Planning Bali/Java trip-Take 2

Apr 21st, 2011, 09:56 AM
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Planning Bali/Java trip-Take 2

We tried to plan a spring break trip to Bali and Java last month but were thwarted by airline schedules. (We wound up booking flights to Japan instead, but that didn't work out for obvious reasons.) Now, we're going to try again for Bali/Java right after school ends in mid-June. We have almost 3 weeks to work with this time around. The general plan is to fly from LA to Singapore or maybe Kuala Lumpur, depending on flights. After a couple of days, we'll go to Bali for about a week. Then off to Java. Since we now have more time to spend on Java, I'm wondering what suggestions you all have for things to see there beyond Borobudur and Prambanam (I've been looking at Hanuman's recent posting of his fantastic photos and can't wait to see those.) I know that there continue to be lingering after-effects from the eruption of Bromo in the east. Would it still make sense to fly from Denpasar to East Java, say Surabaya, and make our way west to eventually fly home from Jakarta? Is Jakarta itself worth a day or two? We have a week or so to devote to Java and, understanding that one can't see everything in a week, I'd still like to do as much as we can. Thanks for your help.
zainib is offline  
Apr 21st, 2011, 11:44 AM
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Jakarta is definitely worth a day or two (the museum there is worth the stop alone). We also enjoyed relaxing for a few days at Losari Coffee Plantation (we used it as a base to take day trips to Borobudur and Prambanam). Another good option is to climb Mount Semeru. Phenomenal experience.
Have a great trip!
Approach_Guides is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 12:01 AM
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Three weeks is a nice chunk of time. How you split it up depends a lot on what you like to do.

I think there are better options than Jakarta. There are some historical sites from the Dutch colonial era. The plus side: The museums have excellent collections, but they’re not really excellent museums. The hotels are beautiful and a good value. There are some very good restaurants and inexpensive shopping. But on the whole Jakarta struggles in making itself visitor friendly. Too much traffic, too many malls, too few safe sidewalks, too few parks, there is no there there.

If you’re nature oriented there are a lot of attractions in East Java. You could take the ferry from North Bali to the Eastern tip of Java and work your way to Surabaya. Explore Ijen and the area around Bromo, even if the volcano limits your access. Malang is also a charming stop.

I think you could easily fill up 5 to 7 days in Central Java. Also see reports from glover and StanKase for recent impressions. Again, it depends on what you like to do, but the area offers a lot in the way of culture and nature, arts and crafts and adventure travel.

Kura kura is a dive focused resort off the north coast of Java. I haven’t been there but it’s on my list.You can fly or ferry from Semarang, which is about 3 hours from Yogya. There are connecting flights from Semarang to the rest of Indonesia.
marmot is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 04:37 AM
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Zainib - I'm glad you like my photos! While I was doing research for our trip I found out that the drive from Yogyakarta to Bremo takes about 10 - 12 hours. This could be an interesting way of traveling and you can stop along the way for food or to take pictures. Comparing that to flying from Bremo to Yogyakarta, the drive from Bremo to Surabaya airport already takes about 3 to 4 hours and then factor in the 1.5 hours ahead of time check-in and the 1 hour flight, you're not really wasting time, IMO, by driving.
Hanuman is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 10:55 PM
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I would opt for the Dieng Plateau while you are in the Yogyakarta area. You go through many little villages and it's a narrow road on the way up, so the going can be slow if it's a market day, but once you are up quite high, the rice terraces are magnificent. Jatiwalih (sorry if the spelling's off) in Bali has nice rice terraces, but these are bigger and better.

Definitely go to Borobudur armed with the book Golden Tales of the Buddha. We learned so much more about the carvings' stories having the book in hand as we roamed around. I personally preferred it to having a guide as we could go at our own pace.
susncrg is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2011, 05:54 AM
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As marmot said you should look at my comments from my trip in March 2010. In fact I am returning for 6 days in Yogya and the rest of Central Java and Mt. Bromo and parts of East Java this Sept. I am using the same terrific guide. though he is higher priced than most of the local guides huis knowledge, experience and educatiobn are well worth the extra $25-$30/day for a 10-11 hour day more than a run-of-the-mill guide, in my opinion. If interested you can contact him,
[email protected]
Dieng though a long trip is awesome. Another long drive if you go toi KL is to the Cameron Highlands not Genting (a waste, IMO.The trip is 5 hours RT but the heavenly tea plantations are surreal and the gypsy families living right in that area are also very interesting. Personally 2 days in KL itself is sufficient including the Batu Caves (1/2 hr. out of KL) and 1 day for the Cameron Highlands is just right.
StanKase is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2011, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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If your USA based you are probably not aware of this Award winning Airline,based in KL.

If you do fly into KL, "Air Asia" usually has great deals or discounted fares to Bali.
Aircraft are new,clean,and very cheap to fly with.
My whole travel life at the moment,is ruled by Air Asia's destinations.
Check their site for the $9 deals,its all about timing!
Re Java,I have had a couple of bad experiences in Indonesia these last few years,namely Lombok and islands off Surabaya,including the "Ill cut your throat gesture" but as Bali is predominatly Hindu,and not of the Moslem faith,its a fun place to visit still.
I do suggest its wise to check security warnings for Indonesia,it can be a volitile place,and unless you are up with the play there can be a lot of no go areas.
At the moment,its advised NOT to go to Indonesia.
Check this:
nomad4u is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 05:59 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I am now thinking of flying from KL or Singapore to Yogya first and then making our way east, then flying or perhaps crossing by ferry to Bali to spend our second week there. We'd thus skip Jakarta entirely and return home from Bali.

nomad: Yes, I'm aware of Air Asia and will probably use them to get to Java/Bali from KL or Singapore. Interesting that in contrast to Australian government, US State Department does not seem to have a similar warning to US travelers.

stan: I've previously made contact with Wiedy for our earlier attempted trip and will be contacting him again for this one. I'm interested in your planned itinerary to Bromo and East Java. If you'd like to share off-line, my address is my Fodors name at yahoo.
zainib is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 03:06 PM
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Re driving from Yogya to Bromo. 12 hours is minimum, it can be more like 15. You have to remember that you only get 12 hours of daylight in Java and you don't want to be driving in the mountain area after dark, especially with a driver who's not from the area. If you do this, leave yourself some cushion (depart at 3:00 a.m.) or better yet, spend the night in Malang and have your Bromo resort pick you up in the morning.
marmot is online now  
Apr 25th, 2011, 05:39 PM
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Zainib: Wiedy knows our itinerary better than I do. We are first stopping in Bali for 3 nights and then on to Java for 5 or 6 I cannot remember,the on to a dive/snorkel resort in the S.E. part of Sulawisi, Wakotobi, then back to Bali for 4 nights and back to the US. Both hotels in Bali are in Ubud. One is the Chedi Club the other is one step down but the name excapes me. I booked both through I have used them often in Asia and found their rates to be equal or better than other internet sites. I stay away personally from I will email Wiedy and ask him to give you our itinerary if you request it.
StanKase is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 08:21 AM
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Thanks marmot. Malang looks like a potentially interesting stop.

Some questions for you or anyone else:

Is the ride from Yogya to Malang an interesting ride or more of a slog? Are there places to stop along the way?

From Bromo to the ferry (at Ketapang, yes?) looks like a bit of a drive too. Has anyone made the transfer to Bali that way? Does this make more sense than flying to Denpasar?
zainib is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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I haven't done either trip so this is second hand information from family and friends.

The ride from Central to East Java is scenic and charming. There are zillions of villages along the way, rice paddies, mountains etc. I'm sure if you did some research you'd find something of interest to stop and see, like crumbling temples and hot springs, but no major destinations come to mind. 12 hours in the car is a long time, but as Hanuman said, flying entails a lot of sitting around time too.

Taking the ferry from East Java to Bali is also a bit of a schlepp. It makes sense, however, if you wish to spend time in Ijen and North Bali, both of which are worthwhile.
marmot is online now  
Apr 26th, 2011, 04:00 PM
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marmot, speaking of hotsprings, have you been to any good ones? I went to two in Bali, both were not memorable. The water seemed to be tap water and did not smell sulphur and I didn't feel any benefits afterwards.
mohan is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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mohan, no I'm not a fan of "soaking." My past life in Northern California cured me of the habit. There are several popular hot spring spas in West Java, but they always seem a bit too local for me.
marmot is online now  

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