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Visiting Mt Bromo from Malang and Java and Bali private driver: questions

Visiting Mt Bromo from Malang and Java and Bali private driver: questions

May 19th, 2019, 03:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 30
Visiting Mt Bromo from Malang and Java and Bali private driver: questions

Getting into details for our upcoming trip to Indonesia (about which I already asked earlier on this forum and got nice suggestions : )

Arriving (from Yogya, by train) at 4pm at Malang, we booked hotel for this night and intend to (right after visiting Mt Bromo for sunrise) travel further to Kalibaru (driver/car through hotel).
  • I guess it's doable but any experience regarding our time sheet and transportation is welcomed.
  • Should we (family party of 4) take precautions with our luggage (as we 'bring it along' to Mt Bromo and safe deposit is at the attention of the arranged driver/car)? Or is this a common practice and trustworthy?
As mentioned for transportation we need to arrange some private rental car/driver. On Bali (Pemutaran-Ubud-Seminyak) but also on Java (Semarang-Borobudur and Malang-Bromo-Kalibaru-ferry to Bali). I expect it to be fairly easy on Bali:
  • Is my expectation on the Bali transportation part just? How to choose (to prevent disappointment as much as possible)?
  • What to take into consideration about Java? Is it (much) hard(er)? Or just as easy due to the high tourist factor? Any difference on how to choose?
Looking forward to reading your advise and suggestions, thanks in advance!
Kind regards,
Zebby is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 05:52 PM
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 6
I've always had positive experiences with private drivers in Bali and Java. Renting your own vehicle and driver for the entire time means you have a local person there to help at all times, and somewhere secure to store your bags when you go somewhere. I once went up Bromo, and the town you stop at is pretty dodgy, and the shared transport arranged there was one of the most excruciating travel experiences of my life (basically, the van wouldn't depart until it was full, and that took 3 hours of waiting in the heat). I don't have names of providers for you, but someone recommended by a hotel should be fine.
summitspete is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,759
I think you should leave Malang out of the equation unless you specifically want to explore Malang and its surroundings. Unless I've misunderstood your plan, it sounds like you're just touching base in Malang then immediately leaving for Bromo.

My suggestion would be to fly from Yogya to Surabaya. If you book a hotel in the Bromo area in advance the hotel will send a car/driver to pick you up at Surabaya airport

From Bromo you can arrange transport to a hotel in the Ijen area. Either you Bromo hotel or your Ijen hotel will arrange transport between the two places. (I assume the reason you are going to Kalibaru is it proximity to Ijen?)

Your hotel in Ijen will arrange transport to the ferry to Bali. The Ijen car/driver can continue to Bali with you and take you to your Bali destination. Or you the Ijen car/driver can drop you at the ferry and you can find a car/driver once you arrive in Bali. You can also arrange for your Bali hotel to pick you up on arrival in Bali. If you are staying in Pemutaran this will be easy to arrange.

From Pemuteran to Ubud and Ubud to Seminyak transportation will also be easy to arrange. I would tend to rely on either the hotel you're leaving or the hotel you're going to to arrange this for you.

I think you have greatly underestimated the difficulty of travel in the Bromo/Ijen area. Drivers that are associated with hotels may be more expensive but they have to be reliable, otherwise the hotels wouldn't use them. I believe your luggage would be safe in the car (though safer in your hotel room). But your money, passports and other valuables shoud either be carried on your person or placed in the hotel safe deposit box.
marmot is offline  
May 19th, 2019, 10:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,366
We did a similar trip a few years ago Malang - Bromo - Ijen. On arrival in Malang, a pleasant town btw, we met with several tour operators to arrange a car, driver & guide to Mount Bromo, Mount Ijen and to the feet for departure to Bali with a few other stops along the way. After much deliberation we chose Sunrise Tours which in hindsight was a mistake. Nothing wrong with the car or driver but the guide was absolutely hopeless. Definitely the laziest guide I have ever encountered. Details and photos of tha5 rip are in the Indonesia section of our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/category/indonesia/ . I went into a bit of detail on our guide at in the Bromo and Ijen posts.

To avoid disappointment, triple check what accommodation is planned for you. In Ijen especially, te accommodation is not good. On arrival we were first shown to what can best be described as a hovel. It took quite a lot of "negotiation" to get it switched for something half decent. Forewarned is forearmed! That said, you don’t mention Mt Ijen, but I would highly recommend a visit there if you have the time and are prepared to hike to the crater.

Eesentially, I agree with marmots comments, especially the security of bags. Take your valuable with you at all times. I would add that you shouldn’t leave anything in the car overnight, keep bags locked i.e. take the usual precautions.

It is not easy to travel in that area. The travel infrastructure in Java is nowhere near as sophisticated as Bali.

One obvious but important point is re the ferry. We found it a little confusing as 5o which ferry to get as we couldn’t find any English signs or staff that spoke English. Apparently some people had the same issue as we met an American couple who had spent hours going up the coast of Java rather than to Bali and had to return because they got on the wrong ferry!

In Bali we went straight to Ubud which was easy enough by bus but very long. We had been to permuteran before to do some diving so didn’t want to go there again but it would have been a lot easier as there were taxis waiting to shuttle people there. But, as marmot suggests, probably easier to get your hotel to collect you.
crellston is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 12:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 30
Thank you all posters!

I think I got the idea:
  • Book private drivers through our hotels. And check upon the guide's expertise/capabilities.
  • We will have a look at the ferries from Java to Bali in advance.
  • Take usual precautions with luggage and valuables.
Ijen is not on our list, sorry about that gap in my posting. We may skip Malang and fly to Surabaya from Yogya as suggested by Marmot. Your replies have helped me a lot on deciding about transportation and what to expect. Thank you all for that! : )

(Fodors.com came up with some related older threads regarding Yogya-Malang by train and the Malang area, both being an interesting read. But maybe outdated...)
Zebby is offline  
May 20th, 2019, 06:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,759
Just to clarify: Malang is a pleasant town with a lot of interesting places to visit in the nearby countryside. My suggestion to skip Malang was based on my understanding that you planned to depart Malang for Bromo shortly after arrival. If that isn't the case and you're interested in Malang then by all means spend a few days there.

Could you please explain why you're going to Kalibaru? Is it just as a stopping off point for the Java-Bali ferry, or do you have another reason? Or do you mean Kalipuro?

The Java-Bali ferry goes by several different names. Kalipuro is the nearest small town. Ketapang is the actual port. Banyuwangi is the most populated area.

Most of the Java-Bali ferries are car ferries. If you make arrangements in advance (including setting the cost) your car/driver will accompany you on the ferry and take you to your next destination in Bali. This may cost more, but it's the simplest approach.

If you want to stop in north Bali (Pemuteran, Menjangan) for snorkeling then the ferry is a good idea. If you're more interested in concentrating on south Bali (Seminyak etc.) and Ubud, then it's much easier to return to Surabaya after Bromo and fly to Bali, especially if you're not going to Ijen.
marmot is offline  
May 21st, 2019, 09:30 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 30
@Marmot: Thank you for your explanation on Malang. On Kalibaru (I needed my wife to explain about it): For the coffee plants and for resting and getting a 'feel of Java-life'. It's supposed to be less touristic.

We haven't decided yet on our way of travel between Yogya and Bromo... And since we planned to stay in Pemutaran we need to check how to get there. Maybe have us picked up in Gilimanuk. We need to ask our hotel about costs and way/moment of booking. Or per as you said, with car/driver from previous stay. Thanks again for your detailed info!
Zebby is offline  
Jun 5th, 2019, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,893
If you are still looking for a driver on Bali, I strongly recommend Amik Bagoes, and I happily recommend him -- here is the latest contact information i have
Email : [email protected]
If you haven't already seen in you might find some useful information in my trip report:
A Memorable Solo Month in Singapore, Java, and Bali
kja is offline  
Jun 8th, 2019, 02:37 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 30
Thank you kja! I’ve done my reading on your TR, I agree with fellow posters, well and respectfully written! The Picatourservice’s site is under construction at the moment.

You also travelled a bit by train, in hindsight, would you advise tourists to do so? I have been warned about stolen luggage and possible safety concerns towards Chinese people due to the outcome of recent elections on public transport. (I was born in Indonesia, but from Chinese origin, German wife, mixed adult children.) That’s also why we are still in the midst of planning and/or reschedulling Yogya-Malang (Bromo).

As said, how to plan Bromo is a tough one. We (my wife and I) have been there about 20+y ago. At that time sunrise was on the rim of Mt Bromo itself. That has been changed with the viewing points from the edges of the caldera. And I also do remember the chilly and really very basic (and not so hygienic) lodge where we stayed...I wonder whether this is still the same?

Your thoughts on travelling by train and on Bromo is very much welcomed!
Zebby is offline  
Jun 8th, 2019, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,893
Thanks for your kind words about my report, Zebby!

My time in trains on Java was limited. I had no concerns about my luggage, nor any reason to worry -- but then, my heritage doesn't include any Chinese and I was in areas where, at the time, ethnicity did not appear to be an issue. I honestly cannot speak to your circumstances.

I'm sure that lodging in the area around Java varies. I stayed at the Lava View Lodge in a room that was definitely clean, but very basic, and the salts and ash in the area create frequent problems for locks. It was definitely chilly at night and at dawn. I didn't actually go to one of the "viewing points" and thought my view from the rim of the caldera superb.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  

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