Look Out Indonesia, Here We Come!

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Oct 29th, 2009, 11:57 PM
  #21
 
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Bromo Cottages were a bit grungy as well. But faced with a 3:30 wakeup call you don't exactly want to get too comfortable, I guess. For me, the sunrise was 'nice' but I'm not sure it was worth getting up at 3:30 for. However, the sight of all those cowboys galloping around the old cinder cone as we crossed the sea of ash in the crater, then staring down into the brimstone-lined craters were definitely memories.

You certainly could fly to Surabaya from Yogya (or probably Solo) and do Bromo from there if the road trip through Malang doesn't appeal. Malang has an airport, but it only gets a couple flights a day to/from Jakarta.
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Oct 30th, 2009, 02:19 AM
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Ijen is another spectacular volcanic crater plus lake in East Java. I haven't been there but I hear it's fascinating. I came across the website of this resort that looks great. Their tour combines Surabaya, Bromo and Ijen.

http://www.ijendiscovery.com/index.html
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Nov 1st, 2009, 06:20 PM
  #23
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Okay, guys. I'm SO overwhelmed. You're killing me with all these good ideas. I think it's mostly just from being overwhelmed at the possibilities of how many different directions one could take a trip like this in (and how many places one could go.)

This comes even after flipping through my new Lonely Planet Indonesia guide to try and get some centering so I can focus in on the places we want to go. And to add to that, I have all your great suggestions on here.

I'm wondering if Lombok is even worth the visit? I've always been interested in Qunci Villas more than the island itself, mostly due to all the rave reviews here. But I think that was the main purpose for that visit--not other particular overriding reason.

That said, I'm thinking out loud here and re-organizing this trip in my head a bit so we can try and get a Bromo (and possibly even Ijen) visit in. That said, I really do want to make sure that Bali itself is the focal point of this trip...I've been dreaming of Ubud for years and that was the real impetus for the trip to begin with, so I don't want to lose that in the mix. I've taken a half-assed attempt at revising this itinerary. What do you guys think?

Tell me I'm crazy. That's what this is starting to feel like

Day 1 Depart LAX
Day 3 Arrive Bangkok/Transfer to Denpasar/Transfer to Yogya
Day 4 Yogya
Day 5 Yogya (Borobudur)
Day 6 Yogya (Prambanan)
Day 7 Fly to Surabaya
Day 8 Surabaya to Bromo (for 2N/3D volcanoes tour--guided, per marmot's suggestion)
Day 9 Bromo to Ijen
Day 10 Ijen to Bali (transfer to Bali via ferry)
Day 11 Ubud
Day 12 Ubud
Day 13 Ubud
Day 14 Ubud
Day 15 Ubud
Day 16 Fly to Kuala Lumpur (AM departure)
Day 17 Kuala Lumpur
Day 18 Fly to BKK/LAX
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Nov 1st, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Qunci Villas on Lombok is a wonderful place to chill out. I agree it is not a destination in and of itself.

Your new itinerary looks exciting. It will be jam-packed until you get to Ubud. So take so time there to relax.

Ther is lots and lots to do in the Yogya area, you'll have to choose which things to do, which to leave out.
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Nov 1st, 2009, 07:06 PM
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Yeah, it looks like you've only got time for the "big two" in Yogya, but that's probably okay for you guys. Bromo and Ijen will certainly be things you won't likely see anywhere else.

So, when is the Bali GTG???
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:00 AM
  #26
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Michael, I'm down if it works for everyone else!

BTW, am curious to get marmot's feedback on this revised itinerary.

I'm shocked that no one said what we were proposing was ridiculous...I was kind of expecting that.
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 12:26 PM
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There are five Ubud days on your proposed itinerary. When his Bobness returns from Safari, he will "contribute" his "thoughts". Can't wait? We will be in Ubud 5/25/10-5/31/10. Sanur before and Seminyak after, each for four nights. We are not as young nor as ambitious as you and the hated NC fan. What are your proposed dates?
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:23 PM
  #28
 
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Yes, well, we know you too well by now. Expect more heated discussion over your choices of accommodation.
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:39 PM
  #29
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Panda, it really depends on how we arrange Bali into the mix, but we'll be there sometime between the 15th and 30th of May. Looks like, if we end the trip in Bali, we'd be more primed for a Bali GTG then. That could be lots of fun (provided you and Bob stay behind, of course.)

BTW, Michael, speaking of accommodations...Bromo Cottages? EEK! I mean, I'm down with roughing it and all, but after checking out all the lovely pics of mildew everywhere on TA, I guess that's one of those 'taking it for the team' kind of places...? I guess they can charge that much for that little just for the convenience factor alone. I just wrote to Java Banana (seems like a better option) to see what their options are in regards to tours and pickups/drop-offs from Surabaya.

I also briefly toyed with the notion of scrapping Bromo in favor of a snorkeling jaunt to Sulawesi, but it seemed like it would take awhile to do and it's something we've already done a lot of in SE Asia...and unless there's something particularly out-of-this world about it for snorkeling (seems more suited to divers), I might be more inclined to do that on a 2nd visit.

I'm thinking we may even ditch Ijen and just go from Yogya to Bromo (Surabaya) and then fly back to Bali--allowing even more time in Bali (possibly allowing us a few nights in a different Bali destination: maybe Lovina?)
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:04 PM
  #30
 
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filmwell, Java's not an easy place to travel in. You have to be prepared for lots of aggravation -- delay, heat, misinformation, miscommunication. It can be very bewildering. One weird place is how we usually characterize it.

I'd say four nights in the Yogya/Borobudur area will be enough. You may even do with three. Wherever you are you end up spending a lot of time driving from place to place, which can get tiresome.

The accommodations at Bromo are definitely substandard. I'd give Java Banana a try. They at least sound like they're trying to upgrade, though it's unclear how successful they are.

If you leave Ijen for another trip (see how you like Bromo first) then you'll have more time for Bali, or Lombok if you so decide.

North Bali just hasn't grasped the full potential of tourism, I think because there just isn't a good beach. The snorkling at Menjangan is very good. Puri Ganesha in Pemuteran is a wonderful experience. The scenery along the way is magnificent.

Sorry, I've missed the back story: have you been to Bali before? If not, I'd suggest that you spend a day or two at Seminyak. It is touristy, but in a fun and stylish way.
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:21 PM
  #31
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All great suggestions, again! I thought 4 days in Yogya if only for the fact that our first day there we will have just traveled 24+ hours straight to get there, so figure we might need some rest. Sounds like, from what Kathie said, there's a lot more to see than just temples. And, yes, I've been warned about the batik hawkers. Hopefully there's more to do than see batik. Not a big fan.

I have a dear friend who just finished grad school and did her internship in Indonesia--and she kind of gave me the riot act on traveling to more of the 'off the beaten' places in Java. I guess as much as I want to be seeing truly unique sites (Ijen, etc.) I just don't want to spend a great deal of time with the

Nope--haven't been to Bali before. We did consider Seminyak for a New York minute, but I don't know--I think I may get my fill of shopping and the like in Ubud. I'm trying my damnedest to avoid the "other side" of Bali--I know it's not Kuta, but anything even close to reminding me that I'm not halfway across the world is something I'm trying to stay away from on this trip. Who knows? Maybe I'm missing something. But when I was looking into it, it seemed a bit perhaps too...cosmopolitan for me?

BTW, marmot, what are you recommendations on getting to Surabaya from Yogyka (and then back to Denpasar from there?) Sounds like there are bunch of options (driver, sketchy airlines, etc.) -- none of which sound particularly reliable. So curious to get your two cents on this one.

The Java portion is really the only part I'm not sure of how to get my hands around quite yet.

Thanks for your help in moving me a step closer to getting there.
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Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:24 PM
  #32
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Sorry--this paragraph got cut off:

I have a dear friend who just finished grad school and did her internship in Indonesia--and she kind of gave me the riot act on traveling to more of the 'off the beaten' places in Java. I guess as much as I want to be seeing truly unique sites (Ijen, etc.) I just don't want to spend a great deal of time with the various delays and speedbumps I'm sure to encounter getting to some of those places when every day counts. It simply may be a matter of trying to squeeze way too much into this trip.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:13 AM
  #33
 
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what dates are you in ubud??
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:25 AM
  #34
 
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I hate the say it, but Bromo Cottages was not the worst place Ive stayed. I don't know what they're charging now, but I got a car and driver for most of two days (Surabaya tour, up to Bromo Cottage, up to Bromo, then back to Surabaya) plus the "stay" at Bromo Cottages for around $100. When I went a couple years ago, there weren't a lot of options contactable over the 'net. Things are probably a lot different now.

I think flying from Yogya to Surabaya is the best option for you. I'm pretty sure Garuda flies it. I've flown it on Batavia, which was okay for such a short flight. Since you're not connecting in Surabaya, I'd book a flight and not worry about it. Surabaya has LOTS of flights to Bali. I now make close to 20 domestic flights a year in Indonesia, and I haven't had more than a 30 minute delay in more than year. The airlines there are a lot better than they used to be.

I wouldn't recommend snorkeling in Sulawesi, at least not for this trip. You'd have to fly to Makassar, then connect to Manado, making for a whole day of travel to get there. Plus, I think the snorkeling is better around Komodo. I was with snorkelers on my dive trip to Komodo, and they were seeing almost everything that we saw. Of course, a live-aboard is about the only way to do, so that's another 4 - 5 day chunk of time you'd have to squeeze in.

BTW, since I'm sure you're short of options in Ubud you might like to know that another friend of mine has opened a new place right in town: http://www.rumahrio.com/ A (different) friend stayed there last weekend and said it was VERY nice.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:03 PM
  #35
 
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Filmwell, Did your friend caution you against seeing too little of the “real” Indonesia or not enough? Java is intense. A little bit goes a long way. Java is Indonesia’s great heart – mystical, ancient and utterly exasperating.

Bromo = adventure travel so there’s no way to experience it in total comfort. Your choices are basically spend the night on the mountain in less than ideal accommodations but when you wake up you’re there and it’s magnificent! Or stay in Surabaya or Malang and commute in the middle of the night. Or maybe one of each?

Either way you need to get out of Central Java and into Eastern Java. It’s a beautiful drive but long – as I said some 12 hours plus. Hard to predict what the flights will be like next May. Right now the choices are limited. Lion Air/Wings Air flies Yogya to Surabaya but the flight leaves at 6:00 a.m.
Sriwijaya air flies from Semarang to Surabaya at 0950. Semarang is about 3 hours from Yogya, maybe 2+ from the Losari area.
Otherwise you have to go back through Jakarta, which all tolled may come out the same in hours expended. There are many flights Jakarta to Surabaya or Malang.

I’m not wild about these commuter airlines but millions (literally) of people take them every day and get to their destination no worse for the experience. It’s a big country and ground/sea transportation sometimes isn’t practical.

There’s also the train, but I don’t think you could work out details with out help from an Indonesian on the ground. Once you’ve made your Yogya reservations your hotel would be the best place to start for help in onward reservations.

Even though it’s counterintuitive your connections may be better if you do Yogya Bali Bromo or Bromo Bali Yogya.

Surabaya to Denpasar is easy.

On to Bali. I admit I like the beach in Bali, especially Seminyak. I like the energy, the sunsets, the long walks, the big surfer waves, the outlandish outfits, the stylish restaurants, the Balinese religious processions intermixed with the sun worshippers and just staring out to sea. Bali is a small island and the ocean plays an important part in the religious dichotomies – good/evil, black/white etc. The spiritual core is inland, for sure, but the sea encompasses it all.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:06 PM
  #36
 
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Sorry I meant to say
Did your friend caution you against seeing too MUCH of the “real” Indonesia or not enough? Some people who spend time in Java can't wait to escape.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:09 PM
  #37
 
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Michael, Thanks for the Rumah Rio link. I don't know Rio Helmi but I admire his work. I'm sure he'll offer the real deal in Balinese experience.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:44 PM
  #38
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marmot, she simply said that it's "rough" and to be prepared for the frustration and lack of infrastructure...noting, of course, that the reward of seeing some of these places is well worth it. she also noted that she thought I was trying to accomplish too much on one trip and suggested limiting our time in Java to just Yogya for this trip.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:34 PM
  #39
 
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Marmot makes a good point. You may have more options if you route Yogya, Bali, Surabaya than if going from Yogya to Surabaya. Lion Air currently has only one flight a day (at 06:00!) from YOG to SUB. Garuda isn't showing any at all.
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Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:51 PM
  #40
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You're saying just connect to Surabaya via DPS? Any idea offhand of how much time that might add (vs. a direct flight)?
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