A Perfect Photography Tour of Bali and Java

A 8 day trip to Bali / Indonesia 
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Experience the islands of Bali and Java through the lens of a camera during your custom tailored photography tour focused on culture and landscape. Whether an amateur photographer eager to experience tropical paradise or a veteran cameraperson keen on an in-depth tour of distinct villages and ancient temples, you will uncover the pleasures of island living and the wonders of life captured in an everlasting photo. Your guide will lead you along trails filled with macaques and an active volcano’s caldera shimmering with a pristine lake. Relish an immersive tour that teaches you how to impart majesty with every snapshot you take.  

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Yogyakarta, Prambanan, Borobudur, Ubud, Nusa Dua, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Mount Batur, Tirta Empul, Sacred Monkey Forest

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Yogyakarta – Between the Lens and Culture

Yogyakarta embodies the soul of Java Island, from the temples to the language, traditional life in the palace complex to the ritual of producing batik, a traditional Javanese textile. Your flight lands at Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport, where your private transfer meets you upon arrival. The tropical landscape ambiance sweeps across the landscape with sporadic palm trees and lush greenery. The beaches shimmer with gold sand and rugged cliffs overlooking indigo waters. At Timang Beach, the cresting white waves splash against the coral stone framing the coast. A small cable car crosses the waters originally used by lobster fishermen.

The cables lead to the Watu Panjang Island, a secluded coral plateau offering an unfettered view to the horizon. Rickshaws and motorcycles rush along the streets. Red tiles rooftops dangle over hidden alleyways. The aroma of spiced peanuts and blossoming hyacinths drifts through the streets. The main market of Pasar Beringharjo brims with locals searching the famous textiles. The bright colors rush along the edges of the walkways leading to the historical back section. Stalls wedge close together, interspersed with cafes and restaurants.

The scent of noodle soup wafts upwards from large pots with hints of spice. Jackfruits form pyramids on displays beside coconuts and rambutan, offering glimpses of the traditional market. The first-floor spice market glows with rainbow colors emanating from sacks and boxes of turmeric, ginger, cloves, and dried flowers. You easily settle into the comforts of your hotel, viewing the movement of the city with an artist’s eye, and explorer’s sense of wonder.

What’s Included: dinner, airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Yogyakarta – A Vision a Sunset

In the morning, the marketplace returns to its active ambiance, with locals cruising down the aisles eager to find fresh fish and radiant produce. The small wooden-clad cafes and restaurants provide sweet coffee and delicious, traditional breakfast noodles mixed with egg. The Museum Kereta Keraton opens its doors to display an antique carriage house with galleries of opulent chariots once ridden by the sultans. Leather upholstery glints beneath the soft light beside painted horse carts. Crowned dragons and intricate moldings glisten with layers of gold leaf. Your guide meets you after breakfast and leads you on an encompassing tour of the city to take in the preserved history, contemporary culture, and beams of light stretching over a café draped in blossoming frangipanis.

In the afternoon, you make your way to Prambanan, an ancient Hindu temple complex originally constructed in the 9th century. The mystical ambiance emanates from the silver stone and immaculate collection of detailed statues. Your guide explains that the importance of photography is to capture the mystic and captivating atmosphere you feel inside the photo for others to see. You make your way down the aisles, between the mixture of proud structures withstanding the tests of time and strewn stones cast by a 2006 earthquake. The Brahma temple faces east and contains a single large chamber dedicated to the god. The structure reaches a height of nearly 110 feet tall and contains a series of statues showing devotion to Brahma, each telling a different legend. The sun sets over the west and casts a golden glow over the historic grounds, allowing you to capture the perfect photo of the temple towers rising above the stones.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Yogyakarta – Sunrise on the Culture 

You wake up before dawn and meet your guide in the hotel lobby, eager to venture out through the surrounding hills to reach the temple of Borobudur. The 9th-century complex contains nine platforms, a marvelous central dome, and nearly 2,700 relief panels wrapping around more than 500 Buddha statues. The surrounding jungle fills with twittering birds and active monkeys ambling across the branches. The surrounding Muslim villages echo with the call to prayer. The poetic chant moves through the sky, accompanying the burnt sage hues of the sky at sunrise. Rice fields shine emerald against the thatched-roof huts. The temple was erected as a three-dimensional representation of the Buddhist’s idea of the universe.

The giant mandala represents the path of the bodhisattva, telling the story through the structure's movement stretching across more than two million stone blocks. On the Rupadhatu level, the remarkable reliefs depict stories of the Lalitavistara, consisting of 120 panels detailing the life of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, beginning with the descent of Buddha from heaven. The natural light pours over the historic complex, casting the reliefs, statues, and surrounding jungle with gilded hues. Your guide leads you away from the hill rising more than 1,300 above sea level for an opulent view of the temple and surrounding landscape, to a village awake after morning prayer.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Ubud – The Mountains of Bali

In the morning, the aroma of coriander and cinnamon emanates from the market. Rickshaws return to the street, ferrying locals and visitors alike. Cafes fill with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans cultivated on Java. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to Yogyakarta Adisucipto International Airport for your flight to Ubud, Bali. As the plane descends, you look out the window to find a mixture of the jade jungle canopy, soaring palm fronds waving in the breeze, and the sapphire waters of the Indian Ocean edging the shoreline.

Your flight lands at Ngurah Rai International Airport, and your private transfer meets you upon arrival. You make your way along the road lined with villages. Hyacinth and oleanders bloom along the walkways. Bougainvillea undulates around the walls. Your luxurious hotel offers spectacular views of the rice fields on the outskirts of the city. You grab your camera and make your way through Ubud on an immersive introductory tour. The cafes offer a mixture of traditional Balinese cuisine and western flavors, including banana pancakes.

The aroma of pineapple and coconut lingers in the streets. Your guide leads you to the photogenic walkways of Sacred Monkey Forest where hundreds of long-tailed macaques lounge beneath the treetops. The trails lead to a variety of ancient temples adorned with intricate stone carvings depicting Garuda and various Hindu gods. The light pierces through the leaves in sharp beams, offering a unique corona surrounding a monkey eating a banana atop the stone fangs of a statue.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Ubud – Tradition through the Lens

In the morning, the sunlight spreads across the emerald rice fields. Thatched huts made with golden straw rise out of the flatlands. Farmers tend to their crops, walking barefoot through the wet soil while carrying bamboo poles balancing woven baskets. At breakfast, you capture some of the gorgeous produce filling the dining room to create a rainbow of magnificent flavors and colors, from fuchsia rambutan to sage and yellow mango. After the meal, you venture into the mountains to visit Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave.

Elaborate Hindu reliefs decorate the walls of the temples carved neatly into the rocks. A guardian standing above the entrance to the cave watches dutifully over those entering the grounds. The menacing faces and postures of the legendary figures date back to the 11th century. Your camera captures the impressive details in the carvings, adding to the dramatic ambiance emanating from the artistic landscape and surrounding forest. The scent of sandalwood drifts upwards from burning incense. The stone walls are cold and grainy against your fingers.

You continue into the hills to visit Tirta Empul, a temple compound erected in the 10th century. The ambiance between the Goa Gajah and Tirta Empul is remarkably different. The two sacred baths were dedicated to god Vishnu and offer refreshing stimulation with the sound of rushing water and a cool temperature beneath the warm jungle sun. Dragonheads adorn the spouts and flicker with gilded edges in the light. Locals and visitors take ritual baths to purify their body and soul amidst the lush forest.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Ubud – Sunset on the Lake

Today the landscape of Bali calls to you after breakfast through the jade canopy of the surrounding forest. Your guide leads you to an opening of trees overlooking the steep, textured slope of the Tegalalang rice terraces. You focus your camera to arrange photos of various perspectives, capturing the emerald hues of the layers of terraces set against the sporadic fronds of shading palm trees. Villagers walk barefoot along the flooded terraces. Farmers wear conical hats to protect their skin from the sun. A herbaceous aroma fills the air, sweeping up from the valley floor.

The farmers practice a communal irrigation technique practiced on the island since the 9th century. The terraces wrap around the hillsides for as far as the eye can see. After visiting a plantation known for growing exceptional coffee, you continue into the caldera of Mount Batur to view the glistening waters of Lake Batur. The caldera lake fills nearly two-thirds of the crater and reflects the textured ridges of the bordering slopes. The sun begins to set over the west, offering pristine images of the shifting colors above steaming fumaroles, along with a unique shot of the drifting sunlight receding across the lake’s surface.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Ubud – Along with the Shrines

In the morning, the aroma of fresh coconut fills the dining room. The luscious scent accompanies the slight caramel aroma complementing the coffee. Your guide meets you at the hotel after the meal and leads you to the island’s western shores to view the remarkable grounds of Tanah Lot Temple. The edifice was constructed in the 16th century atop a large boulder separated from the mainland. During high tide, water surrounds the boulder, turning the temple into an island unto itself. At low tide, the water recedes to allow visitors to wander along the soft, wet sand at the rock’s base, tracing historical footsteps to stairs reaching the boulder’s top.

When water surrounds Tanah Lot, smaller temples in the area hold prayer sessions for local villagers hoping for good rice harvests and rites of passage. In the afternoon, you continue to the southern edges of the island to reach the cliff-top temple of Uluwatu. The shrine stands more than 230 feet above the splashing ocean waves on a limestone cliff decorated with golden striations and dangling jungle vines. Hyacinths grow wild along the trees and long-tailed macaque lounge on the walkways in the cooling shade. Ancient sculptures and traditional gateways add to the majestic ambiance of the temple grounds. You once again have the opportunity to capture a tropical sunset, this time accentuated by the silhouette of a temple soaring above the sea.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Ubud – A Camera By Your Side  

In the morning, the silk scarves and hand-woven bags of the art market rustle in the gentle breeze. Hand-carved statues and knitted kites add to the vibrant works of the unique marketplace set beside the Ubud Royal Palace. The aisles represent Balinese life and culture through representing the craftsmanship and perspectives of local artists. Vendors display the unique ikat textile skirts and baskets woven by women in the highlands. Stonemasons display statues carved from the island’s smoothed rocks. Long-tailed macaques run across the forest branches in the Sacred Monkey Forest and lounge on the walls gazing at passersby.

Collections of Balinese fine art and contemporary works adorn the galleries of the Agung Rai Museum of Art. The island always has more to view and endless splendors to experience. You could extend your stay in Bali to continue your exploration through a lens, or continue discovering Southeast Asia with a trip to Cambodia. If you choose to end your journey, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you to Ngurah Rai International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.