A 12 day / 11 night alternative tour to Java & Bali for those travellers that want to cover all the attractions.

/ Summary
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Java & Bali Explorer 12 day / 11 night travel program PRIVATE TOURING

This eleven-night exploration of Java & Bali offers a healthy mix of classic Java & Bali touring and visits to some of the island's lesser-visited destinations.

With experiences ranging from cultural exploration, cycling & hiking, and culinary experiences, this versatile program caters to those who wish to see the very best these destinations have to offer. 

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Gedung Songo
View from Mesa Stila

You will be collected from the airport/hotel in Semarang and head inland to Gedong Songo temple. Built during the 8th and 9th centuries when the Medang Kingdom controlled Central Java, Gedong Songo is one of the oldest Hindu structures on the island. Sir Stanford Raffles discovered the temple complex in 1804

The Dieng and Gedong Songo temples are among the earliest phases of Hindu temples built on Java island. They predate Borobudur and Prambanan and show considerable influence from Indian Hindu temple architecture.

Gedong Songo I is the oldest, with a square plan – an architecture predominant in Hindu and Buddhist-Hindu sites of central Java. However, the Gedong Songo II through V temples are unusual and among the notable exceptions. They have a square sanctum, but the plinth base has been extended for a porch, which gives it a rectangular shape. 

The architects of the later groups of Gedong Songo temples explored a design beyond those found in the Dieng group and others such as Sewu, Srikandi, Puntadewa, Sambisari, and Ngawen, where a porch was added by building a more extensive base.

Today we will trek along a relatively easy circuit of around 2km through the countryside on the slopes of Mount Ungaran as we discover the nine temples of Gedong Songo. The nine temples are split between five sites, two on the east side of the hill, two on the north and one to the west.

After our time at Gedong Songo, we depart for Losari. You will be staying at MesaStila, a luxury resort & spa that incorporates an unparalleled collection of remarkable antiques and beautiful buildings, including Central Java icons such as a Colonial railway station and historic Joglo-villas.

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Sunrise at Borobudur

Start your day with an early morning tour of Borobudur before the arrival of the daily stream of visitors. 

Built around the 9th century, UNESCO listed Borobudur as one of Southeast Asia's most cherished marvels. The expansive temple is located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes and two rivers. 

The immediate area is considered sacred by locals and is known as "the garden of Java" due to its high agricultural fertility.  

After the decline of Buddhism and the shift of power to East Java, the monument was abandoned soon after its completion and lay forgotten, buried under layers of volcanic ash for centuries. 

After your time at Borobudur, we return to Mesa Stila, where you will be treated to one of the resort's signature spa treatments. 

In the afternoon, take a tour of Mesa Stila's eleven-hectare coffee plantation. Begin the one-hour tour with an introduction to the history of the plantation before taking a gentle stroll through the coffee plants. 

You will learn about the different varieties of coffee beans that are cultivated here and the organic farming methods used. You will visit the roasting shed where, in addition to learning more about the process, there is the opportunity to take a short break and taste Mesa Stila coffee for yourself.

Evening at your leisure.

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Sukuh Temple

Check out from the hotel this morning for the journey to Solo. Upon arrival, we continue to the western slope of Mount Lawu, where we will embark on a two-hour trek between two of the most famous temples in Java. 

Starting on the western slope of the border between Central & East Java, we visit the Cetho temple, a fifteenth-century Javanese Hindu shrine built in the 15th century during the last period of the Majapahit Kingdom. The temple closely resembles a Balinese temple in appearance, though it combines Shivaism and fertility worship elements. Temple guardians mark the entrance, and there's a unique platform with a turtle head and a large lingam on the upper terrace. 

The temple is believed to initially consist of fourteen tiers, of which only nine remain today, rising spectacularly with narrow gateways and processional steps.

The village located below the temple is one of the last remaining Hindu communities in Java, and the temple is visited by Hindus who come to worship from Bali.

Your guide will introduce you to the temple and its history before departing on our trek along the mountain trail, with beautiful views of green hills and the river which runs alongside the mountain slope.  

We then arrive at Sukuh Temple, whose founder thought that the slope of Mount Lawu was a sacred place for worshipping the ancestors and nature spirits and for observance of the fertility cults, which in turn led to the temple being known as the 'Erotic Temple' of Java. 

The temple stretches from the east to the west, with the main gate in the west. Sukuh Temple is decorated with wayang stone carvings of Hindu origin.

The temple is distinctive compared with other ancient temples in Central Java, such as Borobudur and Prambanan, and its uniqueness lies in the landscaping, statuettes, and relief. 

The temples occupy an 11,000m2 area and consist of three terraces, each connected with an ascending alley. The most influential part is the last terrace, at the very back of the compound. This very sacred area once erected a homogenous phallic statue. The statue is now displayed at the National Museum, Jakarta.

A simple lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Afterwards, we drive back to Solo for check-in at the hotel.

Dinner is to your arrangement. 

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Plaosan Temple

Check out from the hotel this morning and depart for Kaliadem, the starting point of today’s cycling excursion. Enjoy a leisurely downhill cycling from Kaliadem to Plaosan Temple, one of the Buddhist temples in the Prambanan district. Built in the mid 9th century, the Plaosan complex comprises two Buddhist temples, Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul. A road separates the temples; Plaosan Lor is located in the North and Plaosan Kidul in the South. 

Departing on an easy downhill cycling route, you will have fantastic views over to Mount Merapi as you cycle through beautiful countryside and sleepy villages. As you pass through the villages, your guide will be able to show you the local farmers engaging in various activities such as tobacco harvesting, rice farming and snake fruit plantations.

There are several small temples along the route, which you can stop at and witness the original carvings, which date back as far as the 8th century, before reaching Plaosan Temple.

After exploring Plaosan Temple and enjoying a well-deserved lunch, our driver will meet us and transfer us to the Prambanan temple complex. 

This impressive collection of temples was built when Java was ruled by the Hindu Sanjayas of the Old Mataram. It consists of three major temples and shrines dedicated to the Trimurti, a concept of Hinduism whereby Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Preserver, and Shiva is the Destroyer which is often referred to as the ‘Great Trinity’ or ‘Hindu Triad’. 

There were once 240 temples standing in this Shivaite temple complex, either big or small. The Prambanan temple complex consists of three zones; first the outer zone. The second is the middle zone, which contains hundreds of small temples, and the third is the holiest inner zone, which includes eight main temples and eight small shrines.  

Today, eight main temples and eight small shrines in the inner zone are reconstructed, but only 3 out of the original 224 pervara temples are renovated.

Once your time at Prambanan is complete, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

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Taman Sari Water Castle

After breakfast, we depart from the hotel to explore the city of Yogyakarta. 

The first stop on this morning's tour is Gedung Agung (The Great Building) and Fort Vredeburg. Gedung Agung is one of 6 presidential palaces in Indonesia, and For Vredeburg was a former Dutch colonial fortress. Your guide will explain the details of these two sites' colourful pasts.

We then take a short walk to the Kraton (Sultan's Palace), built in 1970 by Sri Sultan Hamengkubowono I. The palace is modelled on a traditional Javanese palace and still serves as the Sultan's Palace today.

After exploring the palace we continue to walk to Taman Sari Water Castle, stopping along the way at a local market where we can try some tasty snacks. 

Built in the mid-18th century, the Taman Sari had multiple functions: a resting area, a workshop, a meditation area, a defence area, and a hiding place.

After exploring the water castle, we return to the hotel where you have the afternoon at leisure before meeting up with your guide in the evening for a culinary tour of the city.

Exploring the city by public transport, this evening's food tour will give you a great insight into the city's vibrant food scene and demonstrate to you why Yogyakarta is known as one of the world's best street food destinations. 

Experience the city's distinct atmosphere as it comes to life at night, with locals playing games on the streets and socialising over a drink with their friends and family. 

You will experience Yogyakarta from a local's perspective and enjoy some tasty dishes, including Nasi Campur and Bakmie. 

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Check out from the hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Bali.

Arriving in Bali you will be met by your driver and guide and transfer east to Candidasa via the quintessential Balinese village of Sidemen, located in the foothills of Mount Agung.

On route to Sidemen we take a short stop at the Kulngkung Palace & Taman Kerta Gosa. The palace dates back to the 17th century and was largely destroyed by the Dutch during their colonial conquest of Bali in 1908. Today all that remains are the court of justice, the Kerta Gosa Pavilion & the main gate. The Klungkung kingdom was considered to be the highest and most important of the nine kingdoms of Bali during this period. The city was famed for its arts, painting, dance and music. At the end of the 18th century, the Kerta Gosa Pavilion was erected. Typifying the Klungkung style of architecture and painting, the Kerta Gosa was the court of the high king of Bali. Presided over by 3 Brahman Priest, the court would try cases on the island which could not be resolved. Upon arriving at the Pavilion, the person on trial could view the ceiling, which depicted different punishments in the afterlife, the results of karma, while they were awaiting sentencing. These paintings are one of the outstanding examples of the Kamasan style. 

After our time at the palace, we continue to Sidemen. We can already start seeing the scenery shift as we pass through several small plantations, rice fields and local villages. It’s a pleasant drive with plenty of opportunity for people-watching and watching the changing scenery as we pass by.

Once we arrive in Sidemen, we will enjoy a nice leisurely walk through the countryside, along rice terraces, to reach a local Balinese home. The house women are all experts at weaving fabric using the traditional ikat method. Ikat is a unique dying technique used to create patterns in the fabric, and Sidemen is considered one of the best producers of ikat fabric in the world. We continue our walk through the rice fields, stopping to speak to the local farmers and villagers along the way to find out more about the daily life in this beautiful Balinese village. Our walk then brings us to a local forest where a picnic lunch awaits us to enjoy under the forest canopy. 

Our time in Sidemen is complete and we continue to Candidasa/Manggis where you will check into your hotel.

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Mount Agung from Gelumpang

Today you will learn the art of Balinese cooking with one of the island's most renowned chefs.  

During their time at one of Bali's leading hotels, the chef fell in love with the unique freshness and vitality of the produce available on their doorstep and how the Balinese work with it to create a unique tapestry of flavours. 

With this love, our renowned chef opened her own restaurant with the mission to make Bali's cuisine accessible to more people with a unique and memorable culinary experience.

Nestled in the foothills of Mount Agung, Bali's most sacred mountain, in the small town of Gelumpang, the restaurant is surrounded by rice fields, and there is not a building to be seen.

The morning starts with a visit to Amlapura market. Here you will assist the chef in gathering the produce for your menu. 

Sample some produce and absorb some real Balinese action in the hustle and bustle of the market. Return to the restaurant and learn how to prepare traditional flower offerings, "canang", before starting your private cooking class with one of Bali's most influential chefs.

During your cooking class, the chef will explain to you the different methods, flavours, and cooking styles that make Balinese food unique and share with you their passion for Bali's food and flavours. Afterwards, you will be able to enjoy your food while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

It is time to say farewell to the chef and her team and return to your residence, where you have the rest of the day at leisure. 

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Besakih Temple

After checking out from the hotel, we depart on our sightseeing transfer to Ubud, Bali's cultural heart. 

The first stop on today's tour is Besakih Temple, the biggest and most holy temple in Bali. Perched nearly 1000 meters up the side of Mount Agung. The temple is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. Here you can find a complex of 23 separate temples, with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung.

Continuing north, we reach Kintamani. Here we can stop for lunch with impressive views over Lake Batur and over to Mount Batur, Bali's most active volcano. 

Our final stop is Tegallalang, home to some of Bali's most impressive rice terraces. The area is well-known for its innovative subak, the irrigation system that breathes life into the terraces and is believed to date back as far as the eighth century. 

After enjoying countless photo opportunities at the rice terraces, we make the short drive to Pakudui village, also known as Garuda Village. 

The village is famous for its intricately-carved statues and ornaments, carved out of albesia wood, the most common carving being that of the Garuda. Here your guide will introduce you to a local artisan who will give you a short demonstration of his work.

We continue to Ubud, where you can check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

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Escape Nomade Tent for high tea

After a busy eight days of touring, it’s time for some rest and relaxation to recharge the batteries with a morning at leisure and an afternoon visit to the escape nomad campsite. The Royal High Tea experience will present you with a handpicked bouquet of flavours and aromas, set amidst towering palms, wild birdsong, and their impressive signature tented villas.

You will first be led down to the riverfront, where you will enjoy a flower foot bath followed by a full body massage by an experienced Balinese therapist in the tent for 1 hour.

Feeling refreshed from your massage, you will be led to one of the impressive dining tents for a high tea experience of tea and hors d’oeuvres fit for a king and queen. 

Later in the afternoon, you will enjoy a Balinese dance performance before departing from the tented camp back to your hotel. 

The remainder of your day and evening is at your leisure. Our Travel Expert will be on hand to provide entertainment and dining recommendations. 

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The sacred monkey forest

After breakfast, check out from the hotel and visit the monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest. This magical forest is home to 700 monkeys, 186 tree species, and three temples. Here we can explore the vast jungle with our Travel Expert, who will ensure that you are not bothered too much by the cheeky Balinese monkeys that call the forest home.

We wave goodbye to our monkey friends and continue with a visit to Ubud Palace. The palace showcases traditional Balinese architecture within an attractive garden that has become a hub for arts, dance and literature. 

It is one of the main sites to view traditional dance performances and hosts gamelan (traditional Balinese music) percussive orchestra performances every evening. The yearly Ubud Writers & Readers Festival's opening ceremony is also held here.

After stopping for lunch, we depart to Kesiman and the home of Vaughan & Putu. They run the Mekar Bhuana Conservatory from their family home, intending to preserve endangered classical gamelan and its extensive repertoire.

Mekar Bhuana means "to blossom around the world", symbolising the hope that Bali's ancient music and dance music will be better known again not just in Bali but also in the rest of the world.

Aided by local practitioners, Vaughan & Putu will give you an in-depth explanation of the history of gamelan and traditional dance. They will introduce you to the various instruments, costumes, and masks through demonstrations and videos and teach you some basics, enabling you to get hands-on with gamelan and dance.

This hands-on experience is a great way to learn the true history and art form of this ancient art!

We continue to Sanur, where you will check into your hotel.

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Crystal Bay at Nusa Pendina

Today we set sail aboard the Aristocat catamaran to Penida Island. An untouched island off Bali's south-eastern corner. This slice of paradise is a quiet spot drawing in adventurers seeking a slower island pace of life to embrace its turquoise waters and white sandy beaches.

Reaching Crystal Bay, we drop anchor, and you can enjoy some time snorkelling, relaxing on the beach, or take a 'rustic village' tour to see where the locals reside. By arriving at Crystal bay from the water, you can enjoy this beautiful palm-lined beach without traversing the hundreds of steps down that you would have to do so if accessing from Nusa Penida island itself. 

Snorkelling here, you can see an abundance of colourful coral and marine life. You can also see turtles quite regularly. However, be careful as the current can be very strong here and everywhere else in Nusa Penida.

Afterwards, we sail to a private beach club on Lembongan Island, where you can enjoy all facilities on offer, including a delicious BBQ lunch served at a beachfront bamboo restaurant. 

Then after some rest, enjoy an array of water sports activities such as a ride in a semi-submersible coral viewer, a guided snorkelling tour; a banana boat ride; or a volleyball game on the beach, all included in the cruise package. 

Those with a taste for underwater and above water pursuits can partake in scuba diving or parasailing, followed by a massage on the beach (surcharge applies). Alternatively, you can spend the afternoon taking it easy on the sand. 

We will return to Benoa Harbour in the afternoon and transfer back to your hotel.

Spend the evening at leisure in Sanur. You may want to take an evening to walk down Sanur Boardwalk, a paved walkway spanning the length of the beach lined with several tasty eateries.

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At the appropriate time you will be collected from your hotel for your onward journey. 



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Bali Penjors, decorated bamboo poles, along the village street in Sideman.
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Travel Designer Insights

An alternative take on the Java / Bali classic tour works perfectly for those who like to mix things up a bit.

It is recommended for those arriving in Indonesia at Jakarta airport or those who have visited Kalimantan due to direct flights into Semarang from these two locations. 

Click to hear your Travel Designer discuss the merits
and attractions of this Program

The National Museum
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PT Asia Concierge Indonesia,

Jl. Tukad Balian No. 391,  


Denpasar Selatan, 

Bali 80224, 


Tel: +62 (0)811 389 6655

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