Explore Central Indonesia's temples & volcanoes in Java and Bali.
Rice paddies give way to luxuriant jungles which coat towering volcanoes. Ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples bear witness to old and still vibrant cultures and traditions. The longest archipelago in the world made up of over 17,500 beach-fringed tropical islands, this is Indonesia. We journey through the geographical and spiritual heart of the country as we make our way through Muslim Java and Hindu Bali, taking in spectacular ruins, active volcanoes, village life and palm-fringed beaches.
All breakfasts are included. Food is cheap in Indonesia and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is available in Yogyakarta and Bali, though it is well worth trying the local cuisine. In more touristy areas, especially Ubud, there is a lot of food options and some fantastic restaurants and coffee shops catering for all tastes and requriements. Indonesian cuisine is generally fairly simple, with rice as the main staple, though noodles are also common, accompanied by dishes created with various spices including coriander, cloves and chilies as well as coconut and lemon grass. Fish, unsurprisingly is popular but other meats are also common. Peanuts are a popular ingrediant especially in dishes such as sate or gado gado and you should inform Exodus and your tour leader if you have a peanut alergy. Nasi (rice) and Mie (noodles) are very popular, especially the staple dish Nasi Goreng (fried rice). The cuisine does vary between Java and Bali and Ubud in particular has some excellent restaurants. Quite often tea or water (aqua) is drunk with a meal. Beer is not always cold and coffee is unfiltered and usually very sugary. Vegetarian food is available in Indonesia, however the concept of vegetarianism can be misunderstood so if you are a vegetarian please be clear and state that you don't eat meat, chicken or fish. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.
Today is a free day and land only passengers can arrive at any time. The group flights should arrive in the afternoon. Yogya, as the city is commonly referred to, is an ancient city which, a thousand years ago, was the centre of the Mataram Kingdom. Today it is Java’s cultural and traditional heart and is renowned for its batik, ballet, drama, poetry and music. This evening there will be a welcome briefing with your tour leader followed by an optional group dinner. *Duta Garden Hotel or similar*
Today we drive to Magelang 1.5hrs away where we visit one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, Borobudur. Scholars disagree on exactly when it was constructed but many speculate it dates back to between the 7th and 8th centuries. They do agree, however, that a huge workforce must have laboured to move and carve the 55,000 cubic metres of stone and that construction took about one hundred years. The temple was abandoned, probably when the population converted to Islam in the 15th century, and over time it was blanketed by volcanic ash from nearby Mt. Merapi, and then covered in thick jungle growth, until the British rediscovered it in the 1800s. Continuing to the village of Candirejo, we get to experience local life with a horse cart ride. Known as dokar, the horse cart takes us through this peaceful, charming village with its small lanes lined with traditional houses. We stop to see local activities such as making cassava crackers, playing the gamelan (traditional instrument) and harvesting and drying vanilla and chili. We then return to Yogya late afternoon. *Duta Garden Hotel or similar*
This morning we explore Yogya by becak (bicycle rickshaw) and visit the Sultan’s Palace. Also known as Kraton, the palace constructed in the 18th century is a fine example of traditional Javanese sultanate architecture. We continue to the ‘Taman Sari’ water palace and garden which was initially built with bathing pools for the Sultan’s harem. This afternoon we visit the 9th century Prambanan temple compound, consisting of 224 temples. The Hindu temple complex is stunningly beautiful, and devoted to the gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. It is the wealth of its sculptural details that these temples are known for, the most famous being on the inner wall of the balustrade, of the Ramayana epic. *Duta Garden Hotel or similar*
Today is a long day. We get up very early this morning in order to catch our train for a 4 hour train journey past Central Java’s volcanic scenery to Mojokerto. From here we visit nearby Trowulan, site of the former capital of the Majapahit Kingdom who ruled Java for centuries. We visit the archaeology museum and the temples of Candi Bajang Ratu and Candi Tikus. Continue to Jombang for a late lunch before transferring (approx. 4 hours) to the Hill Station of Batu along a scenic mountain road around the western slopes of Mt. Arjuna via Pare. *Kampung Lumbung Hotel or similar*
As we leave Batu, our first stop is the Cuban Rondo Waterfall where we will take a short, easy walk. Continuing to Malang we visit a local market before heading north towards Bromo via Pasuruan and Probolinggo (please be aware that the market is primarily a flower, bird and live fish market. However, Indonesian attitudes to animals means that some of the animals are not kept in the best conditions which may be distressing to some people). At Sukapura we switch to a local shuttle for the final leg of our journey. Our hotel is spectacularly located on the edge of the Tengger crater. The ascent of the volcano is usually the highlight of every visit to Java. The rest of the afternoon is free and there may be time to start exploring the Sand Sea by foot. This is a great time to visit as the Sand Sea is practically devoid of all people (drive about 6.5 hours). *Lava View Hotel / Cemara Indah Hotel Bromo or similar*
An early rise (3.00 am) will ensure we have enough time for the jeep ride to the sunrise viewpoint. The view of Bromo and the Semeru volcano in the back is fantastic (despite the crowds), made even better when the slowly rising sun reveals an amazing moon-like landscape. After sunrise we cross the Sea of Sand and climb 246 steps up to the cone of Mt Bromo where you can see smoke rising from the crater. Once back at the jeep, we drive back to the hotel for breakfast. We rejoin our bus in Sukapura for the 6 hour drive along the north coast to Kalibaru. We stop along the way for a late lunch near Jember and the final leg of the journey takes us through forests and mountains. Kalibaru, on the eastern tip of Java, is beautifully surrounded by coffee, cacao and rubber plantations. *Margo Utomo Hotel or similar*
This morning we visit the area including some of the plantations such as cacao, coffee, pepper and rubber, and learn about their growing and harvesting. The morning tour is concluded with a coffee tasting session, followed by a free afternoon. Those who wish can opt to visit Ijen Volcano (optional extra). Heading off either in the early hours (for sunrise) or after breakfast (if not going for sunrise) the drive by 4WD to the start hike takes about 2.5 hours. The hike starts from Paltuding at 1,850m and takes about 1.5 hours (3km) up to the crater rim at 2,368m. Along the way you may cross local men carrying sulphur loads weighing up to 70kgs on their backs. From the top you can enjoy views of the steaming, acidic crater lake, before returning the same way. Please note that the trail down to the ‘blue fire’ is considered too dangerous. *Margo Utomo Hotel or similar*
The drive to the harbour takes about 2 hours and is followed by a crossing of about 45 minutes to Bali (though depending on schedules we may be waiting 30 minutes-1 hour for the ferry to depart). As Bali is one hour ahead we should arriving at Gilimanuk harbour late morning. Our destination for today is only a short drive away but we first visit the Pulaki Temple. This Hindu shrine is situated in front of a hill overlooking a beautiful beach. The temple is guarded by a troop of Longtailed macaques who, according to local lore, protect the temple from bad influences. From here we continue to our beach-front hotel in Pemuteran on Bali’s north coast. The rest of the day is free to relax, enjoy the beach, snorkel amongst the Bio-Rock garden in the waters just off the beach (a series of cement and wire sculptures and formations placed in the bay to encourage the growth of coral), or make use of the spa. *Adi Assri Cottages or similar*
This morning is free with the option of going on a snorkelling trip to Menjangan Island off the north coast of Bali, part of the West National Park. The reefs around the island are reputed to be the best in all of Bali. The excursion includes some time snorkelling around the coral gardens as well as a short walk on the island itself where you may see some deer. After lunch we depart the coast and head into the interior of the island. We visit Ulun Danu Temple, an important Hindu Shiviaite water temple located on a small jut of land within the calm waters of Lake Beratan. When the water levels are high (mostly during the rainy season), this 17th century temple looks as though it’s floating on the lake. From here we continue to Bali’s cultural and traditional heartland, the vibrant town of Ubud. *Sahadewa Resort or similar*
Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad (medicine); the town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants, but these days is known for its artistic community, awash with artists' workshops and art galleries. Ubud's history can be traced back to the 8th century, when a Buddhist priest came to Bali from Java, he meditated at the confluence of the two Wos rivers at Campuan, just west of the modern day town centre. A shrine was established and later expanded by Nirartha, a Javanese priest who is regarded as the founder of Bali's religious practices and rituals as we know them today. When Ubud became a Dutch protectorate at its own request, the colonialists interfered little, allowing the traditional arts and culture of the area to remain relatively unchanged. From the 1930s onwards, western artists and intellectuals arrived furthering the local art scene, amongst them Charlie Chaplin and H.G. Wells. Ubud is still a haven for literati, glitterati and art collectors. Today is a free day to explore Ubud, wander around Monkey Forest, take in some of the museums, visit some of the temples, do a spot of shopping or sit in cafes and watch the world go by. *Sahadewa Resort or similar*
Our first stop today is at one of Bali’s famed rice terraces at Tegalalang before continuing on a tour visiting two ancient and important temples: Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul. The 11th century Gunung Kawi is set amidst lush rice paddies and features ten rock-cut ‘candis’ (shrines) carved into the cliff-face. They combine elements of Hindu and Buddhist temple attributes and are accessed via numerous stairs. Tirta Empul is a place where Balinese Hindus come to bathe in the holy waters and wash bad spirits away. From here it’s on to the village of Kintamani located on the caldera rim of a huge, ancient volcano. This is the best spot, weather permitting, for views of Mount Batur, the active volcano towering over Lake Batur. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is free. *Hotel Segara or similar*
For those who wish to do the optional sunrise hike to the top of Mt. Batur (see money section for prices), the day starts at around 4am for the short transfer to the start of the trail. After meeting the local guides and getting a safety briefing we start the hike to the summit. The 2km hike takes about 2 hours and goes through jungle before reaching a windswept rocky pathway devoid of almost all vegetation. Whilst not too challenging the walk is a sustained 2 hours+ uphill along mostly fairly steep trails and a reasonable physical condition is needed. Reaching the summit (1717m) a hot drink and simple breakfast keeps us occupied as we wait for the sun to rise over Mt. Rinjani on neighbouring Lombok (which can be seen on clear days). After the sunrise, head back down via a small steep path on the western slope of Mt. Batur and stop off at a 2nd crater from the 2001 eruption. Lower down the trail is the youngest 1999 crater with a smoking cone. We observe the lava field surrounding the volcano and trek across a black lava sea of sand to the finishing point from where we return to the hotel to rest. The whole excursion normally takes 5-6 hours. Those not wanting to do the optional Mt. Batur hike still get to experience the volcano as we head on a 2-3 hour walk starting from the rim of the Batur Caldera and descending through black lava fields. We learn more about the Batur Geopark and take in some of the region’s panoramic views. We depart the hotel for this walk around 7:30am and are back by about 10:00am for breakfast (having had a small refreshment along the way). After lunch, we check out and make our way to the southern Bali beach resort town of Sanur stopping at Goa Lawah Temple on the way. *Taksu Sanur Hotel or similar*
We end our two-week exploration of Java and Bali with a well-deserved day on the beach in Sanur. This popular resort is more relaxed than some of the other beaches in southern Bali but still offers a number of activities as well as just unwinding and enjoying the restaurants and cafes. As well as relaxing, maybe with a final massage, there are numerous optional activities both on the water and inland, these can change so will be discussed with you in Bali. *Taksu Sanur Hotel or similar*
Those on the group flights will be taken the short distance to Denpasar Airport in time for their flight home.
The whole trip was enjoyable and it was definitely Volcanos and Temples. I had travelled to Bali before but the majority of the sites that I visited this time were different from those I visited last time.I
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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