Day 1 - Jakarta
Selamat datang! Welcome to Indonesia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, check out some of Jakarta's interesting museums, such as the Wayang (puppetry), Balai Seni Rupa (fine arts) and Maritime museums. The National Museum is great for first-time visitors. For city monuments, don't miss Si Jagur, an old Portuguese cannon ornately decorated with sexual imagery, or the Monas (National Monument) dedicated to the spirit of the Indonesian people.
Day 2 - Jakarta
Familiarise yourself with the city on a morning walking tour with your local guide. Take in Sunda Kelapa port, where the Dutch first landed, temple-filled Chinatown and the old town of Batavia. Visit a Chinese mansion (Chandra Naya) and gain an insight into the beautiful Peranakan architecture. Wander about Fatahillah Square, then explore the religious side of the city at Cathedral Church and Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in South-East Asia. Meander through the antique market at Jalan Surabaya.
Day 3 - Pangandaran
Today there's some distance to cover, so you will spend most of the day travelling. Travel by train to Pukuwerto City (approximately 5.5 hours), then take a private minibus to Pangandaran (approximately 3 hours). Pangandaran is a small fishing village popular with visitors looking for a coastal escape. The Penanjung Nature Reserve on the adjoining peninsula boasts some impressive flora and fauna.
Day 4 - Pangandaran
Set off on a tour of the local surrounds, villages, cottage industries and the impressive green canyon. Your day trip begins with a stop at a local market to check out the produce and home industries such as palm sugar and rice cracker production, as well as the famous Javanese 'Wayan Golek' (traditional wooden puppets). Then you'll continue to the Green Canyon. Hop aboard your boat and travel upriver (approximately 30 minutes) through superb jungle scenery, before stopping for a swim up into the canyon itself. This spot, whose water is green as its name suggests, is a popular hangout for locals, so take the opportunity to interact. Your day concludes at a nearby beach where you can take a break for lunch and swim in the afternoon before heading back.
Day 5 - Yogyakarta
Head inland by private minibus (approximately 1 hour) before catching a train to Yogyakarta (approximately 4 hours). This town is one of South-East Asia's real gems. It's Java's cultural heart, has a great atmosphere and is an Intrepid favourite. From batik workshops to the nearby Hindu and Buddhist temples, 'Yogya' offers a great array of cultural avenues to explore.
Day 6 - Yogyakarta
Rise early to catch the morning light and avoid the crowds at Candi Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure on earth. This magnificent World Heritage site is set in a tranquil park. As you approach, you'll see the enigmatic temple rise before you, looming above the tropical foliage. With your local guide, follow the route of ancient pilgrims, circling the mandala-shaped structure from the early realms towards Nirvana. It's truly one of South East Asia's treasures. Afterwards, enjoy an afternoon of free time. You might like to visit one of Yogya's other heritage temples – this time perhaps of the Hindu variety. Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu complex in Java.
This evening perhaps catch a performance of the epic Ramayana Ballet. Your leader will be able to check dates and availability for you.
Day 7 - Yogyakarta
Pedal out of the city on a cycling tour (approximately 6 km) through the rice fields and countryside surrounding Yogyakarta. See the locals in this area making various goods, from bricks to tofu to tempe. As well as palms and lush green grasslands, you will see the odd burst of yellow and pink flowers by the side of the road, which make for great photo opportunities. This cycling tour is on relatively flat ground, so it won't be too strenuous. There will be ample time to take in all the interesting scenes of slow-paced local life.
Day 8 - Seloliman Nature Reserve
Travel by train (approximately 4.5 hours) before transferring on a minivan (approximately 1 hour) to Seloliman Nature Reserve. The peaceful Seloliman Nature Reserve is situated on the slopes of the sacred Penanggungan volcano. Meet some of the volunteers working at the Seloliman Environmental Education Centre and eat delicious, locally grown organic produce cooked by their staff. The centre's accommodation is atmospheric, with open-air bathrooms built in harmony with the surrounding forest, so take this opportunity to relax. This is a beautiful spot to appreciate nature – be sure to sit under the stars tonight and take in the ambience of the mountainous surrounds.
Day 9 - Mt Bromo
Join reserve staff on a walk around the reserve, learning about the local environment and the Javanese tradition of herbal medicine (approximately 2.5 hours). You'll gain an insight into local flora and fauna, traditional farming methods, rice production, the mini hydro electricity plant and the local village coffee shop. Finish up with a traditional Jamu demonstration and a tasting of 'Javanese medicine'. Continue on to Mt Bromo, the timeless homeland of the Tenggerese (approximately 4 hours). The still-active Mount Bromo (2,329 m) is the most well known volcano of the Tengger massif. This region is also the homeland of the Tenggerese and the steep, cultivated hills of the Tengger Valley. Our guesthouse tonight is basic, but we stay here so we have a short drive before starting the hike tomorrow. Retire early tonight, in preparation for tomorrow's early start.
Day 10 - Kalibaru
Your early start today (around 3.30am) will be well worth it. You'll climb to a nearby hill for fantastic views over Mt Bromo. The ascent is not too difficult (approximately 45 minutes), but it can be very cold, so don't forget to bring extra layers of clothing. It's also worth bringing a scarf to cover your nose and mouth, as it can get dusty. If the weather is clear, the sunrise over this eerie sea of volcanoes is an unforgettable experience. Afterwards, catch a bus transfer to Probolingo and travel by train to Kalibaru (approximately 4.5 hours). You'll stop for lunch en route, then arrive in the afternoon, with time to relax by the pool or perhaps indulge in a local massage.
Day 11 - Pemuteran
Head out early in the morning to tour nearby coffee, cocoa and rubber plantations. You'll see how rubber is processed, how coffee is dried, and, if there's time, how cocoa is fermented. Before you set off, enjoy a nice cup of coffee or tea and snack on fried banana. Travel by minibus to the far eastern end of Java, Gilimanuk (approximately 3 hours). There is often a lot of heavy traffic on this stretch of road as it's the main entry point for Bali, so there may be some delays. Next you'll board a ferry across the Java Strait (approximately 1 hour), before boarding another minibus for a journey along the west coast of Bali (approximately 1 hour). Travel on to Pemuteran, your destination for the next two nights.
Day 12 - Pemuteran
Enjoy a relaxing day in this gorgeous beachside spot. Maybe start the day with a relaxing yoga class and then explore the local area at your own pace. Visit the surrounding monkey-filled temples, go swimming, snorkelling, or simply sit back, relax and watch the fishermen go about their work.
Day 13 - Ubud
Make the short journey to Ubud (approximately 5 hours). En route, stop in at Taman Ayun Temple, taking in the impressive Balinese architecture while you stroll around the tranquil gardens. Ubud is Bali's main arts and cultural centre, recently made famous by the Hollywood movie 'Eat Pray Love'. It's a wonderful place to experience the magic that has made Bali such a popular travel destination.
Day 14 - Ubud
Enjoy a free day to soak up the relaxed atmosphere of Ubud, before your continuing meeting at 6pm.
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. Afterwards, perhaps head out to for a group meal at one of the delicious local restaurants.
Day 15 - Ubud
Led by your local guide, you will tour Ubud on foot today (approximately 3 hours). 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 16 - Sidemen
Set off by bicycle (approximately 3 hours) through backstreets, quaint villages and rice fields – a great way to meet the local people and take in the lovely views. 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 17 - Mt Batur
Take a morning walk (approximately 3–4 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. You can also cool off in the river nearby. 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 18 - 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 19 - 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.
Tonight we head to Ibu Wayan's to learn about Balinese cuisine and have a home cooked meal.
Day 20 - 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 21 - Sanur
Visit the Bali Botanical Gardens in Bedugal. Here, over 2,000 species of plants from all over Indonesia are on display in a tranquil highland setting. Continue by minivan to Sanur and enjoy some free time there in the afternoon. Perhaps 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. Get a feel for the traditions and local customs which are well maintained here. Ancient temples are easily accessible – just a short distance away from the beach.
Day 22 - Sanur
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast today.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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