Om Swastiastu! Welcome to Ubud, Bali's largest Hindu town, and artistic and cultural heart. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Afterwards, perhaps head out to for a group meal at one of the delicious local restaurants.
Start the day with a guided walking tour (about 2.5 hours). Gain an insight into daily village life as you pass lush rice fields, an alang alang valley (type of wild grass used to make the roof of traditional buildings) and stop by a traditional Balinese home for coffee. The tour ends in central Ubud, where you'll have time to explore the many cafes, galleries and shops on your own. In the evening sit down to a traditional Kecak dance performance. Driven not by musical instruments, but by human chanting, this fascinating theatrical performance is considered a highlight by many travellers.
Today you’ll explore the area from a different angle – from the saddle of a bike. Enjoy a 2.5-hour tour through backstreets, quaint villages and rice fields, waving to the locals as you go. It’s a relatively easy ride – much of the route is downhill – and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for photos or a brief rest. You’ll also stop to check out some small, intricately carved temples, before concluding your bike tour back in Ubud. After refuelling at lunch, head for the hills to the village of Sideman, travelling by private minivan (about 2 hours). Set against a backdrop of Bali's highest peak, Mt Agung, the peaceful village of Sidemen is proof that Bali still has some pockets that are untouched by tourism. Keep in mind, it's a little cooler up here, thanks to the elevation. You may want to pack a sweater.
Take a morning walk (approximately 2.5 hours) around Sidemen, visiting the craftspeople of the local songket weaving industry. A traditional 'bungkus' lunch is included. The walk is a great chance to take in the beautiful scenery. Continuing your journey higher into the mountains, drive along the crater rim road to a fishing village on the edge of Lake Batur (approximately 2 hours). Volcanic Mt Batur (1,717 metres/5,633 feet) sits inside a stark and spectacular caldera; with Lake Batur below, it's a stunning sight. The lake supports the local fishing industry, while many of the villagers work as guides for the volcano climb. Your accommodation at the base of Mt Batur is a basic hotel with a restaurant. This is a great location to start tomorrow's early morning trek without extra travelling time.
It’s a very early start today – you’ll have to wake at 3 am to begin the 1.5 to 2-hour walk to the summit of Mt Batur in order to reach it before sunrise. Trust us, it’s worth the effort. On a clear morning, it's possible to see all the way across the Lombok Strait to the peaks of Lombok's Mt Rinjani. The view of the gorgeous sunrise over the valleys of Bali may well be the most memorable part of your trip. Do keep in mind, however, that the weather can be unpredictable and sometimes the view is obscured by clouds. After descending the volcano, there's an option to soak in hot springs with fantastic views over the lake and caldera. Then make the journey from the mountains to the small coastal town of Lovina (approximately 3 hours). Lovina is famous for the dolphins that patrol its coast. It's also a great spot for fine food, traditional massages and yoga.
Enjoy a day of snorkelling amongst Menjangan Island’s coral reef, part of the Bali Barat National Park. This site is a boat ride from the coast (about 1.5-2 hours each way). On the way back, you’ll stop for a soak at Banjar Hot Spring, a small spring popular with the locals. Tonight, head to Ibu Wayan's to learn about Balinese cuisine before sitting down to a home-cooked meal.
After breakfast, head to the tiny hilltop village of Munduk (approximately 1 hour) where you’ll walk through aromatic clove and coffee plantations to a spectacular hidden waterfall. Continue inland to the picturesque mountain town of Bedugul (approximately 1 hour). It’s a good idea to pack warm clothing as the early mornings and evenings can be quite cool. Spend the afternoon strolling amongst more than 2000 species of plants indigenous to Indonesia at the Bali Botanical Gardens.
Start the day with a visit to Lake Bratan for a delightful view of Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, a Hindu-Buddhist temple set on a small island in the lake. Continue by minivan to Sanur and enjoy some free time there in the afternoon. Perhaps enjoy a stroll along Bali's first beachfront walk, watch the fishermen in the shallows or kick back and relax at one of the beachside restaurants. Get a feel for the traditions and local customs which are well maintained here. Ancient temples are easily accessible – just a short distance away from the beach.
Fly to Labuan Bajo, then take an included transfer to your hotel. Keep in mind that you will be unescorted on this leg of your journey. Enjoy a free afternoon in Labuan Bajo before another welcome meeting at 6 pm where you may meet a new tour leader and travellers joining the group. Afterwards, why not get to know your new group better over a seafood dinner. Bajo’s main drag, Jl Soekarno Hatta, has a slew of restaurants, cafes and bars. Cap off the day with a stroll along the waterfront as the sun sets.
After breakfast, hop on a boat for the two-hour journey to Padar, the third largest island within Komodo National Park. The illustrious Komodo dragon is no longer found here, though the island is still home to a fantastic array of wildlife, beautiful rolling hills and some great short treks. Lace up your hiking boots for a brisk morning hike to a stunning view point, keeping your eyes peeled for geckos, green turtles and other various reptiles. Have your camera handy – the panoramic views of Padar’s bumpy terrain and tri-coloured beaches will take your breath away. Return to the boat for an on board lunch as you journey to the spectacular Pink Beach. As its name suggests, Pink Beach is, well, pink, and is one of a just a handful of beaches in the world said to have pink sand. It owes its blush tone to red coral in its shallow waters. Spend some time swimming and snorkelling among coral reefs in crystal-clear water, then return to the boat mid-afternoon for the short journey to Komodo Island. Prepare your camera for a two-hour photography safari in search of gigantic Komodo dragons. Head back to the boat where you will stay overnight moored at sea just off the coast of Kalong Island. The boat’s accommodation is basic with bunk beds and shared toilets with a basic shower (cold water only). Bedding and a towel is provided. There is a curtain next to the bunk beds for some privacy but it is more like dormitory accommodation. There is areas to lounge, soak in the sunshine and a dining area where you will share locally cooked meals. Although the boat is basic it is very traditional and the slow pace that it travels allows you to take in the beautiful scenery.
Enjoy a full day snorkelling and exploring Indonesia’s underwater paradise. Depart early for Taka Makassar, arriving around 8 am. This jellybean-shaped island is tiny – about the size of a soccer field – and seems almost like a mirage. The waters here are shallow, clear and home to sea turtles and beautiful corals. Return to the boat around 9:30 am and depart for Manta Point, where you’ll have plenty of time to swim and snorkel. If you are lucky you may even swim with manta rays. You’ll also see a colourful variety of hard and soft corals, tropical reef fish and turtles. Return to the boat for lunch, as you make the three-hour journey back to your hotel in Labuan Bajo.
Today is a long travel day to Wae Rebo, an ancient tribal village where you’ll get to experience an illuminating homestay. The village is isolated, located in the middle of a lush rainforest valley, encircled by mountains. Before you depart this morning, make sure to pack a small overnight bag with your essentials, as you will not be able to take large luggage with you. Leave Labuan Bajo early this morning and travel by private minivan to Dintor (about 6 hours). Today’s journey will take you across some poor roads that can be quite bumpy. You might want to consider taking medication if you are prone to motion sickness. Stow your larger bags in Dintor and sit down for lunch, then continue an additional 20 minutes to Dintor. From here, it’s a three-hour trek to Wae Rebo. Good walking shoes are a must. Porters are available at a cost of 250,000 IDR – please let your leader know in advance if you would like to arrange this. Upon arrival, the Wae Rebo villagers will warmly greet the group with a welcome ceremony. Sit down to a dinner of traditional foods prepared by the villagers and sample some special Wae Rebo coffee. If the weather is good, the group may be treated to a special cultural performance, as well. Your accommodation for the night will be a Mbaru Niang, a tall cone-shaped house, completely covered in lontar (dried rontal tree leaves) thatch.
Wake up in the mountains to the sound of birds and have an early breakfast in the village. Afterwards, trek back down through the rainforest and take a short bus ride to Dintor. Here you will collect your big bag and have the opportunity for a refreshing cold shower and time to enjoy lunch. After lunch, travel by private minivan to Ruteng (approximately 4-5 hours). On the way, you will stop to visit the incredible spiralling rice fields of Cancar (vast circular rice paddies that spiral inwards just like a spider web). Arrive in Ruteng in time for dinner (not included), then settle in for the night.
After breakfast, depart for Bajawa, where you will be able to enjoy a well-earned soak in its relaxing hot springs. It’s about a 4-5-hour journey by private minivan. Along the way, you’ll stop at a local warung (family-run cafe or restaurant) along the coast for lunch. As you approach Bajawa, the majestic, perfectly-conical peak of Mount Inerie will start to appear on the horizon. This stratovolcano is one of the highest points on Flores and warms the water that pours into the Mengeruda Hot Springs. Take the time to unwind in its soothing waters – said to hold medicinal properties – surrounded by waterfalls and overhanging trees and let the pebbles massage your knots. Later, head to our basic guesthouse in Bajawa.
In the morning, travel about 45 minutes by private minivan to Bena, a village known for its megalithic formations, in Ngada. The architecture here is characterised by tall thatched huts and traditional weaving techniques. Follow your leader on a guided tour of the village and see the impressive stone formations and ancestral shrines. After taking some time to meet the locals and learn about their customs, spend a couple of hours trekking through the surrounding countryside to visit two more Ngada villages and gain a deeper understanding of Ngada culture. Return to Bajawa where you’ll spend the night.
After breakfast, set out on the four-hour drive to Moni, stopping for photos along the scenic coast. Picturesque, remote, and surrounded by rice paddies, Moni is also located at the foot of Mt Kelimutu, famous for its tri-coloured volcanic lakes. Arrive at the eco lodge, then enjoy a free afternoon to relax and soak in the tranquil surrounds. You’ll want to head to bed early tonight, as you will be trekking to Mt Kelimutu early in the morning.
Embrace an early start for a sunrise trek to Mt Kelimutu. The reward is spectacular views of the bright green, blue and red crater lakes from the peak. Start with a 30-minute drive to the mountain, then it’s a 30 to 40-minute walk to the viewpoint of the craters. After taking some time to admire the view and snap some pics, return to the guesthouse for breakfast. After breakfast, begin the journey back to Labuan Bajo. It’s a two-hour drive to the airport in Ende, and a short 50-minute flight to Labuan Bajo. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon. Freshen up, then perhaps enjoy one final Indonesian feast with the group before your trip comes to an end.
Bid a fond farewell to your Indonesian adventure. Your trip ends after breakfast.
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