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Those on the group flights normally arrive in the afternoon. Land only passengers can arrive at the hotel any time. The afternoon is free to explore Yogyakarta. Modern Yogyakarta was founded in 1755 (though it is an ancient city) and long resisted colonisation and is, to this day, a strong-hold of Javanese culture and traditions. Art, in the form of batik, silverwork, carvings and paintings as well as ballet, poetry drama and music are an integral part of the city.
Yogyakarta city tour and Prambanan Temple visit.
Today we explore Yogya by becak (bicycle rickshaw) and visit the Sultan’s Palace. Also known as Kraton, the palace constructed in the 18th Century is a fine example of traditional Javanese sultanate architecture. We continue to the ‘Taman Sari’ water palace and garden which was initially built with bathing pools for the Sultan’s harem. This afternoon we visit the 9th century Prambanan temple compound, consisting of 224 temples. The Hindu temple complex is stunningly beautiful, and devoted to the gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. It is the wealth of its sculptural details that these temples are known for, the most famous being on the inner wall of the balustrade, of the Ramayana epic.
This morning is free to wander around Yogyakarta or relax at the hotel. Late morning we head out to the Selogryo region on the flanks of Mt. Sumbing (about 1h30 drive). After some lunch we explore the surrounding area with some of the best rice-paddy scenery in Central Java on a gentle hike to the forgotten temple of Selogryo. This well preserved 5th Century Hindu temple was re-discovered in 1835. From here there are, weather depending, majestic views out towards Mt. Sumbing. We continue our walk through traditional villages and plantations. The hike will last about 1hr. From here we transfer, about 2.5hrs, to Wonosobo.
Hike around Dieng Plateau; on to Magelang.
An early wake up call, at 03:00, and transfer to the ‘home of the gods,’ the Dieng Plateau, located at 2,000m about 1hr away. Upon arrival at the village of Sembungan, we walk the short way up Mt. Sikunir to watch the sunrise. Breakfast will be provided in the form of a breakfast-box. Dress up warm as it can get quite cold, especially in July and August when temperatures on the plateau can go as low as 0’C. After descending from Mt. Sikunir (along potentially slippery terrain - about 20mins) we observe the volcanic activity of the Dieng and Sikidang craters and explore the oldest Hindu temples in Java. Eight shrines dating from the 7th and 8th centuries line the crater floor amid sulphurous fumes and rugged natural surroundings. As the mist generally rolls in around 11am, we make our way to the Tambi Organic Tea Plantation, established in 1885 at the foot of Mt. Sindoro. We learn about the process of picking and processing tea before enjoying a cup of freshly brewed tea on the plantation’s terrace. Returning to Wonosobo we have time for a late lunch before continuing Magelang (about 2hrs) where we spend the night, near the temple of Borobudur.
Morning at Borobudur and on to Selo; afternoon hike to Merbabu camp.
We start the day by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Borobudur, Indonesia’s most important cultural site and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. Scholars disagree on exactly when it was constructed but many speculate it dates back to between the 7th and 8th centuries. They do agree, however, that a huge workforce must have laboured to move and carve the 55,000 cubic metres of stone and that construction took about one hundred years. The temple was abandoned, probably when the population converted to Islam in the 15th century, and over time it was blanketed by volcanic ash from nearby Mt. Merapi, and then covered in thick jungle growth, until the British rediscovered it in the 1800s. We continue on to the mountain village of Selo (about 3hrs), the starting point for our trek up Mt. Merbabu at 1,700m. The trek takes us up steep slopes and through pine forests until we reach Sabana II camp from where we can see the highest peak, Kenteng Songo. This is an arduous hike but should only take about 2hrs. We’ll have a picnic lunch on the way up. This evening we’ll have an early dinner and early to bed in preparation of tomorrow’s very early start. Trekking 5km, approx 2hrs, total ascent 900m
Summit Mt. Merbabu before descending to Selo.
Setting off from camp around 03:00am we should reach the summit at 3,145m shortly before sunrise after about 45mins hiking. We take in the panoramic views of the surrounding volcanoes, Yogyakarta, Selo and Merbabu’s twin volcano, Merapo as dawn breaks and the sun rises. We return to camp for a well-deserved breakfast before continuing on to Selo (about 2hrs descent) where we will check in to our guesthouse and have the rest of the day free to relax. Trekking 7kms, aprox. 3hrs, ascent 400m, descent 1,300m.
Hike on the slopes of Lawu Volcano; drive to Solo.
After breakfast we head east towards Mt. Lawu. In Karanganyar we switch vehicles for a local minibus for the last portion of our transfer to the Ndoro Donker tea house. We will have lunch at this old colonial house before starting a undulating hike along the slopes of the volcano. After a couple hours walking we will arrive at the Sukuh Hindu temple. Built by the last Hindu dynasties of the 15th century, this temple has a pyramidal shape reminiscent of Mayan temples of Central America and distinguishes itself as Indonesia’s erotic temple. We later transfer a little over an hour to Solo where we spend the night. You will be asked to prepare a day bag for tomorrow and bring your main luggage to the lobby before going to bed tonight. Our main luggage will be travelling ahead of us on the bus as we catch the train tomorrow morning. Trekking 8kms, approx 2-3hrs.
Train from Solo to Malang.
Transferring early (around 6am) to the nearby train station, we go on a scenic 2h45 train ride to Jombang in east Java. Travelling by train allows us to avoid a much longer journey along traffic-ridden roads. It is also a wonderful opportunity to meet local people and take in the fantastic volcanic landscapes of Java. Air conditioning is often turned on high on the trains so make sure to have something warm to wear. Upon arrival in Jombang we will be met by our driver and will transfer to the old Majapahit Kingdom capital of Trowulan (45mins away) where we visit the Candi Banjang Ratu and Candi Tikus temples and the archaeology museum. We then continue to Mojokerto (another 1h20 away) for lunch before finally transferring to Mt. Bromo (2hrs). The hotel tonight is basic.
Trek around Mt. Bromo.
Getting up very early this morning (around 3:30am) we start the day with a sunrise tour of Mt. Bromo. Travelling by 4WD we head to a viewpoint to watch the sun rise over Penanjakan 2. After breakfast we leave the crowds behind and head out to trek along much quieter parts of the national park. We hike along the Sea of Sand to the base of Mount Bromo and start climbing to the crater rim along the south slope. We continue along the rim with care as some portions are fairly narrow and can see fumaroles inside the crater as well as, weather depending, panoramic views over the Tengger National Park. We descend the northern slope along steep steps, passing the Poten Temple on the way. We head west along the Sea of Sand until the steep climb up to Jempleng where our day’s trek ends with views of the caldera. Jumping in jeeps we drive to the village of Tumpang and onwards towards Malang where we spend the night. Today’s trek should take about 5hrs followed by 3.5hrs transfer to Malang Be aware that today's trek is very exposed so make sure to wear plenty of sun cream. Trekking 10kms, 4hrs, ascent 300m, descent 300m
Transfer to Surabaya and fly to Lombok; on to Senaru.
Today is a long day of travel. Getting up early (around 5am) we transfer about 3.5hrs to Surabaya airport for our flight to Lombok. The flight itself takes a couple hours and should offer views of east Java and Bali as we fly overhead. Upon arrival in Lombok we have a final transfer (about 3hrs) to Sembalun, a village at the eastern flanks of Mt. Rinjani (at 1,156m). This evening we will be briefed about the 3-day Rinjani trek and can prepare our belongings for the trek. We will need to prepare a small backpack with what we need for the trek, the main luggage will stay behind and will be waiting for us in Senaru at the end of the trek. You should bring good trekking shoes, warm clothes for the evening and early morning, wind jackets, rain gear, a hat/cap, sun cream and personal toiletries. Whilst all camping equipment is provided, if you have brought your own sleeping bag or mat please inform the guide at the briefing. Porters will carry all the cooking and camping equipment and food. If you wish to use the services of a porter to carry your personal belongings please inform the guide during the briefing. The cost per porter is US$15 per day and a porter can carry up to 25kgs so you could share a porter between two people. If you do use the services of a porter be warned that they will probably not be hiking alongside the group so you will not have access to your belongings until you reach camp.
Trek to crater rim of Mt Rinjani.
Today we start our 3-day trek up and over Mt. Rinjani, the most challenging but most rewarding part of the trip. After registering at the Rinjani Trek Centre we start our hike up to the first camp at 2,650m. The trek starts in open country as the slope gradually rises in inclination. As we enter woodland the trail gets even steeper and we eventually come out from the trees for the final portion of the day’s hike to camp. Arriving at camp we can relax and enjoy the sweeping views making the day’s effort worth. Trekking 11.5kms, aprox 4-5hrs, ascent 1,600m
Summit trek then across the crater.
Those who are up to the challenge can attempt to summit Rinjani. This is a very hard climb but extremely rewarding. Leaving the camp at 3am, it’s a strenuous 3hr, 1,100m climb to the summit along difficult terrain. We aim to reach the summit at 3,726m in time to enjoy fantastic views as the sun rises. We return to camp (about 2hrs) and have a well-earned breakfast and a short rest. From here it takes about 3hrs to descend into the crater and make our way to Segara Anak Crater Lake. This afternoon we visit hot springs (make sure to bring your bathing suits) where we can enjoy a dip and let the warm waters soothe aching muscles. Tonight we camp inside the crater by Segara Anak Lake. Trekking 18kms, aprox. 7-8hrs, ascent 1,100m, descent 1,700m
Descend to Senaru; transfer to Sengiggi.
After breakfast we make our way out of the crater to the Senaru Rim (about 3hrs hiking). From here it’s all downhill as we descend to Senaru Village via Mondokan Lolak and Montong Satas. The first portion of the descent offers stunning views over Lombok’s north coast and, weather depending, we can see the Gili islands in the distance. After a few kilometres we enter deep rain forest and spend most the remaining trek in the jungle. Arriving in Senaru we are greeted by our driver with some cold water and a towel. We transfer to the beach-town of Senggigi (about 2.5hrs) and a nice shower and bed. Trekking 9kms, aprox. 4hrs, ascent 600m, descent 2000m
Free day with optional activities.
Today is a free day to relax by the hotel pool or on the beach or take an optional day-trip to the Gili Islands renowned for their underwater treasures.
Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport (about 1.5hrs) in time for their flight. For those who have organised their own flights, the tour officially ends after breakfast.