Asia Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report JAVA & GILI ISLANDS: Trip Recap + Tips

Jump to last reply

INTRO
By way of introduction, Glen and I are from Washington DC, currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE. I post on this forum both to record memories of our travels and to share experience with other travelers, as I myself find reading TRs helpful when trip planning. And for an easier read, it's meant to be more a recap than a travelogue :)

ITINERARY
This visit to Indonesia was encouraged by our friends, an American couple teaching in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city. They suggested spending time in Yogyakarta, Central Java's cultural capital, then Surabaya and a weekend in the Gilis, a trio of islands off the coast of Lombok (same area as Bali minus the mass tourism). We planned for 12 days, factoring in a day each way to fly in and out of Jakarta.

Some general info ...

FLIGHTS & TRAINS: booked low-fare domestic flights on Garuda (rather than Lion Air due to better safety record), and train tickets online via a third party site: http://flights.indonesiamatters.com/train-tickets/

AIRPORT & VISA: heard many horror stories of Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from longtime expats, but found it efficient to get through without long queues. Getting a visa on arrival ($25 for Americans) took five minutes and lets you skip passport control.

COSTS: To simplify conversions, we counted 10,000 rupiahs = $1 USD, though the exchange rate was ~12,000:1. Basically, just dropping four zeros for a rough dollar price. Some examples of what things tend to cost: taxi minimum charge 20,000 (~$2), half-day driver & car to temple sites 600,000 (~$60) (less if not booked thru hotel), one-hour massages 400,000 (~$40), etc. As with anywhere, hotel food & drink is nearly double that of an outside restaurant, and up to six times more than street food, while taste is toned down for the tourist palate and nowhere as authentic or flavorful.

FOOD: Indonesian food is spicy like South Asian cuisines (chili being a main crop) and often heavily sweet. Traditional dishes include Gudeg (jackfruit stew), Soto (noodle & rice soup), Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Rendang (beef in a creamy spicy paste), and Indonesian fried chicken, short ribs, and of course satays. The cuisine is too sweet for my taste, but for us Rendang is the stand out dish.

SEASON: We went in January, during rainy season that runs half the year from Nov-Mar. It rained usually in the afternoons, leaving mornings and evenings mostly clear, making it convenient to schedule temple treks and sightseeing early in the day with strong chance of sun yet cooler temperature than later in the day.

Writing this report as we go (today is a third through the trip), an details for each city will follow below ...

Recent Activity

  • Announcement: Writers Needed for Morocco Guidebook
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Apr 11, 14 at 05:51 PM
View all Asia activity »
  1. 1 buying a van in Mongolia
  2. 2 Trip Report April in Bangkok, again!
  3. 3 osaka to kobe frrom ship to ship
  4. 4 12 day split between Beijing and Shanghai
  5. 5 Biting the India bullet...well, maybe...
  6. 6 Japan, japan
  7. 7 Have you stayed at Outrigger Laguna Beach Resort Phuket?
  8. 8 Trip Report Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Luang Say, Chiang Rai, Singapore (but no Siem Reap)
  9. 9 Flying from place to place in Asia - here's our plan with questions
  10. 10 Hong Kong restaurants
  11. 11 Problems at 12,000'
  12. 12 GOING TO SE ASIA , NEED HELP
  13. 13 Hotels in Hong Kong
  14. 14 India for 2 weeks in December/January
  15. 15 Drinking cheap in Singapore
  16. 16 Has anyone done a houseboat trip in Kerala
  17. 17 Bali trip - Places to visit outside of Bali / SE Asia
  18. 18 Sixteen Day in South Korea
  19. 19 SE Asia July/August - more itinerary advice needed
  20. 20 what gifts to take to host in Cambodia from the U.D.
  21. 21 Recs for Tokyo hotels
  22. 22 How safe is Delhi/India
  23. 23 Malaria
  24. 24 Vietnam and coffee
  25. 25 I'm going to Japan!
View next 25 » Back to the top