Day 1 - Ubud
Om Swastiastu! Welcome to Ubud, the arts and cultural centre of Bali. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Afterwards, perhaps head out to for a group meal at one of the delicious local restaurants.
Day 2 - Ubud
Led by your local guide, you will tour Ubud on foot today (approximately 2.5 total). Take a local bus for 15 minutes to the starting point of your walk. Along the way you'll see the goings-on of daily village life, rice fields, an alang alang valley (wild grass that is used for making the roof on traditional buildings), and visit a local painting and handicraft area. The tour ends in central Ubud where you'll have time to explore the many cafes, galleries and shops on your own. Today you'll also visit Bumi Sehat, a local community-based health clinic whose mission is to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
In the evening you will sit down to a traditional Kecak dance performance. Driven not by musical instruments but by human chanting, this fascinating theatrical performance is considered a highlight by many travellers.
Day 3 - Sidemen
Set off by bicycle (approximately 2.5 hours) through backstreets, quaint villages and rice fields – a great way to meet the local people and take in the lovely views. About 1.5 hours of the cycling is downhill, so you can save your pedal power. Along the way, you'll make stops for photo opportunities and to rest if you need to. There are plenty of opportunities to visit some of the small and intricately carved temples. Your ride concludes in Ubud. Next, head for the hills and the village of Sidemen, travelling by minivan (approximately 2 hours). Set against a backdrop of Bali's highest peak, Mt Agung, the peaceful and friendly village of Sidemen is proof that Bali has pockets tucked away from the tourism the island is famous for. It's a little cooler up here, thanks to the elevation.
Day 4 - Mt Batur
Take a morning walk (approximately 2.5 hours) around Sidemen, visiting the craftspeople of the local songket weaving industry. A traditional 'bungkus' lunch is included. The walk is a great chance to take in the beautiful scenery. Continuing your journey higher into the mountains, drive along the crater rim road to a fishing village on the edge of Lake Batur (approximately 2 hours). Volcanic Mt Batur (1,717 m) sits inside a stark and spectacular caldera, and with Lake Batur below it's a stunning sight. The lake supports the local fishing industry, while many of the villagers work as guides for the volcano climb. Your accommodation at the base of Mt Batur is a basic hotel with a restaurant. This is a great location at which to start tomorrow's early morning trek without extra travelling time.
Day 5 - Lovina
Get up at 3 am this morning to walk to the summit of Mt Batur (approximately 1.5–2 hours). You'll be glad you made the effort to rise early when you see the gorgeous sunrise over the valleys of Bali. On a clear morning, it's possible to see all the way across the Lombok Strait to the peaks of Lombok's Mt Rinjani. This may well be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Do keep in mind, however, that the weather can be unpredictable and sometimes the view is obscured by clouds. After descending the volcano, there's an option to soak in hot springs with fantastic views over the lake and caldera. Make the journey from the mountains to the small coastal town of Lovina (approximately 3 hours). Lovina is famous for the dolphins that patrol its coast. It's also a great spot for fine food, traditional massage and yoga.
Day 6 - Lovina
Enjoy a day of snorkelling on Menjangan Island reef, a short boat ride from the coast (there will approximately 2 hours of travel in total). This island and its coral reefs are part of the Bali Barat National Park. Enjoy some free time in Lovina this afternoon, exploring the sun-drenched coastline. Just be careful of rubbish in the water if you go swimming, as this can be a problem after bouts of stormy weather in the waters around Menjangan, as in other coastal areas in Bali.
On the way back stop at Banjar Hot Spring, a small spring popular with the locals.
Tonight we head to Ibu Wayan's to learn about Balinese cuisine and have a home cooked meal.
Day 7 - Bedugul
Bring your swimming gear to visit today as our first stop is a visit to the small but more local Banjar Hot Springs. Continue to the tiny hilltop village of Munduk (approximately 1 hour). Walk through clove and coffee plantations to a hidden waterfall. Visit Lake Bratan nearby for delightful views of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a Hindu-Buddhist temple set on a small island in the lake. Continue to Bedugul (approximately 1 hour). This mountain town is nestled in the cool and misty highlands, in a volcanic lake region covered in lush vegetation. Your warm clothes may come in handy for early mornings and evenings here.
Day 8 - Sanur
Visit the Bali Botanical Gardens in Bedugal, where over 2000 species of plants from all over Indonesia are on display in a tranquil highland setting.
Continue by minivan to Sanur (approx. 2 hours), and enjoy some free time this afternoon.
Sanur's white sand beach stretches along the coast for five kilometres, sheltered along its length by reef making it safe for swimming. You can enjoy a stroll along Bali's first beachfront walk, chat with the locals as they too enjoy the sea and sun, watch the fishermen in the shallows or kick back and relax at one of the beachside restaurants. Sanur maintains its traditions and local customs and ancient temples are only a hop, skip and a jump from the beach.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers
Day 9 - Tetebatu
Travel by minivan from Sanur to the port of Padang Bai (approximately 1.5 hours). Then you'll take a fast boat that takes you from Bali to Lombok (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Then take a bus to Tetebatu (approximately 2 hours). The hill retreat of Tetebatu is situated in the centre of Lombok, at the southern base of Mt Rinjani, and boasts spectacular views.
Day 10 - Labuan Pandan
Enjoy a guided walk through lush rice fields and see how the region's farmers have tended the land for centuries, still using traditional water buffalo ploughs. Climb a little higher and pass through clove and coffee plantations and stop at a local warung to try some local coffee (approximately 2.5 hours total). Visit the local village of Pringgasela to learn traditional weaving and enjoy a delicious Sasak feast. In the afternoon return to the hotel, then travel to Labuan Pandan on the East Coast of Lombok. This remote beachside location is little visited by tourists. Tonight we will stay in our bungalow accommodation amid the peace and quiet of the secluded coast.
Day 11 - Labuan Pandan
Take a trip out to the nearby coral reef and enjoy some fantastic snorkelling off the boat. Stop in at a secluded island for lunch with Mt Rinjani towering over Lombok.
Day 12 - Senaru
Travel by minibus around the spiritual centre and sleeping giant of the island, Mt Rinjani (approx 2 hours). Arrive around midday at Senaru, a small, rustic village nestled between the base of Mt Rinjani and the edge of the jungle.
Take a guided tour of the local Sasak village to learn about the history and culture of these people who have long lived on the slopes of Mt Rinjani. Here our local guide is part of a female guiding association that trains and develops women in tourism. Here we also take a walk to the spectacular Tiue Kelep waterfall, passing by Singang Gila waterfall, and perhaps swim in the waters which are considered by the Sasaks to have healing properties.
Day 13 - Gili Air
Continue to the west coast today by minibus (approximately 2.5 hours). The Gili Islands (Tiga Gili) are an archipelago of three small islands – Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Transfer by small boat to Gili Air (approximately 30 minutes), where you can take in the breezy atmosphere and stroll down stunning white beaches that rival those of the neighbouring islands. Your hotel is about a 15-minute walk from the port. Your bags can be transported by Cidemo from the port to the hotel.
Day 14 - Gili Air
The island is your oyster and today is completely free to relax or explore. Perhaps take in another snorkelling trip, or catch a ferry across to the other islands of Gili Air and Gili Meno and see who has the better beaches. This evening, feast on a delicious dinner of local seafood as you say farewell to your fellow travellers.
Day 15 - Gili Air
Your trip comes to an end today. Perhaps extend your stay on the blissful Gili Air.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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