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Indonesia/Java/Sulawesi Travel Advice needed

Indonesia/Java/Sulawesi Travel Advice needed

Feb 8th, 2014, 08:16 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Indonesia/Java/Sulawesi Travel Advice needed

Hello,
I am new to this forum and any help and advice to my travel plans would be very much appreciated. I am planning to visit JAVA and SULAWESI (14 nights) sometime around April this year. My plan is, to fly from the UK to Java (most suitable Yogyakarta), stay in Yogyakarta for around 5-6 nights (Dusun Jogja Village Inn) to explore this area and visit the sights. I also really would like to go over to Sulawesi and visit Torajaland 4-5 nights - is this sufficient or does one need more time to visit Toraja ? Is there anything really really important I would miss in Java because so far I am only staying in Yogyakarta? My interest are Historical Sights/Nature/Wildlife/Culture/Foreign Food. ANY advice would be very welcome.
ManuMunson is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 08:29 AM
  #2  
 
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I have a trip report here on our trip to central and eastern Java. http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...n-to-jogja.cfm

I had been to central Java before - it's a wonderful destination! But this was my first trip to Eastern java. We very much enjoyed the temples there, where we were the only non-Indonesian visitors.

I can't help on Sulawasi, but watch for marmot to respond to you. She lives in Indonesia and is a font of knowledge on the country.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:06 AM
  #3  
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Thank you so much Kathie, your travels look amazing!! If I am right, the best place in eastern Java you visited were the Panataran Temples, I have read your travel blog and find it very interesting! Not sure if I want to spend time traveling all the way to there though since I am limited to 14 days traveling (work). If I had more time, I would most certainly include the temples in east java. Thank you so much for sharing, I will have a good look at your pictures, it seams you have travelled a lot of the countries I have visited too.
Kindest Regards and many thanks again
Manu
ManuMunson is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 05:05 PM
  #4  
 
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I'd recommend that you split your stay in Central Java between Yogya and a place in the vicinity of Borobudur. The countryside is spectacular, and it's good to visit Borobudur more than once at different times of day. There are a lot of sleepy villages among the mountains and rice paddies.

The Manohara Hotel is bare bones basic, but it's just steps a way from the monument. From the Borobudur area you can carry on to the Dieng Plateau.

Easter weekend (April 18,19,20) will be a big holiday in Java and Borobudur, Prambanan and other sites will be jammed with Indonesian school children. I hope you'll be somewhere else on these dates.

If you choose East Java instead of Sulawesi, look at visiting Mt. Bromo and Ijen. Try to stay in the mountains at Mt. Bromo, instead of commuting from Surabaya or Malang. The area is profoundly beautiful and the weather variable. Java Banana is the best place to stay, though they're all fairly uninspired.

Ijen is also an area of stunning scenery and active geology. The archaic sulfur mining process is of interest.

You could easily spend your whole time in Java, but if you decide to go to Tanah Toraja, your biggest challenge will be getting there without spending a night enroute. When you plan your route to Makassar, look at flights out Solo (Surakarta) or Semarang. If you go to the Dieng Plateau, you'll be halfway to Semarang.)

Try to avoid Jakarta; connect through Denpasar or Surabaya. If you return home from Sulawesi, you'd be better off flying Makassar to Singapore or Jakarta.

From Makassar the drive to Rantepao takes around 8+ hours. It's not something you want to do after dark -- both for the sake of safety and because the views are magnificent. Makassar is a pleasant medium sized Indonesian city (about 1 million)with a lively waterfront and some historical sites from the Dutch colonial period. And renowned sunsets.

4-5 days on the ground in the Rantepao area is enough to visit the traditional villages and see the burial sites. You'll get a good feeling for the culture, but you may not get to see an actual funeral in April. The local guides will know what's on.
marmot is online now  
Feb 8th, 2014, 11:16 PM
  #5  
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So much good advice and knowledge, thank you Marmot & Kathie! I am now re-thinking my travels and will probably cut out the Sulawesi bit (maybe do that combined with southern Borneo or on its own even) .
Now comes the difficult part, I used to book all my trips with a big Holiday Company here in the UK but the prices have gone up so much that I cannot afford to do this. The Java Itinerary would come in at a price of GBP 2.500-2.800 PP (over 5 K for the two of us including international flights). This would be a private guided tour. I am thinking of cutting out the UK holiday company and book direct with an Indonesion holiday company which might reduce the price? I would only need to book the international flights then which will cost around 600 GBP PP. How do you go about booking your trips ? I have a budget of 3.000 GBP for the both of us combined, so I need to book the whole below itinerary including tours and hotels for around 1.800 GBP (3.000 GBP minus the flights which come in at 1.200 GBP) Is that even possible? Any suggestions for a good and trustworthy Company which could provide below ?
Start Travel: 18.04.14 arrive 19.04.2014 – Java Stay 12-14 nights
5-6 nights Yogyakarta Dusun Jogja Village Inn (easter weekend to relax and recover from travel) From 20.04. explore Yogyakarta Area Prambanan, Restaurants etc
2-3 nights Borobudur Princess Monahara Resort maybe visit also Dieng Plateau
2-3 nights Bromo Area Java Banana or Cosy Guest House try to fit in Ljen
Again, ANY advice would be very much appreciated.
Kindest Regards
Manu
ManuMunson is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 12:36 AM
  #6  
 
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I think it's fairly easy to arrange the flights from the UK to Indonesia without a travel agent. You should fly into a major hub, like Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur then connect to Yogya on your way in and Surabaya on your way out.

Most of the hotels can be booked on line or by telephone as well. (Skype is your friend!)

I've heard of the Dusun Jogja Village but haven't been there. You should also look at the Phoenix and the Hyatt. The Hyatt has an especially nice garden and pool.

The most complex arrangement are the domestic flights and surface transportation, but even these you can handle by a combination of internet, telephone or help from your hotels. Guides can easily be arranged as you go. This is not a particularly over-traveled part of the world and services are readily available.

If you book with a local guide in advance, you might want to pick and choose activities. For some you might want a guide, for others you'd be all right on your own with a hotel car and driver who speaks some English.

For me, 5-6 nights in Yogya would be a bit too long. It's a crowded hot city and getting around can be tiring.

I would re-adjust to spend more time in the countryside, at Borobudur and maybe near the Dieng Plateau.

Flying from Yogya or Semarang to Surabaya then driving to Bromo takes up most of a day. I haven't been to Ijen, but I believe driving Bromo to Ijen is pretty much a day's journey too.
marmot is online now  
Feb 9th, 2014, 01:39 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I enjoyed this TR which was booked by a company called Adventure Indonesia http://safaritalk.net/topic/11827-in...odos-and-bali/ . Whilst a lot of this is in Sumatra and Komodo, according to their website Adventure Indonesia also offer Java tours. http://www.adventureindonesia.com/

Happy planning,



Pol
Treepol is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 07:29 AM
  #8  
 
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We used a local company to make our arrangements. I had already booked the hotels though one of the discount sites I often use ( www.agoda.com ), but the agency I contacted, Borobudur Travel & Tours, was able to get us better prices on hotels. Weidy also arrange a car and driver for us. You can contact him for local arrangements: [email protected] Weidy was able to book our train tickets for us, and he could book domestic flights within Indonesia.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 08:02 AM
  #9  
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Thank you so much everyone, your tips and advice are very much appreciated. I have now handed my itinerary ideas to the UK firms and will wait what comes back. If they cannot meet my budget I will go independent and try to book myself. I think the flights will be a challenge though unless I double back onto myself and go back the way I came. The hotels should be fairly easy and even though something could go wrong, there are enough hotels to cover for any failings. My only concern is, that my husband has got a medical condition (stoma) and I wouldn't want him to be stranded somewhere, uncertain as of where to go next. Well, lets see what happens, I will let you know what prices I will receive! If all goes wrong I will be thinking of maybe downgrading holiday ideas to Sri Lanka or Nepal. I am also considering Travel Republic which has quoted a price of GBP 1.799 for the flights and 10-12 nights in Jogja Dusun Village Inn (two travellers) but this means I would have to stick to the Jogja area. Many thanks again to all of you !
Kathie: I have spent a lot of time reading your travel blog today, loved it, especially the bit about the "open jaw" flights and train travel ! Very informative, a big help for anyone who wants to travel to Java.
Kindest Regards
Manu
ManuMunson is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 02:49 PM
  #10  
 
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Is that GBP 1.799 per person or for both of you?

You could book London to Singapore, non-stop on Singapore air for example, then do the open jaw from Singapore to Java and back.

You could fly Singapore to Yogya, Semarang to Surabaya to Singapore on Air Asia, which is a very good airline. (It's ala carte though and you have to pay extra for luggage and meals. There's a charge for flight date changes and in some cases flights cannot be cancelled.)

Hotel prices would be variable; Borobudur and Bromo are very cheap so you can average.

So my rough, rough calculation for flights and hotels would be about GBP1400 per person. Once you fine tune you'll do better than that.

Meals, guides, ground transportation and everything else would be extra, GBP750 would be generous. Food is shockingly cheap in Java. (Wine and spirits shockingly high.)

The advantage to doing it yourself is that you get to go where you want and stay where you want and adapt your plans as you go along. It's hard to envision what you're going to like and what you're not going to like so it's best to have some flexibility.

PS, Make sure you have medical evacuation insurance, just in case.
marmot is online now  
Feb 9th, 2014, 03:33 PM
  #11  
 
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Marmot - just curious why you say to avoid Jakarta? Also, what is your opinion on ferry service between the mainland and bali?
dgunbug is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 04:32 PM
  #12  
 
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Because the OP was trying to get from Yogya to Sulawesi, it seemed counterproductive to go west to Jakarta, instead of east to Denpasar or Surabaya.

Jakarta airport isn't too bad. The only issue is getting from the international terminal to the domestic terminal which can be slow and confusing. Garuda, however, flies out of the international terminal for both domestic and international flights.

I haven't taken the Java Bali ferry myself, but my son has and said it was serviceable -- a little gritty, but functional. The ports on either side are not in particularly convenient locations, so unless you have a specific reason to be in the area, you may be better off flying.
marmot is online now  
Feb 14th, 2014, 09:40 PM
  #13  
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Hello All, I have just finalized my travel plans to visit Java, yesterday. This morning I heard the terrible news about Mount Kelud erupting, I hope people are ok, have found shelter from the ash and are able to return to their homes soon.
ManuMunson is offline  

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