Help with Java trip, please

Mar 6th, 2012, 08:06 PM
  #21  
 
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kuluk, Agree In Indonesia you not only need a Plan B, but a Plan C & D.
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Mar 6th, 2012, 08:54 PM
  #22  
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Yes, I agree with you both and appreciate the cautions you offer. We are still exploring all of the options, and do like to hae alternatives to fall back on.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 07:23 AM
  #23  
 
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Kathie; I was in the Phoenix and it was pleasant but the Hyatt really is clssier. I do not know if you are 62+ but if you are our guide Wiedy Antara got us a senior rate just last Sept. of $142+tax on the Club Floor and the lounge offered an ala carte served breakfast and a cocktail time from 5-7 with a variety of appetizers that changed a bit every evening. As for Melang Wiedy's wife was born there and he visits his in-laws 4-5 times at a minimum each year. He said it was not worth going out of our way to visit. It had a Disneyish atmosphere in some sections and not a lot of cultural interest.
We did mAke the long drive from Yogja to Mt. Bromo and broke it up with a night at an interesting quite decent hotel ($75 for 2 in an A/C room) but as the Hyatt is 4 Stars this little place is clean but truely is 2.5 stars. The total trip is 8 hours and we visited Solo on the way out. the only really interesting visit was to the wax batik cottage industries but the prices for the batil on silk were outragious. At Mt. Bromo we stayed at the Java Banana a very interesting eclectic modern hotel about 15-20 minutes from the lookout.The rate last year through our guide was $140 for a Superior 2 room. They offer Superior 1 rooms but only have one in that category. The rate was $140+tax for 2 as I recall.To breakup the trip we insisted that Wiedy stop at at least 2 markets for 20 minute breaks. We paid him well because he had a van and driver so he could talk to us all along the way sharing his knowledge.After Mt. Bromo he drove us the 2 hours to Surabaya Airport for a flight back to Bali or we could have flown to Solo or onward to Singapore if you routed yourself that way.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 12:15 PM
  #24  
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Hi, Stan, thanks for your comments. I'm sure the Hyatt is lovely, but I love old, historic hotels and that combined with the opportunity to walk around Yojya makes The Phoenix the current front-runner for us.

It's hard to know what to make of Wiedy's comment about Malang "It had a Disneyish atmosphere in some sections and not a lot of cultural interest." We are most interested in the pre-colonial history, though many like the Dutch colonial history there. We are interested in the Singosari temples around Malang and even more interested in Pamataran, the largest intact Majapahit Kingdom temple complex, and some of the best examples of East Java architecture. So Malang is definitely on our itinerary.

Stan, can you tell me more about Java Banana - was it clean and comfortable? Would you have chosen to stay there more than one night to ensure a good view of Bromo? If we opt for Bromo, we would go from there to Surabaya in order to fly to Singapore.

Marmot or Kuluk, would either of you recommend that we spend a night in Blitar to have more time at Pamataran? (If we did that we'd take one night away from Malang.) The package we are planning to book through the Tugu Malang includes a day trip to Pamataran with lunch at the Tugu Blitar.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 06:06 PM
  #25  
 
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I've been to Singosari, but not Penataran. (You mean Penataran, right?) East Java is scenic and the archeological sites are charming in an isolated, understated kind of way.

Aside from Bromo, I wouldn't consider any of it -- Malang, the temples, Blitar -- a "starred" destination, but if you're there, why not? There's nothing on the scale of Borobudur or Prambanan, but the sites have a kind of serene and subtle melancholy and they're definitely not overrun by tourists. The countryside is lush and tropical and the small villages that you drive through have their own sleepy charm.

The only thing about Malang that I would call Disneylandish would be the Tugu. All of Java is densely populated and the cities tend to sprawl, unplanned and unlovely. Local recreation facilities are limited and those that serve the burgeoning middle class tend to be (to Western tastes) crass and crowded.

I haven't been to Blitar. My understanding is that its claim to fame is Sukarno's burial place. He has a cult following in Indonesia, involving powerful black magic, and I think that's more of the local draw than the temples.

I can't comment on Java Banana, but I would say whether you're interested in doing some serious trekking or just taking casual walks and soaking up the atmosphere, you'd enjoy staying on the mountain.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 06:39 PM
  #26  
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Marmot, yes I meant Penataran, or Panataran. I'm aware of Sukarno's burial is there, though didn't know about the black magic aspect.

It sounds like it doesn't make sense to stay a night in Blitar and that we can make do with three nights in Malang (depending on what time we get there from central Java). So we can squeeze in a night at Java Banana. We aren't interested in any serious trekking, but taking casual walks and soaking up the atmosphere sounds great. And Cheryl will be intent on her photography.

Thanks!
Kathie is online now  
Mar 7th, 2012, 11:00 PM
  #27  
 
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Commenting a little late, I know. Kathie, given the interest I know you have in textiles, I was surprised you weren't staying in Solo a couple of nights. While Yogya is know for it's batik stalls, most of it is made in Solo. A stroll through the Kampong Batik is much more relaxing and illuminating than a walk down Malioboro street. A full day in Solo, taking in the Danar Hadi museum, the kampong, and the Kasunan Palace (which most tourists don't see) is well worth it, IMO.

I really wanted to take in Malang on my last visit, but the logistics of getting there ruled it out in the end. Driving from Surabaya seems the most viable option, since the only flights (at the time) were to/from Jakarta (or Bandung!) For me, that meant too many days filled up with traveling.

I loved Bromo, but I don't know about the whole sunrise thing. It's pretty, but whether or not it's worth it is another question.
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Mar 8th, 2012, 02:05 PM
  #28  
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Michael, I was hoping you'd have something to add. I had planned a day trip to Solo to visit the batik museum and look at batik for possible purchase. Last time I was in Solo, we went to the workshop where they made the batik for the kraton in Solo - incredibly intricate batik tulis! I also wanted to re-visit Candi Sukuh. Do you think we need more than a day trip to Solo? I have to admit, I'd prefer not to move hotels.

Yes, it's complicated to get from central Java to Eastern Java. I'm hoping the Lion Air flight from JOG to MLG wil make it all easy!

We spent some time talking about how to allocate our time. The Yogya area and the Malang area are the two places firmly on our itinerary. Bromo is a maybe. We aren't yet sure how o divide our time. We can take a day or even two from Singapore if necessary to see/do the things that are most important to us.

Kuluk, thanks for the shopping tips, Kuluk. Is there any place in Solo that you feel has exceptional batik for sale?

Thanks to all of you for this great information.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 12:18 AM
  #29  
 
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I suppose if you just wanted to do Solo city, you could do it in a day out of Jogja. It's only about an hour each way by car. But Sukuh is well over another hour out of Solo, so doing that wouldn't leave much time to stop in Solo on the way there or back. Have you been to Candi Ceto? I can't say it's as interesting as Sukuh, but the drive there is quite pretty.

I understand about moving hotels. I had trips where I'm on the move ever day or two, but if you want to see the outer temples around Solo, then I think spending a night or two there would make things easier.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 10:25 AM
  #30  
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I have not been to Candi Cetho, but thought we'd do that this year. Didn't you tell me that they have cut down the clove orchards on the way to Candi Sukuh? Is the drive there still interesting? Any other temples outside of Solo that you'd recommend?

One we have a list of all thing things we want to do/see on this trip, it will be time to do some editing - always a difficult process.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 02:42 PM
  #31  
 
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Kattie; The Java Banana is not OLD. It was a very big surprise for us. It is modern with simply lovely grounds considering where it is and having read about the very few hotels in the are I never thought such a place would exist there. It looked new and that may be because it was completly renovated 2-3 years ago as I understand it. It is whistle clean with nice size rooms and A/C which might be needed if your in the room by chance at 2-4 PM. The breakfast which was included was good to very good but I cannot remember if we paid extra for it. If we did it was a modest amount. We had a nice light dinner there that was very good and not expensive by up-scale hotel standards. I think $20/person. As for Malang, Wiedy thinks they have not left the Dutch Colonial architicure as it was and have tried to modernize it. He likes genuine.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 02:47 PM
  #32  
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Stan, I'm aware that the Java Banana is not old. The photos on the website look very nice. Thanks for your comments about your stay there.

As for Malang, we are most interested in the Hindu temples and classical East Java architecture in the area not the Dutch colonial history.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 05:40 PM
  #33  
 
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Yes, hardly saw any clove trees on the drive from Solo to Sukuh last year, which makes it a lot less interesting. However, the drive from Sukuh to Ceto is through a huge tea plantation, which was interesting to see. There are actually two temples at Ceto, although the second one is little more than a terraced hillside, and requires a bit of a hike to get two.

I haven't heard of any more significant temples around Solo, although I believe there are some. I was kind of hoping to get to the Sangrian ancient man site on my last trip, but didn't make it.

The one 'new' site I saw on the last trip was Ratu Boko, up on a hill a short way from Prambanan. It's definitely interesting although not as spectacular as the Prambanan complex itself.
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Mar 9th, 2012, 06:43 PM
  #34  
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Thanks, Michael.

Having spent a couple of weeks at tea plantations, that isn't as interesting to me, though tea plantations are lovely places. I'll have to read about Ratu Boko. We decided we don't have time for the Sangrian site and museum this trip.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #35  
 
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The Sangiran site is disappointing, although it's only about a 45 minute drive out of Solo downtown. The large museum has a few fossils and dioramas but it fails to give the idea of the history of the area. Even the souvenir stands that line the parking lot sell items that are completely unrelated...onyx ashtrays and so forth, although everyone, including the sellers, are incredibly friendly and helpful.

Ratu Boko is interesting not for the buildings, because they are mostly just a few stones now. What is interesting to me is the layout and while standing at the top of the grassy hill, with no one around, you can meditate and envison the people who worshipped and lived here a thousand years ago. Borobudur and Prambanan are fantastic but are crowded with sellers and visitors and you just don't get that same feeling of peace and tranqulity.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 08:22 AM
  #36  
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Thanks for your observations about these places, kuluk. We have lots to think about.
Kathie is online now  
Mar 10th, 2012, 08:55 AM
  #37  
 
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Kathie; As I mentioned in our trips to Solo one of which was about 3 hours in-town and the other about half that we did not see any tempkles of interest. The Sultan though is known to be the most progressive of those remaining but we could not see any evidence of it except that the indigent do get more generous stipends if justified. Weidy was hard pressed to show us more than 2 monuments and as I said the most interesting aspect was the 45 minutes was at the one non-tourist wax batik operation he took us to.
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Mar 10th, 2012, 10:11 PM
  #38  
 
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>>>AO, I always appreciate your hotel and restaurant recomendations. We will add the Four Seasons to our list to consider.<<<


Pleasure, and perhaps that fine Four Seasons property will end up being your home for a few evenings. (Just like her sister in Bangkok, the 4S Singapore does offer the occasional, attractive promotions.)

Another suggestion is the St. Regis Singapore, particularly if you have a stockpile of Starwood points to utilize. I've never stayed at the property for business or holiday, but will say my few times in the hotel's lobby lounge and bar areas have been most satisfactory. The St. Regis Bangkok has been my main BKK business travel hotel since last June. Wonderful property and staff; suspect the SIN sibling's lodgings would be every bit as enjoyable.

You most likely have your UA flights and upgrades sorted; if so, congrats. If not, will give an alternative of Singapore Airlines. SQ 37/38 provides all business class, non-stop service, LAX-SIN. And, can offer rather recent and continued highest praise of SQ1, SFO-HKG. Flew into Hong Kong earlier today for a few days of meetings. (And in a few days time will fly Thai Airways, HKG-BKK. Haven't flown TG for work since last year; hope it's "smooth as silk".) Will eventually fly back home to Singapore, end of week.

Know I'm missing more hotel and certainly dining reccos; a bit rushed these days. Will have more for you later.

Enjoy your time in Paradise and savour your planning; warm wishes to you and all from Hong Kong,

robert


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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Apr 7th, 2012, 02:59 PM
  #39  
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Just a bit of follow-up...

I was able to book our flights from Singapore to Solo and Surabaya to Singapore (Silk Air flights) on the Singapore Air website. Last time I booked Silk Air flights, they wouldn't allow you to book them on the Singapore Air website, and the Silk Air website doesn't allow booking of multi-city itineraries. I had to call AmEx for them to allow the charge to go through.

I have emailed the Tugu Malang about booking our flight from Yogyakarta to Surabaya, as the Garuda website won't work for me. I was unable to find the elusive Lion Air flight from Yogyakarta to Malang.

I have made reservations at the Hotel Phoenix and at the Hotel Majapakit, and have sent an inquiry to the Tugu Malang.

We are still working on the Singapore hotel selection.

We have decided against Bromo this trip... so many places, so little time.

Thanks to all of you for your help.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 7th, 2012, 07:39 PM
  #40  
 
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HI Kathie: It's Sunday here in Bali but if you want I can call my local travel agent tomorrow and see what the story is about flights to Malang from Yogja. Let me know if you need me to call. But I think your backup plan to fly from Yogja to Surabaya, then take a car for the nice drive up to Malang is fine.

I think so far you have a very good trip planned and wonderful hotels.

Earlier you asked me about shopping for batik tulis. When you do the tour in Solo of the stunning Danar Hadi Museum, the place where you buy your ticket is in the actual Danar Hadi shop. It's right across from the Novotel Solo. The shop has very high end batik tulis that cater to wealthy Indonesians and Japanese who are batik fanatics. It's air conditioned so that's a huge plus in steamy Solo.

Also, for very high fashion batik, Bin has wonderful high quality items...their flagship store is in Jakarta, but they also have a gallery in Singapore and in some of the local airports, and I think probably in some of the 5-star hotels. If you come upon one of them, do stop in...http://www.binhouse.com/thebinhouse/index.html
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