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  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Cultural Java

3 Days Guided Tours
  • Yogyakarta

Virgin Holidays' view

Looking for a culture fix? Why not book this 2-night add on to any Bali holiday. Visit the largest Buddhist monument in the world and UNESCO World Heritage site of Borobudur.


Day 1

Upon arrival at Yogyakarta airport, you will begin your journey by visiting the 9th century Hindu temple compound of Prambanan. This impressive collection of temples is dedicated to the Trimurti, a concept of Hinduism where by Brahma is the Creator, Vishnu is the Preserver and Shiva is the Destroyer which is often referred to as the 'Great Trinity' or 'Hindu Triad'. Identifiable by its towering and pointed architectural design, Prambanan was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1991 and is the largest, as well the finest, Hindu temple complex in the country.

Later enjoy the night by watching Ramayana Ballet Performance. The Ramayana ballet tells a legendary epic love story, presented in a series of graceful dance movements accompanied by gamelan music - an orchestra of traditional Javanese instruments. For those who enjoy cultural displays, this is an impressive performance that is not to be missed. The ballet brings together different aspects of traditional Javanese culture with dance, drama, music and costume all on display. Performers do not speak during the dance and the ballet is narrated by the storyteller, known as the sinden, a female singer who describes the story through Javanese song. Transfer to The Phoenix Jogjakarta for 2 nights. (D)

Day 2

Begin today's excursion with a visit to Taru Martani cigar factory. A little known industry in Indonesia, this factory has been in operation since 1918 and produces no less than fourteen different types of cigars.

Continue your tour of Yogyakarta with a visit to the Sultan's Palace, which is also known as the Kraton. The innermost group of buildings (where the sultan still resides) were built in 1755. As you pass through the Palace, be sure to note the ornate reception halls as well as the large Pendopos (open-air pavilion built on columns) that was erected specifically so that the sovereign could listen to private performances of gamelan (traditional ensemble) music.

Later head to the city district of Kota Gede. Famed for its silver crafting, there will be time to witness a demonstration of this ancient skill at a local workshop as well as delve into the backstreets of this historic neighbourhood where more craft showrooms and interesting buildings await. Afterwards we will take you to the outskirts of Yogyakarta to explore the local village life and some of the lesser-known temples of the region. An Ox-cart will be ready for a ride to the neighbouring Bugisan Village, where you will be invited into a traditional home for a welcome drink and some light snacks before you begin exploring the village by Ox-cart. You will visit a local home-industry and learn how the traditional Javanese cracker "Emping" is made. Feel free to try some of these local snacks before you continue to the house of the Jamu maker. Jamu is an herbal medicine made from natural ingredients and still can be found throughout Indonesia. Traditionally prepared and prescribed by women selling it on the street in colourful bottles, the different Jamu recipes are not written down but handed over between generations. (B/L)

Day 3

Set out before sunrise, visit the stunning temple complex at Borobudur, one of South East Asia's most impressive sites and the largest single Buddhist monument in the world. Receiving UNESCO World Heritage status in 1991, the monument consists of six square terraces topped by three circular ones. Two million stone blocks were required to build the temple and with at least 2,500 relief panels and more than 500 Buddha statues, it is exquisite beyond comparison.

On the way back to Yogyakarta we invite you to visit a traditional Kris-Maker. Listed by the UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage of Humanity", the Kris is an asymmetrical dagger with distinctive blade patterning achieved through alternating laminations of iron, which can take up to one month to forge a single piece. Kris have been produced in many regions of Indonesia for centuries, but nowhere is the Kris so embedded in a mutually-connected whole of ritual prescriptions and acts, ceremonies, mythical backgrounds and epic poetry as in Central Java. Kris are used for display, as talismans with magical powers, weapons, sanctified heirloom, as an accessory for ceremonial dress, an indicator of social status or a symbol of heroism. Kris-Makers do more than forge the weapon, they carry out old rituals which could infuse the blade with mystical powers. For this reason, Kris are considered almost alive because they may be vessels of spirits, either good or evil.

Later, you will be transfer to the airport to catch your onward flight. (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.