Top 12 Adventures
Discover Bali Indonesia
Jl. Batuyang Kangin 3X
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Upon arrival at the airport in Yogyakarta you will be greeted in a personalised way and have the chance to get to know your english speaking guide. He will offer to take you, if you’d like, to a beauty salon to enjoy a traditional Javanese massage for one hour (included) that will dispel the fatigue of your journey and give you your first dose of the sweet life in Indonesia. Once you are good and relaxed, you’ll reach your first accommodation (hotel CM-01), located just south of the city, it invites you to sleep in authentic Javanese houses which were solidly built by villagers. In charming wooden finish, the six houses offer an excellent level of comfort all of which include air conditioning and fixtures that stay true to the traditional interior design. You can also cool off in a lovely pool and visit the huge collection of Javanese art in a small museum attached to the hotel, the artist is the hotel owner himself. This accommodation has the ambience of traditional Javanese style which the city often attempts to stifle. In the evening you will explore the royal city of Yogyakarta in a rickshaw (included) in order to soak up the special character of this city. We will also give you the opportunity to experience a phenomenon which is considered "supernatural" by the Javanese, and in any case is quite comical! (CM-01 hotel, Yogyakarta).
After a gentle wake up you will start the day with a visit inside the Sultan's Palace, the gateway to the depths of the Javanese philosophy and beliefs of this very refined nation. The bird market is next on the agenda, a very picturesque place to be before having a stroll through the streets of Kraton to bathe in the old harem. There will be lunch at a traditional restaurant (you will taste the "nasi gudeg", a sweet and sour dish which is the specialty of Yogyakarta).
In the afternoon you will head up the slopes of Merapi volcano where you will visit a magnificent museum to soak up some historical art of past sultanates of Solo and Yogyakarta. You’ll then take the road to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Perhaps this visit will mark the beginning of your spiritual quest to Nirvana? The monument itself has been built as a gigantic mandala which is a geometric design, originating from India which promotes healing and meditative practice.
In the evening we invite you to attend a performance of Wayang Kulit, the Javanese shadow play recounting the epics of the Ramayana (originating from India) before returning to your hotel. (CM-01 hotel, Yogyakarta). By visiting Borobudur you will be able to stop at the house of a maker of the famous kris – Indonesian daggers that have wavy blades like a snake that are believed to hold magical power.
Early in the morning you’ll head towards the breathtaking region of Gunung Kidul, the heart of Javanese mysticism (‘Kejawen’) which resembles in many respects to Hindu Balinese spirituality. This region, because of its limestone mountains, is full of caves that are perfect for meditation. For very many centuries it has attracted mystics and kings of Java that have come in search of wisdom and powers. We will help you experience the unique character of this coastal mountainous region by taking you to places completely magical and unknown to other tour operators. You will initially visit a cave that has been transformed into a Christian place of worship which is rather unusual, and is also occupied, especially at night, by Kejawen mystics. Then you’ll go to a small but striking white sand beach where you can swim before buying the fishermen’s catch of the day. These are then passed to the grill by a Javanese family who will welcome you with open arms in their small bamboo house that faces the ocean. Pak Imo, your host, is a master of meditation and practices shamanism to help those who want it.
You will have the opportunity to go down the cliff via a little staircase to one of the holiest places of Javanese mysticism and if the tide is suitable you will experience something quite unforgettable (we won’t spoil the surprise by telling you here!). By mid afternoon we suggest you take a nice hike for an hour from the house of Pak Imo towards a sacred cave where lies the grave of a Javanese prince who is ranked among the Gods. There’s no doubt that you will leave this “end of the world” place with a heavy heart. You will return to your lodgings around 6pm for a free evening (CM-01 hotel, Yogyakarta).
This evening, you have the opportunity to attend a ballet of Ramayana for an extra 15 euro per person.
This day will be long and eventful so as early as possible, you’ll begin in the morning with a visit to the famous Hindu temple of Prambanan which is impressive in height considering it was built in the 8th century. It has wonderful frescoes depicting the epics of the Ramayana.
The city of Solo will be your next destination, passing around the north to reach the Lawu mountainside. By midday, you will venture deep into mountain landscapes where there is a preserved Hindu temple which strangely resembles some of the ancient Mayan temples. The temple was built while the Islamisation of Java, from north to south, was already well advanced and it seems that the population of the region has "taken refuge" in the beliefs of pre-Hindu animist rituals. The temple itself is distinguished by very unusual statues and sculptures that are deliberately erotic or pornographic, attracting young Javanese couples. After this perhaps surprising display, you'll be taken up to where tea is grown; the panorama is impeccable. You can take a walk through the plantations which are very photogenic and be able to meet the warm locals.
Then you will continue to gain altitude up to the Ceto temple, located north of a village whose residents continue to embrace the Hindu religion. This beautiful temple that has thirteen terraces is the only in Java that continues to be "alive" (here they hold ceremonies that are similar in Bali) and it is with great emotion that one leaves this "last Gallic village". After walking to the market which is a scenic dream in a small mountain town (the choice of exotic fruit is exceptional at the lowest prices that we know of) you cross the neck of Lawu (you may be lucky enough to spot a leopard living in this uninhabited area, it happened to us during one of our expeditions).
At 6pm you’ll reach your Dutch colonial-style accommodation that overlooks a small lake (reference CB-03) located on the eastern slopes of the volcano. Your room will be simple but very decent and comfortable (in colonial times it was decadent!) It has a bathroom equipped with hot water and a private lounge with a fireplace where your guide will prepare an unusual fire. It also has a large terrace overlooking the lake and the surrounding mountains. In the evening you can go for a promenade along the lake and mingle with the natives who have come to the area to escape the intense heat of the plains. The rest of your evening will be free. (CB-03 hotel, Sarangan).
Early morning you’ll be given the opportunity to hike for about two hours from the small lake to the waterfalls, the trail takes you through various plantations and yards before the prying eyes of black monkeys that hang from the trees. Then you’ll take the road to East Java, across regions far away from tourist routes; rural life and landscapes that are perfectly preserved unfold before you.
In the late afternoon you’ll go to the temple Panataran (a wonderful site to visit) which is located in a typical Javanese village (a rather soft setting), before reaching the small town of Blitar, where there are many houses and buildings that date back to the colonial era; this is where you will spend the night. We have chosen a lodging which is quite outside the norm (reference CL-04). It has an astounding collection of art and is our favourite in Java; this accommodation is in one of the luxurious suites. In the evening you will take a trishaw ride into town to soak up its vibrant nightlife, passing by small shops and vendors setting up shop along the sidewalks and around the Alun-Alun, the central square of the city (Hotel CL-04, Blitar, East Java).
You will have an early morning departure towards the Bromo volcano. You will follow routes through the mountains to the impressive waterfalls that lead to Batu where you’ll find many Indonesian "tourists" (this is where families and young lovers come for some peace and privacy). After tasting the local specialties you will visit the Hindu temple of Sumberawan, where there will be an opportunity for a long stroll through the rice fields. In the late afternoon, you’ll reach the place where you’ll spend the night; it is a cosy and comfortable hotel, but it may be more apt to say that it has more of a resemblance to a mountain lodge with a quaint historical feel from its period detail and decor; the view of the volcano from here is priceless (reference CB-04). You may be surprised to feel the drop in temperature here so do bring a sweater and a raincoat. The rooms are a little dated but comfortable and have hot water which is particularly important in this location! Sleep deeply between heaven and earth in beautiful silence (and under large blankets!). (CB-04 hotel, Bromo).
You will witness the sunrise from the summit of Mount Panajakan (you will not be alone, but it's worth it) In a Jeep, view the magnificent landscape and the surreal lights between earth and sky as you descend into the caldera where you will begin your climb (very easy) to the small Bromo. Many Balinese people go across every year to gather at a temple in the middle of the ash lake that lines the caldera. The region itself is still populated by the last Java Hindus. You will have breakfast at the hotel and then you can rest a little before leaving at midday towards the south coast of Java where the land and the Indian Ocean meet.
After stopping at a beautiful mountain lake where you can observe traditional aquaculture, you’ll end the afternoon in a very remote area where we have selected a small hotel (CB-02) located at the edge of a village where time seems to stand still in the era of the Majapahit Hindu empire. This accommodation is alluring and feels somewhat earthy with its volcanic stone bathrooms but also quite charming with the dainty teak furnishings and splashes of colour. Just a few kilometres away is of one of the most beautiful beaches of the Indonesian archipelago. By rickshaw you will go to a Joglo house, a traditional Javanese structure which consists of three carefully decorated rooms all equipped with traditional furniture, each are en-suite. There is also a very large terrace that overlooks a teak plantation and a vast expanse of rice fields, it draws you into contemplation. Having had time to walk to the picturesque village, Ibu Iin, the owner, will serve a festive Javanese dish, called "nasi Kuning", authenticity at its best. (CB-02 hotel, Meru Betiri Region).
In the morning you’ll head off to a spectacular white sand beach surrounded by steep hills at Madurese where resplendent boats are anchored. You may come across colonies of monkeys that emerge from the jungle or you may even see their coastal cousins, the famous Komodo dragons (which are harmless). You can walk to the summit of a small hill where you will have a breathtaking panorama which is perfect for reflecting and gathering your thoughts in general tranquillity. After you've feasted on fish on the grill and have spent time sitting by the big blue, travel on to a wide river where you can leave the vehicle for a ride on a motorcycle taxi that will take you through the emerald waters via a makeshift bridge in the woods (but guaranteed safe!) that brings you to a region that is inhabited by dirt roads. You’ll visit one of our secret places from which you will undertake a one hour and a half round trip hike through the jungle. You’ll be rewarded with a large beach which is completely deserted and as untouched as it was at the dawn of the world ... a truly magical place. The waves of the Indian Ocean here are allayed by the depth of the bay and you can swim right in the middle of pure, pristine nature. At the very end of the afternoon you’ll return to your accommodation for a free evening where you can dine at the table of your host or at the night market in the neighbouring town (CB-02 hotel, Meru Betiri Region).
In the morning you'll be able to have a little bike ride through the countryside and visit a blacksmith who makes knives and tools with an ancestral know-how. Then it's time to move on towards the east through the pass of a mountain that is often called "miracles" and reach the midday altitude at a village where you will have a two-hour ride in a traditional carriage to see the hamlets and the many coffee plantations in the region (it’s completely authentic and not touristic at all!). At 4pm you’ll continue on your way to the town of Banyuwangi. You will have time to stroll through the traditional market where you will attract a lot of surprised looks and smiles before settling at a boutique hotel (ref: CM-02), on the edge of town. The bungalows on this site are scattered in a vast coconut grove that has a large swimming pool where you can cool off at all hours of the day and night, top quality comfort and of course air conditioning is provided. If you wish, your guide can take you to dinner at a typical restaurant or at the night market, but you may as well take advantage of the fine dining restaurant of your hotel; the "lumpia" is a mouth-watering delicacy (CM-02 hotel, Banyuwangi).
There is the possibility of giving preference to stay in a magnificent luxury hotel (supplement of 70 € per person) which is surrounded by rice terraces (reference CS-01). It is a little gem of a place situated in these remote areas of Java, offering gourmet cuisine and fine service an attractive royal-sized pool and extremely elegant rooms. Relax in these enchanting surroundings before hitting the Ijen volcano the next day.
Ijen volcano will be first thing on the agenda for you, which you’ll make your way to by Jeep in order to make the ascent up over the sulphur. You will live an unforgettable experience in a setting that is both dream and hell and has been the subject of numerous documentaries (including those made by Nicolas Hulot). After two hours of walking, you'll be able to descend into the crater to the edge of the turquoise lake, if the fumes of sulphur are not too stuffy. Around midday, you’ll resume back on the road upon which you travelled from Bali to cross waters again by ferry. We will then take you to the accommodation that you have chosen either in the north, west or south of Bali.
Your English speaking guide will be happy to advise you, but will also adapt to any time you wish. You have the ability to change your choice of activities. He may stop at any time and change course. Of course he will continuously strive to use the roads that give you a much more intimate connection with true Bali. If you come across a religious ceremony, you may well decide to get your vehicle to participate in the procession for a while; you are in charge.
The program of your stay is flexible; it will not hinder your freedom. You can change it on the spot even after acceptance of this estimate (excluding night stays).
We greet you at the airport, and we will be present on the island for the duration of your trip so you can intervene if necessary. We will answer your questions and also look forward to meeting you in the middle of your tour (if you let us of course!).
Everything is done for you to be immersed in the authenticity of Indonesia; it’s up to you to make the most of all it can bring, in respect of the inhabitants, and in relation to your specific needs.
Upon your request we can take you to a school and / or clinic campaign (the ability to distribute school supplies and medication). For ethical reasons we must know that these institutions are always different so as not to corrupt the spontaneous exchanges. On this subject know that Bali is forbidden to mix authentic 'charities' and marketing, and will always be discreet about its own actions in this area.