ULTIMATE JAVA, SULAWESI & BALI

Explore sites both famed and unseen in Java, Sulawesi and Bali on a tour that marries tropical landscapes with cultural immersion.

TOUR INTRODUCTION

15 Days, 14 Nights     FROM US$ 2344 PER PERSON

From the cradle of Javanese civilization in Yogyakarta to the elaborate funerary rites of the Toraja in Sulawesi, Indonesia offers a vast and varied landscape of cultures and natural wonders. On this 15-day tour, you’ll gain genuine insight into the fascinating regions of Java, Sulawesi and Bali with walking tours of local villages, volcano treks, beach excursions, guided temple explorations and more.

From Yogyakarta, you’ll embark on an island-hopping journey that reveals the very best of Indonesia. On Java, make your own personalized batik piece from scratch and see the region’s ancient temples, including Borobudur and Prambanan. A scenic train ride will whisk you into the eastern reaches of Java, where you’ll scale a stunning volcano by car, horse and on foot.

After flying to Sulawesi, you’ll venture into the interior of the island to immerse yourself in the mysterious culture of the Toraja people, famed for their elaborate funerary rites. Visit the “balconies of death” that feature cliff coffins and hanging effigies, mingle with local villagers, and catch a spectacular sunrise over Lake Tempe as you take in the unique customs and architecture of one of Indonesia’s most fascinating people.

Once in Bali, it’s time to unwind. You’ll stay in charming Ubud, which has a lovely bohemian vibe, and visit quiet villages surrounded by rice terraces. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to live a day in the life of a local Balinese farmer while supporting community-based tourism. With ample beach time in world-famous Sanur and day trips to Balinese must-sees such as Tanah Lot and Tirta Empul, you’ll finish out your trip with a wonderful dose of culture, pampering and stunning tropical landscapes.

 

“If you can’t decide what to do in Indonesia because there’s so much to see, this tour is your best bet. It brings together all the best of Indonesia’s diverse islands on a unique itinerary that lets you get to know locals and their way of life.”

Andhika Putra, Backyard Travel Indonesia Specialist

THE BACKYARD TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

Visit a batik workshop and design your own piece from scratch
Catch the sunrise over Lake Tempe among the floating houses of the Bugis people
Summit Mount Bromo at dawn and ride a horse to the crater rim
Have lunch in a traditional Toraja house



Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Arrival Yogyakarta

    Upon arrival at Adi Sucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta your local guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel by private car.

    We recommend Silk Air flight MI152 departing from Singapore and arriving in Yogyakarta at 09:30 on Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays. (This flight is not included and is quoted separately. Tariffs and schedules are subject to change without prior notice.)

    Yogyakarta, pronounced “Jogjakarta” (or “Jogja” as it is sometimes written), is considered the cradle of Javanese culture and is the most popular destination for visitors to the island. Nearby are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Borobodur and Prambanan.

    After arrival, enjoy a welcome lunch at your hotel and take some time to freshen up. Your Java, Sulawesi and Bali tour will begin with an afternoon excursion to a local batik workshop for an introduction to one of Indonesia’s most renowned crafts. Observe the timeless technique of batik production and, after seeing how it’s done, you’ll have the unique chance to make your own design. Your creation will be hand-delivered to your hotel as soon as it has dried.

    The evening is yours to spend as you please. If you’d like a recommendation for a delicious dinner, just ask your local guide who will be happy to share insider knowledge.

    Overnight in Yogyakarta

    Meals included on this day: Lunch

  • Day 2: Yogyakarta - Prambanan - Yogyakarta

    Today after breakfast, you’ll learn more about Yogyakarta’s historic and cultural traditions with a private city tour. You’ll start at the magnificent Sultan’s Palace, known locally as the Kraton. Completed in 1790, the palace is a wonderful example of Javanese sultanate architecture. As you stroll through the numerous rooms and chambers, you’ll gain deep insights into Javanese heritage.

    Next door is the water palace and splendid gardens of Taman Sari, which was built by the first Sultan, who made sure the royal complex had numerous bathing pools for his large harem.

    Next, hop onto a becak (a type of trishaw), which will take you through the streets of the city, stopping along the way for a delicious lunch at a local restaurant serving Indonesian cuisine.

    After lunch you’ll head to the 9th-century Hindu temples at Prambanan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The inner shrines here are dedicated to the “Hindu trinity” of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, providing a fascinating insight to the relationship between the locals and their religion.

    Continue on to the elegant domes and intricate carvings of nearby Plaosan, the second-largest Buddhist temple complex in Indonesia. Housing 249 temples, this square complex laid out in a mandala pattern displays a mixture of Hindu and Buddhist influences.

    Return to your hotel to freshen up and prepare for the evening’s entertainment: a traditional Ramayana dance performed for you while you enjoy dinner.

    Overnight in Yogyakarta

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 3: Yogyakarta – Borobudur – Candirejo

    Today is bound to be a highlight of your Java, Sulawesi and Bali tour. After breakfast your guide and driver will take you outside Yogyakarta to magnificent Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site took more than 75 years to construct—entirely by human hand—from thousands of river stones and volcanic rocks. Its unique structure and intricate carvings are awe-inspiring.

    You’ll also have the chance to pay a visit to two other iconic temples, Pawon and Mendut. While Mendut’s pyramid-shaped structure houses three impressive stone statues, Pawon is less grand but is nonetheless beautiful and is renowned for its uncannily precise symmetry.

    Take a delightful lunch in a nearby restaurant before continuing on to the village of Candirejo for a little immersion in local life.

    In Candirejo, a dokar (local horse cart) will take you down the charming lanes of this quiet village. You’ll make frequent stops along the way to witness everyday village activities, such as vanilla and chili harvesting, cassava cracker production and local musicians practicing on their handmade instruments.

    Return to Yogyakarta, where the rest of your evening is free to spend at your leisure.

    (Important note: Please bring your luggage with clear identification to hotel reception by 22:00 tonight. Your luggage will be brought overnight to Mojokerto Railway Station in East Java by your driver. The next day you’ll travel by train to Mojokerto. We advise packing a day bag with a change of clothes, toiletries and a light jacket as the air conditioning on the train can be quite chilly.)

    Overnight in Yogyakarta

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and lunch

    borobudur-art-indonesia.jpg
  • Day 4: Yogyakarta – Mojokerto – Mount Bromo

    Today’s leg of your Java, Sulawesi and Bali tour whisks you by train to Eastern Java. Train travel is one of the best ways to see the marvelous scenery of Central and Eastern Java, as well as a great way to meet fellow passengers and locals.

    Rise early at 5:30 a.m., check out, and transfer at 6:00 a.m. to Yogyakarta Railway Station for your scenic, 3.5-hour train ride to Mojokerto in East Java. Your guide will accompany you, and your hotel will provide a boxed breakfast that you can eat on the train.

    (Please note: Your planned route is aboard the Sancaka Pagi departing from Yogyakarta at 6:45 a.m. and arriving at Mojokerto at 10:58 a.m. Train schedules are subject to change without notice. Your passport details are required to book the train ticket and must be provided at the time of reservation.)

    Your local driver will meet you on arrival at Mojokerto Station. From here, you’ll embark on the final leg of your journey today, with a 4-hour scenic drive to Ngadisari or Tosari village, both of which are located on the rim of Tengger Caldera. This will be your gateway to Mount Bromo, Java’s most famous active volcano. We’ll stop for lunch on the way at a local restaurant.

    Check in to your hotel, enjoy dinner, and relax after a day of travel.

    Overnight in Ngadisari or Tosari

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 5: Mount Bromo – Surabaya

    Today includes one of the highlights of your Java tour: a sunrise trek up Mount Bromo. A 4-wheel-drive jeep will take you up steep terrain to a viewing spot with commanding views of the active volcano and its surreal surroundings. From here, witness the spectacle of the sun slowly rising from behind Mount Bromo.

    Afterward we’ll drive through the lunar-like landscape of the volcano’s caldera. A 20-minute ride on horseback will bring you to a set of stairs that leads to the crater rim. Soak in the magnificent view from the summit of the volcano before returning by horse and jeep to your hotel for breakfast.

    (Please note: Wear warm clothes for the sunrise ascent. Weekend visits to Mount Bromo are subject to a USD$10 surcharge.)

    From here, it’s a 4-hour drive to Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city. As we near the city, we’ll pay a visit to the Sampoerna factory. This famous institution is where Indonesia’s well-loved kretek cigarettes are made. We’ll have a delicious lunch at the factory’s restaurant.

    One final hour of driving brings us to Surabaya. Enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

    Overnight in Surabaya

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and lunch

    the-high-volcano-bromo-indonesia_0.jpg
  • Day 6: Surabaya – Makassar

    Today, you’ll say goodbye to Java and begin your tour of Sulawesi. After breakfast, you’ll have some time to spend the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, you’ll be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to the city of Makassar in southern Sulawesi. One of the four Greater Sundra Islands, Sulawesi is the 11th-largest island in the world.

    We recommend Garuda Indonesia flight GA671 departing from Surabaya at 13:45 and arriving in Makassar at 16:15. (This flight is not included and is quoted separately. Tariffs and schedules are subject to change without prior notice.)

    On arrival in Makassar, you’ll be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight in Makassar

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast

  • Day 7: Makassar – Sengkang

    Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and meet your guide at 09:30 to embark on a half-day private tour of Makassar. First, you’ll head to the colorful fish market where locals come to buy the catch of the day. Wander through the bustling streets to Paotere Harbor and learn about the Bugis people, who are the renowned shipbuilders of the regional phinsi schooners.

    Hop in your private car to visit Makassar’s most iconic site, Fort Rotterdam. This fort is commonly considered one of Indonesia’s best-preserved Dutch forts. Next, explore the La Galigo Museum for deeper insights into the history and culture of Sulawesi. Then, a leisurely stroll down Somba Opu street will provide opportunities to stop into the many craft shops there.

    An early lunch of fresh, Sulawesi-style seafood will be served at the popular Surya Restaurant.

    After you’re rested and sated, we’ll embark on a 6-hour scenic drive to Sengkang, the former seat of the mighty Bugis kingdom. Sengkang overlooks the largest lake in Sulawesi, Lake Tempe.

    Upon arrival in Sengkang, sit down to a local Bugis-style feast for dinner.

    Overnight in Sengkang

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 8: Sengkang - Enrekang – Rantepao

    Today, you’ll catch the sunrise over Lake Tempe—a spectacular scene. Wake up at 05:15 and head out to the lake where a local boat will take you out on the water. About 30 Bugis fishing families still live on the lake in traditional floating houses. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy Bugis hospitality with a cup of tea or coffee, or perhaps a fried banana (a popular snack in Indonesia), as you watch the sun come up.

    Return to your hotel for breakfast and check out. Today we’ll say goodbye to Sengkang and drive to Rantepao, the capital of Tana Toraja Regency. Rantepao is home to a population of roughly 450,000 Toraja people. The Toraja are famed for their elaborate funeral ceremonies, unique architecture, spectacular wood carving and vibrant dancing. For the next two days, you’ll explore Toraja villages and learn about this intriguing culture.

    We’ll stop in Enrekang for a late lunch at a local restaurant.

    Your drive continues for another 2 hours through a variety of landscapes. We’ll stop at the entrance to the Toraja region of Sulawesi Island and rub shoulders with the locals selling cinnamon, vanilla and other local spices.

    Once in Toraja, we’ll visit Kete Kesu, a unique village with some of the finest tongkonan (traditional Toraja houses) to be found. These boat-shaped houses feature tall roofs that create strange silhouettes in the sky. Their facades boast many beautiful carved and painted motifs. A buffalo head adorns the wealthiest homes. A rice granary built in the traditional Toraja country style can also be found in Kete Kesu. Wander through the village and marvel at the bones and elaborate coffins that are displayed in the rocky outcroppings.
    Check in to your hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner will be served at your hotel, and the rest of the evening will be free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight in Rantepao

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 9: Touring southern Toraja

    Today after breakfast, you’ll spend the whole day touring the Toraja region of Sulawesi, visiting many different villages and observing a variety of unique funeral traditions.

    We’ll start the morning with a visit to the villages of Lemo and Suaya. These dramatic villages are surrounded by cliffs that are known as “the death balconies.” Graves and hanging effigies of deceased nobility cover the cliffs. Continue to Sangala, where the villagers have dug graves into the trunks of trees. This is the traditional Toraja method for burying babies. Make a stop at Kenbira before driving on to Maruang to enjoy lunch in a splendid liong tongkonan.

    Next, you’ll continue your insightful visit with a stop at Londa village, where wooden coffins are suspended over the cliffs using ropes and poles. Our last stop will be at Marante, a village noted for its tau-tau (effigies), which are dressed in white and set on a cliff.

    Return to the hotel, where dinner will be served this evening.

    Overnight in Rantepao.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 10: Batutumonga – Village experience

    Today after breakfast at the hotel, if the schedule permits, your Sulawesi tour will bring you to an intriguing local market: the traditional buffalo market in Bolu where buffalos and pigs used in funerals are sold. Held only once every 6 days, the market offers great immersion into local culture. (Please note: Because the buffalo market is only held once a week, we will replace it with a visit to a local market in Rantepao if it is not held on the day you visit.)

    Your private car will bring you to Palawa, a typical Toraja village, for exploration. Then, continue on to the highlands of Batutumonga and drink in the commanding views of the lush countryside that stretches across Toraja Valley.

    Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Mentirotiku before setting off on an optional 1- or 2-hour soft trek.

    OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: 1- OR 2-HOUR TREK
    The villages perched on the slopes of Mount Sesean offer beautiful views of rice paddies studded with large black rocks that remain from ancient volcanic eruptions. Our 1-hour trek will take you to Lempo and Tinongbayo villages, while our easy 2-hour trek will bring you to the villages of Bori and Tikala to meet the locals and observe their traditional lifestyle. These two villages are home to ancestral stone circles, which, according to local Toraja lore, represent important nobles who have passed away.

    On our return to Rantepao, we’ll stop at a Todi weaving factory where the traditional techniques and motifs for ikat textiles are preserved.

    After returning to your hotel, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

    Overnight in Rantepao.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  • Day 11: Rantepao – Makassar – Ubud

    Today your Java, Sulawesi and Bali tour will bring you to the last Indonesian island on the itinerary: Bali.

    After rising early and eating breakfast, we’ll embark on our scenic 9-hour drive back to Makassar, stopping for a delicious local lunch in Pare-Pare on the way.

    Fly from Makassar to Ubud, Bali.

    We recommend Garuda Indonesia flight GA621 departing from Makassar at 19:45 and arriving in Denpasar at 21:10. (This flight is not included and is quoted separately. Tariffs and schedules are subject to change without prior notice.)

    Upon arrival at Denpasar Airport, you’ll be met by your local guide and be transferred to your hotel in the charming city of Ubud.

    Check in to your hotel, where dinner will be served.

    Overnight in Ubud

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

    best time to visit Bali to surf - surf on the beach in Balibeach in Bali - umbrellas on the sandy beach
  • Day 12: Ubud

    You’ll spend the first day of your Bali tour on a relaxing full-day exploration of Ubud and its idyllic surroundings. After breakfast, hop in your private car and head to the Sacred Monkey Forest to meet its cheeky simian residents. Continue to the heart of Ubud to see the royal palace where the royal family still resides today. Then, walk to the local market where you can watch the hustle and bustle of local trade, or even jump in and do a little souvenir shopping yourself.

    Our next stop is the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) for a comprehensive overview of this island nation’s rich artistic traditions.

    Enjoy lunch at a restaurant with commanding views over the lush rice terraces of Perkedui.

    Continue to Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring. This famous water temple is still used for sacred Balinese ceremonies, and pilgrims travel here every year to bathe in the holy waters dedicated to the god Vishnu. Finally, we’ll pay a visit to the nearby Pura Gunung Kawi. Surrounded by lush rice terraces, this unique 11th-century temple complex features ten candi (shrines) carved directly into the cliff face. These remarkable carvings stand 7 meters high and combine ancient Hindu and Buddhist attributes. We recommend wearing good walking shoes, as there are numerous stairs leading to the temple.

    We’ll make a stop at a local plantation before driving roughly 30 minutes back to Ubud. Enjoy the rest of your evening at your leisure.

    Overnight in Ubud

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and lunch

    white sand beach in baliBali coast at Pura Luhur Temple area, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
  • Day 13: Ubud – Taman Sari Buwana – Sanur

    After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be picked up by your private driver who will take you to the center of the island for a fascinating sustainable tourism excursion at Taman Sari Buwana farm in Tunjuk Village. Here you’ll have the chance to experience authentic local Balinese life while supporting a community-based tourism initiative.

    As you will be out in the fields a lot today, we recommend bringing plenty of sunscreen and mosquito repellant, and wearing comfortable flip-flops.

    Upon arrival at Tunjuk Village you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to make traditional Balinese temple offerings. Then, as you walk through the village, you’ll learn about the vegetable and animal elements that are the staples of any Balinese home. Next you’ll have the chance to meet some elder members of the village who will teach you the tricks of weaving pandanus leaves.

    Next, don a traditional farmer’s hat and, armed with a mattock (a small hand tool), walk with some local farmers who will show you their sawah besar—big rice paddies. With translation from your expert guide, you’ll learn how to plant, transplant or harvest rice alongside the farmers, depending on the season.

    After trying your hand at farming, you’ll visit a seasonal vegetable and flower plantation. You’ll also make a stop at a coconut farm where locals will show off their astounding ability to climb up trees and gather young coconuts for you to enjoy. Next, you’ll learn the technique for making a tasty snack of boiled cassava with freshly grated coconut in a traditional-style kitchen, then you’ll sit down to a delicious lunch on the farm.

    After lunch, drive back to your hotel. En route we’ll stop at the serene site of Taman Ayun Temple. The temple features delightful gardens and a vast courtyard, as well as the impressive traditional style of layered roofs.

    Afterward we’ll drive another 30 minutes to arrive at the beautiful coastal temple of Tanah Lot, just in time to catch the spectacular sunset over the sea.

    Continue to your beach hotel in Sanur and check in. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

    Overnight in Sanur

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

    balinese-temple-silhouette-indonesia_0.jpg
  • Day 14: Sanur – Uluwatu Kecak Dance

    To wrap up your Java, Sulawesi and Bali tour, spend the day at your leisure, perhaps relaxing on pristine beaches or indulging in a bit of souvenir shopping.

    This evening you’re in for a special treat: you’ll get the chance to watch the trance-like kecak dance in a splendid cliff-top location overlooking Uluwatu Temple. Dating back to the 1930s, this dance is performed exclusively by men and to no musical accompaniment. The dance was conceived as an ode to the Monkey in the Ramayana Epic.

    Following this special performance, sit down to a delicious dinner under the stars. On the white sands of Jimbaran, one of Bali’s most expansive beaches, you’ll be served fresh seafood.

    Overnight in Sanur.

    Meals included on this day: Breakfast and dinner

    Balinese-Dancer-at-a-temple-Indonesia.jpg
  • Day 15: Sanur – Departure

    After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a free morning at your leisure until your private transfer picks you up for your return flight or onward journey from Denpasar airport.

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.