The countryside is picturesque incorporating rice paddies flooding the hillsides and volcanoes reaching to the skies. The rain-forests are lush and tropical, and the beaches are washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority.
This famous Buddhist monument serves as both a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and a shrine to Buddha. The six square platforms, layered one on top of the other, topped with a further three circular platforms are decorated with over 2,500 reliefs and over 50 statues. The top level has a large circular dome surrounded by 72 seated Buddha statues each inside an individual stupa. This UNESCO World Heritage listed monument is still used as a pilgrimage site today and is Indonesia’s single most visited attraction.
Not far from Borobudur is the 9th century Hindu Temple complex of Prambanan, also UNESCO World Heritage listed. Prambanan is dedicated to the Trimurti of Hinduism, being Brahma the Creator, Visnu the Sustainer and Siva the Destroyer. It is one of the largest and often considered to be one of the most beautiful Hindu temple complexes in all of South East Asia. Prambanan both complements and contrasts with nearby Borobudur. Prambanan was severely effected by the 2006 Java earthquake although a lot of restoration work has been completed since that time.
Today arrive in the port of Semarang early and begin your road trip to Central Java. After arriving in Jogjakarta you will take the time this morning to first visit the Hindu Temple complex of Prambanan. Lunch will be provided in Jogjakarta before then proceeding to the highlight of the day, the amazing monument of Borobudur. After having ample time during the day to explore both these temples begin the road journey back to Semarang to rejoin the ship.
The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and a National Park in 1982. While the Park has a chequered history of weak protection, it remains substantially wild and natural. Best known for the orangutans and made famous through the efforts of Orangutan Foundation International, which is based at the landmark Camp Leakey research station. Tanjung Puting also boasts the bizarre looking proboscis monkey with its “Jimmy Durante” nose as well as seven other primate species. Tanjung Puting hosts over 220 species of birds, including hornbills, deep forest birds and many wetland species. Tanjung Puting is well known for its “bird lakes,” housing seasonal rookeries, endangered waterbirds and nesting grounds for white egrets.
Camp Leakey was established in 1971 by Dr. Biruté Galdikas and former spouse Rod Brindamour. It was named after the legendary paleo-anthropologist, Louis Leakey, who was both mentor and an inspiration to Dr. Galdikas as well as Drs. Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. Originally consisting of just two huts, Camp Leakey is now an assemblage of permanent wooden structures designed to provide a base for scientists, staff, students, and Park Rangers.
There are two main activities to be enjoyed whilst at Tanjung Puting National Park. One activity involves taking local boats for a full day exploration of the river system surrounding Camp Leakey and visits to several feeding stations and Camp Leakey itself. This area will give you the rare opportunity to get very close and interact with the orangutans. This will be a full day activity including lunch based on the local boats, which are large and spacious and have their own bathroom onboard, and includes the landings at the feeding stations, which are all quite easy to reach on foot.
Today will be a prime wildlife experience like no other! The other activity we have on offer here at Tanjung Puting is a visit to the Orangutan Foundation International's wildlife rehabilitation centre. Orion offers you an exclusive look into the operation of the centre with all three stages of orangutan rehabilitation being visited; the forest training area, the "pre school" and the infant care facility.
Tana Toraja, often referred to as the "Land of the Heavenly Kings" is home to an ethnic group who believes that their forefathers descended from heaven onto a mountain some twenty generations ago. The Torajans have a unique culture based on animistic beliefs. Known for their grand burial ceremonies on cliffs or hanging graves, they practice an ancestral cult even today where death and afterlife ceremonies are great feasts. Buffaloes are sacrificed in the final death ceremony, after which the deceased's remains are placed in a coffin and interred in caves hollowed out in high cliffs. The mouth of the cave is guarded by lifelike statues, looking out from a "balcony". "Tongkonan" (family houses) are built on stilts with roofs on each end rising like the prows of a ship, representing the cosmos.
You will have two action-packed days starting out from Pare Pare focusing on the area of Tana Toraja. Wse these days to explore the history and culture of Tana Toraja and during dinner Orion guests will witness a special cultural performance.