The country’s largest island and beating heart, Java is where Indonesia’s arts, landscapes and history collide in captivating fashion. At the centre of it all is Yogyakarta, Java’s cultural core, and a local guide will ensure you see (and taste) the best of its eclectic art, palaces and street food before. Then, for the next part of your Java itinerary, leave the city and feel your jaw hang low as you absorb the gargantuan temple complex of UNESCO-listed Prambanan – Indonesia’s largest Hindu site. You’ll get the skinny on its history and significance to Hinduism as you wander with your guide around a site that’s second only to Borobudur as Java’s most famous. Speaking of which, Borobudur is your next stop and its bell-shaped stupas rise high as the world’s largest Buddhist temple to serve up paddy-filled vistas.
But it’s not just historic sites you’ll see in Java. Catch a train to the island’s eastern reaches and see nature’s own conical masterpieces, first with a sunrise Jeep tour to the steaming Mount Bromo before an exhilarating trek to the cyan-tinted sulphur lake atop Mount Ijen. After an action-packed few days in Java, you’ll board a boat bound for Bali. Your itinerary in Bali will begin with a day of complete chill before setting off to explore, spying Brahma Vihara Arana (Bali’s biggest Buddhist temple) before slinking in the hot springs Banjar – thought to possess healing qualities.
You’ll hike the waterfall-striped jungle and plantations surrounding Munduk as you make your way to the mystical town of Ubud, a place whose colourful streets are alive with artisans channelling Balinese culture. You’ll be given plenty of time to soak up Ubud’s unique atmosphere but you’ll also roam the mossy temples and cheeky macaques of Ubud Monkey Forest and pore over one of the finest collections of Balinese art at the Agung Rai Museum of Art.
Wind through pea-green rice terraces as you take in two more of Bali’s atmospheric temples – Pura Gunung Kawi and Pura Tirta Empul – on your way to the golden sands of the island’s south-west coast. After your whirlwind adventure, you’ll appreciate some time to relax among the tropical gardens and exotic beach seclusion (ideal for any Bali honeymoon itinerary) at The Samaya Seminyak, a resort that embodies the peace and tranquillity Bali is known for.
Paying homage to the magnificent Borobudur with its staggered storeys, the Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta peeks above twenty two hectares of manicured tropical gardens like an elegant white goddess. Resting on the outskirts of Yogyokarta, the sweet scents of lemongrass and cinnamon will waft through your nostrils from the moment you step into the marble lobby, while your balcony serves up splendid views of the gardens unfolding towards the misty Mount Merapi in the distance – Java’s most sacred volcano.
If location was the luxury, then the Jiwa Jawa Resort would be drenched in opulence. A mountain lodge sitting pretty two thousand metres above sea level, it’s pitched amid a panoramic tapestry of rolling hills, green forests and spluttering volcanoes. The farm-to-table Indonesian cuisine is not only plucked straight from the scenic landscape surrounding you, it’s tasty fuel for a sunrise visit to Mount Bromo – just fifteen minutes away in a Jeep.
Snuggled among the thick rainforest of East Java and in the middle of nowhere, you will really feel like you’ve stumbled across the Jiwa Jawa Resort. Climb the entrance steps, built to resemble a rice terrace, and discover a treasure of art, sculptures and photography inside that pay tribute to East Javanese culture. Edging above the jungle canopy, the luxury lodges feel more like treehouses and your balcony is a view over what’s in store for you, including hikes to Mount Ijen’s crater lake.
Cradled by the pristine rainforest of unheralded West Bali National Park, Plataran Menjangan Resort & Spa is an eco-resort that lives in tandem with nature. From the traditional joglo villas to the farm-to-fork cuisine and the tree planting programme, everything is geared towards leaving no footprint in this wild corner of Bali. And when you’re waking up to the chirps of endangered Bali starlings and watching deer trot past your dinner table, you’ll realise how special – and crucial – this place really is.
If you’re looking for Bali’s best view, we’ll make it easy for you – Munduk Moding Plantation already has it nailed. Perched on northern Bali’s temperate hills, the resort looks out over stupendous vistas of hillsides wrapped in coffee plantations, virgin rainforest and rice terraces. The sunsets are even better. The unmistakable Balinese villas are enveloped by the jungle and while a roster of activities get you out and about in this untouched environment, we really wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t move a single inch from your vantage point.
Sitting high above the Petanu River Valley and encased within ten hectares of parakeet-green hillside gardens, Maya Ubud Resort & Spa has classic Bali written all over it. It presides over Peliatan’s sprawling rice paddies, lush jungle and the snaking Petanu River, an emerald oasis of tranquillity you can’t help but be swept up by. A stay here is a bath-like immersion into Balinese culture, with an eclectic display of Indonesian heritage antiques and thatched villas suitably minimalist so not to distract from the spellbinding view.
If you were to look up the word 'samaya' in a Sanskrit dictionary, it would refer to an inner sanctum of wellbeing. It might as well be talking about The Samaya Seminyak, a resort that oozes Balinese opulence and tranquillity in equal measure. You'll feel your pulse slowing the moment you stroll through its perfectly manicured tropical gardens, while all of the contemporary chic villas come with private lap pools, perfect for watching the fiery sunsets play out each evening – they’re reputedly the best in Bali.
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Home to over seventeen thousand islands, Indonesia is bursting with a wealth of diverse experiences. We’ll take you to some of its most enigmatic, beginning in spiritual Bali and then cruising around the islands of Komodo National Park, unlocking its natural treasures along the way.VIEW EXPERIENCE
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