Provider: G.A.P Adventures
Length: 15 days
A trip to Bali, Indonesia, and its neighboring islands might be the perfect introduction to Asia. Just a hair larger than Delaware, Bali encompasses an interior of mist-shrouded volcanoes and terraced hillsides glistening with a hundred shades of green, and wears a belt of black and white sand beaches, some wild and lonely, others buzzing with surfers and sun bathers. The Balinese people are welcoming and deeply devoted to Agama Tirta, a unique and colorful form of Hinduism. Dramatic daily ceremonies and rituals play out in the open, and flowers and food on palm leaves and other offerings to the gods can be seen at temples (there are about 20,000) all over the island.
For adventure travelers, the activity options on this small island are astounding as well: volcano treks, snorkeling and diving, surf lessons, sailing, and even whitewater rafting. On G.A.P Adventures' low-priced 15-day Best of Bali and Lombok tour, you'll get to sample many of Bali's adventure and cultural highlights, as well as visit it's quieter neighbor island, Lombok, which is starting to be recognized for its own adventure possibilities.
On Bali, you'll tour Ubud, the island's spiritual and cultural capital, where you can visit temples and watch religious ceremonies and performances like shadow puppet plays and masked dances. Then you'll travel to more remote parts of the island to view wildlife and climb to the top of Mt. Batur, an active volcano. You'll also have free time to take part in optional adventures or indulge in a treatment at one of Bali's affordable spas.
Later you'll take a ferry to Lombok and embark on a multi-day trek to the rim of the Gunung Rinjani volcano. "We hike through mountain forest and emerge on to the moonscape slopes of the ancient volcanic cone—the view is breathtaking and worth the climb," says G.A.P's Communications & Marketing Manager Kira Zack. After this strenuous hike, you'll end your trip with a relaxing few days on Gili Islands. Says Zack, "[The Gili Islands] are three tiny, yet beautiful islands ... home to the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Lombok. There are no cars on the island and life moves at a very slow pace."
This trip departs monthly except during April. Prices include accommodations, ground and boat transportation, daily breakfasts and one dinner and lunch, guides, and some sightseeing and excursions. Most lunches and dinners, optional activities, and airfare are extra. Round-trip February flights from Los Angeles to Bali's Denpasar airport start at $1,174, including taxes and fees, through CheapTickets.