- Peace and tranquillity in Bali, exploration in Sulawesi and Borobudur for spirituality in Java
- Experience island hopping, volcanoes and temples in Java, Toraja villages and the stunning Bali Sea
- Walk in rice paddy fields, meet local artisans, practice yoga and enjoy a spectacular Kecak show... it's all in the itinerary
- Private transfers, Concierge service, priority customs clearance, airline lounge, all our usual additional services
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Spectacular volcanic landscapes, lush green vegetation, warm and friendly local people... Java certainly doesn't lack appeal. It's also home to magnificent monuments that are to Indonesia what Angkor Wat is to Cambodia and Bagan is to Myanmar: outstanding artistic symbols and accomplishments. The Hindu temple of Prambanan and the Buddhist temple of Borobudur stand witness to a great past and are world heritage sites, both fully deserving of their UNESCO status. They are a truly unforgettable experience.
Before that, there is full day to explore Yogyarkarta tailored to your interests. A city where the Javanese language is purest, the arts most alive and the traditions most keenly felt.
Included in the itinerary - A tour of Yogyakarta with an expat guide and private tours of the Borobudur and Prambanan temples.
… to Bali…
Bali in three stages, from north to south, starting off in Bangli to experience its beautifully Balinese soul. Life ambles at a gentle pace here, surrounded by winding cobblestone alleyways and neat rice fields. Next is Ubud, which has been the focus of the island's artistic creativity for decades through its galleries, shops and museums. Here, too, rice fields surround the city: soak up their charms on foot or by bike. Jimbaran is a fishing village and a lovely seaside resort for enjoying the splendid coastline of the Bukit Peninsula. It has a wealth of stunning beaches, the perfect haven of peace and tranquillity to finish off this time in Bali. This is a place for taking things slowly.
Included in the itinerary - Cycling in the Balinese countryside; discovering rural life in the villages of Undisan and Penglipuran, the temple of Pura Kehen, the holy springs of Tirta Empu and the rice fields of Ceking; achieving inner balance with a therapist and experiencing a Kecak dance show and dinner.
… via Sulawesi
In central Sulawesi, the mountain people build amazing houses on stilts with long bamboo roofs. The curves are reminiscent of buffalo horns, the sacred animal that ensures continuity between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The buffalo sacrifice is a central part of the elaborate funeral rites of the Toraja people and multiple horns denote homes of higher standing. However there's nothing macabre about the villages, rather a sense of continuity that is maintained across the generations, handing down traditions from one to the next.
Already in the itinerary - Hiking in the country's most beautiful rice paddy fields, an introduction to Toraja culture and a night at a local's house.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO YOGYAKARTA
Welcome, priority customs clearance and transfer to hotel. Three-night stay at a historic location in central Yogyakarta. The building, built in 1918 by a wealthy Chinese merchant, has evolved into a beautiful hotel, combining classic hospitality with a Southeast Asian feel (and a touch of Art Deco elegance). From the beautiful comfortable rooms, to a few lengths in the pool and a visit to the fitness area – it's all about wellbeing here.
In the itinerary - A tour of the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan - Leave early, with a private guide, to visit the Buddhist temple of Borobudur (dating from the ninth century), north-west of Yogyakarta. Rediscovered at the beginning of the 19th century, Borobudur blends stupas and mandalas to form a vivid ensemble of platforms and galleries decorated with statues and sculptures... A stunning creation and one of the finest examples of art meeting religious devotion. Just over ten miles north-east of Yogyakarta is Prambanan Shiva Temple (ninth century), the largest Hindu shrine in ancient Java. The scale is amazing.
In the itinerary - A guided walking tour with an expat to experience Yogyakarta like a local. An informal get-together and a flexible walking tour tailored to your interests. The perfect opportunity to get to see the city off the beaten track and immerse yourself in local life... wander through alleyways and soak up temples and street vendors galore.
YOGYAKARTA - MAKASSAR - RANTEPAO
Flight to Makassar on Sulawesi island. Minibus trip to Torajaland: 'the people of the uplands'. However, start by meeting the people from the 'lowlands' - the Buginese people. Arrival late afternoon and two-night stay in Rantepao, in a hotel with lodging in 'tongkonan', traditional noble houses with large concave roofs. The swimming pool in the spacious garden is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast.
TORAJALAND - RANTEPAO
The region is ideal for exploring the culture and enjoying long walks. An expert guide will introduce the ritual ceremonies of the Toraja people and explore the nearby mountain and forest trails. Spend a night in a local's home before heading to the Rantepao hotel for one last night on Sulawesi.
Visit villages in Torajaland - These mountain people are famous for their elaborate funeral rites and troglodyte graves in front of which, lined up on balconies, the 'tau-tau', or effigies of the deceased stand watch. There might even be chance to attend a festival of the dead, whose role is to reconcile our world and the next and to ensure good harvests for the living. If there is no ceremony planned, the villages themselves are still a fascinating experience.
RANTEPAO – MAKASSAR – DENPASAR - BANGLI
Transfer to Makassar airport and flight to Denpasar on Bali Island. Then transfer to Bangli for the next three nights. Accommodation in a peaceful eco-lodge nestled in the heart of the Balinese countryside, in the middle of rice fields, against the backdrop of the Mount Agung volcano. Its unique location, away from the crowds, between Ubud and Besakih Temple, makes it an ideal base for wonderful excursions.
Things to see and do - In Bangli, stroll through the streets of the village and get a flavour of everyday life, visit the school, walk through the rice fields and go to Pura Kehen Temple.
In the itinerary - A cycling tour of the Balinese countryside and villages. A lovely one-day trip, along narrow country lanes lined with lush vegetation and traditional villages. Accompanied by a local guide, discover a side of Bali that challenges preconceptions: meet village schoolchildren and locals and share a little of their daily life, explore Lake Batur and the village of Buayang to take in stunning views of imposing Mount Agung, visit the temple of Pura Kehen before stopping for lunch in the heart of the rice fields.
In the itinerary - Experience life in the village of Undisan. The Balinese are welcoming by nature, elegant, proud of who they are, curious about everything, and deeply attached to their ancestral beliefs and rites. A day-long foray into the rural life of the small village of Undisan is ideal for meeting the people of Bali: the village's schoolchildren, artisans, silversmiths, tailors... and even a Balinese farmer for an explanation on the different stages of rice growing. A short one-hour walk through the rice fields to Pura Dalem Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god of Shiva, will be a chance to learn about some of the religious rites including the preparation of offerings.
BANGLI - UBUD
Transfer to Ubud, in the south of the island. Three-night stay in a suite in this stylish retreat set in the countryside. The architectural design of this hotel reflects the island's tradition with thatched roofs and stone walls adorned with lavish sculptures. Painting, dancing and music became established here in the 1930s with the arrival of the first tourists, since when Ubud has gradually become the island's cultural centre. The village, still enchanting amid its rice fields, is now a must-visit for any art lover. Galleries, workshops and museums are all part of the landscape here. Our favourite picks include the Puri Lukisan Museum, the Neka Art Museum and the Agung Rai Museum of Art. Many artists have settled here and are happy to share their inspiration and aspects of daily life in Ubud.
Things to see and do - Stroll through the rice fields, climb to the top of Mount Batur, visit Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, explore Ubud Palace...
In the itinerary - A visit to the area around Ubud, which is dotted with many traditional villages, temples and holy springs. On a day trip with a local guide along country roads and paddy fields, see some of the area's attractions such as the Hindu temple of Pura Kehen; the traditional village of Penglipuran and its bamboo houses; the majestic temple of Pura Gunung Kawi in Tampaksiring, built in the 11th century on the banks of the Pakrisan River, a special place of pilgrimage that houses tombs carved into the rock; the mystical atmosphere of the holy springs of Tirta Empul, famed for their purifying and medicinal powers. The temple of Gunung Kawi Sebatu and Ceking rice fields in Tegalalang round off this wonderful day trip.
In the itinerary - Visit an Indonesian therapist for an energy balance session. In yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, the term 'chakras' refers to all the energy points throughout the body, grouped into seven main chakras, which influence the well-being of body and mind. This invisible energy, known as 'Prana', is a life force that preserves energy, dynamism and vitality. Opening chakras and positive energy transfer are performed by a professional therapist with the aim of achieving spiritual healing.
Included in the itinerary - Ubud, and the Bali Culture Centre, which is famous for its wonderful traditional dance performances. In an outdoor amphitheatre, by candlelight, watch a Kecak dance performed by around 50 dancers from local communities. This is followed by a traditional dinner.
UBUD - JIMBARAN
Transfer to Jimbaran on the southern shore of Bali. Jimbaran Bay lies on the lush, warm Bukit Peninsula – with its limestone soil, ragged coastline and idyllic beaches. A beautiful crescent of sand bathed in emerald water, where a long string of 'warungs', small traditional restaurants, offer up the catch of the day. Enjoy fish marinated in garlic and lime, grilled on coconut bark, while watching women walk around with triangular straw baskets filled with skipjack tuna. In the evening, relax and watch the sun set in this magical setting.
Spend the last two nights in a beautiful location. A scattering of Balinese-style cottages nestled in a garden of hibiscus. Private enclosed gardens and floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the garden or ocean create the sensation of being alone in nature. There is a romantic beach setting for dining, lit by torches planted on the beach, complemented beautifully by the sound of the gentle lapping of waves...
Things to see and do - Uluwatu Temple, Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, a former limestone quarry housing a gigantic statue of Vishnu, the Pasifika Museum and, for early risers, the fish market on Jimbaran beach every morning.
JIMBARAN – RETURN FLIGHT
Transfer to the airport and flight home. Next-day arrival.
A la carte
Climb Mount Bromo
Train ride to Jombang. From an air-conditioned car, watch the stunning Javanese countryside roll gently by. Drive past rice fields, coffee and tea plantations and rainforests galore. Upon arrival, transfer to Mount Bromo. Overnight stay at an altitude of 6,560ft in a contemporary lodge harmoniously incorporated into the volcanic landscape. Respect for nature is a strong theme in this stunning location, which features a cafe displaying photography.
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