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14 Days 13 Nights combination of scuba and cultural immersion
Karimun Java - Yogyakarta - Bali
Indonesia is a country of great diversity, known for its natural beauty and cultural treasures. This voyage gives you both; it takes you to a rarely visited archipelago of 27 islands in the Java Sea, on to the great monuments of Buddhist and Hindu heritage in the cultural heartland of Central Java and finally to Bali, the famous ‘Island of the Gods’, where you will explore the underwater paradise of the sister islands in the Lombok Strait. It is a fourteen day Odyssey that will bring several different facets of a fascinating country perfectly into focus.
U.S, Canadian, European and other non-South East Asian passport holders require visa for Indonesia. Visa can easily be obtained upon arrival in Indonesia for a fee of US$25 in cash. This allows a stay of 30 days in the country. Indonesian regulations also stipulate that a visitor’s passport should have at least six months remaining validity from the day of arrival and a minimum of two empty pages for immigration stamps.
Day one : Arrival at Jakarta Airport (no meal included)
Upon arrival at Sukarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta you first purchase “visa on arrival”. Then you line up at an immigration desk to get your entry stamp. Once you have retrieved your luggage you will meet our tour guide at the main exit where he will be holding a sign with your name. After offering his welcome greetings, he will escort you to a car and take you to your hotel which is only a few minutes from the airport.
Day two : Jakarta - Semarang - Karimun Jawa (D)
It will be necessary to wake up for an early breakfast since we pick you from the hotel at about 07.00, and take you back to the airport in order to catch the flight to Semarang by Garuda GA 232, scheduled to depart at 07:55.
Upon arrival at Achmad Yani airport in Semarang at 09:10, you will be met by a representative of Kura Kura Resort. The connecting daily flight to Karimun Jawa departs at 12.00 and gets you there in 40 minutes.
The Karimun Jawa archipelago lies approximately 80 kilometers northwest of the old harbor of Jepara. In the old Javanese language the name means 'a stone's throw from Java'. The islands have a total land area of 78 km2. The main island is known as Karimun (2,700 hectares). In 2011, the group had about 9,000 inhabitants dispersed over five of the islands. The population is largely Javanese, with pockets of Bugis and Madurese. Javanese culture is dominant in the islands and Javanese is the lingua franca. In 2001 twenty-two of the islands were declared a marine reserve, the Karimunjawa National Park. Five more islands are either privately owned or are under the control of the Indonesian Navy.
When you have touched down on Karimun, a fast motor boat will take you in 45 minutes to Kura Kura Resort where you arrive around 13:30.
After checking in the rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Days three through six: Kura Kura Resort (B, D)
During these four days you reside in a hideaway that is slowly getting more popular but still decidedly off the beaten track. The name Kura Kura means 'Turtle' in Bahasa Indonesian and the resort incorporates a special sanctuary with a dedicated nursery where you find a small colony of baby turtles. During your stay you will make a total of ten dives in a number of different sites. There are nearly 250 species of reef fish that thrive in these waters, some of these rare, such as the Crocodile fish and Leafy Scorpion fish. In these clear waters with a very pleasant temperature the overall diving experience is superb.
Day seven : Karimun Jawa - Semarang - Magelang (B)
You leave from Kura Kura Resort by motor boat to Karimun at 12.00 noon and from there a small plane takes you back to the mainland where you arrive at 13:40. Upon arrival in Semarang airport, a Top Indonesia guide will be waiting at the exit gate holding a sign with your name. From Semarang he will take you on a scenic drive of about two hours to the village of Magelang and check you into your hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Day eight : Borobudur Sunrise, Mendut and Pawon.
Today you wake up early (at approximately 5:30) and for a very good reason: to witness the sun rise on the world famous Borobudur temple. Without a doubt this is the best time of the day to explore this massive Buddhist Temple- the largest in the world- and discover its magic.
It was the Sailendra dynasty that embraced Mahayana Buddhism in the early 9th century and the temple took almost 100 years to be completed. Based on an ancient text it was supposedly inaugurated in 824. Borobudur is a massive pyramid that rises up from the green plains like the neighboring volcanoes. From its 150,000-square-foot base, we have to climb up six tiers to the top. The top level is dotted with 72 small, latticework stupas, each with a statue of Buddha inside, visible through the grates.
After Borobudur we proceed with a visit to nearby Mendut temple. Older than Borobudur, built around AD 800, it is located less than two miles from Borobudur and an impressive archaeological site in its own right. Here, we see carvings that depict scenes from Buddhist literature along with Indian morality parables on the exterior, and a rare Buddha statue seated in the European style (on a chair) inside.
We finish with a visit to the Pawon Temple. From the perspective of the architecture, this temple is a combination of both ancient Javanese Hindu and Indian architecture but the location of Pawon is right on the axis line connecting the Borobudur and Mendut and it is clear there was a spiritual relationship between the three sacred places.
After a morning of monumental impressions it will be lovely to return to the comfort of the hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Day nine : Magelang - Yogyakarta (L, D)
In the morning we drive to Yogyakarta, the undisputed cultural capital of Indonesia and the principal repository of its heritage. Yogyakarta is a thriving center of classical Javanese arts such as batik, ballet, music, poetry and puppet theater. Fiercely independent and protective of its ancient customs, Yogya and its surrounding area remains an ‘autonomous region’ within the Republic of Indonesia, ruled by a hereditary Sultan who is the secular Provincial Governor at the same time.
When you reach what most people simply call ’Yogya” you first visit the Kraton. This is the Sultan’s Palace that was built between 1756 and 1790, a splendid example of traditional Javanese court architecture. Conceived not only as the Royal residence, but built as the focal point of the entire kingdom, the palace was built as a miniature model of the Javanese-Hindu State. Each gateway, pavilion, courtyard, even trees and open fields (‘alun-alun’) carry a different symbolical meaning.
Next we take you to the Taman Sari Complex, which is also known as the Water Castle, built in 1758 as an elaborate retreat with a two-story mansion built on an elevated mound arising out of an artificial lake. Its impressive facilities include an underwater tunnel, sunken bathing pools, meditation chambers and 18 lavish tropical gardens.
We check you into your hotel and in the afternoon we take you to the Prambanan temple complex, that most remarkable example of Hindu temple architecture. We go around the temple grounds by horse carriage and visit the principal towers with their elaborate Ramayana bas-reliefs. Then we proceed to an open theater within the temple compound to witness a classical dance performance. As the final act there is an authentic Javanese dinner.
Day ten : Yogyakarta - Denpasar
The entire morning is free at your leisure until the approximate time for check out and transfer to Adisucipto airport for the flight to Bali that leaves at 1640 and arrives at Ngurah Rai International airport Denpasar at 1855.
Upon arrival in Bali, you go directly to the luggage belt to retrieve your luggage. At the exit you meet your Balinese guide who is as usual waiting with a sign with your name. From the airport we take you on a drive of about half an hour to the village of Sanur and check you in to your hotel.
Day eleven : Sanur - Nusa Penida (L)
Today we go by fast motorboat to Nusa Penida, the largest of three islands between Bali and Lombok. Our destination is Crystal Bay where one of the notable features is the Bat Cave that you enter from underwater, but once you surface inside the cave, which is open to the sky, you will notice a colony of bats sleeping overhead. Occasionally big waves may crash in through the top and two small reef shark live in the cave, but usually they leave when visitors arrive. Lunch is served on board and later you dive a wall nearby, where at a depth of 20-24 meters you find hard corals that provide a home for many lobsters. After your dives you return to Sanur for the night.
Day twelve : Sanur - Nusa Lembongan (L)
Today the destination is Lembongan Island, where we first go to Manta Point where as they say ‘the party never ends’. Here it is as if you are diving in a giant aquarium and you find manta dancing in their dramatic underwater habitat where the sea floor is carpeted with coral in every direction. You also encounter barracuda, giant traveling fish and small fish darting all over the place. From Manta Point you proceed to Sakenan Point for more challenging diving, in strong currents, but with the promise of superb visibility with abundant marine and dramatic underwater corals terrain.
After lunch is served on board you continue to Blue Corner for a very popular drift dive, usually full of fish including shark, big Napoleon Wrasse, Eagle Rays and much more marine life. From July to September you often see Mola-Mola (Sunfish). After your dives you return to Sanur for the night.
Day thirteen : Uluwatu Kecak Dance and Jimbaran seafood dinner (D)
The morning is free at your leisure.
In the afternoon we first explore the fishing village of Kedonganan on Jimbaran Bay. Kedonganan has a colorful fish market where the catch of the day includes tuna, snapper, even baby shark. All kinds of shellfish, lobsters, and crabs are on offer as well. Seafood lovers may be tempted to select some right there and then. Get help from our tour guide to haggle for the best price. Then leave it to our selected restaurant to be served to you later.
From Jimbaran we proceed further onto the Badung peninsula to visit Pura Uluwatu on the extreme southwestern tip of the island. This temple dates back to the 11th Century and is one of Bali's nine key cardinal temples. Its location, on the edge of a steep cliff some 70 meters above the roaring waves of the Indian Ocean, is ‘downright’ spectacular. Uluwatu is a great site to watch the sunset so we stay for the Kecak monkey dance that is performed every day near the temple between six and seven.
From Uluwatu we drive back to Jimbaran Bay for an iconic seafood dinner on the beach. Here tables are set up in the sand right near the water. If you did not buy anything at the market you can still select the live seafood that you want to eat from a tank: fish, crab, squid, shrimp or lobster; it is usually grilled over a fire of coconut husks. After dark the area is lit by oil torches and dining on fresh seafood in this romantic atmosphere never fails to result in a memorable evening.
Day fourteen : Denpasar - Departure
The entire morning is free at your leisure. At the appropriate time our guide will meet you at the lobby to transfer you to the airport for your flight to next destination or return to your country.
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