A Bali Institute Signature Program
December 1-11, 2019
Spend an unforgettable 11 days connecting with the Balinese culture through captivating excursions to temples and palaces, meaningful conversations with cultural leaders, and visits to organizations helping to address some of the island’s greatest challenges. We are thrilled to share with you many of the people, places, and activities that we’ve come to truly treasure over our 15 years on the ground in Bali. This journey is sure to inspire you in ways you never imagined.
- Share in an intimate dialogue with the owner of Bali’s premier art museum and one of the island’s top historians
- Try your hand at traditional Balinese Legong dance, Gamelan music, and woodcarving with local instructors
- Explore Bali’s most sacred purification temple and speak with one of the island’s only female priests
- Tour the Royal Palace of Peliatan and have dinner with the Prince
- Snorkel over a coral restoration project awarded the Equator Prize by the United Nations Development Programme
10 Nights/11 Days
Location 1: Central Bali – Ubud
Ubud is a thriving village in central Bali and is considered the cultural capital of this tiny island. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the village and nearby areas consist of artists’ workshops and galleries. Here you find remarkable architecture and other sites—historical museums, famous woodcarvers and artists, and an array of interesting cafes, local foods, and non-stop ceremonies. The word Ubud comes from the Balinese word for medicine, so it is here that people flock for healing energies, good spirits, meditation, yoga, artistry, and indigenous knowledge.
Day 1: Arrival day – head to Ubud (D)
- Arrive into Denpasar, Bali in the early afternoon. As soon as you step out of the airport, Bali Institute staff and drivers will meet and assist you with your luggage, then drive to your hotel in Ubud.
- Enjoy your first taste of Balinese cuisine at our welcome dinner and then off to a good night’s sleep.
DAY 3: Morning Herbal Walk, Purification Temple, Lunch overlooking Volcano, Balinese Dance Performance (B, L, D)
- On this early morning herbal walk you will learn about native plants and how the leaves, fruits and flowers of various plants are used for traditional medicine, food and body care products. As you walk through the rice fields, you will also enjoy stories about the rice growing process from planting, maintenance, through to harvesting. You will learn about the importance of preserving the irrigation system and the protocols for its use in the community.
- Drive to Tirta Empul Holy Spring Temple, considered a sacred site by Balinese as a place to melt all the bad influences in the body, purifying the soul and mind by entering the fresh, sacred water springs. Everyone is invited to experience the cool, fresh holy spring waters.
- On to Kintamani, a favorite destination with its panoramic views of the Mt. Batur volcano and beautiful Lake Batur, the largest lake in Bali. Enjoy lunch located at one of the more breathtaking views of the entire island.
- Late afternoon for shopping, enjoy a Balinese massage or relax by the hotel pool.
- Dinner together at a delicious local Balinese restaurant
- Witness the world famous Balinese Legong dance performance at a local palace.
DAY 4: Batik Arts Workshop, Royal Palace Tour & Dinner with a member of the Royal Family (B, L, D)
- Spend a morning learning the traditional wax-drawing and wax-resistant color dyeing techniques that have made Bali’s batik makers famous for their lively designs and Hindu motifs. Everyone can enjoy this immersion into batik fabric painting.
- Next have a delicious lunch and conversation at a Balinese women’s center and learn about their job skills and healthy living programs.
- Afternoon free to enjoy the wonders of Ubud
- Put on your special Balinese outfit to attend an exclusive Royal Palace tour & dinner at the Peliatan Palace. Prince Cokorda Agung Krisna Dalem, one of the young Royal Family Balinese Princes located in Peliatan Palace, will meet personally with your group and spend an evening in fascinating discussions about issues facing Bali and its culture in the 21st century.
DAY 5: Eco-Bike Tour, Dinner at Local Health Non-Profit, (B, L, D)
- A short drive after breakfast and we’re off on our mountain bikes through the heartland of Bali, travelling downhill on non tourist, secret back roads and minor village roads (with little traffic), experiencing typical Balinese daily life and enjoying the beautiful Balinese countryside to Ubud. We ride through lush forested areas, plantations full of Balinese staples and cash crops (cloves, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, tapioca, taro, local vegetables and exotic tropical fruits), through timeless small villages and lush rice paddy panoramas. And throngs of adorable Balinese children will be there calling out ‘hellos’ and wanting ‘high fives’ on the way down. If we chance upon a ceremony (and we often do) you will be invited to witness the events and our guides will offer explanations. Lunch is provided.
- Free Time in the afternoon for shopping, wandering around Ubud or relaxing at the hotel/pool.
- Presentation and amazing dinner at the Fair Warung Bale. In partnership, the Bali Sari Foundation (Indonesian) and Fair Future Foundation (Swiss) provide free health services to Balinese people who cannot afford treatment and/or who live in remote areas of Bali where health care services are limited or nonexistent. In addition to local and international donations, they are funded through the Fair Warung Bale, their restaurant in the high-tourist traffic area of Ubud—100% of the profits from the restaurant go to the Bali Sari Foundation. The foundation has a mobile clinic that visits different areas of Bali once per month, providing free health checks and basic treatments to villagers around the island.
Location 2: North Bali – Pemuteran
Pemuteran is a small fishing village on the northern coast of West Bali. It lies in the shadow of a gorgeous mountainous region to the south. And to the north is Menjangan Island, considered one of the best diving areas in the world. Pemuteran has the largest area of shallow coral reefs in Bali and is easily accessible, free of strong currents and waves making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Pemuteran is home to the largest artificial coral reef project in the world, and the village’s model of community-based tourism and conservation has been recognized by the United Nations.
DAY 8: West Bali National Park Trekking, Reef Seen Turtle Hatchery, Free time (B, L)
- Spend half the day exploring the West Bali National Park. The park covers around 190 square kilometres (73 sq mi) and contains a range of habitats including rainforest, savanna, mangroves, mountains, evergreen forests, and coral reefs. The center of the park is dominated by remnants of four volcanic mountains from prehistoric periods.
- Have lunch in the mangroves at Gilimanuk Bay.
- In the afternoon visit a local turtle hatchery where they are working toward increasing the number of sea turtles in Bali’s seas. The turtles were heavily hunted for their shells, meat, and eggs by people in the surrounding villages, and their numbers were quickly declining. Reef Seen has educated the community about the importance of keeping sea turtles abundant and offers to pay a higher-than-market price for live sea turtle eggs found by the villagers so that they can raise them safely in the hatchery.
- Snorkeling, swimming and spa treatments available during your day of enjoying the beach.
- Evening and dinner at your leisure.
Location 3: West Bali – Mengwi
Mengwi is located in the central part of Bali and is famous for its rolling green landscapes, clove and coffee plantations and spectacular rice paddies. The village of Mengwi has a long and rich history associated with its royal family, one of Bali’s main ancient kingdoms, and is nestled in shady coconut groves, surrounded by rice fields and rivers.
DAY 11: Head to airport (B)
- Final breakfast and goodbyes, our journey ends this morning.
- 10 Nights double occupancy in beautiful Balinese-owned 3 and 4 star accommodations
- All transportation in air-conditioned buses and vans throughout the program for activities listed on the itinerary
- Airport transfer on the start and end date of the program
- Meal plan as listed on the itinerary
- English speaking tour guide(s) and coordination team
- All activities listed on final program itinerary are included in the per person ground costs, including entrance fees, lectures and donations.
- Customized program booklet for all participants with itinerary, program descriptions and other useful information
- 24/7 Medical and emergency staff support for the entire duration of the program
- Special gifts including sarong, sash & journal
- Visa costs (if applicable)
- Trip cancellation, lost baggage, or medical insurance
- Laundry and personal items
- Meals not listed on itinerary
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Optional activities outside of the program itinerary
- International phone calls
The activities listed above are based on availability and program scheduling considerations, and are subject to change.
Note: There are often special ceremonies and rituals that happen on the spur of the moment. We will make every effort to accommodate unplanned events that will add evermore to this spectacular trip.
Like many islands, Bali has developed a world of its own. Daily life is culturally linked to satisfying and appeasing the gods, spirits and demons as the local people celebrate the eternal struggle of “Good and Evil”, the very essence of this largely Hindu island. In the midst of breathtaking panoramas of cultivated rice terraces, impressive volcanoes and pristine beaches, lies Bali’s main volcano, Gunung Agung. It is still active and considered sacred among local people, as it is believed to be the center of the universe.
The island is small, just 140 km by 80 km and lies between Java, the most highly populated and influential of all the islands, and Lombok, one of the quieter and moderately slower paced islands. Lying just 8 degrees south of the Equator, the island offers a tropical climate with just two seasons a year and an average temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius. It is one of the twenty six provinces of the Republic of Indonesia, divided administratively between eight districts that take their names and boundaries from the island’s old Hindu kingdoms.
Economically and culturally, Bali is one of the most important islands of Indonesia. Rice is grown on irrigated, terraced hillsides. Other crops include sugar cane, coffee, copra, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Cattle and hogs are also raised. The Balinese are skilled artisans, particularly in painting, woodcarving and in fashioning objects of tortoiseshell and of gold, silver and other metals. The people are noted for their traditional dance, the distinctive music of the gamelan and for their skills in arts, sculpture, weaving, and jewelry.
Filled with charm, culture, mysticism and some of the most magnificent scenery on earth, Bali has enchanted visitors for centuries. Let it cast it’s spell over you as Bali Institute takes you on an educational and spiritual journey that you will never forget.