The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Sacred Sites of Java and Bali

Solo, Yogyakarta, Borobudur, Prambanan, Ubud and Environs
with Guest Speaker Dr. Helen Ibbitson Jessup and WT Trip Leader Karin Betts

The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Sacred Sites of Java and Bali  route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7895  
Length: 15 days
Arrive: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Depart: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Lodging: 14 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations


  • Four-day symposium at Angkor, one of the world’s most phenomenal artistic achievements, featuring five of the world’s top experts in classical Asian art and archaeology, architectural conservation, and Hindu and Buddhist cultures
  • Experience the interwoven texture of art and life on Java and Bali with visits to artisan workshops
  • Explore Borobudur, one of the world's most spectacular temples, on Java, and Besakih, the "mother temple," on Bali
  • Special ceremonial performances, including shadow puppetry and Barong or Kecak dances
  • Enhanced experience of traveling with an expert on Indonesian art, Dr. Helen Ibbitson Jessup

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

This itinerary is part of the Arc of the Sacred Symposium & Tour Program, an extraordinary four-day symposium in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that explores the remarkable spiritual synchronicity that exists across Asian cultures.

The tour described on this page is one of six special journeys which are being offered in conjunction with the symposium. For information on the other symposium tours, click on these links: Temples & Treasures of Cambodia, Ancient Cities & Monuments of the Deccan Plateau, Buddhist & Hindu Kingdoms, Indochine, and Burma: The Golden Land.

The enchanting isles of Bali and Java preserve countless cultural treasures in one of Southeast Asia’s most exotic environments. On Java, a thousand-year Hindu-Buddhist past and the Islamic influences of the great Sultan Empires add a fascinating element to Indonesia’s intriguing cultural melange. And in Bali, Hindu art and religion are beautifully woven into every aspect of daily life, with small temples found in almost every rice paddy, lake, mountaintop, or home. In the company of Dr. Helen Ibbitson Jessup, an expert in southeast Asian art, we explore exquisite religious and cultural sites, enjoy the spectacular scenery, and experience the extraordinary living culture of Indonesian music, dance, and art.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
The Arc of the Sacred Symposium

Presentations, excursions, and other activities with our guest speakers at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Days 4-7
Jakarta, Indonesia / Solo

We fly to Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, where we take in the collections of the National Museum. Heading to Solo, the epicenter of Javanese culture and Indonesia’s best “batik city,” we enjoy traditional gamelan music, quite possibly a special performance in the Mangkunagaran Palace arranged with Dr. Jessup’s assistance. In the countryside, we explore Candi Sukuh and Candi Cetho, mysterious Javanese-Hindu temples set on the slopes of Gunung Lawu, one of the holiest mountains in Java and a destination for pilgrims seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Days 8-10
Temples of the Dieng Plateau / Borobudur

More than 400 Hindu temples—the oldest in Java—once dotted the lofty Dieng Plateau, a volcanic caldera surrounded by steep mountains. Here we explore the Arjuna Complex, five Shiva temples that are the only remaining structures. At a special sunrise visit to Borobudur, one of the world’s largest ancient Buddhist monuments, we immerse ourselves in Javanese culture as we explore this ten-terraced structure whose delicate sculptural work reflects the Buddha’s teachings. At nearby Mendut Temple, we view more gracefully carved relief panels that are among the finest examples of Hindu-Javanese art in the country.

Days 11-12
Yogyakarta / Prambanan

Java’s ancient capital is a city of magnificent temples and a legacy of lavish dance, music, and art. We visit the kraton (walled palace), Ngasem Bird Market, and, nearby, the Hindu temple complex of Prambanan, a World Heritage Site.

Days 13-15
Ubud, Bali / East Bali

The highland town of Ubud is the heart of Balinese culture and known for its artistic traditions. Our explorations here bring us from the fantastically decorated cave sanctuary of Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) to the temple of Tampak Siring for a purification ceremony conducted by a Balinese priest. In East Bali, a drive past scenic rice terraces brings us to Pura Besakih, the “Mother Temple,” Bali’s most sacred place, and we explore villages with rich craft traditions, our experience enhanced by Dr. Jessup’s deep knowledge of Indonesian art traditions. Depart from Ubud on Day 15.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

The Arc of the Sacred Brochure

Download The Arc of the Sacred brochure, featuring a symposium at Angkor Wat with journeys from Nepal to Indonesia. Or request a print copy to be sent by mail.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 1+, or Easiest. It is an overland cultural adventure, and for the most part, physical activity is light, but there will be some long drives, occasionally on rough roads. There will be extensive walking both during the symposium and during the tour, some of it up or down hill, some over uneven footing, and we will spend some time clambering around temple structures. The hotels we use are generally deluxe except for the Kresna Hotel in Wonosobo, where we stay for one night in order to cut down significantly on driving time when visiting the Dieng Plateau. It is the best available in town but is more basic than our other hotels. We encourage you to get in shape for the trip because travel to remote places does require some physical stamina. We also ask that you make a special effort to bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique journey.

Please note that afternoon rain is common at this time of year, and the sequence of temple visits may be changed slightly to suit local ground and weather conditions.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jan 25-Feb 8, 2015

Program Cost

Prices are for 2015
$7895 (15-16 members)
$8395 (11-14 members)
$9195 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $1220
Internal airfare: $310 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Phnom Penh Pre-Symposium Extension
   from: $795

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $1000
Due July 29, 2014: 25% of trip cost
Due October 27, 2014: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
270-181 days prior to departure: $1000 per person
180-91 days prior to departure: 100% of trip cost
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Program of presentations by Guest Speakers and symposium excursions
  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy, including three nights at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort during the symposium, and hotels in Java and Bali
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners
  • Sightseeing and activities as noted
  • Airport transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • Land transportation in air-conditioned buses
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Bottled water at meals during symposium, and one water per person at meals during tour
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare from US to Siem Reap, Cambodia, from Siem Reap to Jakarta, Indonesia, and fromDenpasar, Bali, Indonesia to US; transfers for independent arrival or departure; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; international airport departure taxes; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader, local guides and drivers; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, drinks with meals, bottled water, internet use, laundry, etc.)

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Days 1 to 3 (3 nights), Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set among lovely gardens and ponds, the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort will feel like an oasis of serenity after a full day exploring the temples ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Alila Jakarta

Alila Jakarta

Day 4 (1 night), Jakarta, Indonesia

This hotel in Jakarta’s city center offers a calm haven in the midst of this bustling city. Spacious guest rooms are comfortable, clean, and ...
Click here for full description and more photos

The Royal Surakarta Heritage

The Royal Surakarta Heritage

Days 5 to 7 (3 nights), Solo, Indonesia

This hotel is ideally located for our explorations of Solo, close to the royal palaces and street markets. It features lovely public areas ...
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Gallery Hotel Kresna Wonosobo

Gallery Hotel Kresna Wonosobo

Day 8 (1 night), Wonosobo, Indonesia

Nestled in the foothills of the Wonosobo Mountains, this old-fashioned, colonial-style hotel is a convenient place to stay on our way to the Dieng ...
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Rumah Boedi

Rumah Boedi

Day 9 (1 night), Borobodur, Indonesia

Just minutes from the world-famous temple of Borobodur, this boutique hotel, set on the edge of town, offers a welcoming Javanese rural atmosphere. ...
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The Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel

Days 10 to 11 (2 nights), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

This colonial-style hotel dates back to 1918 and offers a welcoming, relaxing ambiance in the heart of busy Yogyakarta. Relax at one of the two bars ...
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Kamandalu Resort and Spa

Kamandalu Resort and Spa

Days 12 to 14 (3 nights), Ubud, Indonesia

This serene hideaway is surrounded by rice terraces and tropical valleys, and is a wonderful base from which to explore the environs of Ubud. Its ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Dr. Helen Ibbitson Jessup

Departure Dates: January 25-February 8, 2015

Dr. Helen Ibbitson Jessup is a scholar and curator specializing in the art and architecture of Southeast Asia. She holds a PhD from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London University, and is currently an Associate Fellow of Saybrook College, Yale University. Dr. Jessup co-curated Sculpture of ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Karin Betts

Departure Dates: January 25-February 8, 2015

Karin Betts is one of our most versatile Trip Leaders and has been traveling the world since before she could walk. Her parents moved to Southeast Asia when she was just six weeks old, and with her first decade of life in Indonesia, Karin's earliest memories are of house geckoes, papaya and a pet ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:


Phnom Penh Pre-Symposium Extension

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
3 days  -  Level 1