Bali Photo Tour: The Spirit of Bali

Tour Intro

A tour to 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, the images and memories you bring back home 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. To the people of Bali, death, not an event to be mourned, is seen as a passage of the soul to a better world, where it starts to prepare for re-incarnation and a newer life; hence, it is not a ceremony that has any sorrow or tears in it. In fact, the people make it a point to laugh, sing, dance, and celebrate the death of a loved one during the event.

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 further afield, we will be immersed in jungle scenery, and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Traveling on to northern Bali, where you will enjoy a snorkel excursion to Menjangan Island.

We invite you, the inquisitive traveler, to join photographer Joel Collins 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.

Tour Highlights

• Stay in the cultural center of Ubud, with excursions to witness Balinese daily life.
• Experience the traditional dances, ceremonies, and lively celebrations of mystical Bali.
• Photographing amidst the ancient Temples, lustrous rice fields, and surrounding mountains.
• Beautiful sunset at Pura Tanah Lot sea temple, on West coast.
• Ten days with acclaimed tour guide and professional photographer.
• Spend a day in a small village learning about traditional Balinese music, food, culture, and rice farming.
 

Tour Itinerary

May 13: Home

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

A day or two are lost en-route. You will need to land at any time on May 14 at Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS).

May 14: Denpasar (DPS) - Ubud

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

You will be met by your guide upon arrival, and whisked away to Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. You will spend several evenings here, returning to our accommodations from day trips outside the city. This evening is to acclimate and rest. Overnight Ubud Village Hotel five evenings.

May 15: Ubud

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

The morning is at leisure to explore Ubud with Joel or enjoy the hotels optional spa treatments. This afternoon you'll have lunch with your local guide, travel to Pura Taman Ayum and Tanah Lot sea temple, where you will stay for sunset photography. (B, L)

May 16-18: Ubud

Today's excursion takes you to eastern Bali. You'll visit Karangasem Palace, Kusamba fishing village, Tirta Gangga water garden, the Bat Cave temple and, time permitting, the ikat (traditional weaving) factory at Sidemen village. This evening you'll attend a performance of the classical Legong dance.

The next day you will travel to the holy spring temple (Tirta Empul) at Tampaksiring. Move on to the temples at Bangli, and ending with the terraced rice fields of Tegalalang, where you will have time to photograph in afternoon light, hiking through the terraces.

Your last day in Ubud enjoy early morning photography with Joel. Then after breakfast there will be time at leisure on the hotel grounds, explore the city with Joel or perhaps visit Arma or Neka museum in Ubud. In the late afternoon there will be time for photo lecture or review. (B)

May 19-21: Munduk

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

Today you'll travel to the Munduk countryside, an area of spectacular terrace rice fields. Before arriving at your hotel you will stop at the spice, fruit and flower market at Candi Kuning.

Early the next morning you will travel to Lake Beratan with Ulun Danu temple, in time to see the sunrise. Continue to an elementary school where you can visit a classroom and deliver a gift of school supplies (subject to being in session). Return to Munduk village where you will then begin a trek through the rice fields, local farmlands and gardens. During your trek you will see farms growing coffee, cloves, cacao, avocados, and more. You will also see a natural waterfall. This evening there will be time for another photo critique.

Today you will travel to Jatiluwih before continuing to the small mountain village of Pacut. This is an area that's completely off the beaten track and is rarely seen by visitors to Bali. On arrival at the village, you'll visit a farmer in the fields. You'll have an opportunity to participate in preparing farm implements, and planting or cultivating rice using traditional methods. Or, feel free to just observe and take pictures. Continue to the village compound where you'll see a demonstration, have a short lesson, and participate in playing the instruments of the village gamelan orchestra. In addition, you'll have a lesson in how to make a temple offering and a woven coconut leaf hat. Time permitting, you'll also take a leisurely rice field walk. Lunch is included in the village compound. This is a very unique and authentic Balinese experience and provides wonderful opportunities for photographing people. Transfer to your hotel at Munduk village. Overnight Puri Lumbung three evenings (Everyone will have single rooms at Munduk due to bed configuration), (B; B; B, L)

 

May 22-23: Pemuteran

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

This morning will be at leisure at the hotel, followed by an afternoon drive to Pemuteran in the far north of Bali. You will be able to photograph at Pulaki Monkey Temple en-route. The following morning there will be a snorkel excursion (optional upgrade to scuba diving is available-bring proof of certification) to Menjangan Island, with lunch included. There is a turtle release program at Proyek Penyu, you can participate in during the afternoon. Enjoy your farewell dinner this evening. Overnight Taman Sari Cottages two evenings. (B; B, L, D)

May 24: Ubud

Photo By: Joel Collins

Photo Location: Bali

Today you will travel back to Ubud, with additional photography at rice fields along the way. This evening attend a performance of the kecak & fire dance, followed by a farewell dinner. Overnight Ubud Village Hotel (B, D).

May 25-26: Ubud - Home

You will be transferred to the airport (DPS) on May 25 for flights home. *Depending on your flight departure time, you may not arrive home until May 26.

Photo Leader

Joel Collins
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Joel Collins

Joel is a professional photographer with a life long passion for international travel. His love of travel started at age three when his family moved to Europe. He spent the next several years traveling across Europe and North Africa, learning to love living out of a suitcase. The enthusiasm of that young world traveler is still alive in him today. Now he explores the globe with camera in hand, looking forward to each new adventure as an opportunity to capture another glimpse of the world.

Joel approaches travel photography with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and respect. He has a patient approach, often trying to blend in with the local population and getting to know someone before taking their photo. Joel approaches instruction in the same way. He takes the time to learn about each student, working with them to conquer technical issues so they can better cultivate their own style and refine their unique vision of the world.

We could not have had better local guides. All very informative, friendly, candid and incredibly knowledgeable. Loved all three of them. Joel prepared extensively for this trip and it showed, from his background knowledge of where we were going to his recommendations on how to best capture a certain scene. His graciousness with the local people we encountered set good examples, both for setting up optimum portrait opportunities and for being an excellent diplomat for the US. He did a good job leading the critiques as well.

K.Hornsby

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 4-7 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

It was a wonderful trip and worth the travel time!!! It's always a pleasure to have Karen as a leader. She definitely is committed to teaching and reviewing work. Some people don't want that and somtimes events conspire to make it hard to get the work prepared for reviews, but better by far that Karen is ready and eager to do that for those who wish to take advantage of her knowledge.

Jonathan Langsner

We could not have had better local guides. All very informative, friendly, candid and incredibly knowledgeable. Loved all three of them. Joel prepared extensively for this trip and it showed, from his background knowledge of where we were going to his recommendations on how to best capture a certain scene. His graciousness with the local people we encountered set good examples, both for setting up optimum portrait opportunities and for being an excellent diplomat for the US. He did a good job leading the critiques as well.

K.Hornsby

Additional Notes

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. You will need to expect to be hiking on very muddy trails and through rice fields. There will be a few long drives on very winding, narrow roads.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 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:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), 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.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) 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 may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

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

Insurance

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 toll free 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.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

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. 

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