Your Indonesian journey begins as you fly over the skies of Java. If the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, is Java's financial powerhouse, Yogyakarta houses its artistic soul. And this is where you will arrive. It’s just a short drive from this creative city to the spiritual centre of the UNESCO-listed site at Borobudur. Here the southern hemisphere’s greatest Buddhist complex can be explored as you climb the steps to the stupas and serene Buddha statues.
You’ll wake up refreshed in the Amanjiwo resort surrounded by rainforest, rice paddies and the lush Menoreh Hills. From your opulent retreat, you’ll be able to look down on the inspirational sight of the Buddhas that crown Borobudur. This is the perfect place to ease gently into Indonesian life. You’ll have plenty of time to swim in the pool, to stroll by the river and relax beneath the banyan trees.
On the move early, you’ll witness dawn breaking over the 1,000-year-old temple of Borobudur. It’s an unforgettable sight when the rising sun hits the vast, 35m-high stupa, with brooding volcanoes providing a spectacular natural backdrop. After breakfast, head to the nearby village of Candirejo to take a dokar (horse cart) ride through the tiny lanes and shop for traditional handicrafts.
Watch central Java unfurl from the train window as you ride towards Mount Kelud. This is one of Java's most active volcanoes, and you’ll see it steam and grumble before continuing to the charming colonial town of Malang. The antique-filled Tugu Malang hotel provides a welcoming home for the night.
Spend the morning wandering in Malang's vibrant, traditional kampoengs (neighbourhoods) or relaxing on the hotel terrace. Then it’s onward, plunging further east, towards majestic Mount Bromo. Tonight’s accommodation, the Jiwa Jawa Bromo, could not be better located in the verdant hills close to the volcano – perfect for tomorrow's early start.
Your jeep leaves early to catch the sunrise, when the magnificent, ever-smoking volcano is at its most atmospheric. As you draw close, switch to horseback for a short ride across the dusty slopes, then hop off to climb to the very rim of the crater. From this exhilarating vantage point, you’ll see the moon-like caldera fizzing in the ethereal morning mist, and the surrounding mountains rippling off into the distance.
If Java is the king island of Indonesia, then Bali is the princess – a lush, beach-fringed beauty, elegant and cultured, but also exhibiting a playful streak. You’ll fly in comfort into Ubud, nestled in the rice-terraced highlands, and known as Bali's artistic capital. You'll soon discover why, as a guide leads you on a tour of local villages where you can watch the skilled painters, mask-carvers and papermakers practising their crafts.
And relax... The Oberoi Bali, spread across acres of tropical gardens on the sands of Seminyak Beach, provides a perfect Indonesian finale. Here, you’ll have time to explore the idyllic coastline and search out temples amid the trees, to kick back on the beach, or maybe enjoy a well-deserved pampering in the traditional Balinese spa.
Finally, it’s time to pack up your priceless memories and fly home to the UK. Or, if you really can't bear to leave, there’s always the chance to add on a trip to one of Indonesia's other islands. With 17,000 in the archipelago there’s only 16,998 to go!