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Bali, Java, Borneo in one trip-is this doable?

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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:19 AM
  #1
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Bali, Java, Borneo in one trip-is this doable?

Here are some specs to work with:
I am planning to travel in Sept. 2013, after Ramadan, before the rainy season in Indonesia.
I will be using AA miles to fly on CX or JL in J or F so we will pass through Hong Kong or Tokyo. If I have to stopover in HK for 1 or 2 nights inbound or outbound due to flight connections that would be fine. I have not been to Hong Kong since the handover.
I'd like to fly into DPS and out of KK, or the other way around if possible. I'd buy flights for cities in between.

So let's say we flew to DPS, stayed on Bali 5-7 days, then flew to Yogyakarta for 2-3 nights, then flew to Kota Kinabulu for 2-4 nights. In Sabah I'd like to go to one of the eco lodges for a few nights.

Is this too much to cram into 2 1/2 weeks? Should we stick to Bali and Java?
Should I save Borneo for another trip?

I've done some checking on how one flies between KK and either DPS or YOG. I'm not finding any direct flights. I have not booked my TPAC flights with award points yet.

What do you think of an itinerary like this?
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Aug 27th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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Yes, this is too much for one trip. If you want to saty at an eco-lodge in Sabah, you'll want a minimum of three nights there, but you'll also need a night in KK on the way in to take the flight to Lahad Datu early in the morning. Besides, if you are going to Borneo, you'll want more time so you can explore a bit of Sarawak as well.

As you have noted there are no direct flights between either Java or Bali and Kota Kinabalu. You would need to route through Singapore.

Stick to Bali and Java for your two and a half weeks.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 01:32 PM
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Though it's a bit pre-mature if you do go to Java and Jogjakarta you might want to consider one of the guides we used twice while in Jogjakarta. He is exceptionally well informed, is the UNESCO Advisor to Boboburur and can arrange a very in-depth 3 day program of the temples , Mt. Merapi, which is still active, go to a magnificant area called Dieng Plateau, to small villages most guides are not welcomed at and a 1/2 day trip to Solo only 45 minutes away where there are some interesting sights and batik done by the lost wax process. He will pick you up at the airport and on one trip even took us overnight to Mt. Bromo for the sunset and sunrise.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Thanks, Stan for the guide suggestion. Does your guide have a web site that would show a tour like this? I enjoy traveling with guides on private tours.The itinerary you listed is exactly what I want to do while in Jogyakarta area.

Air Asia flies to Kota Kinabalu from Jakarta 3 days a week, from KUL many times a day. I'd have to fly from YOG to CGK or KUL to get to BKI. I can also easily get to KUL from DPS. But this transit would take mup most of a day.I can end my trip in KK and return on CX via HK back to the US.

If I stick to Bali and Java, where would be a second or third place on Java to visit after 2-3 days in Yogyakarta? I could then fly back to Bali or to Surabaya or Jakarta to connect with CX flights to HK and the US.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 09:23 AM
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susie, Stan's guide is only for the Yogyakarta area: Borobudor, Prambanam, Dieng Plateau, Solo.

And you are correct about connections to Kota Kinabalu - no matter which airlines you use, it will take a whole day to get there from Bali or Java. I find the connection through Singapore more convenient, but the Air Asia flights are certainly cheaper.

I think Bali and the Yogyakarta area is enough for two and a half weeks. I would spend more than 2-3 nights in Yogya. If you want to add another place, you could spend a few days on Lombok or your could go to eastern Java.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 11:24 AM
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I plan to do some research over the weekend about other places to visit on Java. I've looked at the recent trip report here for ideas. Where in eastern Java do you suggest to fly to and what are interesting sights to see?

I was thinking that if I limit us to Bali and Java, to fly into Bali and stay at a beach area hotel for 3 nights, then fly to Java for 7-8 nights between 2 places, then fly back to Bali and stay in Ubud for 3-4 nights. Does this sound like a plan?
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Aug 31st, 2012, 12:45 PM
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I'm returning to Java in November. We'll spend 5 days in the Yogya area, then we will take the train to Malang for 4 days. We'll spend one night in Surabaya before flying to Singapore.

We are interested in the ruins of the Hindu temples (and a few Buddhist stupas) in that area. Many people go to Mt. Bromo or other volcanos in the area. We haven't decided whether to do that or not.

Flights between Yogyakarta and Surabaya or Malang are hard to come by. We found one small airline that flies between Yogya and Surabaya, but have opted instead for the train.

Do you have the Lonely Planet for Indonesia? Take a look at it. There are a number of interesting places to visit in Eastern Java.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 05:42 PM
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I would tend to fly in (or out) of Bali and in (or out) of Java. Backtracking to Bali just adds more airport time, which is the worst part of Indonesia.

If you use Hong Kong as your hub you could fly Hong Kong--Surabaya--Yogyakarta--Depasar--Hong Kong (or the reverse). CX for the Hong Kong Denpasar and Surabaya flights. Domestic carriers for the intra-Indonesian flights. Carriers like Lion Air and Wings Air are the only choices for these city to city hops. Out of three bad choices -- air, road, train -- I'd still go with air.

Either way, I would head directly for the Bromo area. Spend 2 nights at Java Banana, in the mountains. It's wonderful to stay right on Bromo especially if you're a photographer or a hiker. The sky and atmosphere change dramatically from sunrise to sunset.

I don't recommend driving between Bromo and Yogya. It's a scenic drive, but very long -- 12 to 15 hours -- and exhausting. The 3:00 AM wakeup call would be torture, after a late night arrival in Surabaya or Malang. To me, commuting to Bromo from Surabaya or Malang is the worst of both worlds.

Depending on the flight schedule, a night at the Majapahit in Surabaya is fun because it's a lovely and historic hotel, but otherwise, I'd give Surabaya a miss.

I don't recommend driving between Bromo and Yogya. It's a scenic, but very long -- 12 to 15 hours -- and exhausting. The 3:00 AM wakeup call would be torture, after a late night arrival in Surabaya or Malang.To me, commuting to Bromo from Surabaya or Malang is the worst of both worlds.

Depending on the flight schedule, a night at the Majapahit in Surabaya is fun because it's a lovely and historic hotel, but otherwise, I'd give Surabaya a miss.

Malang is interesting, but if you have some extra time I'd prefer a side trip to Ijen.

I always like to stay near Borobudur: The area is profoundly beautiful and it's nice to visit the monument more than once at different times of day. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of choices at Borobudur -- the spectacular but VERY price Amanjiwo or the adequate but somewhat rough-around-the-edges Manohara.

In addition to Borobudur definitely go to Prambanan. Dieng Plateau if you can. There are lots of performing arts and arts and crafts. The Javanese Dance at the Kraton (Palace) is superb.

In the town of Yogya I like the Hyatt because it has spacious, green grounds which are a bonus in hot, crowded Indonesian cities. The Phoenix is well reviewed, but I haven't been there yet myself.
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Aug 31st, 2012, 05:44 PM
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Sorry for the duplication. Could someone please tell me again how to edit posts on this board?
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Sep 1st, 2012, 01:39 PM
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After looking at CX flight schedules, SUB as an entry or exit city is out. CX has 1 flight a day to SUB at 3:55 pm. Flights from LAX, SFO, or YVR arrive in the early morning. Returning from SUB is also only 1 flight a day at 8:15 am and very long layovers in HK as no flights to the US leave in the morning.

Flying into/out of Jakarta and then on to Yogyarta could work as there seem to be many flights day between these 2 cities on QZ. I have not looked at the other airlines yet.

A plan could be HK-CGK on CX, CGK-YOG-DPS on some paid ticket, then DPS-HKG on CX. Do I want to spend time in Jakarta though?
it seems there are more interesting places in eastern Java.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Oh, one more thing to consider. The other Oneworld airline I can use for flights to this region is JAL. They fly from Tokyo to Jakarta. The NRT-ORD route is a good one to take and award seats are usually available. I can split my award ticket on to 2 different carriers. Malaysian Air will be added later this year, but if I have something booked and change carriers I'd have to pay AA $150.
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Sep 1st, 2012, 04:38 PM
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Connections from Jakarta to other parts of Indonesia are very good. I would suggest that you use Garuda whenever possible as they have the most flights and are the most reliable.

QZ (Air Asia) is making a big push into Indonesia and they are also good, but I would still go with Garuda wherever you can as they are more established. The issue is not so much safety as reliability and options when flights are delayed or cancelled (as they often are).

Jakarta is an intersting developing-world city but doesn't have a lot to offer to the visitor. Unless you have to overnight because of flight schedules, I'd get in and out as fast as possible.

If you're still thinking East Java -- Bromo, Malang, Ijen -- you should seriously consider flying in and out of Surabaya (from Yogya, Surakarta or Denpasar). Surface travel between Central and East Java is a lot more difficult than it appears and certainly you don't want to do it twice.
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Oct 7th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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I now have air tickets. Arrive DPS on Aug. 16 @ 3:00 pm from CX 785. Leave CGK on Aug. 31 @ 10:10 on JL 726. Our last stop will be Yogya, and I see there are many flights to CGK to meet the int'l flight home.

I was thinking of spending 6 nights on Bali, 3 in Amed or Sanur and 3 in Ubud. Then we head over to Java. How we get there and where we go for 9 nights from Aug. 22-Aug 31 is what I have to figure out now. I want to hire a private driver/guide. I'm willing to fly to Surabaya from DPS for this part of the trip to avoid the long drive and ferry from Ubud as this will take a whole day of traveling.

I've been in touch with Wiedy. Perhaps we can use local drivers on Bali and Wiedy on Java.

I know everyone raves about Bromo but it is so far out of the way and takes so much time, 2 days, to get up very early in the morning and go to a volcano with hundreds of other people just to see a sunrise. I'm contemplating skipping the "Bromo thing" but I don't want to miss out on it if it is truly an essential Indonesian experience. It appears to be overrated from what I've read. I skipped the sunrise and sunset at Angkor Wat when we were there in 20101 and don't feel deprived of one of life's important experiences.

What do you all think of these early ideas? I know my trip is not for 10 months but I enjoy trip planning fr ahead. it gives me something to do and look forward to over the cold winter months.
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Oct 7th, 2012, 02:22 PM
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So if I understand correctly, you have 9 nights on Java? Actually, you might want to add a couple of nights to Bali. We are headed to Java for 10 nights in November, divided between Yogya (5 nights) Malang (4 nights) and our final night in Surabaya before we fly to SIngapore.

We are temple lovers, so our itinerary isn't necessarily what would interest you. While in Malang, we have booked the Tugu Malang's Tracing the Kingdom package, so will be visiting a few Buddhist and lots of Hindu ruins in Eastern Java. After much thought, we decided not to visit Bromo this trip. But whether you want to go there depends on your interests. Read about all of the places and see what appeals to you. One person's highlight is another's "over-rated."

In Yogya, we have one day allotted to Borobudor (getting there at 6 am) and the Dieng Plateau. We have another day trip to Prambanan, Solo, and Candi Sukuh. We are also scheduled to see a performance of the Ramayana at Prambanan one evening. We've allowed time for shopping and relaxing, and I have been able to confirm that my favorite gallery in Yogya is still open.

We have been working with Wiedy, and he was able to get better prices for us at The Phoenix and The Majapahit (Surabaya) but not at the Tugu.

Note that there are flights from DPS to Malang or to Surabaya or to Yogya, so no need to even think about taking the ferry to Java.
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Oct 7th, 2012, 03:47 PM
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To Bromo or not to Bromo depends on your interests. The area offers more than one mountain and one sunrise. It's a group of volcanic peaks in various stages of activity in a dramatically beautiful natural setting. I'm not a fan of the commuter routine either: the get up at 2:00 a.m., drive from Surabaya or Malang, see the sunrise, go back, exhausted. (I thought sunrise at Angkor Wat was a non-event too.)

But. . .if you're interested in nature photography and mountain hiking Bromo is phenomenal, especially if you stay on the mountain. In August the chances of spectacular sunrises and sunsets are good.

If that doesn't appeal then skip Bromo and Surabaya and go directly to Central Java. Fly into Yogyakarta from Bali.

Make sure you allow enough time for transit at Jakarta airport. Internal Indonesian flights are often delayed and many carriers fly into a different terminal from the one that is used for international flights. Some carriers will check your bags through to your JAL flight, some won't.

Spending the night near Jakarta airport wouldn't be my first choice, but if it's unavoidable the Sheraton Bandara is just minutes away and is quite acceptable.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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Kathie: your itinerary sounds like what we like to do. I'll await your trip report. I can always add more time on Bali at this point and less on Java as I have made no hotel reservations yet. We will be on the ground in Indonesia 15 nights total.

What airline flies DPS-Malang? I didn't know Malang had an airport. Are there flights DPS-Solo?

Marmot: We are not really nature photographers, just vacation photogs. We are also not heavy duty trekkers. We enjoy some hiking in 2-3 hour increments. The part of Bromo where people go on the horses is a no go as I'm severely allergic to horses. If we were to visit a mountain/volcano on Java Ijen sounds more interesting than Bromo.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Yes, Malang has an airport. So far as I can tell, there are flights from Denpasar to Malang and from Jakarta to Malang, but these may be seasonal. I don't remember the airlines - it's just info I ran across when researching for my trip. I'm sure there are flights from DPS to Solo (SOC), there are also flights DPS to JOG. There are no flights from either JOG or SOC to Malang.

We are taking the rain from Yogyakarta to Malang.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 03:40 PM
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Solo is sometimes listed by its full name Surakarta.
The routes of domestic Indonesian airlines change constantly so it's hard to plan in advance, but yes, both Solo and Malang have airports.

I agree Ijen would be an interesting visit. I haven't been there but my understanding is that getting to the sulphur mining area is somewhat arduous, more so than Bromo. At any rate, they're quite different experiences. You can avoid the ponies.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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I think Ijen looks more interesting than Bromo to me. But there's no easy way to get to Ijen via an airport. I'd have to be driven across Bali, take the ferry to Java, and driven to the Ijen area. I estimate this to take all day. After leaving the Ijen area it looks to take all day to get to Malang or Solo area, the next part of java to visit when skipping Bromo.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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Malang and Solo are a day's drive apart. But from Bali, you can fly either to central Java (Yogya or Solo) or to eastern Java (Surabaya or Malang). Surabaya or Malang would be the airports to fly into if you wanted to visit Ijen.

I'm not sure why you are thinking of taking the ferry.
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