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Volcanoes & Temples of Indonesia
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At a glance
Explore Central Indonesia's ancient temples and smoldering volcanoes on this journey through Java, Bali and Lombok.
Trip Highlights
Start Destination
End Destination
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

All breakfasts 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. Restaurants come in all shapes, colours and standards; expensive- restoran, standard- rumah makan and simple- warung. Quite often tea or water (aqua) is drunk with a meal. Beer is often not cold and coffee is unfiltered and usually very sugary.

Day 1
Depart London
Depart London.
Day 2
Arrive Yogyakarta
Those on the group flights should be arriving in Yogyakarta in the afternoon. Land-only passengers will be informed about what time on day one they can meet the rest of the group. This afternoon will mostly be free to relax after the long flight or stretch your legs and explore Yogya (as the city is commonly referred to). Yogya is an ancient city and, 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.
Day 3
City tour; afternoon Prambanan.
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.
Day 4
Borobudur and Candirejo
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. Return to Yogya late afternoon.
Day 5
Train to Mojokerto and visits en route to Batu.
Today is a long day. We get up very early this morning in order to catch our train for a 4hr 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 (4hrs) to the Hill Station of Batu along a scenic mountain road around the western slopes of Mt. Arjuna via Pare.
Day 6
Malang city tour; to Bromo; Sea Sand exploration.
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. 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.
Day 7
Sunrise over crater; to Kalibaru.
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. We get back to the jeep and drive back to the hotel for breakfast. We rejoin our bus in Sukapura and for the 6hr 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.
Day 8
Plantation and village walk; optional Ijen visit.
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. The afternoon is free. Those who want can also opt to visit Ijen Volcano (optional extra). Heading off after breakfast, the drive by 4WD to the start hike takes about 2.5hrs. The hike starts from Paltuding at 1,850m and takes about 1.5hrs (3kms) 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. We return the same way. Please note that the trail down to the ‘blue fire’ is considered too dangerous.
Day 9
To Ubud, Bali via Taman Ayun.
We drive about 2hrs to the harbour where we will cross the narrow straits between Bali and Java by ferry (about 40mins). We will follow the West coast of Bali before heading into the centre of the island and the town of Ubud. On the way we visit Taman Ayun, the royal family temple. Ubud itself is the cultural heart of the island and religious traditions are an important part of life here.
Day 10
Visit Hindu temples; free afternoon.
This morning we go on a tour visiting two ancient and important temples: Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul. Gunung Kawi is an 11th Century 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 us a place where Balinese Hindus come to bathe in the holy waters and wash bad spirits away. Our next stop is Kintamani which, weather permitting, offers fantastic views of Bali’s tallest volcano, Mt. Batur. We have lunch before continuing to another viewpoint at Tegalalang looking out of the rice terraces. Returning to Ubud the rest of the afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Day 11
Visit Klungkung Palace; to Candidasa.
We continue our journey east stopping along the way. Our first stop is at Klungkung where we will visit the fomal court of jutice. Paintings of heaven and the underworld are painted on the ceilings and were used to dispense punishment in the old days. From here we continue to Goa Lawa temple, an important temple for the Balinese. Beautiful black lava stones were used for its constructions and it is located by the sea in front of a cave which is home to thousands of bats. Finally we continue to Cadidasa on the east coast of the island.
Day 12
Rice paddies walk; optional beach time.
A short drive will bring us to the starting point of a walk along irrigated rice paddies belonging to the village of Tenganan. The walk takes about 2.5hrs and the last half-hour is quite steep downhill towards the back gate to the village. Tenganan village is known for its ceremonies and double ikat weaving. Our bus will be waiting at the front gate of the village and will take us back to Cadidasa. This afternoon we have the option to drive a short 20mins to an idyllic white-sand beach where we can relax, swim and stroll or enjoy a drink at one of the local food stalls.
Day 13
To Senaru, Lombok.
We drive about 20 minutes to the ferry harbour of Padangbai. From here the fast boat takes us in about 2 hours across the Lombok strait to the Norh West coast of Lombok Island. We will then drive along the North coast of the island to Senaru (about 2hrs plus a stop for lunch). Senaru is located on the foot of Rinjani Mountain with rice fields spread all the way down to the coast and on the edge of tropical rain forest. Our hotel, this evening, is basic.
Day 14
Panorama walk; to Senggigi (optional overnight hike up Rinjani).
Led by local women guides, we have an easy half-day walk (405hrs) exploring the foothills of spectacular Rinjani volcano (3700 meters high). Starting near the border of Gunung Rinjani National Park, our route follows old pathways through shady bamboo groves and village gardens before entering a wide, open landscape of rice terraces and palms. Following a winding irrigation channel we reach the lush rainforest of the famous Sendang Gila Waterfall Reserve. The local people believe that a refreshing bath behind these thundering falls can cure any disease. Along the way, we learn about various tropical plants and our guide explains their various uses. We may come across cheeky long tailed monkeys and, with a bit of luck, may even spot the rare ebony leaf monkey. Passing small hamlets where age-old traditions are practiced, we will gain insight into colourful village life of the Sasak people. There is always something interesting happening here as we meet local people and admire traditional houses. Make sure you bring your camera as the views are simply spectacular! On a clear day you may even catch a glimpse of Bali’s famous Gunung Agung volcano rising high above the blue waters of the Lombok Strait. Each turn of the track offers new vistas as finally Rinjani - the sacred mountain of the Sasak people - emerges majestically above rice terraces and rainforest. This natural and cultural diversity makes the Senaru Panorama Walk an unforgettable Lombok experience. In the afternoon you will drive to Sengiggi (2.5hrs). Optional 2-day Rinjani Volcano trek Day 1. After registering at the Rinjani Trek Centre in Senaru we start our ascent of Mt. Rinjani. Our path takes us through tropical forests rich in local flora, birds and butterflies. Along the way we can hope to see orchids and even, with a bit of luck, catch site of ebony leaf monkeys. The last couple hours are out of the forest and through pastures. The climb can be quite steep and good fitness is required. After hiking about 8hrs we reach the crater rim with sweeping views over lake Sagara Anak. On a clear day we can see as far as the Gili Islands, Bali and Mt. Agung. We can relax as our camp is set up and enjoy the sun set. Day 2. We start the day with, weather permitting, a glorious sunrise over the crater and Rinjani summit before retracing our steps and heading back down the mountain to Senaru. As we will be going downhill the hike takes less time than on the first day but can be quite hard on the knees. Upon arrival in Senaru we will transfer to Sengiggi where a nice shower and the rest of the group will be waiting. Please note that the trek may be cancelled if the weather conditions are deemed to be too severe for safety reasons. This is a challenging two days as the climb of over 2,600m is very steep and can be slippery. All camping equipment is provided but the sleeping bags tend to be quite thin and you may wish to bring your own from home. Porters carry camping equipment and food but if you want a porter to carry your personal belongings you will have to rent their services (please let your tour leader know in advance). See packing section for more information on what to bring. Your main luggage will be taken to Sengiggi with the rest of the group as you carry what you need just for the 2 days’ trek.
Day 15
Free day.
Today is a free day to relax or partake in the various activities or excursions on offer. Some possible options include taking a day-trip to the Gili islands, popular for their underwater treasures and where it is possible to snorkel right from the white sandy beach. There are also numerous fantastic dive sites accessible from Sengiggi or for those who prefer land to sea it is possible to arrange various excursions to local temples, markets or typical Sasak village. Those who have opted for the Rinjani trek will re-join the rest of the group this evening.
Day 16
Depart Lombok
This is the last day of the trip. Those on the group flights may have some free time before driving south to the International Airport, depending on the flight departure time.
Day 17
Arrive London
Arrive London.
Prices & Availability
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