Tour begins: 5:00 PM. A transfer is included from Singapore's Changi International Airport to the historic Raffles Singapore, a landmark of colonial elegance since it opened in 1887; declared a National Monument by the Singapore government, the hotel has just reopened after a meticulous restoration worthy of its iconic reputation as one of the city's most luxurious retreats. During its 130-year reign, it has witnessed Singapore's early colonial era, the Japanese Occupation in World War II, and its independence. Join us for a private welcome reception and dinner in this legendary setting tonight with a taste of the hotel's famous Singapore Sling.
Always a surprise to first time visitors, Singapore blends tradition with technology, evoking images of a futuristic and efficient Jetson-style setting with a nostalgic nod to its storied past. Explore the sights, past and present, on a drive through the city, stopping at a private house for lunch with your local host. Learn what it's like to live in this modern city-state, governed by rules and regulations that make this one of the lowest crime, scrupulously run destinations in the world, then embark on a bumboat ride back in time as your cruise along the Singapore River. This evening is yours to experience a taste of Singapore at night.
Futuristic Gardens by the Bay
Start the day with lecture by a local expert before embarking on a visit to themed gardens "where wonder blooms" in a 250-acre fantasyland of space age biodomes, high-tech Supertrees and whimsical sculptures. Your guided tour includes time to wander amidst flowers that thrive in dry Mediterranean climates the around the world in the Garden Dome and through rainforest vegetation in its tropical Cloud Forest complete with a waterfall. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Easy to navigate, Singapore is a compact city with an array of fascinating ethnic neighborhoods, designer boutiques and a legendary street food and restaurant scene tempting with culinary creations difficult to resist.
Fly to the island of Java
A morning flight brings you to another world when you land in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Step off the plane in a cultural hub of puppetry, arts, sandstone temples and jeweled palaces that speak volumes about the soul city of Indonesia. Visit the royal Sultan Palace in the kraton, effectively a walled city with shops, cottage industries and mosques, and where the sultan and his family live today. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive through the countryside to the town of Magelan in central Java, where your hotel is near the world's largest Buddhist temple.
Sunrise is an extraordinary time to take in the 1,200-year grandeur of Borobudur, a colossal Buddhist temple whose resilience equals it long-standing legacy as a mountain of a thousand statues. Join us at dawn as we visit this 9th-century wonder, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for treasures untold. Its sculpted bas-relief panels depict the teachings of the Buddha and are allegedly designed to guide spiritual "the faithful" on a journey of spiritual enlightenment. Return to the hotel for breakfast then climb aboard a horse cart as you explore the Candi Rijo village, stopping to meet the locals. Spend the afternoon as you wish, before a private lecture about the historic kingdoms of Java. Dinner is a special affair tonight, featuring traditional entertainment and local culinary specialties.
A palace in Yogyakarta & temples in Prambanan
Enjoy a leisurely morning before driving to your hotel in Yogyakarta, renowned as a center of traditional arts and cultural heritage. Ride a rickshaw from your hotel this afternoon through streets lined with street art, galleries and cultural attractions everywhere you look to the Taman Sari Water Palace, meaning perfumed garden. The site of an 18th century royal garden and bathing complex built to please the Sultan. The 12, 600 acre grounds include water gardens, polls and artificial lakes, along with some 59 different buildings, some connected by underground tunnels. Continue to Prambanan Temple, built in the 10th century; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Your visit sparkles with a special dinner and a private ballet show that comes to life through more than 200 professional dancers and musicians who perform on an open-air stage with the temples as a backdrop.
Fly to Bali
Fly early this morning to a Balinese island paradise steeped in flowered blessings and spectacular natural beauty. Touch down for a drive to Ubud in the middle of the island, stopping for lunch in a local restaurant and a visit to the Monkey Forest in the village of Padantegal. Arrive at your Ritz-Carlton resort late afternoon and enjoy dinner at your leisure.
Life in Ubud
Experience a taste of daily life in one of the prettiest places on Earth as you embark on a walking tour of the Subak Guiland Village. See how its residents live as your guide shares anecdotes about the local customs and culture. Lunch in the village is overlooking the rice fields that blanket the landscapes here and is followed by a blessing and rituals performed by the priest of the temple you'll visit. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish.
The art of cooking or an art museum - & maybe a hike
Accompany a local chef on a visit to the village market this morning, before your choice of activities. Learn how to cook traditional Balinese recipes during a cooking class or visit an art museum and attend a talk on Balinese art. This afternoon you may choose to hike through the rice fields with a local guide who shares insights about the landscapes you'll see. The evening is at leisure at your resort.
Fly to Flores, gateway to the Komodo Islands
Spend the morning at leisure and have lunch at a local restaurant in Bali. An afternoon flight brings you to the island of Flores for a two-night stay at a secluded seaside resort nestled in a quiet cove on Waecicu Beach and a boat ride away from the island in Komodo National Park where the famous dragons roam. You have a choice of ways to spend the afternoon. Luxuriate in the natural beauty and amenities of your island idyll, including basking on the beach, swimming and snorkeling or join a local guide for a visit to the fishing town of Labuan Bajo. Everyone meets up for a sundowner and barbecue dinner on the beach where you will be introduced to traditional music and dance.
Boat ride back in time to the land of the dragons
Hop aboard a motorboat for a ride across the bay to Komodo National Park and the island home of the giant Komodo dragons. Your local guide will lead you down paths to see these rare lizards in their natural habitat, providing insights about their behavior and pointing out the wildlife that share the landscapes with them. You may spot horses, buffalo, deer, wild boar, snakes and monkeys along the way. Board your boat again for a ride to an isolated tropical island for a picnic lunch and time at leisure for swimming and snorkeling. The evening is free to enjoy a leisurely dinner at your resort.
Fly back to Bali
Fly back to Bali for a two-night stay at a Four Seasons Resort in Jimbaran Bay. For many, this part of Bali is paradise found. It's a land of jeweled beaches, sun-kissed and shimmering in white, black and gold, and necklaced by crystalline waves, aqua-tinted and ocean fresh, forested mountain slopes, emerald hued, mangroved bays and tiered terraces adorned with rice and flowers as far as the eye can see. Visitors long to lose themselves in its ethereal embrace, savoring a treasure trove of natural riches and spiritual gifts impossible to resist. Check into the hotel and join us for a favorite island pastime, kite flying. The local youth will share tips and techniques with you as your take over the reins of your very own kite. Sundowners are also a favorite way to end the day for locals and visitors alike and when sunset provides the setting for a traditional Balinese Kecak dance performance, the day and place become more magical still.
Clifftop Uluwatu Temple
Temples play an important role in life on Bali and this morning's visit to Uluwatu Temple, perched on the top of a steep cliff overlooking the sea, helps you understand why. Still functioning today, Uluwatu is one of six key temples believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars and one of nine temples believed to keep evil away from the island. Watch out for the monkeys as you gaze out at the stunning views 230 feet above the sea. Return to your beachfront resort for an afternoon of bliss and join us tonight for our farewell reception and dinner.
Tour ends: Bali. Fly home anytime. An airport transfer is included to Ngurah Rai, Denpasar Bali airport from the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.