A feast for the senses! From the incomparable architectural delights of Borobudur and Prambanan on the island of Java, to picturesque landscapes and beach bliss at Lombok, this Indonesia tour is packed full of incredible experiences. On this tour of Indonesia, your accommodation is a delight in itself: rest your head in some of the finest and highest quality hotels in Indonesia!
Yogyakarta in Java is a unique place for the appreciation of contrasts. Yogyakarta is best known for its two historic temples: Borobudur Temple, a 9th century Buddhist monument and UNESCO World Heritage site, and Prambanan Temple, dedicated to the divine Hindu Trimurti (trinity).
Day 1 - 4
Drive from Yogyakarta to Borobodur (43 km, 1.5 hrs)
Borobudur is considered the garden of Java, due to its agricultural heritage and timeless fertile lands. Borobudur is most famed for its ancient 9th century Mahayana Buddhist temple, located on a hill between the twin volcanoes of Sundoro-Sumbing and Merbabu-Merapi, and next to Progo River and Elon River.
Village Cycling & Borobudur Temple Tour (Full Day)
Head from your hotel to the traditional village of Jo Wahan, home to an array of cottage industries, including ceramic creations, tofu production. It is in Jo Wahan that the popular Javan rice crackers are made! Experience this unique village with a bicycle ride where you can observe the locals, before ending up at a restaurant for lunch. Afterwards, venture onward to the famous Borobudur Temple, which many say rivals Cambodia’s Angkor Wat! This famous 9th century temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. This giant pyramid structure was based on an ancient text and took about one hundred years to be completed, and old documents suggest it was inaugurated in 824 AD. Rising up from the green plains in a similar shape to its neighbouring volcanoes, it is a most marvellous setting for watching the sunset, although there is quite a climb up its six tiers to the top. Reaching the top, however, is well worth it as you will find 72 small latticework stupas that each house a Buddha. (Full Day; Private activity & transfer; Travel time to activity: 30 mins; Duration: 6 hrs including 2-3 hrs cycling depending on your interest; Fitness level: Easy to moderate, as you will reach the temple after climbing 100 steps, although they are not very steep.)
Highlights Of Yogykarta & Prambanan Temple (Full Day)
Take a one and a half hour drive out of Borobudur to reach the Sultan’s Palace, or Kraton, as it is known locally. The palace lies between Mount Merapi and Parangtritis beach region, which is considered a central force within Javanese cosmology. Built in the 18th century, it is a fine example of traditional Javanese sultanate architecture. The Sultan still resides in the palace, making it somewhat of a living museum, as it showcases Javanese relics and hosts occasional cultural activities, including puppetry and classical poetry performances. Head onward to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Prambanan Temple, a 9th century Hindu temple complex near the city of Yogyakarta. These imposing temples contain three important shrines, dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, which your local guide will explain in depth. (Full Day; Private activity & transfer; Travel time to activity: 1.5 hrs; Duration: 8 hrs; Fitness level: Easy)
Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali. Home to the country’s royal family, the town is rich in art and at the center of Balinese craft and traditional dance.
Highlights Of Ubud & Cycle Ride
Explore the vibrant Ubud city! Begin your tour at the Peliatan Palace to see beautiful Balinese architecture and continue onwards to ARMA Museum where several interesting art and cultural artifacts await. Guide your steps towards the Sacred Monkey Forest to meet its mischievous occupants, and then it’s straight to the heart of the city for a walk around the busy streets. At the choc-a-block local market, you’ll find everything from clothing to art and souvenirs. Afterwards, drive towards Jatiluwih Valley, whose rice fields were shaped over 500 years. The region boasts sophisticated dams, canals and aqueducts for efficient irrigation. Cycle downhill past beautiful rice terraces, mountains and valleys, to reach the narrow streets and gravel roads just a few kilometers away. After a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage site, embark on a hike through the field towards village of Babahan, where you will take a short break at Pura Besi Kalung. Continue cycling towards the Pinge village where you can break for an authentic Balinese lunch at Rumah Desa (Balinese House). Explore the vegetable garden at the hotel and witness how the food is prepared before you sit down to a hearty meal. (Full Day; Private Activity & Transfers; Travel time to activity: 30 mins; Fitness level: Easy; Please bring comfortable shoes, suntan lotion, and your hat. Please note that the cycling activity is planned in the morning from Jan – May, as this season has occasionally afternoon rain.)
Candidasa in Bali is a small coastal region located on the main road to Amlapura. At first glance, you may dismiss this inland as just another town with only a relatively small black sand beach.
Tenganan Village, Thirtagangga Water Palace & Besaikh Temple Tour (En Route To Candidasa)
En route to Candidasa, stop by the Besakih Temple, or the Bali Mother Temple, which has been built on the slopes of the sacred Mount Agung volcano. This uniquely terraced landmark, is a very important religious site for local people. Venture onwards to the 700 year old walled Tenganan Village which is home to the Bali Aga – the first aboriginals to settle on the island. Their customs are sprinkled with a touch of magic – the women weave a rare cloth, which is said to protect the wearer and plays an important role in cremation ceremonies. The weaving of one cloth can take up to five years. Venture to Tirta Gangga, or ‘Water of the Ganges’, where you can amble around a beautiful park with a huge water fountain and a rambling pond. Built by the Karangasem King in 1948, legend has it that the park contains a sacred spring serves as a divine bath for the Gods. (Half Day: Private activity & transfer as it in en route to Ubud; Duration: 3 hrs; Fitness level: Easy)
Despite being the same size as Bali, Lombok has managed to retain its privacy. If you seek authenticity, then venture to its black and white sandy beaches, lush forests, and fascinating trails through tobacco and paddy fields.
Day Trip To Gili Air & Gili Meno
Experience a wonderful day trip out of Lombok to the famous Gili Islands! These three paradise islands are located on the northwest of Indonesia and are ideal if you like diving or snorkeling. The islands are free from motorized vehicles, and the most popular way to get around is by bicycle and the traditional cidomo – a small horse cart. First, head to Gili Trawangan, which is the largest and most popular island, where you can find an uncomplicated, relaxed backpacker atmosphere of beach restaurants. The other islands are more remote and quieter, ideal if you wish to dream away the day. (Full Day; Private activity & transfers; Travel time to activity: 1 hr by boat; Duration: 6-8 hrs; Fitness level: Easy; Please note that you will be exploring Gili Meno and Gili Air islands by foot or in a horse-drawn cart, as there are no automobiles on either of these islands.)
Seminyak is the hedonist hotspot of Bali! Located north of the airport, Seminyak boasts a marvellous beach along a stretch of coastline that has made Bali world-famous.
Uluwatu Temple Sunset Visit With Kecak Dance Performance (Half Day)
In the late afternoon, drive to Pura Luhur Uluwatu (or Uluwatu Temple), which is regarded as one of the principles spiritual pillars of Bali. The temple is renowned for its fabulous location – by the sheer drop of a steep cliff, located 70 meters above the sea. This is the ultimate place to witness Bali’s delightful sunsets, especially with the Indian Ocean as your backdrop! If you appreciate ancient culture then you may also enjoy the delicate sculptures and Balinese architecture of the temple. After sunset, you can witness a traditional Kecak dance performance. This unique show is overseen by a male choir who rhythmically intone the syllables ke-cak, while a dance troupe of 50 men dance in circles. This simple performance style is hauntingly profound, not least because it represents stories from the Hindu epic – the Ramayana. (Half Day; Private transfers; Time of the day: Evening; Travel time to activity: 1 hr; Duration: 4 hrs; Fitness level: Easy; Please note that the dance performance is a group activity.)