Based at the cultural center of Bali, celebrate the island’s thousand year history of culture, music, song, drama, beauty and lush abundance. Your Balinese guide provides an intimate view of island life featuring access to villages, interaction with artists and performers and opportunities to witness sacred ceremonies which have evolved over more than a thousand years of civilization. You will visit the most intricate temples and most colorful settings in all of Indonesia with time to customize your own exploration. Your garden hotel is within easy walking distance of numerous artistic venues and attractive small cafes and restaurants.
Day 1 Arrive Bali
Meet your local guide and transfer to Ubud, Bali’s art and crafts center in the lush center of the island. Stay overnight at a centrally located hotel for the four nights.
Day 2 Ubud
After breakfast depart for a nature “herb walk” through meadows and rice fields while learning about the Balinese traditional irrigation system. Observe daily farming activities and learn about various medicinal native plants found along the trekking route. After the walk, listen to a short demostation of Jamu making. Lunch will be at a local restaurant in Ubud. After lunch, visit a Mas artist colony for woodcarving. Pay a visit to I Ketut Pudja’s studio for its exquisite collection set in a relaxed environment, you will have the opportunity to see artists at work. Next visit Ubud Monkey Forest. Walk through this home to hundreds of monkeys. You can feed them bananas or peanuts but be careful of your belongings, as monkeys are very curious creatures. Head back to the hotel to get ready for a cultural performance in the evening.
Day 3 Ubud
After an early breakfast depart for Besakih; Bali’s mother temple on the lower slope of the island highest peak. We’ll try to be among the first to arrive for the morning light and activities. Drive to Sidemen village nestled peacefully on the hillside, home to Endek and Songket weaving. Using single “ikat” method both textiles play important roles in Balinese society, for ritual wear. Our lunch restaurant offers a panoramic view of eastern Bali nature. Next visit Kertagosa, the law court of the former Klungkung kingdom. Its famous ceiling paintings feature the traditional Wayang Kamasan painting style portraying a afterlife punishment in hell and rewards in heaven. Afterwards, drive back to hotel.
Day 4 Ubud
Today you will learn about Balinese living as you visit a traditional living compund in Singapadu. Then proceed to Puaya to visit the home studio of a mask maker. Then visit the archaeological sites around Ubud. See Goa Gajah or the “Elephant Cave “ Temple on the Petanu River, a former Siwaite hermitage and sacred bathing place. According to an inscription at the entrance of the cave, the Goa Gajah has been used by Hindus since 1074 AD. The entrance is crowned by a gigantic demon face, its hands splitting the rock apart leaving space for the entrance, which is actually the demon’s mouth. Kebo Iwa is said to have carved the cave with his bare finger nails. Just across the river is an old Buddhist site for meditation. At one time Buddhists and Hindus live peacefully side-by-side in Bali. Lunch will either be a picnic or at a local restuarant. We conclude with a visit to Pura Tirta Empul in Tampaksiring known for its holy spring and sacred bathing places.
Day 5 Departure
After breakfast make your way to the airport for your international flight home.
What to Expect
Duration 5 days
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.