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Preliminary planning -- Java and Bali, and maybe Singapore and Hakone

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I’ve finally committed to visiting Java and Bali this coming May / June (2016) and am, of course, finding MUCH too much that I would like to see and do in the time available. With this thread, I am seeking some preliminary advice.

Flights. Because I can’t fly non-stop from the greater D.C. area to either Java or Bali, and because of the length of the flights involved, I’m trying to identify good options for breaking up the journey. I’m considering spending a few days in Singapore on the way there. I must admit that Singapore is not at the top of my travel wishlist, but I’m quite certain that I would enjoy a few days there – say 3 or 4 to get over jet lag and see some of the city’s highlights. And on the way back, I’m thinking of a very brief (2 day max) stop in Hakone, which I skipped when I visited Japan. I must admit, though, that I’m finding the search for options a bit daunting and would welcome advice or suggestions. I’ll be traveling coach :-( and will not be using points, so I’m not constrained by airline – except that I want a reputable airline with a good performance record.

Overall timing, I have some flexibility, but can take no more than 28 or 30 days in all (counting flights) starting in May and ending in June. If I understand correctly, that will be early in the dry season. I believe there are major holidays in early May (the 1st and 5th in Indonesia, maybe only the 1st and 2nd in Singapore?), Waisak Day on May 21st, and Ramadan starts – I think – on June 5. So I should be looking in between those holidays? (BTW, I have decided that I will not try to visit Borobudur for that event.)

Rough allocation of my time. As always, there is far more that I would like to do than could possible be done in the time I have (sigh), but from what I’ve read so far, I’m thinking that I’ll want a minimum of 6 days in central Java (Borobudur, Prambanan, and the Dieng Plateau are priorities, along with Jogja), 2 days for Solo, 4 days for Malang and the Mt. Bromo area, and at least a week in Bali. Once I add in time for getting from place to place (including the time in Singapore and Hakone or...), I think that might take me close to my overall 30-day maximum. Do these rough estimates sound about right? Any major recommendations for revision?

Interests and priorities. My primary aims will be to see and experience a wide range of the culture of this amazing area – temples and palaces in a variety of styles, various performing arts, incredible scenery (including magnificent landscapes and awesome gardens), delicious foods, markets (for both food and crafts, and especially textiles), museums of art and archeology, interesting neighborhoods…. I don't think I'll lack for wonderful opportunities! :-)

I am not a beach person (but will want at least one sunset walk on a beach in Bali), am not interested in clubbing or nightlife, and am not looking to relax (I’m sure I’ll find time for that over meals, and instead want to take full advantage of every available moment to see and do things I can’t do anywhere else).

Potential limiting factors. Unfortunately, I don’t deal well with heat :-(. I’m also not a morning person, although I should be able to manage a few early starts in the days following my arrival in the area.


Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and assistance!

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