Beautiful Bali Photography Tour 2014

Attention  Shutterbugs!  How often have you been taking photos and then been forced to leave early because your travel partners were impatient?  Or perhaps you’ve missed the perfect light because the tour bus was leaving?  Suffer no more and join us on the Beautiful Bali Photography Tour.   Next July we set off for the beautiful and diverse island of Bali, a photographer’s dream destination.   Explore this visually compelling island and have your creativity inspired.  Shoot a beach sunrise, traditional dance drama, temple festival, rice paddy terrace, World Heritage Sight or ancient monument, pagoda-like temples in their sunset glory, or the cloud-shrouded mountains, volcanic calderas, and lakes in this target-rich environment. Julie photographer Barong DanceThis tour combines the well-established Imprint Tours’ itinerary with photographic talks and workshops conducted by professional photographer Patricia Ridenour.  An internationally published, award winning photographer, Patricia’s creative spirit and instruction have inspired students at Photography Center Northwest for 20 years.  She and Julie Coen have conducted travel photography tours with Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door and she has taught Digital Photo Photography seminars at the Edmonds Travel Center.

Whenever possible, the itinerary is scheduled to maximize the best photographic conditions.  Instruction Ulu Watuwill be coordinated with the sights and events where they are most applicable.  Teaching topics include night photography, composition and using color, shutter manipulation for action, light usage in portraiture and landscapes, and more.  Patricia will also provide guidance for managing challenging conditions and individual feedback will be available throughout the tour.  Upgrade your technical skills to enhance your shooting and bring home delightful photographic memories of your journey.

While photography is the focus of the tour, we are very aware that not everyone will prioritize photography.  We welcome “non-photographic” spouses, travel Ulu Watu - attendantpartners, friends, and anyone who has been waiting for an opportunity to visit this amazing place.  We have given careful consideration to accommodating you travelers as well.

All the basic information needed for signing up is found on the website.  Please read the Terms and Conditions page before sending in your Registration.   For your consideration we’re including a detailed tour description below.  We hope to see you in Bali next summer!  For further details or any questions please feel free to contact us directly.


Day 1  Sanur - Welcome meeting; dinner

Sanur SunsetSanur is Bali’s “other” beach resort.  Less famous than Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak, it is absent the “scene” of throbbing discos, Starbucks, and designer shopping.  This is a more peaceful, and in our minds, more authentic slice of Balinese beach culture, complete with fantastic sunrises over the sea.  We’ll get acquainted and have dinner together in a local restaurant.

Day 2  Sanur - Barong Dance; Bukit Penninsula:  Ulu Watu temple, Kecak/Fire Dance

Barong danceBarong and Kecak dances are two of Bali’s most famous and flamboyant performances.  Barong is a classic good versus evil story with the most spectacular costumes of any Balinese dance.  Kecak derives its name from the hypnotic chattering percussion of an all-male chorus (meant to imitate monkeys) which creates an astonishing accompaniment to this dance drama.  Ulu Watu, one of Bali’s 7 directional temples (protecting the island) has by far the most dramatic venue, perched at the tip of converging, Kecak dancesheer, 200+ foot cliffs with the sea crashing below.  We’ll enjoy a sunset view of the temple as a backdrop to the Kecak performance.  We'll close out our day with a seaside, fresh fish BBQ at Jimbaran Beach with the sounds of the surf to accompany our dinner.

Day 3  Jogjakarta, Java - flight to Jogja; Becak tour; Prambanan, Ramayana performance

PrambananOur becaks (pedal rickshaws) will transport us all around the captivating city of Jogja.  Using the becaks allows us to support the local economy directly and creates an opportunity to engage one of the locals in conversation.  We’ll visit the abandoned but now restored Taman Sari water palace and the fascinating subterranean passages of the mosque.  As Jogja is a renowned center for Batik, we’ll round out our morning with a demonstration.  After some down time to relax by our hotel pool  we’ll visit nearby Prambanan, a World Heritage site.  This 9th century Hindu temple complex is an impressive example of ancient Hindu architecture.  We’ll visit late in the afternoon for best light.  Dinner is Rijstafel – classic Indonesian buffet.  Afterward we will return to the site for the world-famous Ramayana Ballet performance.  Enjoying the colorful pageantry of this Hindu epic with the illuminated towers of Prambanan as backdrop is an experience not to be missed.

Day 4  Jogjakarta - Free morning; Borobodur excursion

BorobodurFor your free morning we can help arrange an optional cooking or silver jewelry making class.  Borobodur, another World Heritage site, is an 8th century Buddhist temple mountain, and Indonesia’s most impressive ancient site.  Set in a lush green valley, the concentric layers represent a model of the Borobodur BuddhaBuddhist cosmos.  In the past pilgrims circumambulated each level, tracing the mystical theology of Buddhism in the bas relief panels along the way.  Multiple, lattice-work stupas containing statues of the Buddha adorn the upper levels and the views are magnificent.  Again, we are choosing to visit in late afternoon to maximize photographic opportunities.


Day 5  Sanur - Kratan excursion; free afternoon; evening flight back to Bali

Kraton gamalanThis morning we’ll visit the Royal Kraton, Jogja’s royal palace complex.  Not only will we photograph beautifully carved and painted pavilions, statuary, ceremonial drums, and colorfully-garbed attendants but we’ll also enjoy shooting a gamelan orchestra and traditional dancers and/or puppeteers up close.  You can fill out your free afternoon time with Jogja’s plentiful shopping.  An evening flight takes us back to Bali and Sanur.

Day 6  Amed -  Kertha Gosa; Lunch at Kbun Impian; coast drive

Taman Kertha GosaKertha Gosa is the 18th century royal palace complex at Semarapura, one time capital of the Dewa Agung dynasty.  The pavilion of its Hall of Justice is creatively and ominously painted with scenes of punishments for various crimes.  We’ll continue along the southeast coast to Kbun Impian, a hidden jewel we discovered on past travels.  Run by friendly, Aussie John and Balinese wife Wayan, it is a friendly oasis of hospitality on the eastern Kbun Impiancoast.  We can swim in the seaside pool or relax in the gazebo.  After lunch we’ll have a performance of traditional Balinese dance by local students rather than paid professionals with an opportunity for interaction following.  The drive north to Amed is one of the most spectacular in Bali, winding through traditional, mostly untouched villages with stunning views of the sea and beaches lined with colorful outrigger boats.  We'll have dinner together at our seaside resort.

Day 7  Amed - All-day boat excursion.

Condor yachtWe’ve hired the 60-foot sailing yacht Condor for our private snorkeling/swimming excursion.  Amed has Bali’s premier underwater sights with some of the island’s best coral reefs and tropical fish.  We’ll visit the sunken shipwreck Liberty, a favorite dive destination.  Past tour members have described snorkeling in the bubbles from divers below as “swimming in champagne.”  Lunch and snorkeling equipment will be provided and our entire cruise will be watched over by Gunung Agung, Bali’s highest, most sacred mountain.

Day 8  Amed - Free Day

Enjoy the beach, the pool, or organize your own excursion.  Optional sunset happy hour at Waeni’s Sunset View with great views of Gunung Agung.

Day 9  Batur - Tirta Gangga; Pura Besakih temple; rice terraces

Balinese whimseyTirta Gangga is a functioning water palace.  Our tour will stop for photographing the whimsical stone statuary and water features.  Enjoy a refreshing swim and the best coconut cream pie in Indonesia.  Our included lunch stop boasts one of those spectacular, emerald-green rice Besakih templeterrace vistas and a buffet of Balinese specialties. Next it is on to Pura Besakih, the most sacred temple complex in Bali.  Upon arrival at Mt Batur, we’ll enjoy one of Bali’s most spectacular sunsets from the terrace of our caldera-clinging hotel.  Mt Batur is an active volcano with a spectacular verdant caldera that contains a steaming lava dome and picturesque lake within.

Day 10  Ubud - Sunrise excursion; Penulisan viewpoint; Tirta Empul; Gunung Kawi

Batur sunrise - climbersFor those intrepid travelers among us a pre-dawn caldera excursion and hike up the lava dome (Gunung Batur) rewards us with Bali’s premier sunrise experience.   A guide will chaperone us on the hour-long climb.  Hot beverages are available while we await the sun’s appearance.  When the entire group is ready to depart we’ll drive to Penulisan viewpoint for spectacular views across the expanse of the caldera to Bali’s three great Batur - Penulisan viewvolcanic peaks:  Batur, Abang, and Agung.  After lunch at a view restaurant we’ll head south toward Ubud.  Along the way we’ll engage in an outstanding, genuine, cultural connection experience.  Prepared and instructed by our guide, we’ll participate in a water purification ceremony at Tirta Empul.  Our day will end with a pre-dusk visit to Gunung Kawi, Bali’s most impressive and mystical ancient sight and our personal favorite. Gunung Kawi A short hike down into a lush, rice-terraced valley leads us to 1000-year old funerary monuments.  The nine 7meter (23’) high candi (stone monuments) are carved from the solid rock cliff sides.  The monuments are impressive, the venue stunning, and the gurgling stream running through adds to the sight’s mysticism.

Day 11   Ubud - Goa Gajah & Yeh Pulu

Goa GajahGoa Gajah is an 11th century cave temple, the exterior of which has been imaginatively carved as the face of a demon.  Enter the demon’s mouth to access the temple recesses.  Yeh Pulu is an intriguing, 14th century, carved cliff-face.  Running about 80 feet along one side of a secluded valley, these evocative carvings are 500 years old and are often ours alone when we visit.  Moreover, the carved wall ends at a sacred spring, attended by a Yeh Pulu priest blessingsolitary priest who offers blessings to all who seek them – a wonderful photo op.  The rest of today is free to explore Ubud and its environs on your own.  There is no shortage of activities.  Options include white water rafting; trekking; cycling; art galleries; and multiple courses:  cooking, painting, batik, meditation, offering making, Balinese dance, and more.  Or relax by the pool and do nothing.  In the evening you might chose to attend another of Bali’s many dance dramas.

Day 12  Ubud - Ulan Danu Bratan temple; Bali Botanical Gardens

Lake Bratan templeAfter a free morning we’ll drive to Bali Botanical Garden.  In addition to examples of the island’s flora it hosts Treetop Adventure ropes course (optional) for our more adventurous tour members.  Nearby Lake Bratan is a picturesque, alpine lake surrounded by dark verdant mountains.  Pura Ulan Danu Bratan is one the the island’s most photogenic temples.  It rises from the lake, having been built on a tiny island.  We’ll plan our visit for a late afternoon arrival, for optimum light.  On our journey home, we’ll stop at Puri Taman Sari for a Balinese classic:  a roasted suckling pig feast.

Day 13  Tanah Lot - craft village visits; Pasar Badung market; Tanah Lot; sunset happy hour; final dinner

Balinese masksThe craft villages south of Ubud specialize in wood & stone carving and painting as well as handicrafts: masks, jewelry, glassworks, puppets, kites, and umbrellas.  We’ll make 3 or 4 stops for shopping and photographing.  Pasar Badung market in Denpasar is Bali’s largest with three chaotic stories of produce, spices, handicrafts, clothing, textiles, and even temple umbrellas.  Tanah Lot is our final destination and Bali’s most photographed temple, built on a tidal Tanah Lotisland off the southwest coast.  Multiple vantage points provide for great shots.  Waves crash against rugged headlands providing a cacophonous yet rhythmic background.  Supplicants in traditional temple garb, bearing vividly colorful offerings of flowers and fruits, add to the visual composition.  Our hotel is located within the temple grounds providing ready and convenient access.  We’ll have a final, sunset happy hour on the bluffs overlooking the temple before our final dinner together.Tanah Lot - happy hour

Day 14 tour over after breakfast

Staying on site at Tanah Lot allows the opportunity for early risers to enjoy the glorious, tourist-free sunrise at the temple.  We’ll help with transport arrangements for anyone heading to the airport today (1 hour).

Cremation - PrincessAdditional events:  Temple festivals and cremations are held regularly all over Bali.  Foreign participants are not only allowed but welcomed.  These unscheduled events are amazing cultural connection experiences.  As the tour approaches we will endeavor to determine if there will be an event that we can add to the itinerary.  If there is an opportunity we will make every effort to participate – all expenses covered by the tour.Cremation

Included:  All breakfasts, 7 dinners, 4 lunches; AC transport (vans, minibuses, or bus); domestic flights (Bali-Jogja-Bali); 13 nights accommodation (all hotels include AC, private bath, and swimming pool*); all entrances:  Borobudur, Prambanan, Taman Sari, Sumur Gumerling, Royal Kraton, Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu, Gunung Kawi, Tirta Gangga, Tirta Empul, Taman Kertha Gosa, Bali Botanical Garden; Ulu Watu, Tanah Lot, Besakih, & Bratan temples; Amed boat/snorkeling excursion, (incl. snorkeling equipment); Batik demo, craft village & market visits; Kecak, Barong, & Ramayana performances. Services of an Imprint tour director, a Balinese or Javanese escort/guide (for sight-seeing days), and a professional photographic instructor. *except Lakeview Hotel at Mt BaturTemple fest attendees