Your thoughts on my itinerary.....

Old Aug 21st, 2018, 12:47 AM
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Your thoughts on my itinerary.....

Iíll be spending 5 weeks in Indonesia in September/October visiting Java, North Sulawesi, Flores and Bali. Below is the itinerary I have prepared together with some facts about me/my trip, and finally the questions I would like you to answer.

The facts
1. I'm M/37 whoís interested in light trekking, cycling, snorkelling, scenery, wildlife, temples, savouring local cuisine.
2. I donít want to see caves, dive, surf, party, drive a car/motorbike
3. I have only booked my international flights so far
4. I have a budget of around Ä3k
5. Iíd like to sleep in a private ensuite room whenever possible.

The questions
1. Is it worth going to North Sulawesi given that I only found enough things to see and do for a week and donít want to travel to central/south Sulawesi? If not, how should I reallocate the time?
2. Is Pulisan Beach Resort the only place to sleep at Pulisan Beach? Canít seem to find anywhere else and I donít know if the Resort has availability for my dates.
3. Is a taxi the only way of getting to the destinations with a *not sure* remark
4. Can any of the trips which Iím planning to do by taxi be (relatively) easily done by public transport?
5. Should I book any accommodation in advance?
6. Should I add or remove anything to/from the itinerary below?

The itinerary

Friday 21st September - Land in Jakarta @ 18:00 & fly out to Yogyakarta @ 21:45 - Plane

Saturday 22nd September - Yogyakarta

Sunday 23rd September - Yogyakarta > Borobudur > Prambanan > Yogyakarta - Bus (Tour)

Monday 24th September - Yogyakarta (Jombor terminal) > Magelang > Wonosobo - Bus

Tuesday 25th September - Explore Dieng Plateau, return to Wonosobo, pick up luggage and catch bus to Semarang by 16:00 - Bus

Wednesday 26th September - Semarang > Surabaya > Cemoro Lawang - Plane + hotel taxi

Thursday 27th September - Mt Bromo

Friday 28th September - Cemoro Lawang > Probollinggo > Banyuwangi - Bus + Train

Saturday 29th September - Banyuwangi to Mt Ijen (early morning). Return to Banyuwangi, pick up luggage and take train to Surabaya - Bus + Train

Sunday 30th September - Fly to Manado @ 08:10. Taxi to Tomohon - Plane + Taxi

Monday 1st October - Tomohon > Mt Mahawu > Lake Tondano > Lake Linow > Ranopaso Hot Springs > Tomohon - Taxi

Tuesday 2nd October - Tomohon > Batuputih - *not sure*

Wednesday 3rd October - Tangkoko National Park

Thursday 4th October - Tangkoko National Park

Friday 5th October - Batuputih > Pulisan Beach - *not sure*

Saturday 6th October - Pulisan beach > Manado - *not sure*

Sunday 7th October - Fly to Labuan Bajo @ 6am via Jakarta - Plane

Monday 8th October - Labuan Bajo - Cunca Wulang Waterfall - *not sure*

Tuesday 9th October - Boat trip to Rinca and/or Komodo island - Boat

Wednesday 10th October - Labuan Bajo > Ruteng > Spiderweb rice fields > Ruteng - Bus

Thursday 11th October - Ruteng > Bajawa - Van

Friday 12th October - Bajawa > Bena > Luba > Tolo Lela > Air Panas Malange > Bajawa - Tour

Saturday 13th October - Bajawa > Riung Van/Ojek

Sunday 14th October - 17 islands marine park boat tour - Boat

Monday 15th October - Riung > Ende (6am bus) - Bus

Tuesday 16th October - Ende > Moni - Bus

Wednesday 17th October - Moni > Kelimutu > Moni - Taxi + Walk

Thursday 18th October - Kelimutu > Ende Airport. Fly to Denpasar @ 10:55 or 14:40 go to Sidaman - Bus + Plane + Taxi

Friday 19th October - Sidaman

Saturday 20th October - Sidaman > Ubud - Taxi

Sunday 21st October - Ubud

Monday 22nd October - Ubud

Tuesday 23rd October - Ubud

Wednesday 24th October Ubud

Thursday 25th October Ubud > Nusa Dua - Taxi

Friday 26th October Nusa Dua

Saturday 27th October Nusa Dua > Denpasar Airport. Fly back home at 15:35 - Taxi
lambada is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2018, 08:37 PM
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If you're at all interested in ancient temples visiting both Borobudur and Prambanan on the same day is too much. Prambanan is very close to central Yogya. You really don't need to join a tour to get to it. Once there you can hire a guide if you like. Try your best to avoid Borobudur on a Sunday. It's mobbed. One idea would be to get yourself to Borobudur early early on Monday. It opens at 6:00 or earlier if you have a guide and is wonderful at sunrise. Or spend the night at the Manohara which is on the grounds. Borobudur is about 30 minutes from Magelang and you can easily arrange transport. Either way, to me, a bus tour is the worst way to see these temples.

I think you should try to do some hiking in the Merapi area. The countryside is beautiful. I think more rewarding than a day in Yogya city.

I'm a fan of Sulawesi, but aside from Tangkoko you seem to be eliminating the things that Sulawesi is best known for. Maybe you should look at one of the other islands in Nusa Tenggara, like Sumba or Sumbawa.

You should be able to get from Manado to Labuan Bajo without back tracking through Jakarta. Lion Air flies non-stop Manado-Denpasar. From there there are several connections to LB.

October 25-28 is the Ubud Writers Festival which attracts big crowds, a few days before and a few days after. You might want to go to Ubud first and Sidemen second. Either way, you should have reservations in Ubud because it will be busy this October and in Sidemen because there aren't a lot of places to stay.

Nusa Dua wouldn't be my first choice for a beach location but if you just want beach and pool it's fine.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 12:46 PM
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Looks like your itinerary is rather on the busy side. There is so much to see in each of these places that I would recommend taking things a bit more slowly and perhaps leaving one place out. The distances in Indonesia are also not to be underestimated. But that's just my opinion though - I prefer a slightly slower pace
kimddd is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 02:03 PM
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Thank you both for going through my rather long itinerary and giving me your feedback. I'm inclined to drop Sulawesi and am currently trying to find other places to spend the week currently allocated to it. Sumbawa was affected by the recent earthquakes so I'd rather not go there. Sumba seems to have very little tourist infrastructure and a high prevalence of malaria. Are there any other places you recommend visiting on Java/Flores/Bali? I can't seem to find flights to Kaimun Jawa. Found a press release saying that Nam Air recently started flying there from Semarang but their website is not returning any results. Any idea how I can get there by air?

It isn't much quicker to fly from Manado to Labuan Bajo via Denpasar than via Jakarta (about 60 - 90 mins difference) but if I decide to retain Sulawesi in my itinerary I'll fly via Denpasar.

Thanks for advising me about the writers festival. I'll go to Ubud first then Sidemen as suggested.

I'll try my best to visit Borobudur on Monday rather than Sunday - thanks for the tip.

Which beach area in Bali would you suggest instead of Nusa Dua? I want something which is lively but not a party destination, has clean(ish) white/brown beaches and budget to mid-range accommodation.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 07:40 PM
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I think it would be unfortunate to give up on Sulawesi, both north and central, but understand it's not the easiest place to navigate.

I haven't heard about earthquake damage in Sumbawa. You could be right, but if you're interested in Sumbawa, you should dig a little deeper as the Western press has been hopelessly confused about Indonesian locations. I just read an article in the Mirror that said 321 people were killed in Bali and the Beckham family was lucky to escape (to a luxury resort in Sumba).

Do you mean Karimun Island off the coast of Java? I'm not sure about the flights from Semarang. Aside from AirAsia the websites of budget airlines are fairly worthless. If you have a reservation anywhere in Java, you could email the hotel and ask them to contact Nam Air (or Sriwijaya Air) for you.

Alternately, there's a ferry that leaves from Jepara (about 2 hours drive from Semarang). I haven't been to Karimun but I understand it's a pleasant place. VERY popular with local groups on weekends.

Another idea would be to extend your time in East Java and to proceed to north Bali by ferry (after Ijen) You could spend some time in the northern area -- Menjangan Island, Pemuteran, Munduk -- and then make your way down to Ubud.

Your choice of southern beaches depends on what you want to do. Sanur has a good swimming beach and a laidback, quiet community. I like Petitenget beach (northern part of Seminyak) because it's wide and open with lots of sky and sea. There are dozens of restaurants in the area, some quite good.

Further north, Batu Belig, Brawa and Batu Bolong (Old Man's) are popular among young, hip travelers, surfers and yogis. The beaches are not spectacular but they're lively and the neighborhoods have a nice mix of beachy casual and sophistication.

West coast swimming conditions depend on the tides and swells. According to the tide chart for October, the daytime tides should be fairly low.

I think that once you're on the ground in ground in Java and Bali you'll be able to get better information on logistics and additional places that you might want to visit. Or arrange guided hikes or bike trips through the village areas. Indonesia is a slow place and scheduling can be frustrating, but at the same time the unexpected and unplanned can be rewarding.
marmot is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 02:18 PM
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marmot, you've given me some tips that I really like - thanks!

If you google "Sumbawa" and click on the "news" button you'll find a couple of articles (by al jazeera, sydney morning herald, time etc) that talk about recent earthquakes that affected the island.

Yes, I was referring to Karimun island. However, I won't be going there as flights can't be booked online and boat trips are not for the faint-hearted.

I like your idea of heading to Bali from Java if I drop Sulawesi. My rough plan is this...

On Sunday 30th September catch the ferry from Banjuwangi to Gilimanuk then taxi to Permuteran. Spend 3 nights in Permuteran including a day trip to Mejangan island. Head to Munduk for another 3 nights, Ubud for 5 nights, Sidemen for 3 nights. Fly to Labuan Bajo from Denpasar, return to Denpasar from Ende, spend 2 nights in Sanur then fly home from Denpasar. Does this make sense?
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Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 09:06 PM
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I think the news agencies conflated Lombok and Sumbawa. There was a large quake on August 19 listed as Raba, Sumbawa, but actually it was 100 miles off shore. Although it was felt in Sumbawa, damage was minimal. The photos are actually from separate quakes in Lombok where the damage was severe.

Your plan looks good. Now that you have a general structure you might go back and re-look at some of the recent Java and Bali trip reports for detailed suggestions. f you end up with extra days in Bali, for a scenic and relaxed beach community you should look at the Amed area, which is not too far from Sidemen.
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Old Aug 28th, 2018, 01:24 PM
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I'm thinking of shaving off two nights from Bali and going all the way to Maumere instead of stopping in Ende. Would Wodong be a good base to explore the Maumere area? Can I get to Wodong from Moni by public transport? Is it possible to pre-book accommodation by email or do I just have to show up and hope to find a place to sleep?

I've read that Cemoro Lawang isn't such a pleasant place to stay. Would it be possible to go to Mt Bromo from CL early in the morning and get to the Probollingo train station in time to catch the 11:04AM train to Banyuwangi? I'd rather do this than spend 2 nights in CL. I can spend the saved night in the Maumere area instead.
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Old Aug 28th, 2018, 03:46 PM
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I want to make a general comment about your itinerary. I've been to Indonesia a number of times, but have not been to some of the places you are planning. I notice that when it looks like you can free up a day, you look for another destination to visit. IMO, this is unwise. You need to make allowances for delays in transport. Also, remember that 1 night somewhere is 0 days - it takes 2 nights in a place to get you one full day. You will discover that it can take a full day to get from place to place in many areas. Also, you do not need to plan for every place you want to see/everything you want to do in this itinerary. Once you get to a place you will learn about many other things to see and do. Make sure you leave yourself enough time in a place to be able to discover places not in your guidebooks.

If it was my trip (and I know it isn't) I'd cut maybe a third of the locations you list and spend more time in the others. IME, you'll never run out of things to do/see. The danger is not having enough time in a place to have any experience of it. This is a part of the world that rewards slow travel.

Have a wonderful time in Indonesia!
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Old Aug 28th, 2018, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kathie View Post
I notice that when it looks like you can free up a day, you look for another destination to visit. IMO, this is unwise.
Well said, Kathie! I agree.
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Old Aug 28th, 2018, 09:58 PM
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The Bromo area is much more than Mt. Bromo. It's a stark and dramatic landscape comprising several peaks, many of them active volcanoes. The scenery is profoundly beautiful, not just at sunrise but throughout the day. The downside is that all accommodations in the mountain area are pretty rustic.

You will arrive in the Bromo area late on Wednesday. If what you're thinking for Thursday AM: 1) seeing Bromo (presumably sunrise) 2) driving from Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo 3) catching the 11:04 AM train to Banyuwangi, I'd say why bother with Bromo at all? Either slow down and enjoy it, or skip it.

I haven't been to Flores or Komodo so can't help you there.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 01:55 PM
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If it’s not too late to change your itinerary, while in Manado and North Sulawesi, try to get to Toraja on the west coast north of Makassar. It has a very interesting animist culture of life and death and burial, unlike anything elsewhere in Indonesia, also a distinctive architecture. Our daughter-in-law is from Manado, took us there a couple of years ago, there are a couple of good hotels with your requirements.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 10:21 PM
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@marees55 - thanks for the tips however I've dropped Sulawesi and replaced it with Flores.
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