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Strolling past lush rice paddies, walking up steaming volcanoes and venturing through ancient Hindu temples, we discover the best of Java and Bali on this tour taking in the highlights of Indonesia.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights simple hotel
2 nights hotel
2 nights lodge
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our tour starts late afternoon in Yogyakarta. Situated almost exactly halfway along the length of Java, in an area considered to be the heartland of the Javanese, Yogakarta is home to some of the island's oldest traditions and blessed with a rich, fertile soil from the volcanic ash. It is the cultural capital of Java, with a real mixture of cultural influences, including Hindu and Buddhist temples, dating from the 8th century, Islamic Palaces from the 18th century and Dutch colonial architecture that harks back to the days when the Netherlands held much of Java in its imperialistic grip.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Yogyakarta at any time. If you would like to receive an airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Yogyakarta International Airport, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information over breakfast on day two.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to wonder down Malioboro Street and try any of the fantastic street vendors, or explore a former colonial fortress, which now houses Fort Vredeburg Museum.
Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta (or similar)
This morning we enjoy a fun tour of Yogyakarta by 'becaks', a cycle rickshaw where the driver sits and peddles behind the passenger. The ride will take us to the Kraton Palace and Taman Sari Water Castle. Built by Java's first ruling sultan, Mangkubumi, the palace lies at the heart of a walled city that houses tens of thousands of people, whilst parts of the outer walls are still occupied by Javanese royalty. Later we drive out of the city, heading for the Hindu temple complex of the Prambanan Plain. This remarkable area is home to an incredible array of temples and palaces from the 8th and 9th centuries. We stay here to watch the sunset before returning to Yogyakarta.
This morning we head west to Borobodur, the largest and most impressive Buddhist monument in the southern hemisphere. Constructed in the 8th century this incredible monument, a petrified vision of the Buddhist cosmos, was lost for 900 years when Mount Merapi erupted and covered Borobodur in a layer of volcanic ash. The structure itself is immense, a gigantic Buddhist stupa constructed from two million blocks that covers an area of 200sq metres and rises some 34.5 metres above the Kedu Plain. Older by nearly half a century than the site at Prambanan, Borobodur is believed to have been built on the top of the foundations for what was originally a temple dedicated to Shiva, abandoned by the Hindu Sanjayas when their Buddhist rivals the Saliendras swept through the Malay peninsula during the 8th century.
A combination of earthquakes, subsidence and the mass migration of the Javanese to the east of the island saw the temple abandoned sometime during the 9th century, to be rediscovered again later by the British. Substantial work has been carried out to salvage the exquisite carvings and designs that adorn the structure and we can wander through the site today and marvel at the incredible detail of its narrative panels, which detail everything from Buddhist doctrines to the daily life of the Javanese. We return to Yogyakarta later in the afternoon. There is the opportunity to view a performance of Ramayana Ballet, an adaptation of the Hindu epic in the evening.
Leaving Yogyakarta this morning we make the short transfer to the station where we board the express train to the Javan city of Malang . The Malioboro Express takes around eight hours to rumble through the heart of Java, sweeping past lush rice paddies, rural villages and through lively provincial towns that buzz with daily life. The carriages are air-conditioned with comfortable reclinable seats, power sockets and there are toilets at the end of each carriage.
The train is due into the city of Malang in the late afternoon. After some free time to freshen up, we head out this evening for a short orientation tour of Malang's charming colonial architecture, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Enny's Guesthouse (or similar)
We make an early start this morning to visit the flower market in Malang before driving around 4 hours to Cemoro Lawang to bring us closer to Mount Bromo. We must change our vehicle for the last part of our journey as we head off the main road. We arrive in time for a late lunch break, after which our tour leader will take us for a three hour trek through the Sand Sea towards Mount Bromo.
Lava View Lodges (or similar)
Today, in the early hours of the morning, you have the option to take an excursion, by jeep and on foot, to the slopes of Mount Penanjakan (2770m) for spectacular views of Mount Bromo crater for sunrise. The trip then drives across the Sand Sea of the caldera towards the crater itself, admiring the beautiful pink glow of our surroundings as the sun slowly rises. Volcanoes have mystified man since the earliest of times, and with this breathtaking scene laid out before us this morning it is easy to understand why. Mid morning we will continue our journey to Kalibaru, which will be our base for two nights.
Kalibaru Cottages (or similar)
We set off this morning to explore the plantation's extensive grounds on foot. This area is known locally to produce excellent nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, cocoa, coffee and coconuts. We learn how each crop is grown and harvested, along with a demonstration of how palm sugar is processed, a staple ingredient in this part of the world. In the afternoon we continue our journey east, driving to the port town of Ketapang. It is from here we wave goodbye to Java and catch a ferry to our next Indonesian island, Bali. Once on the \ Hindu Island\ , we continue by bus, driving along the scenic coastal road to the relaxed beach-side town of Pemuteran.
Kubuku Lodge (or similar)
Pemuteran is a laid-back village located on Bali's northern coastline, tucked far away from the beach hot spots in the south. Its lack of surf means it's not a popular haunt for surfers either, but instead is a perfect secluded spot for swimming and snorkelling. Pemuteran and its villagers have witnessed the effect of over-tourism in other resorts in Bali, and are taking active steps to avoid the same pitfalls. They have set up a community-wide initiative which tightly controls any building and development, and they operate a fascinating environmental project they call \ Bio Rocks\ . Before being made illegal, vast swathes of the local coral had been destroyed by dynamite fishing, so the coral is now being grown back with the aid of a low-voltage electricity supply, returning at a rate estimated to be five times faster.
Today has been left free to explore the village or to relax on the beach and soak up Pemuteran's laid-back atmosphere. There are also a variety of optional excursions to choose from, including a half-day snorkelling trip, mangrove walk or a trip out to West Bali National Park which is particularly popular for those interested in birdlife.
There is a further free morning in Pemuteran today, and after lunch we continue along the scenic coastal road before turning inland. The road begins to twist and turn through the forest until we reach the small farming community of Munduk. The town enjoys an enviable position sitting higher in altitude than most of the island, and the cooler climes offer some respite from Bali's humidity. Munduk is home to a community of farmers that serve the myriad of surrounding plantations and rice paddies, and we hope to arrive in time for a sundowner as we climb to a viewpoint to watch the day turn to night and the sun dip into the forests below.
Puri Lumbung (or similar)
As far as tourism is concerned, Munduk very much sits in the shadows of its more popular cousin Ubud. Its small village offers few familiar concessions to modern tourists, but its surrounding countryside hides towering waterfalls, lush rice paddies and colourful plantations, and this morning we set off on foot to explore these surroundings. Our walk takes us through plantations of banana, cocoa and coffee, where we learn how the locals grow, harvest and sell these vital crops to support their families, and have been doing so for generations. We continue the walk through forests before reaching the impressive Melanting and Munduk waterfalls, which offer a great place to break for a snack and for photo opportunities. We continue back to Munduk village where we end the morning's walk, a total of around four hours and six kilometres.
After lunch, we continue our drive down through the island's lush centre to the beating heart of Bali's bohemian culture, Ubud.
Sri Aksata (or similar)
We start our day with an orientation walk around the rice paddy fields, learning about local farming techniques and the life of the farmers here. The rest of the day is free to explore the town on your own. There's the option to visit some of the various handicraft workshops for which Ubud is famous, or cultural sites such as the Goa Gajah cave, Yeh Pulu rock carvings and the Pejeng Temple. Balinese art reflects many of the traditions and culture of the islands, recounting religious and historical epics, elements of puppet theatre and even real life, and in Ubud you can find some of the finest examples of the work anywhere in the archipelago.
This morning our time is free to enjoy Ubud further before we check-out and make the one hour journey to our final stop at Sanur on Bali's south east coast, where we find white sand beaches. Sanur has a village feel and while there are several hotels and resorts it retains a certain charm. There a plenty of small shops for souvenir shopping, a selection of restaurants both on the main street and on the palm fringed beach front.
Puri Sading (or similar)
Your time is free today to enjoy this small beach resort. Optional excursions for those who wish to be more active include excursions to explore either east or south Bali.
Our tour ends after breakfast, but depending on flight times there may be the opportunity to enjoy the beach this morning for one last time.
Lying on the equator, Indonesia stays hot all year round, with daytime temperatures in the 80's (26°-28°C). Humidity is usually high. The wet seasons are roughly: Java- October to April; Bali- November to May; starting later the further east you travel. Nights are much cooler in the mountains than on the plains. Sea breezes normally keep the coastal strips of the islands from becoming too uncomfortable.
2 Pin Round
Islam, Christian, Hindu
Indonesian (official), numerous regional dialects, Sundanese, Javanese and some English.
Yogyakarta - Ramayana Ballet - dance performance £20.00 (£27 with dinner included) Ubud - Kecak and fire dance show £5.00 Bromo - Jeep excursion to Mount Bromo for sunrise - £25.00 - £32.00 depending on number of participants Kalibaru - Visit to the crater of Ijen volcano £25.00 - £32.00 depending on number of participants Sanur - East Bali tour visiting Goa Lawa bat cave, Tirtagangga water palace and Tenganan village - £30, Temple tour of South Bali taking in Taman Ayun and Taman Lot including a Barong dance performance - £35.
The region is tropical (humid) and days can be very hot. Casual clothes are the most practical, whilst tight fitting garments should be avoided. Please bring long skirts, trousers and shirts to cover yourself fully in order to respect local sensibilities and please bear in mind that short shorts are generally unacceptable. Bring some warmer clothing for the time spent at higher altitudes and if you intend (conditions allowing) to climb Mount Ijen (optional). Light rain gear and/or an umbrella is excellent in sticky, tropical conditions. A sunhat is essential.
Comfortable walking shoes, trainers and sandals.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage, you'll be required to carry your own luggage in places, so don't overload yourself. For our night on Bromo we won't have access to our main luggage, so you will need to pack your daypack with one nights essentials.
Binoculars, torch, water bottle, insect repellent, high factor suncream (at least factor 15), good quality sunglasses and a lip salve with sun protection. You may also wish to bring your own snorkel and mask for Lovina Beach.
Bus, Ferry, Rickshaw
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
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Indonesia: British nationals travelling to Indonesia for tourism purposes can apply for a visa on arrival at a cost of IDR 500,000. Other nationalities may require a visa or may travel visa free for up to 30 days. Please check your government advice. If travelling on a free visa you must also exit via one of the approved ports - including international airports in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya and Batam, and sea ports in Batam and Bintan. All passports must have at least 6 months validity remaining after departure from Indonesia.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
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Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
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You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
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On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, infectious hepatitis, typhoid and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Malaria and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Although not compulsory, travellers may wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.