Denpasar airport - Ubud
Greeting at the airport of Denpasar and transfer to Ubud. Situated in a cool hilly area north of Denpasar, Ubud is well known for its arts and culture. Despite the rapid growth of tourism, the place has kept a lot of its charm and authenticity. The rest of the afternoon is free.
Get up early to take advantage of the best morning light to explore Ubud and its surroundings. First you head to the town’s central market which is already bursting with activities.
Then, take a walk through the Monkey Forest where you can observe and photograph the primates. Beware of their tendency to “pick on” the visitors.
Start the afternoon with a stroll in the vicinity of Ubud where you often encounter some rather reserved villagers pleased to pose for photos. You come back to Ubud before sunset after an exceptional stop for photographers along the famous rice fields of Tegalalang. Between 16 and 17hr ( 4-5pm) the luminosity is amazing over the horizon.
After dinner, Dominic takes you to attend a colourful Balinese dance performance. Night at the same hotel.
Before daybreak, depart for Mt. Batur which you reach in time to catch the volcano’s caldera at sunrise. You can walk all the way down to lava flows dating from 1926/27 for moonlike shots.
After this first photo session, the trip continues with breakfast in Sebatu in a family of carvers. Afterwards, view a Balinese dance and gamelan performance with good opportunities to comfortably photograph both dancers and musicians.
Upon return to Ubud, you might stop over in Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul temples, depending on the time. Night in the same hotel.
Ubud - Kehen Temple
Early morning transfer to the very beautiful temple of Kehen located in Bangli district. Although hardly visited by tourists, it is considered as one of the most venerated temples in Bali.
Kehen Temple - Sidemen
We pursue our journey towards Sidemen passing through a scenic little road on the slopes of Mt Agung. Check in hotel then visit the surroundings. Before nightfall, this small traditional village sitting in a narrow valley facing the mountain of fire bathes in layers of magnificent lights. Night in hotel.
Sidemen - Tanah Lot
The entire morning is spent strolling around villages and rice fields, hoping to come closer to the rural lifestyle and feel the spirit of Balinese culture. Your walk is punctuated by numerous courtesy stops, a perfect occasion to familiarise yourself with the local habits and customs.
In the afternoon, transfer to the famous temple of Tanah Lot that you can photograph at sunset. Night in hotel.
Your last day in Bali is devoted to photography. Choose the neighbouring beach or the surrounding rice fields. Beautiful Balinese models wearing traditional clothes join you to enliven your shots.
Transfer to Denpasar international airport in the afternoon then fly to Yogyakarta, the cultural capital of Java. Night in hotel.
The morning is spent discovering the city, beginning at Beringharjo Central Market on the famous Malioboro street. Following on to the Sultan’s Palace with its faithful servants still wearing traditional outfits.
In the afternoon, you head towards the southern beaches where you can take good shots at sunset especially on Parangtritis beach, amusingly called “Paris” by the locals. Back to your hotel in the evening.
Yogyakarta - Mt Merapi
Early morning departure towards the majestic hillsides of Merapi volcano where you come close to several lava flows left by the 2010, 1994 &1998 eruptions. This entire day is dedicated to the “sacred mountain of fire”. Venerated as much as feared by the people living on its slopes, its eruptions can be destructive while also representing a source of life. In this extremely fertile soil, rice can be harvested up to 3 times a year.
Mt Merapi - Babadan
Babadan Volcano Observatory is the highlight of the journey. On clear days the sunset spreads a rare orange luminosity on the grey peak.
Babadan - Borobudur Temple
Short transfer to Borobudur area. Night at hotel.
At daybreak, your guide takes you a few hundred meters away from the hotel in order to make morning shots of Borobudur temple in the distance. In fact, you obtain the best angle for shooting from the cliffs of Punthuk Setumbu. Others interesting spots are later suggested.
Come back to the hotel for breakfast. Later in the morning, visit Borobudur itself then depart for Villa Sumbing Indah, which offers nice guestrooms on the slopes of Mt Sumbing. After enjoying a gastronomic dinner you’re invited to walk into the past on the trail of Selogriyo temple. Back to your hotel in late afternoon.
Depart at daybreak to photograph Mt Sumbing and the surrounding volcanoes, mainly Merbabu and Merapi, from Mampang village overlooking the entire region with its 1500m altitude. Splendid panorama especially if the day is clear when you can see the city of Yogyakarta over 60km away.
Drive to Ambarawa district and the swampy Rawapening lake. After checking in at the hotel, you have the afternoon to discover the surroundings and observe workers collecting mud sold to be transformed into fertiliser afterwards. You can even take part in fishing or mud collecting with local people. Back to your hotel in late afternoon.
Ambarawa - Semarang
Early morning transfer to Gedong Songo Temples from where you enjoy a very scenic panorama of the Ambarrawa valley. If the weather is overcast or foggy, you come back to the lakeside and get another opportunity to photograph the fishermen at work.
Back to hotel by mid-day, then depart for the coastal regency of Jepara located 3 hours away on the north coast of Java.
Semarang - Karimunjawa
Free time until you transfer to the harbour where you board a two-hour express ferry boat to Karimunjawa. The travellers’ New Eldorado consists of 27 islands, each as idyllic as the other. The rest of the day is free. You can rent a scooter at the guesthouse and do the hour and a half drive around the main island, or go on an excursion in search of hidden beaches. Night in hotel by the sea.
The whole day is spent cruising through the archipelago exploring; deserted idyllic islands like Gleyang, diving or snorkeling spots, and marine farms where you can swim with totally inoffensive black sharks. Back to hotel after sunset.
You have the whole day free to do what you want on the main island of Karimunjawa. Night at the same hotel.
Karimunjawa - Semarang
Free time until your short transfer to the small harbour of Karimunjawa. Take the ferryboat to Semarang, the capital of Central Java, and visit the old part of the city if it is not too late in the evening.