Temples, volcanoes, dragons and the local culture of Java and Bali

Highlights of this wonderful tour include:

  • Explore the world famous Borobudur temples near the cultural capital of Yogyakarta
  • Hike to Ijen Crater lake to see the famous Blue Fire and the Ijen miners
  • Hike on Mount Bromo at dawn to see a true Indonesian sunrise from a live volcano
  • Trek and snorkel in Bali National Park to see black monkeys, giant lizards and the  finest coral reefs
  • Snorkelling on Menjangan Island and Pemuteran Bay which is probably the best spot for diving in Bali. 
  • Learn traditional Balinese recipes from a local family and enjoy the local hospitality 
  • Bike through the Balinese countryside and see people and villages along the way
  • Optional addition to the trip to watch the famous dragons on Komodo Island and the flying foxes, and staying on board a boat sailing through the islands

This is a perfect adventure tour for families and small groups who want to see the really well known highlights of Indonesia and Bali like the temples and beautiful countryside but also do some adventurous activities like biking, snorkelling, trekking and sailing. It has a bit of everything and we've included lots of interaction with local people including a perfect day learning about Balinese cooking in a small village where you will be hosted by a family. 

Java - Borobudur and Prambanan Temples

Solar eclipse Indonesia

The famous Buddhist temples on Java are the perfect start to your holiday, set amid misty jungle clad hills close to Yogyakarta and an iconic place to see in southeast Asia. Built in the 9th and 10th century Borobudur was abandoned by the 14th century and eventually became covered in foilage and volcanic ash. Then in 1814 the Governor General of Java Sir Stamford Raffles discovered the vast site and it was extensively restored in the late 20th century. It is now one of the great pilgrimages of the world. 

Java - Mount Lawu tea plantation

mt lawu tea plantation.jpg

This remarkable landscape has almost entirely been turned over to tea estates and only a very few trees remain standing. The complex structure of the fields, the serried ranks of tea bushes that cover every bit of the hillsides is quite a sight and this visit is quite an eye opener and a chance to see villages and communities away from the main tourist areas.

Java - Mount Bromo sunrise trek

mount bromo, solar eclipse tour

Eastern Java can be kept a bit out of the limelight with all the tourist activity centred around Yogyakarta and the big temples, but over on this side is some quite astonishing scenery. Active volcanoes give a movie-like feel to the place, calderas spewing smoke and impenetrable forests at the feet of perfectly symmetrical volcanoes. Yet here you can find a National Park where you can hike onto the volcano and into the crater itself. The hike does start in the early hours of 3am and it will be cold so bring something warm to wear. It's not a long hike but it starts on an asphalt road (which you can go up by jeep if you like) and then turns into a path which can be a bit slippery due to the volcanic ash. The path continues to various view points and the top for dawn, and it is then possible to continue further into the caldera or head back down again. 


Java - Ijen Crater

On the east side of Java is the remarkable crater called Ijen which is active. Miners hike into the smoky depths to collect sulphur which they sell in the markets, and the incredible mineral content on the lake creates a very unique and special luminous 'Blue Fire effect. It is cold at night to ascend to the rim but it is definitely worth the view, and the amazing sight of the men who carry the baskets out of the crater seems quite surreal. 

blue fire in ijen crater.jpg

ijen crater.jpg

Bali - Pemuteran Bay

From the desolate wilds of the Java Mountains, it's a few hours drive down to Surabaya and a boat across to Bali and the beautiful lush and warm Pemuteran Bay. A stop over in the Mimpi hot springs washes the volcanic dust off your body and prepares you for the next few days of activities in West Bali National Park and accommodation in the Kubuku Lodge or the Adi Assri.

Pemuteran Bay.jpg

Here there is easy trekking and some very special snorkelling opportunities, with a chance to see a wide variety of animal and bird life, including the rare Bali starling and the muntjac deer. There are short hikes to see the birdlife and one long eight hour hike called the Gunung Klatakan trail which goes deep into the rainforest. 

Bali- West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island

This small uninhabited island just off the main island is a paradise for divers and snorkellers with calm clear waters and beautiful beaches. You can walk round the whole island in just over an hour, but we will have boats and equipment for exploring the wonderful coral reefs. 

Menjangan island Bali.jpg

Bali- Ubud town and district

Up in the highlands of Central Bali are the verdant hillsides and serene environment of Ubud, with classic Balinese villages to explore and what better way to do so than by bicycle. This is a place where time tends to slow down and days can become weeks. 


Food is a big part of the culture on this island and particularly here so what better place to learn about the recipes which have become well known throughout the world, such as:

Tempe manis - sweet fried tomato
Sayur urap - mixed vegetables in coconut with mixed spices
Sate lalit - Balinese satay with chicken
Pepes ikan - steamed fish in a banana leaf
Nasi kuning - yellow rice
Pergedel jagung - fried corn
Dadar guling - rolled coconut cake with palm sugar

Learning about the spices in the markets and seeing how the people grow rice in a way that is known as Subak, this is a real highlight of the holiday. 

Other visits on Bali if there is time include:

Kintamini volcano and Lake Batur
Tirta Empul temple for bathing in the holy waters
Tegalalan where you can see the impressive paddy fields


To give yourself an extra treat in Indonesia, you can extend this tour by a few days and board a boat to sail round Komodo Island and Taka Makassar to see the famous dragons and the flying foxes. 

Komodo Island and Taka Makassar

From Bali we go to Komodo on board a boat which is your home for a few nights, exploring this amazing islands and seeing of course the famous dragons and also the flying foxes at dusk. This is a picture perfect scene of beautiful tropical waters, a sailing boat, sunset..and dragons! The journey includes a few nights spent on a lovely sailing boat enjoying the islands from the sea, with days spent exploring the islands of Komodo and Taka Makassar. 

Komodo dragon.jpg

 Komodo Island.jpg

When is the best time of year to visit Indonesia?

Indonesia is always warm, humid and tropical, remaining around 30-35°C (85-95°F) all year round but the dry season from April to October is the most popular time. The November-March rainy seasons are only relative, with plenty of rainfall around the year. The climate is quite stable throughout the year and it never really gets cold, but during the wet season there are more likely to be sharp thunderstorms. 

The wet season can bring muddy roads and some inaccessibility for smaller boats in the rougher seas particularly in January and February, but the best months for diving off Bali and trekking up Mount Bromo are definitely during the dry season. Expect it to be cold on the summit walk, so do pack some warm layers and lightweight trekking boots. 

Is it safe in Indonesia? 

Compared to many places in the world, Indonesia and particularly Java and Bali are both fairly safe places to visit. The main problem might be hassle from avaricious traders or touts. Petty opportunistic theft does occur but Balinese people are well known for their hospitality and friendliness and people on Java are equally as generous. Like anywhere it would be important to be aware and careful in the bigger cities and popular tourist areas. 

The many islands of Indonesia make the country a very popular tourist destination, and there is a lifetime of safe and happy exploration here: 

Indonesia beginners’ guide  Bali  Lombok  Java and Flores   Travel   The Guardian.png


Bespoke Dates

Indonesia Adventure 'Best of Java and Bali' itinerary




Java - arrive in Yogyakarta (best to use Bali as your international flight destination, and then get an internal leg from Bali to Yogyakarta.) 

Jogya is the artistic and intellectial soul of Java, famous for it's arts and cultural heritage. The ornate 18th century royal complex, many temples, good food and friendly people make this a perfect place to start your holiday. Explore the town and experience the local batik, the ballet, local Javanese dances held in open air pavilions and even the famous puppet shows. 
Our accommodation will be in a good quality hotel near the city centre so that you can come and go over the next day or so. 
Java   Google Maps.png


Java - Borobudur and Prambanan Temples 

An hours drive from Yogyakarta is this remarkable 9th century Buddhist temple which is the largest in the world. The temple compounds are a UNESCO heritage site and a pilgrimage for many around the world who come to be amazed at this vast structure consisting of 504 Buddhist statues and 1500 story panels hewn from over 2 million blocks of lava. It is definitely a must see for any visitor, so we spend a full day exploring the monument and returning back to Yogja in the evening. 


Java - Mount Lawu Tea Plantation

East of Yogja and on the slopes of Mount Lawu is a classic example of how industriousness and innovative techniques have turned an entire landscape into a tea estate. A few hours drive from the city and the countryside becomes rich and fertile and rural, and the journey takes in both this industry and the way of life of the people who live and work with tea. 


Java - Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park - Tengger Crater visit 

An unworldly landscape greets the visitor to this fascinating park which is home to two huge active volcanoes, Bromo and Semeru. Mt Bromo sits inside the massive Tengger caldera and constantly belches suphurous white smoke, but it is possible to visit this place and experience the startling beauty and power of the place. There are numerous treks and excursions, and we overnight near the Park at Comoro Lawang. It is quite a drive to the north of Java (with an average speed of 30km/h) so we take our time to explore the region. 

tengger crater java   Google Maps.png


Java - Sunrise Trek up Mount Bromo 

From the guesthouse it's an early start to hike up to the volcano itself and see sunrise over this iconic crater and watch the day arrive over this truly unworldly place. Rest in the afternoon. 


Java - rest and travel day - We drive from Bromo to Ijen and relax in the vehicles for the journey to reach the far eastern point of the island and overnight accommodation in Banyuwangi and some lovely local seafood and fish to enjoy.


Java - Ijen Crater - midnight walk to see the Blue Fire and the Ijen miners

A night time trek to the rim of this huge crater which is famous for it's Blue Fire and the sight of the miners picking their way out of the smoke of the volcano in order to collect sulphur. The hike takes about four hours and you trek up onto the crater rim to arrive at dawn. Descent is in daylight and then a transfer back to the town for resting and sightseeing in Banyuwangi. 


Bali - Pemuteran Bay

From east Java you take the boat to Bali and get picked up at Gilimanuk Harbour for a short transfer to Pemuteran Bay for swimming in the hot springs at Mimpi Resort. Dinner and overnight at either Kubuku lodge  or Adi Assri lodge. Pemuteran is widely regarded as one of the best spots in the world for diving, but it is also a haven for relaxation, Balinese culture and good food on the north west side of the island. 

West Bali National Park  Bali  Indonesia to Kubuku Ecolodge and Resto   Google Maps.png


Bali - West Bali National Park - trekking

Early pick up from the hotel and transfer by boat for ten minutes to the park for a morning trek of about tow and a half hours through the mangrove forest to see deer, sterling birds, giant lizards and black monkeys. In the afternoon head back to Pemuteran and visit the turtle hatchery followed by local dinner at a homestay (for example Balinese shredded chicken with rice, jukut kelor and fruits). 



Bali - West Bali National Park - snorkelling

Morning pick up and transfer to Menjangan Island (30 minutes) which is part of the Bali Barat National Park and the whole day snorkelling with a dive guide, exploring the temples, seeing the local deer and local lunch. In the afternoon transfer for three hours to Ubud in the central uplands of Bali for overnight accommodation at the Artini resort or the Inata Bisma resort. This is known as a centre of crafts and dances, and the surrounding area is a beautiful patchwork of rice paddies and lush forest dotted with villages and temples. 


Bali - Ubud town - Mountain biking and village visits

After breakfast it's a day of activities including mountain biking through the varied landscape which changes as you gain altitude. Rural life on the road, this is a great opportunity to experience local hospitality, visit temples enroute, stop at a village warung to watch local craftsmen at work, and in the afternoon take part in a local Kecak dance. 


Bali - Ubud - cookery classes and sightseeing

A choice of activities in the morning including learning the techniques of Balinese cooking like grilling satay with a coconut shell and become familiar with the many spices which make Balinese food so delightful.  There is also a local spa for bathing and a chance to visit a spice plantation or a woodcarving centre. 


Bali - Nusa Penida island 

Boat transfer to Nusa Penida island off the south coast of Bali and checking into a local home like the Admadama Farmer House where you can mingle with the locals and enjoy a style and pace of life which local people associate with the "real Bali" 30 or 40 years ago. There is excellent walking and snorkelling, wonderful food and very friendly people to meet. 


Bali - Nusa Penida island - stone adventure

The island is famous for it's powerful holy spirits and these are often exemplified in the finding of your own spiritual stone which will help you on your journey. Then in the afternoon there is more wandering and sightseeing and relaxing on this paradise island and maybe swimming off Crystal Bay beach. Overnight again in the Farmers house. 


Bali - depart

A morning boat back to the main island of Bali and transfer back to the airport for your flight home. 

Or an extension to your trip to include a sailing journey to Komodo Island (see below)


Komodo Island - dragons and flying foxes

Morning transfer to Bali airport and a short flight to Labuanbajo and then aboard a boat for the first leg to Rinca Island where you can see the famous Komodo dragons with a Ranger on hand. Before dark, we go back aboard the boat and sail to Kalong Island, seeing sunset on the way, and make anchor to see the flying foxes hanging on the mangrove trees and flying through the sky as they begin their nightly hunt for food. 
Overnight on the boat in cabins. 

Labuan Bajo to Komodo   Google Maps.png


Komodo Island - Taka Makassar - dragons, red beaches, coral reefs and manta rays

In the morning set sail again for Komodo Island and see the dragons once again in their natural habitat, then head towards the red and pink beaches for snorkelling amongst beautiful coral reefs, swimming and sun bathing. 
In the afternoon sail to Taka Makassar and search for the famous manta rays that are found here, and then head back to Labuanbajo and overnight in a hotel on Golo hilltop. 

Komodo to Taka Makassar   Google Maps.png


Labuanbajo - Bali  - Mirror Stone Caves

Time to relax in the hotel in the morning and then in the afternoon visit the gorgeous stalactites and stalagmites of the Mirror Stone Cave followed by transfer to the airport and onward flight to Bali. 


Bali depart

Indonesia 'Best of Java and Bali' cost £2595.00


  • All accommodation in homestays, lodges, hotels and resorts
  • All local transport including boats, jeeps and buses
  • All meals except snacks along the way and drinks
  • All visits to temples and sites of historic and cultural interest
  • All local guides and staff


  • Travel insurance
  • Visas if required
  • International flights (note that the trip starts in Yogyakarta and ends in Bali, so we recommend using Bali as your international airport to fly in and out)
  • Personal costs such as additional snack, alcohol
  • Komodo island additional trip

Note on international flights:
Outbound to Bali and then to Yogyakarta
Return from Bali

Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due four weeks before travel.

Tours from only pp Dates & Bookings
Key Information
  • Accommodation Hotels and Homestays
  • Group size Small
  • Transport Minibus and boats
  • Airports Yogyakarta and Bali