Travel through the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali on this thrilling 11-day journey. You'll start by exploring the magnificent temples of Yogyakarta and hiking up sacred Mount Merapi in Turi. Then, you'll fly over to Bali, where you'll explore beautiful Ubud and its surroundings, including its rice terraces and Monkey Forest. Finally, you'll head east to Karangasem regency for more breathtaking temple complexes and palaces, as well as some well-earned beach days.

Highlights

  • Visit Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world
  • Hike up one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes, Mount Merapi
  • Meet the mischievous primates that reside in Ubud's Monkey Forest
  • Go on an exciting white water rafting adventure down Ayung River
  • Walk through the seven temples that guard the summit of Mount Lempuyang

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Indonesia! Yogyakarta
Day 2 Yogyakarta Temple Tour Yogyakarta
Day 3 Transfer to Turi Turi
Day 4 Sunrise Trek to Mount Merapi Turi
Day 5 Fy to Bali Ubud, Bali
Day 6 Balinese Immersion Day Ubud, Bali
Day 7 Ubud Excursions Ubud, Bali
Day 8 White Water Rafting Adventure Sanur, Bali
Day 9 Transfer to Karangasem Karangasem, Bali
Day 10 Amlapura Free Day Karangasem, Bali
Day 11 Depart Back Home  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Indonesia!

Traditional Indonesian dance
Traditional Indonesian dance

Welcome to beautiful Yogyakarta, the most visited city in Java. A private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel.

You'll have the afternoon and evening free to explore this vibrant city, where you'll find many museums and art galleries. Visit Kraton, the 18th-century royal complex where you can see the Sultan's palace and catch a classical Javanese dance performance. 

In the evening, venture out to try some authentic Indonesian food.

Day 2: Yogyakarta Temple Tour

Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu temple complex in the country
Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu temple complex in the country

Start the day with a visit to Kota Gede, the former center of the Mataram Kingdom.

Then, you'll head towards Sewu and Plaosan Temples, both of which are important Buddhist temples in the area. Admire their unique stone architecture and sculptures before continuing to Prambanan Temple. Built in the 9th century, Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. Sunset is a popular time at Prambanan Temple, as the view is absolutely breathtaking.

Return back to Yogyakarta for a free evening.

Day 3: Transfer to Turi

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world

Start out early in the morning towards Borobudur Temple, the biggest Buddhist temple in the entire world! This 9th-century temple complex is one of the most important spiritual sites in the country. Besides its impressive size, it is famous for its bell-shaped stone structures and large sculptures.

Once you have finished touring this magnificent complex, you'll continue on to visit Pawon and Mendut Temples—albeit smaller, these Buddhist temples are also worth seeing.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you will continue on your way to Turi, a small charming village that faces the great Merapi Volcano.

Spend the late afternoon enjoying the fresh mountain breeze, walking around the village, or exploring picturesque rice paddies. Don't neglect partaking in a warm cup of afternoon tea.

Day 4: Sunrise Trek to Mount Merapi

Merapi summit at sunrise
Merapi summit at sunrise

Today, you'll catch a sunrise from above the clouds. Rise before dawn for a guided hike up one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia: Mount Merapi. 

There are two peaks in Merapi. The first peak—Pasar Bubrah—is before the actual crater summit of the volcano. It’s a large bowel that is relatively flat. Your local guide will tell you myths that surround this peak, and explain why it is sacred to the locals. 

The second peak is the crater peak. This is the more difficult part of the climb, as it is a shale slope of loose stones. Those who endure the climb are rewarded with a magnificent sunrise view of Mount Sundoro, Sumbing, Lawu, and Merbabu.

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Day 5: Fy to Bali

The lotus-filled Pura Taman Saraswati temple
The lotus-filled Pura Taman Saraswati temple

It is time to leave Java and head to beautiful Bali! You'll go back to Yogyakarta in the morning to catch a flight to the Bali-Depansar International Airport. 

Once you've landed, you'll transfer to Ubud, where you'll have the day to soak up the scenery and the peacefulness that seems to drench the atmosphere. Visit the Pura Taman Saraswati temple and the gorgeous Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren).

You can also shop at the Ubud Market, see local modern arts at the Museum Puri Lukisan, or learn about more traditional media at the Threads of Life Indonesian Textile Arts Center.

Day 6: Balinese Immersion Day

Rice terraces in Bali
Rice terraces in Bali

Spend the day with a Balinese family in a small village near Mengwi.

Your hosts will take you to a local market where you can observe and smell all the local products. Then, you'll stop at the village school before reaching the family home. Join your hosts in making offerings, and help them prepare a delicious traditional Balinese lunch. 

Afterward, you'll walk through the village and drive into the countryside to a small temple. You'll take part in a blessing ceremony and then head into the scenic rice fields. Your hosts will explain the rice field system and you'll be invited to work the paddy and try traditional plowing tools.

When the day is over, you will have a stronger appreciation of daily life in rural Bali.

Day 7: Ubud Excursions

Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud
Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud

Get excited for a day of adventures around Ubud!

The first stop will be Ubud's famous Monkey Forest, where you will meet the long-tail macaques. These monkeys live freely in this nature reserve, so you'll get a chance to see their natural behaviors. Keep your belongings close, these monkeys can be cheeky!

Then, you'll visit the temple of Goa Gajah, which literally translates to "Cave of the Elephant."  This religious sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and reflects a mix of Hindu and Buddhist culture. To enter, you'll have to go through the open mouth of "Boma," a giant figure whose job is to prevent evil spirits from entering the sacred site.

Continue on to the thousand-year-old Batuan village. The village's most famous landmark is its temple, which is thought to follow an ancient megalithic tradition in which standing stones served as meeting places and ceremonial sites for the worship of ancestral spirits. Batuan is also noted for its unique painting style, which portrays crowded scenes of daily life or spirituality, often with dark motifs. The style originated in the 1930s and has since gained recognition worldwide. You can meet local painters and learn more about their distinct art.

End the day with a tour to the lovely Tegenungan Waterfall. Refresh and relax with a swim, or simply dip your feet in. 

Rest for the evening back in Ubud.

Day 8: White Water Rafting Adventure

White water rafting in Ayung River
White water rafting in Ayung River

In the morning, you'll start driving to the beautiful coastal city of Sanur.

On the way, you'll stop along Ayung River for an exhilarating white water rafting experience. Brace yourself against the current in this fun activity, and enjoy the surrounding landscape as you make your way down the river. 

Gain your strength back with a delicious lunch before continuing on to Sanur, where you can rest by the beach.

Day 9: Transfer to Karangasem

The Gateway to Heaven at Pura Lempuyang
The Gateway to Heaven at Pura Lempuyang

Leave Sanur behind and set your compass east as you drive towards the regency of Karangasem

This part of Bali is less frequented than Ubud and Depansar, so you won't have to share space with as many tour groups. Spend the day in some of the regency's most astonishing landmarks. First, stroll around the floating palace of Taman Soekasada and enjoy its relaxing gardens. Then, stop at Tirtagganga to see the royal water garden where the King of Karangasem used to come to empty his mind.

In the afternoon, you'll go to the stunning complex of Pura Lempuyang, one of Bali's most Instagramed and famous sites. The complex is made up of seven temples that are scattered on the way to the summit of Mount Lempuyang. The lowest temple is known as the "Gateway to Heaven" for the way its "gates" frame Mount Agung and reflect on the clear pool in front of them. The site is very sacred to locals, and holds great importance to the island.

At night, you'll reach Amlapura, the capital of Karangasem regency.

Day 10: Amlapura Free Day

Cocoa plantation in Karangasem
Cocoa plantation in Karangasem

Make the most of your free day by visiting some of the villages that surround Amlapura.

Candi Dasa, for example, is a pretty seaside town that rests on the edge of a fresh water lagoon. It is perfect for a nice day out in a hidden beach. 

You can also sharpen your surfing skills at nearby Jasri.  If you don't like crowds, head to Virgin Beach, which is secluded and boasts a white sandy shoreline.

In Tulamben, you'll be able to explore the underwater world of Bali. If diving isn't your thing, opt for a tour of the Sorga Chocolate Factory—one of the best-selling brands in all of Bali.

Day 11: Depart Back Home

Traditional Balinese boat
Traditional Balinese boat

Enjoy a last morning in Bali before transferring to Depansar to catch a flight back home.

Map

Map of Indonesian Temples & Culture: Yogyakarta, Turi, Ubud & Karangasem - 11 Days
Map of Indonesian Temples & Culture: Yogyakarta, Turi, Ubud & Karangasem - 11 Days