A Blissful Bawah Island Break
On this 12-day trip to Indonesia you'll experience the rich spiritual culture of Java, learn more about the bustling city of Singapore and then relax at a luxurious private island resort.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Visit the ancient Buddhist Stupa of Borobudur at sunrise
- Delve deeper into the religious history of Singapore
- Relax on the white sands of Bawah Island
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Day 1: Arrive in Java
On arrival in Yogyakarta in central Java - Indonesia's most populous island - you'll be met for a private transfer to your hotel in the Indonesian countryside, near to the ancient Buddhist stupa of Borobudur. The journey time is approximately an hour-and-a-half.
You can spend the rest of the day at leisure - we imagine you'll want to relax after the long journey so base yourself by the pool, with a cool drink and a good book.
- Really soothe your stiff limbs after the flight with a spa treatment at your hotel
Day 2: Pondering Prambanan
Enjoy a lie-in and a relaxing morning to fully get over your journey. After lunch you'll begin exploring as a guide collects you for a tour of the UNESCO-listed Prambanan Temples, the best examples of ancient Buddhist and Hindu architecture in Indonesia.
Start with one of the least visited temples, Candi Kalasan, which is believed to be the prototype for the iconic Prambanan temple complex because of its distinctive stucco carvings. Next, you'll continue to Prambanan itself. Built in the ninth century, this collection of sharp, jagged temples features three main inner shrines dedicated to the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
After exploring you will then move on to Candi Sewu, the largest Buddhist temple in the Prambanan area, and Candi Plaosan, a Hindu temple that also incorporates Buddhist elements. By the time you've finished the sun will be starting to set. Your guide will lead you to a spot with great views over the temples and Mount Merapi to watch the spectacular sunset.
This evening, you'll be treated to dinner and a special dance performance. Over 200 dancers will come together to tell the Hindu story of King Rama with the mighty Prambanan illuminated as your backdrop. This is a fantastic spectacle and a great end to the day.
Day 3: Villages of Yogyakarta
Today you'll enjoy a full-day tour around Yogyakarta, a historic city known for its culture and traditions.
Enjoy the scenery from your car on the drive to the neighbourhood of Kotagede on Yogyakarta's outskirts. Known as 'Silver Village', Kotagede is one of the best places to learn about Java's past and you'll hop on two wheels to explore the historic laneways and markets with your guide by bike. The next stop on the cycling tour is Yogyakarta's oldest mosque. Walk around this 16th century building to admire its architecture before you visit the Imogiri Royal Cemetery.
For lunch you'll stop in a local joglo house, famed for their pitched roofs, before continuing your tour at a puppet-making workshop in Pucung. Next, visit the village of Giriloyo for a demonstration on how to make batik, the traditional Javan textile, and then on to Kasongan Village for a pottery-making demonstration.
After the tour you'll be dropped back at your hotel for dinner.
Day 4: Borobudur Temple and Village Tour
Wake up very early this morning to experience a sunrise tour of the world's largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur. This is the most mystical time to see the temple, as the first rays of sun illuminate the thousands of intricate carvings found along the temple's walls.
After exploring, travel to a nearby market and continue on to the Pawon and Mendut Temples. Take a break for lunch, enjoying views of Java's rice paddy fields while dining on local dishes.
This afternoon, enjoy an in-depth exploration of Candirejo, a typical rural Indonesian village. Travel by dokar (a local horse-drawn cart) along small lanes lined with traditional houses. You'll have plenty of opportunity to stop and take photos or to chat with the locals, learning more about their lifestyle and rich traditions.
Following the village visit, your driver will then take you back to your hotel for the rest of the evening at leisure.
Day 5: To Singapore
This morning you head to Singapore for a few days in this vibrant city, via a two-hour flight from Yogyakarta Airport.
Your driver will meet you in Singapore and take you to your city centre hotel. The rest of the afternoon is then yours to spend at leisure. Some of our recommendations for things to see include the beautiful Gardens by the Bay, Little India with its colourful Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, and the Asian Civilisations Museum.
Day 6: Singapore Touring
You'll be met by a guide this morning to discover more of this often under-rated city on a full day guided tour.
Start with Chinatown where you'll learn about the multiple faiths practiced in Singapore by visiting both Masjid Moulana mosque and Yueh Hai Ching Temple. Your knowledgeable guide will explain the history that led to the city becoming such a melting pot of faiths. Next up is Fuk Tak Chi Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Singapore, then the UNESCO-recognised Thian Hock Keng Temple, known for its detailed architecture including depictions of dragon sculptures and multiple deities.
As the day draws to a close, stop at the lively Amoy Street food court where you'll see locals tucking into traditional delicacies and sample something for yourself if you like. Finally, finish with a stroll through the Ann Siang Hill area and past the URA City Gallery. Here you'll find one of the world's best 3D models on which your guide will be able to retrace the day's route.
The tour finishes when you are dropped back at your hotel to freshen up before dinner. Our clued-up local Concierge will be able to recommend a great spot for you to eat tonight and can book you a table in advance.
Day 7: To Bawah
After a pit-stop in Singapore, today you head back to Indonesia and, more specifically, to Bawah Island. The journey begins with a transfer to the ferry port where you'll board an hour-long ferry to Batam Island.
Upon arrival, you'll be met for VIP Indonesian immigration assistance followed by a short 15-minute drive to Batam airport, where you'll board the seaplane for the 75-minute flight direct to Bawah Island.
Enjoy the beautiful sea views and then sneak a peek at the resort from the plane as you land on the lagoon in front of your stunning suite, just in time for lunch. Once you've had your meal the afternoon is yours to relax and begin exploring the island.
Day 8-11: Beach Bliss
The next four days are yours to relax and enjoy life on Bawah Island. With a huge array of complimentary activities on offer you won't be short of things to do.
Water-based fun includes stand up paddleboarding, snorkelling, kayaking and sailing, while on land you can explore some of the island on a hike. The large infinity pool is also a great spot to sit and enjoy the views, as are the soft, white sand beaches.
Spa treatments and yoga classes are even included in your stay to ensure you can fully relax and adjust to island life.
In the evenings, dine on fresh and flavourful cuisine in the Treetops restaurant and sip cocktails or cold beers at the beach-based Grouper bar. For a unique evening activity, settle down to watch a film at the beach cinema, or make use of the telescopes and do some stargazing.
Day 12: Home Time
Spend one last leisurely morning on Bawah Island before making the return journey to Singapore, via seaplane, ferry and road. There should be time for a drink in the Singapore airport lounge before your international flight.
Jacqui and Holly are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.