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Palm trees swaying gently on balmy tropical breezes, fine sandy beaches greeting azure warm waters, and seas of emerald green rice terraces: this is Bali, a serene and staggeringly beautiful island in the Indonesian archipelago. Experience rural villages, postcard perfect beaches, pristine coral reefs rich with vividly colored marine life, local bazaars, some of the best vegan cuisine on the island, special vegan cooking classes, and festive nights with local music. For this and much more, join this vegan culinary tour and embrace the island of the gods!
During this culinary tour of Indonesia, guests will be provided with daily accommodation:
1 night at a local inn / homestay, on Balis far less visited west coast
1 night at a resort in the seaside town of Sanur
2 nights at a seaside resort on the island of Java, overlooking the Bali Strait
2 nights in traditional cottages in Balis beautiful hill country
3 nights in Balinese garden cottages, overlooking the rice paddies of Ubud
4 nights in traditional Balinese beachside bungalows, overlooking the Bali sea
Selamat Datang! Welcome to Bali: the Island of the Gods!
In the morning, you will have your orientation meeting, complete with tropical fruit tasting, snacks, and a delicious vegan lunch where you will have a chance to get to know your fellow travelers as you discuss the adventure ahead. After orientation, set out for your first introduction to traditional Balinese massage. Returning to the hotel, you will have time to freshen up before you learn about Balinese classical dance. As the sun sets over Sanur, enjoy a tasty vegan dinner of local island delicacies.
After breakfast, journey on one of the most scenic drives on the island, passing paddy fields, small villages, and jungle-clad hillsides. During your travels, visit the sacred Pura Tirta Empul temple. Dating back to 926 A.D., Hindus from across the country come here to bathe in its holy spring water. Leaving the temple, you will head up into the islands stunning mountains, stopping for views of the sacred Gunung Batur Volcano and a cup of local Java (the coffee, not the island). Making your way on the back roads of Bali, arrive in the heart of the hill country at your bungalows, with stunning views. Then, hike out into the countryside to a lovely waterfall, before returning for your cultural heritage class, to learn about the islands rich history, customs, and traditional home architecture. As the sun sets over the paddies, enjoy a dinner of local Munduk favorites.
Waking up to fresh mountain air, set out to explore the surrounding paddy fields, farms, and forests, learning about the culture, way of life, and farming methods in rural Bali; including joining a local family at their home for lunch.
Back at your bungalow, have the days cultural heritage class, where you will learn about the unique form of Hinduism practiced here, including how to make the ritual offerings you see throughout the journey. In the evening, join a noted Gamelan player and his family at their home, for a colorful evening of music and tasty local dishes. You will also learn about the Gamelan instrument: how is it made, how it is played, its history, and extraordinary sound.
After breakfast, make your way to the sacred hot springs of Air Panas Banjar, where sulfuric water is fed through 8 stone-carved mythical dragon-like snakes into a 3-tiered pool. After freshening up in the hot springs, visit an auspicious temple, where you will learn about Balinese temple architecture and participate in a Hindu blessing, before arriving at your home on the shores of the Bali Sea, at the Northwestern most tip of the island. Far from the crowds of South Bali, stay in traditional bungalows near the beach at the doorstep of a beautiful coral reef. Since you have been having Balinese cuisine up until now, and since the chef is a great baker, prepare this evening for a taste of back home with vegan pizza, pasta, and fresh salads for dinner.
In the morning, you will be guest at an important marine conservation project that helps to restore the fragile reefs of Bali. After learning about the project, the plight of the coral reefs and the abundance of species that rely on them, head offshore into the Bay of Pemuteran, to snorkel the restored reef with those who are working so hard to preserve it. Returning to the shore, meet for lunch before exploring the sleepy town and learning about local culture. As the colors of the day turn to night over the Bali Sea, you will be guest of a local family, at their home, for traditional Balinese hospitality and delicious home-cooked dinner.
Today, spend your time out on boats and in the Bali Sea, exploring the beautiful protected marine life rich waters around Menjangan Island. Far from the crowds of South Bali, the gorgeous coral reef gardens off this protected area are truly a sight to behold. With its excellent coral reef wall that plunges over 50 meters deep, the reef offers a stunning spectacle of hard and soft corals, along with a plethora of marine life, including parrot fish, butterfly fish, snappers, trigger fish, clown fish, sweetlips, angelfish, sea turtles, and (if you are lucky) black tip reef sharks.
After exploring the underwater world, have the rest the day free to snorkel the lovely house reef near your bungalows, sunbathe, have a massage, catch up on some reading, lounge around the pool, or just chill out at a local caf.
On the most northwesterly point of the island, lies the picturesque Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park). Home to over one hundred and sixty species of birds, including the near extinct Bali Starling, and a wide variety of other wildlife from barking deer and banteng (wild buffalo), to wild boar and leopard cats, the park is a mixture of dry savannah, thick forests and mangroves. Today, spend your time exploring the wilds of the national park by foot and sea, taking in its beauty and learning about this vital eco-system with one of the parks foremost experts. As the sun sets over the peaks overlooking the Bali Sea, you will meet beachside for your last night in Pemuteran, where you will enjoy a colorful evening of traditional music and dance, sundowners, snacks and, of course, more food!
Catching a ferry over the Bali Strait, you will make your way to the island of Java, where over the next two days you will be introduced to Javanese culture, geography, and tasty cuisine. Home to 60% of Indonesia's population, much of the country's history, politics, and culture, has been influenced by the island. On arrival, spend time at the towns supermarket, where you will buy gifts for kids at a local children's home you will be a guest of later in your journey. Settling in at the seaside hotel, will meet in the garden for tonights cultural culinary experience: Javanese cooking class. Learn how to make regional favorites using one of the most important cooking tools on the island: the mortar and pestle. Rolling up your sleeves, under the guidance of the chef, you will not only learn, but also cook tonights meal.
Before sunrise, begin with a hike up of Ijen. For those who have climbed this impressive crater, the words stunning, spectacular, amazing, and awesome come to mind, and once you make the trek to the top of this active volcano, through a beautiful forest reserve, you will understand why. With a 200-meter deep turquoise blue acidic-lake at its center and sulfur clouds billowing around its moonscape scenery, Ijen is truly a surreal sight to behold.
After enjoying the views from the top, head back for lunch, where you will be introduced to the regional dessert classic: cendol. After resting up from our hike, enjoy local favorites for dinner along with a colorful Javanese music and dance program.
While in Bali, you will learn about the islands majority Hindu population and culture, so over the next two days, you will take time to learn about the other cultures that make up the rich tapestry of the island.
In the afternoon, visit two small villages that are home to Bali's relatively tiny Catholic and Protestant communities, where even in their places of worship, a heavy Balinese influence is seen in their unique fusion architecture. As guests of the local communities, learn about their history and culture, joining the kids from a nearby children's home for a tasty vegan meal.
Since Bali is one of 17,000 plus islands that make up the largest Muslim country in the world, in the morning, you will be guest of a local Muslim school, where you will learn about Islam in Bali and the importance it plays in Indonesians culture and way of life. The students have a special cultural program they will share, along with giving you a tour of their campus. After lunch at the Madrasah, depart for the cultural capital of the island, Ubud. Arriving at the beautiful Balinese garden cottages, set amongst rice paddies and green gardens, having time to freshen up, relax on your balcony, or take a dip in the relaxing pool. Later, settle down for dinner and an evening of hypnotic Balinese music and dance.
It is all about Ubud and its surroundings. After breakfast, begin todays cultural culinary experience at a local family's home, where you will learn to prepare a delicious full course vegan Balinese meal. Your first stop will be at the market, where you will learn about the local market scene before heading to the kitchen. Finishing in the afternoon, head out to unwind with a traditional Balinese massage and herbal treatment. Feeling refresh and relax from the massage, have the evening free to enjoy dinner at your own choice of place.
After breakfast on your verandah overlooking the paddy fields, have the day free to explore Ubud at your own pace. There are a plenty of things to do in this charming town: take a leisure walk along the famous Monkey Forest street and Hanoman street, sip on delicious coffee at a local coffee shop, or catch up with your souvenir list and practice your haggling skill. Step out and enjoy Ubud town, before returning at sunset for a colorful evening of snacks, refreshing drinks, dinner, music, and dance. So do not forget your dancing shoes, party shirt, and a hearty appetite!
Head back to south Bali. After breakfast, you will have time to relax and enjoy the view from your verandah, or take a dip on the pool before you meet up and join the vehicle for a drive back to Sanur, passing the small lanes and fields of Bali. Your adventure ends upon arrival at the hotel in the coastal town of Sanur. Terima kasih banyak, banyak (thank you very much!).
Bali testifies the vast and diverse country Indonesia is. Your adventure will take you from one side of the island to the other, and all the way to Java, to experience rural villages, postcard perfect beaches, pristine coral reefs rich with vividly colored marine life, local bazaars, some of the best vegan cuisine on the island, special vegan cooking classes, guests of local schools, meals with local families, festive nights with local music, and dance, and the cultural heartland of Bali, where the islands unique Hindu customs and traditions are deeply rooted in the peoples everyday lives.
Known for its mesmerizing music, distinctive architecture, absorbing art, rich cultures, and deeply spiritual and very friendly people, Bali is truly a special place for those who experience it.
At VegVoyages, two passions are travel and food. They always say that a great way to get an idea about a countrys culture and heritage, is through its cuisine. As noted novelist Abdulhak Sinasi said, Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just simply food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself. You could not agree more with him.
Asia, undoubtedly, offers vegans and vegetarians the widest, most diverse, and tastiest food found anywhere on the planet. The combination of pungent spices, fresh herbs, homemade sauces, mouthwatering curries, and other ingredients, makes Asian food an exciting culinary treat. Though cuisines vary drastically from country to country, as well as from province to province, and in many cases, from city to city or village to village, Asia shares a simple ingredient in most of its cuisines, which is rice. Rice is the staple food of much of Asia. Billions of people depend on it for their daily survival, and rice is served in a variety of ways: from steamed rice, to sticky rice, to tasty fried rice, mixed with a variety of spices and veggies. But the staple of Asian cuisine is not just limited to rice, it also includes a range of baked breads, fried or grilled, and to your palates content, an endless collection of fried or steamed noodles, served in soups and curries.
The epicenter of the ancient spice trade and home to the worlds largest variety of spices, another common thread throughout Asias cuisines is their generous use of spices. These tasty and essential ingredients, include such spices as cloves, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, ginger, lemongrass, basil, mint, chili, tamarind, nutmeg, galangal, cinnamon, coriander, curry leaves, mustard seed, saffron, sesame, and the list goes on. The delicate, centuries old developed and masterful combination of these spices, finely balanced to perfection when cooking, gives these unique cuisines their superb tastes and it is what makes them second to none.
During this vegan culinary holiday, in addition to introducing you to the popular dishes of your destinations, you will visit unique regional and local vegan dishes that are found only in certain areas and villages. You will love to eat and enjoy plenty of dishes, special menus that are home-cooked, created recipes past down in families from generation to generation.
Located along the ancient sea trading routes and rich in natural resources, the islands that make up Indonesia quickly became a global interest back when spices were valued not only for their flavor, but also for their ability to remedy health problems and act as natural preservatives. The countrys delicious cuisines developed largely as a result from this, with the fusion between local cooking traditions and the cooking traditions of the spice-seeking traders and immigrants from India, the Middle East, China, Thailand, and Europe.
With over 300 ethnic groups, Indonesias cuisines vary from one ethnic group to another, as well as from island to island, province to province and village to village. Popular Indonesian dishes include the culinary classics of gado-gado (veggies, tofu, and peanut sauce), rendang (rich coconut based curry), urap (steamed veggies with toasted coconut, and spices), rujak (pungent fruit salad), and the dessert treat cendol. Tempeh (fermented soy bean), which is now popular around the world, is an Indonesian invention as well and is a common local treat found in stir-fries, curries, and mixed with sambal.
Most Indonesians say they do not feel full unless they have eaten rice and its commonly served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can be served in a variety of ways, including cooked in coconut milk and served as nasi uduk, steamed in banana leaves, or fried with spices and veggies in the archipelagos national dish nasi goreng. Speaking of rice, a definite contribution to the culinary scene is the Indonesian favorite nasi campur. Nasi means rice, and campur means mixed, and like its name, is a delectable plate of rice surrounded by a mixture of tasty tofu, tempeh, and veggies. Last but not least, when speaking about Indonesian food, you cant forget sambal (a chili-based condiment) Each region has its own version (the variety of which are too many to mention here), and a meal would not be complete without it. This Javanese-influenced condiment is a spicy food lovers dream, but be careful, as many sambals are made with shrimp paste.
During your holiday, journey into the heart, soul, and tastes of Indonesias vegan cuisines: from spicy sambals, tasty tempeh, fresh veggies in sensational sauces, and tropical fruit salads, to toasted coconut curries, pungent peanut sauces, rich rendangs, and sauted jackfruit in aromatic spices.
Delight during your holiday with 2-hour traditional Balinese massages, as well as a 90-minute traditional aromatherapy massage.
Please arrive Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). VegVoyages will pick you up. The pick up is included in the price.
Please forward your confirmed arrival details at least 3 weeks before the holiday, including arrival time and flight number via email or post, so that VegVoyages can arrange a meeting at the airport. Airport pick up is provided, only if you arrive one or two days prior to the tour date. If you arrive three days or more before, please arrange for your own airport pick up.
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