Java or Sri Lanka?

Jun 27th, 2005, 08:11 PM
  #21  
 
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Borobudur is about an hour from Yogya.
Losari is about an hour from Borobudur or Yogya. Solo is about an hour from Yogya.

Malang is FAR from Yogya/Solo. I've never driven, but I'd guess, 8-10 hours or so. The roads in central/east Java are good, but they are two lane country roads, not highways and there are mountains all over the place.

The Tugu is owned by an eccentric art collector who has put a lot of his collection and personality into his properties. It's charming, but looks better in photographs than in real life. I guess I'd describe it as a little musty. Malang is a typical east Java town with pedicabs, markets, quiet small town life. Not really a destination, but a lovely place.

Surabaya isn't a destination per se either but Mt. Bromo is.

The hotel on the grounds of Borobudur(Manohara) is pretty basic, but getting inside temple grounds before the hoards descend is a big plus. Unfortunately, there's nothing near by that's midrange between 2 star and the Aman.

Honestly, I take clients to central Java 4-5 times a year and I don't know any who haven't been completely nuts over the Aman experience, even if they're paying themselves.
marmot is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 03:35 AM
  #22  
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I would love to stay at the Aman but I think it's just way too expensive unless they give a huge discount. We like luxury but one of the nice things about SEA is that you can often get luxury for a reasonable price. (I consider the Pen in Bangkok to be luxury. The most we've ever paid for a hotel was at the Monasterio in Cusco, which we were lucky to get at about $330 per night for three nights.) The Losario Coffee Plantation may be a good choice--reasonable price and you say the man at the Aman recommended it so it must be nice. I may give the Aman a call however and see what they offer.

Mt. Bromo is definitely a consideration. I guess Solo can be a day trip from somewhere. I'm going to have to get some more guidebooks and read more in order to get a better idea of where we should base ourselves. I've looked on Amazon but most of the books have publication dates that are about 8-9 years old and I want something recent. I want to stay in more than just Yogya.
laurieco is online now  
Jun 28th, 2005, 03:59 AM
  #23  
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Okay, after looking at the Aman website, maybe one night there if we can get it for $500 (I got my husband to aree to $650 at the Santuary Lodge at Machu Pichhu next time we go so I should be able to get him to agree to this). I'm just afraid that everything else will be such a letdown after the Aman. The Tugu at Malang is still a consideration for a few nights somewhere else. Eccentric and a bit musty are fine so long as I get an experience that is typical to Java. What I want to avoid are high rise western hotels and stay in places that are "different".
laurieco is online now  
Jun 28th, 2005, 04:03 PM
  #24  
 
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OK. It's time for me to get on my Aman high horse again!

There are many of us who are Aman junkies and Amanjiwo (Java) is considered to be one of their very best properties. I appreciate that it is a stretch of the budget (we have to save money like crazy to afford it), but the Amans are such magical experiences. Their packages are often quite cost-effective. Check out their 4 night cultural package. They throw in so many private one-of-a-kind activities for free. You will also want to write them an email and ask them to send their formal activities list. The warmth and personal attention that you receive just via email will help sway you.

Many people stay at Amanjiwo and have lunch at the Losari Coffee Plantation and do the coffee tour.

Finally, regarding the steam train, it is available for private rental for about $350. I've heard that there are two cars and that you can invite the locals to use the 2nd car if you'd like. The scenery is supposed to be very special - rice fields, villages, etc. There are pictures of the train on the Losari website.

We are going to Java next summer and are still working out the details. Let us know what you decide to do!
Ericka is offline  
Jun 28th, 2005, 06:45 PM
  #25  
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Ericka, I have seen the specials on the Aman website. They all end before we plan to go but maybe they will have some new ones by then. I'll have to weigh the positives of staying there against the negatives (like we can have 3 nights at the Losari for what it would cost for one at Aman). I think the Losari is a definite for a few nights. I did look at the steam train on the site. I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of money on it though. We take two major trips per year and a couple of minor ones so budget is an important consideration.
laurieco is online now  
Jun 28th, 2005, 07:34 PM
  #26  
 
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laurie, you're right it's hard to get accurate and updated information on Java.

For Central Java, you could spend a few days in Yogya proper, the city, and a few days outside the city. I think the Losari looks lovely, but it doesn't have the easy access to Borobudur, which is the main draw of the Aman.

Surabaya, Malang and Bromo are in EAST Java, some distance from Yogya. I don't know the exact driving time, but overland travel would consume most of a day. I'm sure it would very scenic. There are also many train connections which would be an acceptable alternative.

There are several flights between Yogya and Surabaya. Surabaya is a big coastal city. Malang is a small hilltown. Surabaya is closer to Bromo. Malang is closer to the archeological sites in the area. There are also several resorts very close to Bromo. I've never stayed in them, but it's something that's on my list as the scenery is breathtaking.

One last thing that I would add about Java -- it is godawful HOT. People usually arrange activities in the very early hours, even predawn, and in the late afternoon. Midday, you'll want to retreat to the pool, the garden, or naptime, so staying in a pleasant place is important.
marmot is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 04:02 AM
  #27  
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Thanks marmot. I guess the biggest decision I have to make now regarding areas is whether I want to go to Malang and/or Mt. Bromo.I did just order a book on Indonesia from Amazon that was published in 2001 so it may not have the most recent hotel and restaurant info but I'm sure the info on sights and regions is still valid.

I'm not worried about heat or humidity. We travel to SEA quite a lot and are used to it. We've been in BKK when it was 105 degrees with humidity to match and managed. We usually go back to the hotel pool or escape to air-conditioned shops or restaurants in the heat of midday. A nice place with a good pool is important but like I said earlier, it doesn't matter if the place is a bit older or "musty", so long as it exudes charm and style, which is why the Dusun Jogja Village Inn and the Tugu look so appealing. Also, it doesn't hurt that the price is very reasonable. They have to be better than the dumps we're forced to stay in in London, which generally cost at least twice as much as these places in Java!
laurieco is online now  
Jun 29th, 2005, 09:13 AM
  #28  
 
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By the way, the Amans will usually extend those packages from year to year. Just ask.
Ericka is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 04:20 PM
  #29  
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Thanks Ericka, that's good to know. Marmot also said that if you call the hotel direct, they may discount the price. It's worth a try when I'm ready to reserve.
laurieco is online now  
Jul 5th, 2005, 04:17 AM
  #30  
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Well, I've brought up the subject of staying at the Aman in Java to my husband and, surprise surprise--he is willing to do it! This prospect excites me even though the trip is 9-10 months away since staying in an Aman resort has been a dream of mine (along with flying the concorde which is no longer possible now). I'm going to contact the Aman and find out what is available as far as extending their specials. Now that my Sept trip to Malyasia is completely planned, I need to start on the next trip to keep me busy!
laurieco is online now  
Jul 5th, 2005, 04:20 PM
  #31  
 
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Yea Laurieco! That's great news. I remember having a similar conversation with my husband and getting him to stretch the budget and give it a try - that was 5 Amans ago.

We have been firming up our plans for our 2006 trip. Looks like it will be Losari Coffee Plantation for 2 nights and Amanjiwo for 5. We'll probably route through Singapore.

Keep us up to date as you make your arrangements. We can also compare notes about activities. What month are you going?
Ericka is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 04:02 AM
  #32  
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Ericka, we'll be going next April or May. We're going to Malaysia Sept 22 for 16 days so when we return home from that I'll start making concrete arrangements. I have already started checking out airfares to BKK and found some decent fares, roundtrip on Thai from JFK, non-stop, for about $1050, including all taxes, using Orbitz. From BKK, we can fly fairly cheaply to Java, and then back to BKK to spend a few days, and possibly up to the Golden Triangle. I would grab one of those airfares now except getting my husband to nail down vacation time this far in advance is difficult. It's easy for me since I'm a judge and work per diem so I can take off whenever I want but he has a normal job and gets 5 weeks vacation per year. He was funny this weekend though--I found a site that advertised the Pen in BKK for $138 per night and he said I should book it! I told him it might be a good idea to have our airfare reserved first!

I emailed the Aman and they wrote back and said the rates, including the specials, would be the same for next April-May. I'm looking into the four night package they offer for $2500. They also have a 3 night package for $1350 that runs this year in May and I'm hoping they will have something similar for next year as that seems to be an excellent deal.
laurieco is online now  
Jul 6th, 2005, 04:15 AM
  #33  
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Sorry, that's $1650 for three nights, not $1350. Still a great deal.
laurieco is online now  
Jul 6th, 2005, 03:05 PM
  #34  
 
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Sounds good, Laurieco. We'll be going in early July but I have to book everything in the next few weeks since we use miles.

Come September, we'll be in Africa - isn't this travel stuff great?!? I have to go lurk on the Africa forum now.
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