Amidst the breathtaking beauty and ancient temples of Java and Bali, we’ll encounter unique traditions that endure in the lives of its residents. With our expert native guides, you’ll experience the True Spirit of these enchanting islands. Luxury hotels and singular culinary experiences enhance every moment of our Original Journey.
Day 1 – FastTrack VIP Arrival in Yogyakarta, Java
You’ll be warmly greeted at your arrival gate and personally assisted through immigration, baggage claim and customs formalities. Then meet our driver for the scenic journey to Magelang where you check in to Amanjiwo. Settle in to your lavish ultra-spacious suite and take in the breathtaking views of Borobudur and the surrounding valley from your private walled garden. This evening, we’ll gather for a Welcome Dinner. Meals D
Day 2 – Sunrise at Borobudur + Living Traditions of Java
With roots going back to the Bronze Age, the distinctive curved-blade Kris recognized today is said to have originated in East Java sometime in the 14th century. Spending time with a master Kris-maker, we’ll delve into the physical, historic and even spiritual qualities of these beautiful daggers. Later this afternoon, we’ll discover the grandeur and magnificence of Borobudur #WHS#; built in the 8th and 9th centuries, it is a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture. Our visit has been carefully timed to finish on a spectacular high note as you watch the sun cast its last golden rays across the largest and most spectacular Buddhist temple complex in the world. Meals B+L
Day 3 – Bugisan Village and Prambanan Temple
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll visit the Twin Temples of Candi Plaosan. With both Hindu and Buddhist elements, their blend of styles recalls a romantic story that our engaging guide will share. We’ll explore the village of Bugisan by ox cart, spending time with residents to enjoy some snacks and learn about their cottage industries - from the baking of Emping, a popular Javanese snack, to the preparation of Jamu, an old herbal remedy still used throughout Indonesia. They’ll also teach us about Gamelan, the ancient ensemble music of Indonesia. After touring Prambanan #WHS#, Indonesia’s largest and most finely preserved Hindu temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva, we’ll continue to the Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta where Regency Club Rooms have been reserved for our group. Meals B+D
Day 4 – Sultan’s Palace + Our Javanese Culinary Experience
At the 18th-century Sultan’s Palace, we’ll discover a vast complex, more like a walled city, that’s home to nearly 25,000 people with their own market, cottage industries, schools and mosques. At the heart of this lavish complex is the stunning Golden Pavilion. From here, traditional rickshaws take us to Taman Sari to admire gardens, pavilions and pools built centuries ago for the pleasure of the Sultan and his harem.
Later this afternoon, our special culinary tour finds us in a small family-run restaurant and a bakery – learning to prepare Java’s traditional Lotek salad and sampling a variety of specialties, both sweet and savory. Of course, we’ll feast on Gudeg; once reserved for the Sultan’s family, this local favorite is a jackfruit stew simmered for hours with teak leaves and coconut milk. Our evening ends behind the Sultan Palace, an area that comes alive at night with illuminated pedi-cabs and residents out to enjoy some music in the fresh air. Meals B+L+D
Day 5 – By Rail to Mojokerto + Onward to Bromo
After an early breakfast, we’ll head to the station to embark on a scenic rail journey that will take us into East Java. On arrival in the lively town of Mojokerto, we’ll continue to Plataran Bromo. Nestled in the lush highlands, our enchanting resort offers magnificent views of the surrounding hills and their tapestry of plantations and farms. You’ll have time to relax and enjoy this idyllic setting before we gather for dinner. Meals B+D
Day 6 – Sunrise over Bromo + Fly to Bali
Named for Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation, Mount Bromo is an active volcano in the middle of a vast crater known as the Sea of Sand; part of the Tengger Massif, a smoldering volcanic complex, it’s an other-worldly landscape that knows no parallel! The day begins early as we set out by jeep and then on a short walk along the slopes of Mt. Penanjakan; as we near the summit, we’ll have a breathtaking view as the sun rises over Mt. Bromo - and the four other volcanoes that rise up from the Sea of Sand!
Then we’ll drive to the base of Mt. Bromo where a 45-minute walk takes us right up to the rim: Standing above the crater, there is only a short concrete barrier separating you from the steam that rises from the darkness below. The air is thick with sulphur vapors and the roar emanating from deep inside the Earth is something you will never forget!
After breakfast, we drive to Surabaya and fly to Denpasar. On arrival, we’ll be escorted to the luxurious Viceroy Bali for a 4-night stay in Ubud, a charming highland town revered as the artistic and cultural heart of the island. Set amidst lush tropical hills, your lavish villa offers more than 1,600 square feet of indoor and outdoor space - including an infinity edge pool overlooking the verdant valley. Meals B+D
Day 7 – Balinese Culture Comes to Life
To provide you with a truly intimate experience of Balinese life and culture, we’ll divide into two groups of just 8 guests each. Over the next two days, each group will have a chance to enjoy both of these specially planned activities:
One group will enjoy our Babi Guling Feast. Starting at the residence of Bapak Enong Ismail, curator of the Sukarno Museum, you’ll enjoy a brief cultural talk and then watch as his neighbors prepare Bali’s classic roast pork feast. Then tour some of the nearby temples before returning to Ismail’s home where your Babi Guling has been roasting to perfection. Served with a variety of Indonesian side dishes, this unforgettable meal is enlivened by the company of your host and the friendly locals who helped in its preparation.
Our other group will embark on our adventure in Subak Guliang, described in detail below.
Day 8 – We Switch Groups
If you didn’t do it yesterday, today you’ll enjoy the Babi Guling Feast described above. Those who already experienced this activity will embark on an adventure that starts in the quiet farming village of Subak Guliang, known for its uniquely Balinese homes. You’ll spend time with local famers and school children, learning about their daily life and Bali’s unique social system; known as Subak and centered on the island’s water temples , it’s both a philosophy and a way of life that cooperatively manages their most precious natural resource. After an alfresco lunch, this excursion also visits Pura Kehen, one of the island’s most beautiful temples.
Tonight, we’ll all regroup to enjoy the 8-course farm-to-table Degustation Menu at Aperitif, a stunning restaurant that blends modern gastronomy with traditional Indonesian flavors.
Day 9 – The Beauty of Central Bali
The gently descending roads from the mountain village of Kintamani are a delightful way to take in island landscapes – including Mt. Batur and a deep blue crater lake that both lie within the 7-mile wide Batur Caldera. Stopping to engage with villagers, discovering the iconic rice terraces of Tegalalang, and browsing in a colorful market also highlight our morning. If you wish, you can make a part of this journey by bicycle!
After lunch at Kafe ARMA, we’ll visit Pura Gunung Lebah, an 8th-century temple set in a lush forest. Our guided walk along the famed Campuhan Ridge Trail finds us winding our way above two river valleys. In the distance, the towering silhouette of Mt Agung provides the backdrop for breathtaking views of small outlying villages surrounded by rice fields. Tonight, we’ll dine at Manisan. Meals B+L+D
Day 10 – Balinese Cuisine + Culture
As we did before, dividing groups over the next two days gives us all a chance to enjoy special activities that have been uniquely planned for just 8 guests.
One group will travel to Belayu for our Culinary Experience. Join a village family for coffee and conversation - and learn firsthand about Canang Sari, the daily offering ceremony practiced by Balinese Hindus. Then journey through the lush countryside, visiting Taman Beji Temple and continuing to the ancient town of Mengwi where a resident chef will meet you for a fascinating tour of the lively and colorful market. A hands-on cooking class at his villa ends this unique excursion. If you wish you can make the journey to Taman Beji Temple and Mengwi on a bicycle.
Our other group will experience the Spirit of Belimbing excursion, described in detail below.
After our excursions, we’ll all check in to the luxurious Soori Bali for a 2-night stay along a pristine stretch of the island’s southwest coast. This evening’s dinner features fine Indonesian cuisine inspired by the Majapahit Empire that rose to power in the 13th century. An enthralling performance of the music and ceremonies of the era enhance this theatrical dining experience.
Day 11 – We Change Groups Again
If you didn’t join our Culinary Experience yesterday, you’ll have a chance to do so today. Our other 8 travelers will join our Spirit of Belimbing excursion. Delight in a pleasant walk through the coffee and cacao plantations that surround the quiet village of Belimbing. With our engaging guide, you’ll also learn about the many other crops you’ll see being planted and tended - in terraced rice paddies, vegetable gardens, and fruit orchards. This walk ends at a secluded waterfall; regarded as sacred, a Hindu priest will be here to offer a blessing to those who come.
After our excursions, we’ll all have some free time this afternoon to enjoy the oceanfront setting and amenities of our luxury resort. This evening, we’ll gather together for our farewell dinner at Ombak, a casually elegant, beachside restaurant with enchanting sunset vistas.
Tanah Lot Temple + Departure… Or Travel on to Komodo National Park
After breakfast and check out, we’ll visit one of Bali’s most iconic landmarks. Set on a rocky spur surrounded by the sea, Pura Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most venerated sea temples. During low tide, the temple is visited by island residents who come to drink and cleanse themselves in the fresh water spring at the base. At high tide, Tanah Lot presents a wondrous site surrounded by breaking waves.
From here, continue to Denpasar Airport for your homeward journey. Or continue on our 4-day adventure featuring Komodo National Park. With a luxury hotel and naturalist-guided excursions, we’ll encounter the largest lizard on Earth! Meals B