Day #1 Fri 18 Aug 2017 Sydney - Jakarta
Garuda Indonesia flight GA713 departs Sydney at 11:30 and arrives in Jakarta at 14:55.
One of the world’s greatest megalopolises, Jakarta isn’t exactly a primary destination for the traveller. But it’s the melting pot of representatives from the hundreds of different ethnic groups whose home is an archipelago of more than 17000 islands with a population of over 245 million. Here is the dynamic prime city of Indonesia: the economic, cultural and political centre. It’s a city of stark contrasts containing the traditional and the modern, the rich and the desperately poor, the sacred and the worldly. A short visit is worthwhile, not only for some interesting sights lying behind the lines of traffic but also to simply experience first hand an important part of the exploding market of Asia, soon to be 50 per cent of the world’s economy and with more middle class consumers than the US and Europe combined. On arrival at Soekarno-Hatta Airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel, the Alila Jakarta. After resting from the flight we reconvene for a welcome dinner and tour briefing this evening. ( D )
Day #2 Sat 19 Aug 2017 Jakarta
Scheduled today is a visit to the ‘Queen of the East’ - the old town of Batavia, now known as Kota, the hub of Dutch colonial Indonesia. Decades of neglect resulted in a precinct of crumbling historic buildings and smelly canals. But, like many other world cities, urban renewal is under way. Central sections of Kota have been pedestrianised and restoration of some structures is steadily progressing. Nearby is Sunda Kelapa Harbour, the old harbour in the northern part of Kota. Here we can admire the majestic, wooden Phinisi schooners offloading rice and timber and loading cement, sometimes with fearless carriers shouldering great loads with incredible balance and dexterity up and down the narrow, steep gangplanks. Near the entrance to Sunda Kelapa we enter the Museum Bahari which concentrates on Jakarta’s maritime history and is situated in old atmospheric warehouses dating back to 1652 by the United Dutch East India Company (the Veerenigde Oost - Indische Compagne or VOC). Lunch at nearby Café Batavia on Fatahillah Square precedes our visit to the Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Jakarta History Museum), housed in Batavia’s former Stadhuis (Town Hall), a venerable c1710 structure, once the epicentre of the Dutch colonial empire. Dinner is at our hotel. B L D )
Day #3 Sun 20 Aug 2017 Jakarta
Jakarta’s excellent National Museum, located on the western edge of Merdeka Square, is an essential visit. Built in 1862 with an impressive modern addition in 2007, the museum has an enormous and varied collection, one of the best in South East Asia. The inner courtyard contains an array of magnificent ancient statuary. Lunch is served at Tugu Kunstkring Paleis, a grand historical building which originally housed the Fine Arts Circle of the Dutch East Indies (Nederlandsch-Indische Kunstkring of the Dutch East Indies) and was opened on the 17 April 1914. Our afternoon visit is to the National Gallery of Indonesia in yet another adapted historic Dutch colonial building now housing an extensive collection of painting and sculpture.
( B L )
Day #4 Mon 21 Aug 2017 Jakarta - Bandung
Replicating Ian’s initial journey in Archipelago – A Journey Across Indonesia, one of the world’s great railway journeys awaits us today. Travel on the train with a daypack or small bag as your main luggage will be transported to our Bandung hotel. We depart Jakarta’s Gambir station in Executif Class on the Argo Parahyangan 32 train and roll through the sculpted rice terraces, rich cultivated lands and mountains of west Java. Humidity recedes, gradually replaced by cool, fresh air as we steadily climb up to the broad plateau containing Bandung. We disembark into Bandung’s art deco station building where we are met and transferred to our accommodation, the Grand Preanger Hotel, an historic tropical art deco building. Your main luggage will be waiting for you in your room. After lunch we have an orientation drive around Bandung before arriving at the famous Angklung school of Pak Ujo for a highly recommended traditional Angklung performance. ( B L D )
Day #5 Tue 22 Aug 2017 Bandung - Yogyakarta
An early wakeup call starts the day, one which replicates the second of Ian’s train journeys in Archipelago – A Journey Across Indonesia. We depart Bandung station in Executif Class on the Argo Wilis 6 train and follow the volcanic spine of Java. We roll through more luminously green rice terraces, sleepy mountains and valleys on our eight hour journey to Yogyakarta. On arrival at Tugu Yogyakarta station we transfer to Gallery Prawirotaman, our base for the next four nights. As before, your main luggage will be separately transferred and waiting for you in your room. ( B PL D )
Day #6 Wed 23 Aug 2017 Yogyakarta
Orientation tour today to explore the Sultan’s Palace, the Kraton of Yogyakarta, a walled city within a city and probably the finest example of Javanese palace architecture. This unique compound is home to around 25000 people, and has its own market, shops, batik and silver cottage industries, schools and mosques. Around 1000 of its residents are still employed by the Sultan.
We wander through markets and batik and puppetry workshops of Yogyakarta in and around Malioboro Street, busy from the morning until very late at night. This is a popular meeting place for students, travellers and street sellers. ( B L D )
Day #7 Thu 24 Aug 2017 Yogyakarta
In the morning we visit one of the largest Buddhist sanctuaries in the world, the Borobudur.
Pilgrims would approach Borobudur from the east and it is thought that before visiting the temple that they first paid homage to the three huge stone statues enshrined at nearby Candi Mendut. We follow in their footsteps before proceeding to the ancient terraces of Borobudur. Here is one of South East Asia’s greatest Buddhist relics, a colossal cosmic mountain, one of the world’s most imposing structures and charged with supernatural energy. Erected 200 years before Notre Dame and Chartres cathedrals, Borobudur also predates the Buddhist temple of Angkor Wat by three centuries. Princes of the Sailendra dynasty erected it with peasant labour between 778 and 850 AD. Nobody knows how this great structure was built at a time when modern engineering techniques were yet to be developed. Thousands of labourers, slaves, carvers, sculptors, carriers and expert supervisors worked for decades rolling logs, working ropes, levers, hammers, mallets and chisels. The monument took perhaps 10000 men a century to build. Borobudur was abandoned soon after its completion and buried under 1000 years of volcanic eruptions and tropical growth until discovered by a British colonel during the British occupation of Indonesia during 1814. In 1855 Borubudur was cleared and the long process of restoration began...the work was at last completed in 1983 at a cost of over USD25 million. The structure of Borobudur is that of a mandala. The base is square, with the base of each side being a bit over 100 metres long and it then rises steadily through nine levels — the first six of which are square and the last three being circular. These last three levels are adorned with 72 smaller chedis, each one of which holds a small seated buddha statue. Some of these chedis are pierced by a number of small "windows" (really more like missing blocks) through which you can see the statues. Others do not have a top, so the statues are clearly visible. This is a particularly photogenic part of the site — especially in the early morning and late afternoon. ( B L D )
Day #8 Fri 25 Aug 2017 Yogyakarta
Day at leisure for personal exploration. Besides checking out other temples one of the best things to do in Yogyakarta is to simply soak up the atmosphere. The kampungs, or local neighbourhoods, are intriguing to wander around. Close to the Kraton, puppet workshops and batik galleries are tucked along narrow laneways, while further south in Kota Gede, silversmiths practice their craft by the streetside or in workshops behind houses. Yogya also has a higher-than-average population of genuinely talented street musicians, so you never know when you might run into an impromptu concert. There's also plenty of good shopping options for those in the market for souvenirs. ( B )
Day #9 Sat 26 Aug 2017 Yogyakarta – Prambanan - Solo
We continue our Java traverse. Today we travel to nearby Solo, the capital of the Mataram kingdom, the powerhouse of Central Java until 1745 and Yogyakarta’s eternal rival. But shortly after our Yogya departure we reach the Prambanan Plain. Lying among villages and green ricefields with the sharp peak of the Mount Merapi volcano smoking in the background are the best and most extensive Hindu temple ruins in all of Indonesia. Prambanan Temple is the best known and we will visit this interesting World Heritage Listed site. The huge Prambanan complex contains the remains of 244 temples but three main temples dominate, representing the three highest gods of Hinduism – Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Keeper and Shiva the Destroyer. We visit and have lunch at the archaeological site of the Ratu Boko palace before continuing to the Royal Surakarta Heritage Hotel, our Solo base where we arrive in the early afternoon. ( B L D )
Day #10 Sun 27 Aug 2017 Solo
We enjoy a fun morning excursion trundling through Solo on the Jaladara Steam Train, built in Germany in 1896. In the afternoon we travel 15 kilometres north to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Sangiran Early Man Site. Here is where some of the best examples of fossilized skulls of prehistoric ‘Java Man’ were first excavated in 1936. Inhabited for the past one and a half million years, Sangiran is one of the key sites for the understanding of human evolution. ( B L D )
Day #11 Mon 28 Aug 2017 Solo
Often overshadowed by its more conspicuous neighbour Yogyakarta, Solo has the same deep connection to the culture and history of Central Java, but also offers its own charms. Known for being the least westernised city in Central Java, Solo is still home to two palaces and the descendants of the royal families. Quieter and more traditional than its rival, the city centre is relatively small and most of the main attractions are within walking distance from one another. Our guided orientation tour takes in the Istana Mangkunegaran palace and Danar Hadi, one of Indonesia’s best batik museums with an outstanding collection of antique and royal textiles from Java and beyond, housed in a stunning whitewashed colonial building. A good option in Solo is to wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere. Peep into batik and puppet workshops, learn about local culture, maybe enjoy a meal on a street corner, arrange to see a traditional dance or music performance and peruse the many traditional markets, especially the antiques bazaar Pasar Triwindu. Our guide will make suggestions and assist. ( B L )
Day #12 Tue 29 Aug 2017 Solo
Morning trip 36 kilometres east to towering Gunung Lawu, one of the holiest mountains in Java and home to the mysterious and striking temple of Candi Sukuh. A strange and potent atmosphere exists on Gunung Lawu and other unique temples (such as Candi Cetho) dot its slopes, some of which are the last Hindu temples built during the declining years of the Majapahit empire before the region converted to Islam. We return to Solo with free time in the afternoon scheduled for personal exploration or relaxation. (B L)
Day #13 Wed 30 Aug 2017 Solo – Trowulan - Surabaya
We farewell Solo and depart on a three hour train journey as far as Jombang. Here we are met by our coach and proceed the short distance to Trowulan, now a small agricultural community but once the capital of the mighty Majapahit empire which reached its high point in the 14th Century. This ancient capital was completely surrounded by a high red brick wall with deep pools, palaces, temples and pavilions. Now all that remains are the remnants of walls, bases, temples and gateways scattered over a 15 square kilometre area. The impressive Trowulan Museum helps put the site into perspective before our inspection of the most interesting ruins. We continue the remaining 60 kilometres to Surabaya and arrive at the renowned Majapahit Hotel, one of the great hotels of Asia built by the Sarkies Brothers who also founded Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang. (B PL D)
Day #14 Thu 31 Aug 2017 Surabaya
Surabaya is has been the trading centre and main harbour of East Java since the fall of the Majapahit Kingdom at the end of the 14th Century. The battle for independence began here, so it is closely linked to the birth of the Indonesian nation. Our exploration concentrates on precincts within the old city including the Arab Quarter, Chinatown and the historic bridge area of Jembatan Merah. Lunch is scheduled at the House of Sampoerna Café followed by a tour of the adjoining Sampoerna kretek (clove cigarette) factory and museum, all housed in an attractive 19th Century Dutch colonial building. Farewell dinner tonight in the Majapahit, our landmark colonial hotel. (B L D)
Day #15 Fri 01 Sep 2017 Surabaya - Bali - Sydney
Some free time in Surabaya before boarding our afternoon connecting flight to Denpasar Bali. Our Garuda Indonesia flight GA714 departs Denpasar at 23:30 and arrives in Sydney at 09:30 on Saturday 02 September 2017. (B)
If you are a single traveller and ‘willing to share’ we offer a cost effective option: if another ‘willing to share’ single traveller of the same gender joins the tour, you will twinshare with them. If no other ‘willing to share’ single same gender traveller joins the tour then you will have the sole use of a room at no charge.
Java Tour Cost per person twinshare without international airfare: $4700.00
Java Tour Single Supplement: $975.00