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Mar 26th, 2014, 08:56 PM
  #1
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Indonesia

Hi Folks,
I'm now starting my planning for an Asia trip early next year and have some questions on Indonesia. Most info including this site is all on Bali, which we have been to and will revisit, but I am more in need of ideas for Java. I have read some excellent trip reports from Kathie and will need to study them more closely.

I am hoping that Forum members may be able to provide some insight as to a reasonable itinerary ie. how many days for an overview of Java ? Is it an area that better lends itself to organized tours or the hiring of private driver/guide to travel between centers ? Is there a good place or beach for some R&R time ?

Our time frame is not tight, I was thinking about 7-10 days for Java and 7 for Bali.

Thanks.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 09:12 PM
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Two weeks would be a nice amount of time for an overview of Java. In addition to Borobudor/Prambanam/Dieng Plateau in central Java, consider not only Melang, but also a visit to Mt. Bromo or another volcano in eastern java. No need for a tour. You may well want a car and driver as it will make getting from place to place easier and will give you more flexibility. For a beach, go to Bali or Lombok.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 10:26 PM
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Hi Christo, I ve been in Indonesia in December. I live in Singapore. The only thing I can tell you is AVOID SEMINYAK!!! But go to UBUD, it's awesome!!!!
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Mar 26th, 2014, 11:47 PM
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Java has three different areas -- West, Central and East. Each has a lot to offer, but it's not so easy to get from place to place. With 7 to 10, I'd concentrate on Central and East Java and plan to fly from Yogyakarta to Surabaya.

As Kathie notes, in Central Java you can see the major temples and the historical sites. Your hotel will arrange a car and driver. You won't necessarily need a guide. It really depends on how much information you like. I'd suggest spending a few nights in the Borobudur area and a few nights in Yogyakarta.

In East Java you could spend a few nights in the town of Malang and a few in the Mt. Bromo area. I'd suggest that you try to stay on Bromo instead of "commuting" from Surabaya or Malang as the countryside is spectacular. The Bromo resorts will arrange pick up in Surabaya or Malang. If you intend to trek, a guide is good.

You can then fly from Surabaya to Bali. It's possible to go from Bromo to the east coast of Java where you can pick up the ferry to Bali. If you do this you could also visit Ijen, where the sulfur mining is done. The ferry arrives in Northwest Bali so you'd have to arrange transportation to Ubud or South Bali.

You can handle the logistics of getting to the ferry and to your Bali destination through your resort or on the spot when you arrive.

I would agree that you're better off with Bali's beaches. Java does have some beach resorts (and surf camps) on the west and south coasts, but they're either quite remote or quite crowded.
(An example of remote: http://www.kurakuraresort.com)
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Mar 28th, 2014, 07:41 PM
  #5
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Thanks folks.
This will give me something to work on.
I'll come back with some more questions as I develop an itin.
Likely we will be coming from Taiwan and one thing to decide on is where to start first: Bali or Java. After we're heading to Thailand and Laos but again not sure which order.
Chris
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Apr 11th, 2014, 10:14 PM
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Hi again.
I have some further questions that perhaps Fodorites may be able to help with.
Looks like we will fly into Bali first then go to Java. Not sure where to start in Java or fly into but seems that we should avoid Jakarta. I'm curious about train travel and in particular if anyone has experience with the route Jakarta to Yogyakarta and how it compares with Yogyakarta to Surabaya ?

I think we will concentrate our time viewing the main sites near Yogya and Malang & Bromo. Should we also visit Solo, Bandung ?

For Bali, we visited in 1999, I want to spend time in Ubud and a beach place, maybe Seminyak but I am not familiar with it. Can anyone help with some comments on what it is like. Is it just a part of Kuta ?
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Apr 12th, 2014, 01:02 AM
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I would skip Jakarta unless you have a particular interest in experiencing a huge Asian city with a veneer of Westernization, a profoundly wealthy elite, a burgeoning middle class and millions of poor. The food is good, the shopping is multifaceted, the hotels are lovely and the traffic can be soul numbing.

I'm not that fond of the town of Bandung, but there are some interesting attractions in West Java, most notably Ujung Kulong national park. I would give West Java third priority after Central and East Java.

From Bali, it's easiest to fly into Yogyakarta or Surabaya. Indonesian trains are not on the level with those of other Asian countries. They are poorly maintained and delays are common. My recommendation would be to see the countryside in day trips and fly between East and Central Java.

As I mentioned above I'd suggest spending some time in Yogya itself and some time outside of town in the countryside around Borobudur. Solo (Surakarta) has never been particularly appealing to me, but it does have some excellent batik venues.

Seminyak and Kuta are part of the same long continuous beach that runs for about 10 kilometers from Kuta in the south through Legian, Seminyak, Petitenget to Batu Belig in the north. The earliest development was in Kuta thus that is the most developed and densely populated.

The newer development is toward the north end with the most sophisticated resorts and restaurants in the Seminyak/Petitenget/Batu Belig area. My preference is for Petitenget for a nice beach, active temples and lots of choices in restaurants, shops, spas -- some pricey, some not.

There are lots of places that you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, be entertained by the local scene, have lunch, try surfing, play in the waves, have drinks and watch the sunset. If you're looking for a deserted pristine beach, this isn't it.

The entire length is a lively, big wave beach. The surf can be aggressive, and during the rainy season quite a lot of debris washes in. The tide range is widely variable: sometime you get 100 meters of beach, sometimes barely 10!
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Apr 12th, 2014, 09:08 PM
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Thank you Marmot, that is very helpful.
Reading some trip reports I see that using driver/guides is a good option. What should we expect to pay ? On previous trips in Asia using a driver/guide was a cost effective and enjoyable way to travel. I would like to compare that option to some multi day touring and accommodation packages offered by hotels such as Tugu.

For Bali I'm glad you mentioned that many places rent beach chairs which is great if one's accommodation does not provide or is away from the beach. 15 years ago we stayed at the Melia Nusa Dua which we enjoyed however I did find the area to be too much of a barren tourist enclave with very limited choice for services apart from a nearby mall and the other resorts. Perhaps it is different now. A deserted beach has it's place but for this time I prefer something with some choices ofactivity and services as long as it is not too seedy and raucous!
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Apr 12th, 2014, 09:58 PM
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You won't have any problem finding guides. Your hotel/resort can arrange one or you can contact one of the guides that Fodors posters recommend. For most attractions, you just need a driver, not a guide. Guides are useful when you're going to a cultural event, like a temple ceremony, or visiting a home compound.

I'm not current on guide costs.

Look at The Colony in Petitenget -- a charming boutique hotel, steps from the beach and close to many restaurants, shops etc.

Nusa Dua is still resort row. Nice beach and beautiful resorts, but isolated from everything else.

The Tugu has a lot of fans, but it's not on a particularly nice beach and is a bit of a drive to the restaurants etc of Seminyak.

If by "early next year" you mean January/February you should be aware that the entire west coast gets hit hard by storms and there's quite a bit of debris on the beach. The resorts and beachboys work hard at keeping their areas raked and picked up, but some flotsam and jetsam is unavoidable. By March it calms down.
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