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Photographic and Cultural Tour Led by BOYD NORTON




March 16-26, 2009



Photographic and Cultural Tour

Led by Boyd Norton

March 16-26, 2009 (Additional travel days may be necessary)


Bali is a remarkable experience, especially for the photographer, as everywhere one looks there is something new and astonishing to capture in your images. It is known for breathtaking natural splendor, rich cultural heritage, and profound spiritual mystique. The Balinese people are devoted to creating beautiful things, whether it is in their refined dance or in a small offering made from a palm frond. There are two thousand dance troops among a population of only three million people. Each temple has at least one celebration devoted to it every year, and there are an estimated twenty thousand temples on the island. We will penetrate beneath its beautiful surface, which conceals treasures and pleasures known only to the Balinese and a handful of international devotees. As an inspiring place for anyone interested in the visual arts, and images and memories you bring back will be some of your best ever.


For decades, Bali has startled the world with a fascinating and vibrant culture. To understand the character of the people, one must see the island in its true perspective, as an oasis of undying ceremony and beauty, yet as only one of over three thousand islands in Indonesia. During our time in Bali, we will take time to attend a temple festival, allowing us the opportunity to interact and celebrate with the locals. There are different categories of ceremonies including rituals for the gods, the higher spirits, humans, and evil spirits. Sarongs and other traditional clothing will be provided for this event. In this special day, the local villagers prepare themselves to pray at the temple. The children are very excited and wear their best clothes to go to the temple.  

This trip offers an in-depth excursion into the culture of Bali through the eyes of the Balinese. We begin our visit in the cultural center of Ubud, with its terraced rice fields, nightly performances of music and dance, numerous ceremonies and exceptional handmade arts and crafts. As we travel north, we will be immersed in jungle scenery, spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, and we will have a chance to canoe in a traditional Indonesian boat at Beratan Lake.  Our last stop takes us to the Bali Barat National Park. We will stay in bungalows situated on a tranquil lava beach, spending our days exploring the beautiful nature walks and indigenous migratory birds.



We invite you, the inquisitive traveler, to join photographer Boyd Norton on this special tour of Bali. We will have a cordial welcome in this country with its brilliant colors, compelling architecture, irresistible allure, and warm hospitality.


Trip Highlights

·         Stay in the cultural center of Ubud, with excursions to witness artists developing their fine art and craft traditions.

·         Experience the traditional dances, ceremonies, and lively celebrations of mystical Bali.

·         Visits to Bird and Butterfly Parks, along with two nights in Bali Barat National Park.

·         Photographing amidst the ancient Temples and lustrous rice fields.

·         Ten days with acclaimed tour guide and professional photographer Boyd Norton.


What to Expect

This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, we must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of what we do, and when we do it, will depend upon the weather and light. In the event that changes may occur, we will need to be flexible, which will also allow us to take advantage of new photographic opportunities.


Bali has made great strides in tourist accommodations and services in recent years, but please remember, this is still a developing country, so we may experience occasional inconveniences. All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private toilet and shower/bath. The hotels have been chosen for their proximity to prime photographic locations. A majority of accommodations do not have air conditioning or elevators, as we use eco-lodges built in traditional Indonesian style.


Health and Fitness

Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition to get the most out of the trip. Although we will not be running marathons, we will be taking long walks in order to reach the prime photographic locations. There will be a few long drives on very winding, narrow roads.



March 16 or prior        USA to Bali

In order to experience such a remote country, it is necessary to fly in to Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). You will travel through Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, or possibly Tokyo (depending on your air carrier), arriving in Bali the next day.


March 17                        Denpasar - Ubud

You will be met by your guide upon arrival, and whisked away to Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. We will spend several evenings here, returning to our accommodations from day trips outside the city. There will be a welcome dinner this evening in a magnificent setting, consisting of a lotus pond framed by ancient flowering trees with one of Ubud's main temple complexes, Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati, serving as the backdrop. Overnight Ubud Bungalow Hotel, five evenings, (D).


March 18                        Mas – Celuk – Moon of Pejeng

Today we will have excursions to Mas, home of fine wood sculptures and masks, followed by Celuk, famous for gold- and silversmiths. We will be welcomed into the artist’s home studios, in order to photograph these fine traditions.


After lunch at a traditional Balinese restaurant we will visit The Moon of Pejeng, which is kept in a shrine in Penataran Sasih Temple. It is considered one of the most remarkable antiquities in Bali. This ten foot long bronze kettle drum is a sacred relic for the Balinese, an artifact for the archeologist, and a curiosity for travelers. The older generations of Balinese invented various myths around the drum. Some say that it is one of the subangs (ear-plugs) of the moon, while others say it is a sasih, the ‘moon’ itself.


There will be a Kecak dance performance this evening. Kecak, a form of Balinese music drama, originated in the 1930’s and is performed primarily by men, depicting a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. Kecak was originally a trance ritual accompanied by chorus. German painter and musician Walter Spies became deeply interested in the ritual while living in Bali, and worked to recreate it into a drama that includes dancing routines based on the Hindu Ramayana. (B,L,D).


March 19                        Monkey Forest, Mengwi State Temple and Lake Batur

After breakfast, we depart to the Royal Temple of Taman Ayun at Mengwi. Built in the seventeenth century, this impressive and spacious temple is surrounded by a wide moat, creating the sensation of standing in the middle of a lake. The temple itself has three ascending courtyards, each representing an increasing level of perfection in the Bali Hindu cosmos.


Continuing our journey to Alas Kedaton Holy Monkey Forest, where hundreds of "tame" and very mischievous monkeys live in the forest surrounding the temple. Lunch will be enjoyed with an orientation session on Balinese social structure and caste system. The majority of Balinese are Hindus; this orientation will explain the difference between Indian Hindu and Balinese. In the afternoon, we will move into the cool mountains of Kintamani. View Mount Batur with its ribbons of black lava running down its peak to the valley below. Beside the volcanic caldera lies the shimmering Lake Batur and bubbling hot springs. The rest of the evening is free for independent exploration. (B, L).


March 20                        Batu Bulan – Wanasari

This morning we will travel to Batu Bulan village to see the performance of Barong & Kris dance. The dance represents an internal fight between the Good and Evil spirit. The Barong is a mythical animal that represents the good spirit. The Rangda represents its evil counterpart. Balinese people think that the Good and the Evil coexist in our world.


After the show, we will visit Bali Bird Park, also in Batu Bulan. The park has more than 1.000 birds of over 250 different species housed within lush tropical gardens. Bird collection include such specimens as Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus), Asian Pied Hornbill (Antbracocerus albirostris), The Javan Kingfisher (Halyon cyanoventris), and the endangered Bali Starling (Leucopsar rot).


We continue our journey to Wanasari, entering the world of butterflies. Experience the beauty, variety, and delicate wonder of nature's amazing creations. The enclosed gardens of the Butterfly Park create an ecosystem for study, breeding, and protection of butterflies, in the largest park of its kind in Southeast Asia. It contains a myriad of species from all over Indonesia, including the rare Bird Wing Butterfly. This is a wonderful and unique educational outing and experience. Our next stop will be at Jatiluwih (which means supreme beauty of nature), where we will have afternoon tea overlooking shimmering terraced rice fields, stretching in endless contours over hills and valleys. The day ends in the relaxation of our bungalows. (B, L, D).


March 21                        Pacung Valley – Lake Beratan

In the morning, we will take a white water raft trip on Ayung River, an unforgettable journey through lush jungle scenery and deep river gorges. Afterward we will transfer to our eco resort at Pacung. Perched high atop Mt. Batukaru near Bedugul - The Saranam Eco Resort offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and terraced rice fields.


We will visit Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, before spending the rest of the day at Lake Beratan. Activities include canoeing in an Indonesian traditional Boat around the lake, or fishing. Ulun Danu Temple is located near the lake and owns the beautiful panorama with Lake Beratan and the mountains as a backdrop. Overnight Saranam Eco Resort, two evenings (B, L, D).


March 22                        Candi Kuning – Bedugul

This morning, we will visit Candi Kuning Market, where fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and such exotic flowers as delicate orchids and roses, create an array of wonderful colors to photograph. Some of the fruits include jeruk bali (pomelo-like grapefruit) and the pungent, infamous durian, spiked like a gladiator’s weapon, tastes simultaneously like onions and caramel fluff. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac, named for its prickles or duri.


The next stop is Taman Ayun Temple, a large temple located in Mengwi District and Badung Regency. The moat setting symbolizes the Hindu world set in the cosmic sea, thought to ensure the harmonious circulation of water from the mountains of Bali to the rice fields, then to the sea, and back to the mountains. The temple is one of the heritance from the empire of Mengwi with its beautiful building and a big fishpond which surrounds it. (B, L).


March 23-24                  Bali Barat National Park

Today we further our Bali exploration to the Northwestern part of Bali, which include a visit to Bali Barat National Park. Our accommodations are built in traditional Balinese style, sitting amidst a backdrop of picturesque mountains. The bungalows are situated on a tranquil lava beach bordered by ancient deciduous trees.


We have two days to visit the park, home to the critically-endangered bird species White Starling (Leucopsar Rothschildii). The bird is pure white except for its black wing-tips and blue face. A cooperative conservation program is being implemented by the Indonesian and overseas agencies to introduce these captive birds back to the wild. Being Bali's closest tip to Java, the park is also inhabited by a variety of indigenous migratory bird species, which cross the Bali Strait from Java. The Black Shouldered-Kite, the Yellow Billed-Oxpecken, the Blue Kingfisher, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle are among a few of the birds. The park is also habitat to Leopard Cat (Felis Bengalencus) , Barking Deer ( Mantiacus Muntjak) , Black Monkey (Presbytis Cristata), and the Giant Squirrel (Ratufa Bicolar).

Typical floras found in the park include Lontar Palm (Bonasus Flabellfer), Sawo Kecik (Manilkara Kauki), Keruing Bunga (Dipterocarpus Hasseltii), Sono Keling (Dalbergia Intifolia), Cendana (Santalum Ulbum), Pulai (Alstonia Scholaris), Kepuh (Sterculia Foetida), Kemiri (Alcuritas Moluccana), Trengguli (Cassia Fistula), Bayur (Pterospermum Diversifolium), Buni (Antidesma Bunius), Bungur (Logerstromia Speciosa), Burahol (Stelechocarpus Burahol), Kesambi (Scheichera Oleosa), and Mundu (Garcia Dulcis). Overnight Pondok Sari Bungalow, two evenings (B, L, D).


March 25                        Bali Barat - Sanur

After breakfast, we return to southern Bali, with photographic stops along the way. We will overnight in Sanur, one of the main beach resort areas on the south coast of Bali. Sanur’s history has some of the oldest recorded writing on the island still preserved at the small temple at Parasasti Blanjong on Danau Poso Street. The ancient text, dating back to the tenth century, is inscribed on a stone pillar. The inscriptions detail the arrival of a Javanese king in Bali from the Mahayana Buddhist kingdom.


Sanur is the perfect place for us to do last minute shopping on Danau Tamblingan Street, or your guide can recommend traditional Balinese spas close to the hotel. We will meet again this evening for our farewell dinner. Overnight Sanur (B, D).


March 26                        Sanur - USA

We will be transferred to the airport for flights home or on to other explorations. (B)


Note: This itinerary has been carefully constructed to assure participants the best Bali has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, itinerary, activities, and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.



General Information

Land cost: $3395, based upon minimum of 10 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 5-9 participants. This does not include the required visa fee upon entrance or departure tax to be paid by individual participants at the airports.

 Single room supplement: $595, Single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. We try to accommodate single travelers who request single accommodations, as well as single travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, we are unable to find a suitable roommate, or you are in a single for another reason, you will need to pay the single supplement.

Note: Trip pricing is based on current exchange rates; should these rates change significantly, there may need to be an adjustment in the trip price.


The land cost includes:

·         Transportation: All group ground and air transportation in Bali. A bilingual driver/guide will escort you.

·         Accommodations as listed in itinerary, based on two people sharing a room.

·         Meals as indicated in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).

·         Miscellaneous fees and service charges: All porter age fees included in the itinerary: service charges, hotel taxes, and entrance fees.

·         Predeparture information: You will receive information on all aspects of the tour, including packing recommendations, plus readings on the history and culture.


The land cost does not include: International air fare; transportation and transfers for those not traveling with the group; air tax; foreign airport departure taxes; excess baggage charges; passport fees; meals not listed in the itinerary; personal medical and travel insurance; any activities not specified in the tour itinerary, or those listed as optional; all items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone charges, beverages; film and processing, medical expenses, and room service; tips for meals not included in itinerary, tips to driver/guides. Also, not included is the traditional Indonesian tip to be left for cleaning service in your hotels, $1 per person/per night.


Please contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare, a charge may need to be added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight days with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets, to avoid paying airline cancellation penalties, or additional fees for private transfers.


Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $500 per person is required. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 90 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.


If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053, fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

• 121 days or more before departure: $100 cancellation fee.

• 91-120 days before departure: $300 cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.

• 31-90 days before departure: $500 minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees range from 25% to 100% of costs.

• 30 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.



Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure). Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.          

Email Boyd Norton or Contact Strabo Tours for reservations: 607-756-8676,  Email: info@strabotours.com