Indonesia in Depth–Sumatra, Java, Bali
Day 1 Medan
Arrive at any time. There will be a welcome meeting around 6 or 7pm on this evening with your Chief Experience Officer (CEO). Please look for a welcome note upon arrival to the joining hotel for the exact time of the meeting. Medan is Indonesia's third largest city and is comprised of many different ethnic groups, contributing to a wide variety of mouth-watering foods.
Day 2 Tangkahan (1B)
Enjoy a morning tour of Medan, visiting Maimoon Palace, the Great Mosque and the Vihara Gunung Timur temple. Afterwards, traverse bumpy roads to reach the small jungle community of Tangkahan. Opt to participate in an elephant feeding session or go hiking. This tiny, remote village was practically built on the logging trade in the 1980s and 1990s, because the people became aware of the damages by such activity. They collectively decided to stop illegal logging and transform the area into an functional, self-sustained ecotourism destination. So in April 2001 the community banded together to form the Tangkahan Tourist Institute (Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan - LPT) and fixed regulations prohibiting the exploitation of the surrounding rainforest. So the Conservation Response Unit (CRU) was born - a team of Sumatran elephants and their mahouts that helps safeguard the national park to protect it from encroachment. When its bath time at the elephant camp on the outskirt of Gunung Leuser National Park tourists are allowed to help. By joining the elephants by their afternoon bathing you will support this local initiative.
Day 3-4 Bukit Lawang (2B)
Visit the orangutan viewing platform, and opt to go jungle trekking in Gunung Leuser National Park. An orangutan rehabilitation centre was set up in 1973 to help orangutans released from captivity to learn the skills they will need in the wild. Once they are released into the wild, they are monitored and still provided with some supplementary food until they're 100% ready to fend for themselves. We visit this feeding platform when they are being fed. Gunung Leuser National Park is located nearby and a great place to do some wildlife trekking in this large jungle park.
Day 5-6 Berastagi (2B)
Orientation walk upon arrival. Opt to hike a volcano or tour traditional villages Originally developed around 1920 as a Dutch hill base in the Karo highlands, the cooler weather and surrounding smoking volcanoes make this destination ideal for weekending Medan residents and travellers alike. Berastagi is also known for their myriad flowers, fruits and vegetables piled high at the local markets. Explore further afield and check out examples of traditional Karo Batak architecture. On your free day, opt to hike up Sibayak volcano for sunrise and take in the stunning view of the valley. Free afternoon with the option to visit the local hot springs. Approximate distance: 160 km Estimated travel time: 8 hours (including stops)
Day 7-8 Samosir Island (2B)
Travel to the world's largest volcano lake, Lake Toba. Situated in the centre of Lake Toba, Samosir has all the features of a resort area but still retains a rustic charm and relaxed atmosphere. You have a free day here with options to relax or explore the area. Chill out and swim in the warm waters of the lake or opt for some culture by visiting local Batak villages to see traditional Batak houses and the tombs in Tomok.
Day 9 Sibolga (1B)
Take a boat across the lake then set off by private van towards Siporok. Stop off at local villages visiting weavers and a markets en route to this beautiful hilltop town surrounded by rice fields and mountains. Enjoy an orientation walk around Sipirok upon arrival.
Day 10 Panyabungan (1B)
Take in the landscape on another travel day. Break up the journey with an overnight stop in Panyabungan. While not a standard tourist stop, you will get a glimpse into local life here.
Day 11-12 Bukittinggi (2B)
Orientation walk upon arrival after a long travel day with a few stops to break up the journey. Free day to go rafting, kayaking, visit Sianok Canyon or check out the Japanese Caves built during World War II. The Sianok Canyon is located just outside of town and offers breathtaking views of the canyon with Mount Singgalang in the background. Bukittinggi is a city of approximately 100,000 people located in the Minangkabau Highlands and is a good jumping off point for nearby activities. Approximate distance: 400 km Estimated travel time: 12 hrs (including stops)
Day 13 Padang (1B)
Enjoy an evening at a beach hotel in Padang. Padang is a Dutch historical harbour town and well-known for its delicious cuisine. Explore the old town, stop by a street food stall for some tasty eats, or hit the beach.
Day 14-15 Jakarta (2B)
Transfer for your flight(s) to Jakarta. There are no planned activities today. You will have a group meeting around 6pm to meet your new CEO and new group members (look out for the Welcome Note in the hotel lobby) and an optional dinner afterwards to get to know your fellow group members. Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and the economic heart of Java. The next day, you may wish to take an optional city tour, take a walk around the old Dutch colonial heart of Kota, or simply search out your first true cup of Java coffee! Enjoy one of two street food crawls with the group and CEO while in Jakarta. Bring your appetites and your wallets, and the CEO will bring you to the best spots and teach you a bit about the local street food.
Day 16 Cianjur (1B)
Day 3 begins with a bus journey (3 1/2 hours) south east to Cianjur. Along the way we visit the 100 yr old Gunung Mas or 'Golden Mountain' Tea Plantation where we learn how tea is hand picked and then processed continually throughout the year. Cianjur is the Capital of the Cianjur Regency and is also considered the capital of rice production in Java. The region sees very little tourism and you will be delighted by the reactions of the friendly local Javanese. Experience local life by sleeping at a homestay while here. The homestay is located on the outer ring of Cianjur and accommodation is multi-share.
Day 17 Bandung (1B)
Depart the homestay and travel to the sprawling city of Bandung, Indonesia's third largest city. Enjoy an orientation walk led by the CEO, then have some time to explore on your own. A popular weekend destination for those in Jakarta, Bandung is surrounded by the beautiful Parahyangan mountains. With a strong food culture, the city has loads of varieties of both international and local cuisine. Try one of many local delicacies, such as Bakso Tahu, which is steamed meat served with soy sauce, lime and peanut paste, or martabak, a fried stuffed pancake that comes either sweet or savoury.
Day 18-20 Yogyakarta (3B)
We transfer by bus to Bandung on the morning of day 5 before boarding our train for a scenic trip to Yogyakarta. Once home to the Mataram Palace, Yogyakarta (or Yogya as it’s known locally) lies in the shadow of Mt Merapi, but is most famous for the nearby Buddhist Temple complex of Borobudur. Built in the 8th century, this stunning artistic and architectural marvel lay undiscovered under layers of volcanic ash until 1815 when Sir Stamford Raffles, then Governor of Java, ordered that the area be cleared. Further attempts at restoration were finally completed in 1983, and no visit to Java would be complete without a visit to this awe-inspiring World Heritage Site. Other options in and around Yogyakarta include the impressive Kraton, an 18th century palace built by the Sultans of Yogya and one of the finest examples of Javanese palace architecture or Taman Sari Water Castle, built around the same time as a pleasure park for the Sultan. Yogyakarta is very walkable and stroll around the fascinating bird market is always interesting, and if silver is of interest, then a trip to Kota Gede is definitely worthwhile to pick up a hand-beaten bowl or some fine filigree. Of course, being the home of arts, this really is the place to take in a Wayang (puppet) show, or a dance performance- usually based on the Ramayana story.
Day 21 Tawangmangu (1B)
Begin the day with an easy 2.5 hour drive. On the way we have the option of stopping at Prambanan to explore the largest Hindu temple complex in Java by foot. Built between the 8th and 10th century, these temples stand as one of the most outstanding works of Hindu art, with a wealth of intricate design, particularly on the Shiva temple. The optional visit allows for approximately 1.5 hours of exploration, and anyone who chooses not to visit the temple can visit an art market located near the temple. We can also opt to visit the Sukuh Temple, known to be a fertility temple with erotic carvings. From there, walk approximately 3 hours through small villages and along agricultural land, finsihing up at a waterfall. A walk up a staircase finishes in the village of Tawangmanggu, where the evening is free to enjoy.
Day 22 Malang (1B)
Our 8-9 hour bus journey today takes us eastward to Malang, the second largest city in East Java. Dating back to at least AD760 Malang has been a regional center of government for successive dynasties eventually being enveloped by the Mataram Kingdom in 1614. Owing to it's altitude (476 meters) the climate here is cooler then the lowlands and therefore became very attractive to European settlement during Dutch colonisation. Spend the afternoon checking out the gorgeous parks, the bird and flower market, Singosari temple, Jago temple or Kidal temple or just relaxing with a cup of local tea.
Day 23 Mt Bromo (1B)
Today's drive takes us through the tropical winding landscape of Eastern Java, climbing ever upwards and further out of the heat towards the grandeur of Mt Bromo- part of the Tengger Caldera, the largest volcanic range in the area. Bromo is only one of many peaks, but is distinct in appearance, having blown its top completely off and is constantly smouldering with white smoke.
Day 24 Kalibaru (1B)
A pre-dawn trek across the “sea of sand” to watch the sunrise over the crater’s rim is a must-see, popular with both tourists and the local Buddhist Tenggerese alike who can be seen giving offerings of food to receive blessings from the Supreme God Hyang Widi Wasa. After this wonderful start to the day, a 6 hour drive takes us to our overnight accommodation in the coffee plantations of Kalibaru. Brought to Java by the Dutch, Indonesia is now the world’s fourth largest coffee grower and the name “Java” is recognized in coffee houses all over the world.
Day 25-26 Pemuteran (2B)
Following a picturesque 2 hour drive through the rolling hills and plantations down to the coastal lowlands, we board our 1 hour ferry trip and bid farewell to Java. Arriving in internationally acclaimed Bali we continue with a short drive to Pemuteran. Pemuteran lies on the quiet North West coast sandwiched between National Parks containing pristine coral reefs and luxuriant tropical rainforest. 14kms offshore lies Menjangan Island, one of the best snorkel and dive sites in Bali with rich marine life and protected coral reefs. You may also wish to snorkel the reef directly off the beach at Pemuteran and explore the intriguing Bio Rock Structures, a forest of wire frames through which low voltage electric current is run to encourage fast coral regeneration. Wander up the beach and past the rural countryside for magnificent coastal views and ornate traditional temples inhabited by tribes of cheeky monkeys. For the energetic explorer, set out on an optional guided hike through the West Bali National Park in search of deer, pigs, macaques or the elusive Bali Starling. The natural beauty of Pemuteran will astound and enchant you.
Day 27 Sanur (1B)
Today's drive is a journey, highlighting the spectacular natural diversity and intense cultural wealth that makes Bali such a sought after destination. Our journey takes us across the entire island of Bali through the rich tropical jungle, passing by idyllic terraced rice fields, quaint scenes of local village life and eventually passing through the thriving metropolis of Denpasar before arriving at our overnight destination on the magnificent beaches of Sanur.
Day 28 Sanur (1B)
Depart at any time today.