Into Indonesia 2010: The Plan Begins!

Mar 24th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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Into Indonesia 2010: The Plan Begins!

So now that all the festivities of the GTG have died down, I find myself re-inspired (perhaps a bit early, but inspired nonetheless) to start the planning for our May 2010 trip to Bali & Java.

We've been wanting to go for years and I'm so thrilled that we're finally going to have the opportunity now..although I'm a bit frightened just having learned that Andy & Bob will both be there at the same time as us. It's obviously a foregone conclusion that we'll be hanging out with Karen & Beth and kicking those two to the curb!

So, without further ado, let me share what I've come up with so far. I know this isn't perfect...and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure it's in the right order or if we're spending the right amount of time in places--this will change, I'm sure, at least 25 times before I book our tickets. All i know is that we absolutely want to see Ubud and Borobudur.

Day 1 Depart LAX
Day 2 Arrive Denpasar, Bali / Transfer to Ubud
Day 3 Ubud
Day 4 Ubud
Day 5 Ubud
Day 6 Ubud
Day 7 Transfer to Lombok
Day 8 Lombok
Day 9 Lomnok
Day 10 Transfer to Seminyak
Day 11 Seminyak
Day 12 Seminyak / Transfer to Yogyakarta
Day 13 Yogyakarta / Borobudur
Day 14 Yogyakarta / Prambanan
Day 15 Yogyakarta/Transfer to Kuala Lumpur
Day 16 Kuala Lumpur
Day 17 Depart for LAX

Note, we're planning to fly into Bali and out of KL, as I don't want to circle back. There's also the option of going from Yogya to Singapore instead of KL...but I had a feeling that Singapore would be very expensive, comparatively-speaking.

Hotels I've looked at so far:
-Alam Shanti
-Tegal Sari
-Komaneka at Monkey Forest
-Komaneka at Tanggayuda
-Green Field Bungalows
-Bambu Indah

-Quinci Villas
-Hotel Tugu Lombok

-Hyatt Regency
-Saraswati (Borobudur)
-Amanjiwo (*note: we never could afford this, but I can still dream, can't I?)

Some questions:
-Are we spending too much time in Ubud? We LOVE nature, walking and rice patties--which is why I think we'll want to stay there longer than anywhere else. Just want to make sure we're not robbing ourselves of more time to be spent in one of our other prospective destinations.
-We always, on our trips, like to do a mix of less expensive, boutique hotels and then one big splurge. Where would be the best place to splurge on this trip?
-Not necessarily married to Seminyak, but figured it would be good to add an extra Bali destination in there--not just Ubud. Considered Lovina too (Damai Lovina looks wonderful!) but don't know much about other Bali destinations.
-Is it better to stay in Yogya for 1 night and in/near Borobudur another night? Or is it best to do Borobudur as a day trip from Yogya? (Definitely want to see the sunrise there!)
-How bad are Indonesian air carriers? I've heard nightmare stories on just about every one of them. Hear Garuda is the best for inter-Indonesian travel, but even they seem shady. Will most definitely fly a different carrier from Yogya to either KL or Singapore.

A lot of territory to cover with all these questions, I thanks in advance for your advice.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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i will ignore that you have choosen not to associate with me further.....i will take the high road and continue to offer my suggestions to you....btw, your GTG sucked!!! and i know that was not the real katie!!

in K/L look at the hotel imperial (starwoods)---cash and points is a fantastic deal...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 01:34 PM
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Bob, are we going to have to arm wrestle for the Gangga room?
filmwill is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 01:50 PM
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Don't forget to look at the new part of Quince villa also.

There is a book about the walks around the rice patties near Ubud. I don't know the title, but we saw someone with it when we were on a guided patty walk. Our walk was one of the highlights of our time in Ubud for me. I can't say enough about how pleasant it was to sit on the porch of our villa at Alam Shanti and have breakfast watching the water buffalo working. Enjoy the planning , and don't fret!!!
kmkrnn is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 03:24 PM
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Hi filmwill - I did a similar route last year so hope this can help with your planning. I spent
4 n/ Ubud, 3 n/ Yogya, 3 n/ Sanur.

1) I could have spent another day in Ubud. I loved it that much - and those days were filled up with both cultural and adventure type activities.

2) I'm a cross between a budget traveler/flashpacker so I'm sure others can chime in about the more posh hotels. I stayed at Tegal Sari in Ubud and then Bumi Ayu Bungalows in Sanur

3) I too wanted another part of Bali besides Ubud so I chose Sanur as I wanted to get in some beach time. From my research, Sanur fit the bill for me. If I had traveled with my wife, I would have chosen Nusa Dua. Using Sanur as my base, I took the Perama bus into Seminyak, Kuta and a taxi into Jimbaran.

4) I stayed in Yogya but 1 n/Borobodur and 1 n/Yogya sounds better. I went to Borobudur and Prambanan on the same day waking up at 4 am for the tour to Borobodur in the morning, Prambanan in the afternoon and returning to my guesthouse in Yogya by late afternoon. If I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed in the hotel in the Borobodur complex so I could take my time. Also, I should have stayed in the business district (Malioboro). I remember walking by the Mercure Ibis Hotel but there may be nicer hotels in that area. You can walk right out the door and into the hustle and bustle of Yogya.

5) I also looked at the safety of all the Indonesian carriers and decided on Garuda.

If you're interested, my pics of Indonesia are here:

Hope this helps.
bkk95 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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If you plan just right, you might miss us in Bali. It will take careful thought, but you could do it. Ubud when we're in Sanur, Java when we're in Ubud and Lombok when we're in Seminyak. Of course, you would miss the traveling road show. Bob and I are much less inhibited when in a foreign country. Beth and Karen are constantly mortified.

Of course, I note that there are 14 months until your travel time. This demonstrates a level of planning that is uncomfortably close to Bob's obsesseion.
Gpanda is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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We really enjoyed our time in Ubud last year - we had 3 days (4 actually, but the first day I was recovering from some mystery flu I contracted in Singapore and spent the day sleeping). I think that 4 healthy days would have been terrific, but 3 was too short. It is a really interesting area and we didn't see enough of it. Our favorite day was a bike tour with Eco Bali, I think it is called. Really fun.

Our second Bali destination was Amed, which we really enjoyed, but being in the northeast of the island, it was a couple hours from Ubud and then about 3 hours back to the airport. So for only 2 nights, I would stick to someplace closer in. We took a drive through Sanur with a driver and it looked like a good choice - nice, on the beach, retains some authenticity unlike say Kuta that is basically party central, and a short drive to the airport.

Regarding Singapore as a stopover city for the way back - we were in Singapore for a week before going to Bali and then stoped over on the way back - and it is definitely on the pricey side. We enjoyed our time there emensely and would definitely go back, but it was not cheap - ESSPECIALLY after Bali, it was a shock to the system.
november_moon is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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I think your time in Ubud is okay. There's lots to do, and some things like rafting - which I highly recommend - will take up almost all of a day. You can do the requisite day trips - Besakih, Goa Gajah, etc. - from Ubud. I really loved the Komaneka at Tanggayuda, but it would be too remote - for me - for that much time. Maybe a few nights there first to wind down, get into vacation mode, then move on to a place in town.

I think Seminyak is perfect for you. For cheap, there's Putu Bali villas, or for a bit more you can get a pool villa in the area (Umah Watu comes to mind, but it's maybe a little too hidden away). Although I like Sanur, I think Seminyak would be better. I definitely want to stay at the Damai in Lovina one day, but I would do that instead of Lombok.

In Yogya, since it doesn't look like they'll ever resurrect the Sheraton, the Hyatt is probably the next best thing. If you're watching the budget, have a look at the Dusun Jogja Village. Funky little place near the center of town. You might consider adding one more day in Yogya for a day trip to Solo and Candi Sukuh, which you might get a kick out of.

I'm on about 12 domestic flights a year in Indonesia, and I'm still here. I fly mostly Garuda these days, and aside from delays (which you have to plan for in Indonesia) I haven't had even a close call. Batavia and Lion are okay, although legroom is almost non-existant. Avoid Merpati (which will be a problem, since they're the main carrier to Lombok from Bali).

In KL, check the Impiana KLCC. Unbelievable value for money. Get an executive room though.

I've confirmed a sail & dive cruise to Komodo for this May, so maybe you'll want to change your plans once I report on that. ;-)
MichaelBKK is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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We were in Yogya in late October 2008. We went directly to Borobudur and stayed overnight at Manohara. We visited the monument that afternoon and went back early the next morning. Based on Marmot's excellent suggestion, we bought Golden Tales of the Buddhas and followed the book's description of the stories carved around Borobudur. We really liked it much better than the tour guides we saw quickly dragging people around to the highlights, and got to take our time and go where we wanted at our own pace. The hotel is very basic, but you get to sit and stare at Borobudur while you eat. To make up for the basic hotel, we had lunch at Amanjiwo. We called from Manohara to make a reservation and they sent a car to pick us up. We had arranged for treansportationto Yogya from Amanjiwo, stopping at a few places recommended in other Fodor posts.

In Yogya we were going to stay at Ibis based on MichaelBKK's recommendation, but it being a holiday week, they were full up. We got a good price at the Grand Mercure including a huge buffet breakfast and were quite happy with the hotel and glad that we weren't smack dab in the middle of Marlioboro, as it turned out. There's a spa by the pool area and I got some really great massages there, too. We wandered a lot on our own and also arranged a tour to Prambanan and the Dieng Plateau. If you have the time it's a stunningly beautiful area, the higher up you get. Photo opps at every turn.

Have a great time.
susncrg is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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the pan pacific at the K/L airport is fantastic...they offer special rates to many airlines travellers, like air asia and others...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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>>>I had a feeling that Singapore would be very expensive, comparatively-speaking.<<<

... (indeed -- care to take over our little SIN mortgage? Thank you very much) ...

Now (and will be getting back to you re 'amans' & 'reasonable' long-time family cherished Singapore lodgings), understand you were a bit underwhelmed with your TG 'award' service, LAX-BKK, so, in future, suggest you turn it up a notch with yes, those sensational Singapore Girls, LAX-SIN.

(You may be rather surprised at the (slightly) more generous SIA award availability these days. (Immediate disclosure: the better half and certain members of her rather extended family have a bit of a SIA connection, even going back to the days when SQ and that Malaysian airline were 'joined at the hip'.)

(Would also suggest ingratiating yourself to the fine folks over on sqtalk. (And please believe me, I was not the 'op' with the rather deleted thread concerning european 'call girls'. (That lovely Asian 'mod' runs a tight ship.) ... (And would so love to give you access to certain 'SIA Girl' blogs, but that's classified.)

Have fun with the planning/obsessing ... (And do keep this thread going: I'm not quite finished with a certain Asian airline.) ...

macintosh (robert)

... '17A, all the way' ...

(thank you, beloved SQ 1/2 'J' crews & SIA B747s, SIN-HKG-SFO)
AskOksena is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:27 PM
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You might reconsider the order of visits to Ubud-Seminyak-Lombok - Java. You can fly from Mataram, Lombok to Surakarta (Solo) in Central Java. Transit from Bali to Lombok takes up most of the day and that way you only have to do it once.

Alternately if you don't want the beach experiences back to back you could do Seminyak-Ubud-Lombok-Java. I like that order for jet lag as Ubud will most likely be the more active part of your trip. I don't think you have too much time in Ubud; it's a base as well as a destination.

I'd suggest that you try to stay at Borobudur as otherwise it's quite difficult to get there before the sun comes up. Also, you might want to make more than one visit to the monument.

I've never heard of anyone who's actually been to Saraswati, but it looks interesting and it's new, which is good. Manohara is another option. A little rundown but an astonishing location. I've not been to the Saraswati but I believe it is somewhat of a walk to Borobudur. Not that that's a deal breaker, but Manohara is actually inside the Borobudur compound.

The Amans don't usually discount because they want to protect their brand, but I'd check back just before arrival. I project a pretty grim period coming up for Indonesian tourism and a call to the manager may be fruitful.

There is no end to splurge opportunities. If you like beach I'd suggest the Legian in Seminyak. If you like exotic go for the Amanjiwo.

Garuda is acceptable and accessible. It's no frills and delays can be mysterious. But among the Indonesian carriers it's the best choice and if you want to travel within Indonesia you have to choose an Indonesian airline. Millions of people fly Garuda every year so it does serve its purpose.
marmot is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Random thoughts: I don't think its possible to spend too much time in/around Ubud. If you prefer nature to shopping, consider staying in/beside one of the villages around Ubud. Most hotels will run shuttles to town. We stayed near Sayan (at Kayu Manis, lovely but pricy) and just steps from the hotel was this sweet village where I hung out with the villagers every morning.
I prefer Seminyak to Sanur. The American presence in Sanur, when I wes there in '05, was omnipresent.
Whether you stay at Borobudur depends on how interested you are in the site, its architecture and spiritual meaning. In preparation for our trip this May, I am reading Golden Tales of the Buddhas and I think the sooner you read it the better idea you may have about how much time you want to spend around Borobudur and how much a priotity it is to you.
You are doing a very good routing (IMO) given the domestic airline situation. Getting from Bali to Java is straightforward and Garuda by all accounts is the most reliable. I'm still having trouble getting from Yogya to Lombok without spending 5-6 hours (layovers, stops) for a one hour flight. I found Expedia good for a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Semarang.
Given the very slim tourism in Java and to a lesser extent Bali, I found calling the hotels directly (on Skype around 11 PM PDT), got me to a reservations manager who spoke good English, was polite and very negotiable on rates and extras (breakfast, dinner for 2, massage,etc). Booking now might lock in a lower rate than when (let's hope) the economy revives down the road.
It was so nice to meet you Will and thanks again for a stellar GTG.
Robbietravels is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Wow--this is an astonishing list of suggestions so far. I have more than enough to move forward with some serious research.

Interestingly enough, marmot, at our little LA GTG this past weekend, our good friend robbietravels was sharing how she and her husband are staying at Amanjiwo and had called the hotel directly and gotten a supreme discount (how much, I have no idea, but I can guess it was somewhat significant.) I will keep it in the back of my head--how could I not, with some of the pics I've seen of that hotel?

bkk95, thank for sharing your experiences and your awesome pics! michael, as always, fantastic advice--and I know you know what we like. we'll see if I can convince David about the liveaboard. I'd love nothing more than that, but I may save that experience for next time we're near the Similans. Dying to see your pics once you go, though.

Thanks to everyone else--and keep the suggestions coming. I'm off to do some more research based on all this fantastic I'll be back with more questions soon.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 04:34 PM
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marmot, you can fly from Lombok to Solo/Yogya direct? I've been looking at a few carriers and I don't see any that do that route. Please let me know.

The more I look at Quinci Villas, the more interested I am in going to Lombok. If we do a "beach" destination, then I think that's going to be it--to do that AND Seminyak seems redundant and not interesting to me.

Also, after reading a lot of the other advice going round to other posters in the past few days about Seminyak, I'm not as interested anymore, since it seems like a lot of shopping and I think we'll get our fill of that in Ubud. We really prefer to have some off-the-beaten-path experiences too (see our last trip to Mae Hong Son)

Leaning more toward something like Ubud/Lovina/Lombok/Yogya now.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:06 PM
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you need not spend a whole day getting to, it takes just a few minutes, like 30, but it a bit costly....remember i told you Winik at qunci made my res for me...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:12 PM
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My preference for off-the-beaten-path experiences would be to spend a few days exploring eastern Bali rather than Lovina.

A easy drive NW from Ubud to the highlands around Lake Tamblingam and Lake Bratan, is a great day trip.
Becalm is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:23 PM
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Filmwill, I agree that cutting Seminyak makes sense. It will mean you spend less time going from place to place. You could have four days on Lombok really relaxing without sacrificing your Ubud or Yogja time. As you know, we loved Qunci Villas, and the price is right.

There at least used to be a flight between Mataram and Solo on Garuda. Take a look.

This sounds like a great trip!
Kathie is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Okay, so what's the better choice: Amed or Lovina? Either one would be for 2-3 nights max. Life in Amed looks really cute--but I'm also a bit stuck on the Damai in Lovina.

Thanks for the trip suggestions, becalm...we definitely plan on daytripping all over the island from Ubud irrespective of wherever we head after there.

Bob/Kathie, about Quinci...when did those pool villas go up? I remember checking out the website last year and didn't see those then. My god! I may be looking forward to this more than anything now.

Don't see any service, BTW, on Garuda at Mataram, so maybe they've discontinued? Sounds like we'd have to go through Denpasar to get to Yogya.
filmwill is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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The Luxury Villas (across the road from the hotel) were under construction when we were there in 2004; the pool villas were in the planning stage. Bob and Karen mentioned to me that the pool villas were done when they were there last year.
Kathie is offline  

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