Today we visit Rinca Island, as we hike with a park ranger who will explain the rules of hiking. The Komodo Dragons do not view humans as prey and we can get quite close as long as the ranger is there to monitor the situation. Our hike will vary between 1 - 2 hours with several stops.

After our visit, we return to our boat. We will likely have a chance to snorkel and cool off before relaxing on board, where we can enjoy the view, our dinner and hopefully a sky full of stars. This adventure can be absolutely magical!

Overnight on our boat (each cabin with private head)

 

Day 18: Komodo Island, snorkeling, return to Flores

Our excursion today is on Komodo Island. We stop at the park headquarters where we meet our ranger. Today our hike will be 1 - 2 hours, depending on birds, monkeys, deer and most importantly, Komodo Dragons.

We will return to our boat and sail to the 'pink beach' where we have lunch and can swim or snorkel. We continue our journey past beautiful islands and will make one last stop at Manta Ray Point where we can snorkel with manta rays as well as other colourful, tropical fish.

You can also keep an eye out for dolphins which you can often find jumping out of water.

Upon return to Labuan Bajo, we drive to a beautiful viewpoint where we can see where we have just spent the last 2 days as we look out to all the islands including Rinca and Komodo as well as some active volcanos off in the distance. This is the perfect toast to a great adventure and stunning views as the sun goes down.

Overnight in Labuan Bajo

 

Day 19: Fly to Bali, Farewell Dinner

This morning we drive to the airport for our flight to back to Bali. Upon arrival, we transfer to our ecolodge. You can enjoy a relaxing afternoon before our farewell dinner to tonight. The perfect toast to a splendid journey!

Overnight in Jimbaran, Bali

 

Day 20: Departure

After breakfast you have free time before your transfer to the airport.

 
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