Firstly apoligies know there's a few threads on similiar topics but would be helpful for answers based on my specific situation.
Me and my friends (19 year old girls from UK) are first time backpackers planning a 3 week trip to Indonesia in August/start September. Been looking up countless destinations in Indonesia on here and the web but still desperately seeking some more personal advice.
Feel like I have very little concept of the distance between places how much is it possible to cover in 3 weeks would it be best to concentrate on either Bali/GiGi Islands OR Java, or would it be possible to do both?
As first timers want to be able to take our time certainly not after a tick every place of the list type trip, also due to limited time although the actual travel can be fun still dont want to be spending half our time on a bus (rather see less and be on a bus/train/plane less) Think we are after variety diving, cycling, treking, sites (temples, volcanoes), beaches- the usual I suppose. We are students so budget is limited not after luxury resorts however don't want budget to be the deciding factor in whereabouts we go.
If it is possible to do both places would it be advisable to get outbound flight to say Bali and return from Jakarta (havent looked into whether this would cost more, just dont want to be paranoid the whole time we will miss our return flight)
Sorry again this probably all sounds very naive and under planned that's because at the moment it is [img]smileys/wink.gif[/img]
#1 cat122333 has been a member since 4/6/2012. Posts: 6
I'm about to go on a three week trip that goes from Jakarta to Bromo and then skips over Bali to relax on the beaches of Lombok. However, simply Bali/Lombok/Gilis offer a lot in the way of what you're looking for and not nearly as much distance to travel. I actually don't mind spending time on a bus, but otherwise I'd probably cut out some of my Java plan. If you really want to relax, 3 weeks on those islands will probably be a fantastic time with plenty to explore.
Usually not booking roundtrip tickets internationally will cost you more - at least the sites I search.
In 3 weeks you could cover Bali, Gili Islands and maybe the western end of Java (Bromo, Yogya, etc) quite comfortably. Fly in to Yogyakarta , travel overland to Bali and finish up in Gili (with a quick return to Bali for departure). Alternatively you could do the whole thing overland with some backtracking - Bali (travel up east and north coasts), Java to Yogyakarta, then return to Bali (down west coast) and then over to Gili to finish up with some island time.
If you didn't want to backtrack, you could consider carrying on from Yogyakarta overland to Jakarta - but you would need to keep moving at a reasonably pace I think.
An alternative if you wanted to skip Java is to focus on Bali, Lembongan, Gili's and maybe a bit of Lombok - that would keep you more than busy for 3 weeks.
Thanks for your advice nice and clear-what my muddled mind needs atm ! Realised that the start of our trip will coincide with the end of Ramadan(unfortunatley we're limited with when we can go) which apparently makes travel in Jakarta hard but apparently Bali isnt as effected. So maybe it would be best to start in Bali then by the time we get to Java transport wont be so effected then onto Yogykarta then return to Bali what buzyLizzy suggested. How often would this mean travelling, would it be many long journeys? Think going to be quite flexible with how far we go how much we travel, see if we enjoy the travelling side of it. Just trying to figure out what airport to fly to which would give us the most leeway for exploring the country, would like to fly to somewhere definitly going like (try not to save best for last as anxious wouldnt have time to get there ha)
Also I have an impression of Bali thats its touristy, obviously expecting tourists would ideally like to be in places where you feel there are many more locals than touritsts.
Another option that havent thought much about yet is we fly to Medan have found cheap flights however know very little about Sumatra region
#4 cat122333 has been a member since 4/6/2012. Posts: 6
My advice would be to stick to Bali and the Gili Islands. Flying in and out of Denpasar makes things simple. Bali is a great place to start your first trip; small, easy to get around, lots to do, can be cheap and you'll find many English speakers. Bali is Hindu so Ramadan will have little affect on your travel here.
Java is different. You can spend days not seeing other travellers and English speaking locals can be tough to find. There are long journeys to be had - Banyuwangi to Yogyakarta will take at least 15-17 hours by bus and Yogyakarta to Surabaya is a bit of a kicker to. But Ijen, Bromo and Borobudur are worth the trip. If you want to be somewhere less busy then consider what has been mentioned before. Start in Bali and finish in Yogyakarta or Surabaya - this will save the back-tracking.
If you do decide to go to Java then think about flying a leg of the trip. Garuda, Lion Air and AirAsia are all low cost carriers that fly in and out of Sur, Yogya and Denpasar. The train can be comfortable (economy sucks) and you can buy food and drinks! I'd also think about avoiding night buses in Java. And I'd certainly avoid Jakarta!
I wouldn't worry about Ramadan. It does really affect transport too much. It's Idul Fitri (lebaran) that you need to worry about and the problem with transport is widespread throughout Indonesia because people are going on mudik - pulang kampung - returning to where their families live. At this time, you definitely need to book transport in advance and anything that involves those bigger buses will be a hassle, even when travelling to Lombok from Bali.
I would plan my trip around these holidays and make sure I am based in Bali for that time. If you're in Indonesia during Ramadan as well, I'd make that my Java portion and give myself enough time to get to Bali before Idul Fitri.
If you want to have a really local experience, you can definitely get that in Java. In Bali, it is more difficult because there are so many tourists, but there are still vast swathes of the island that no tourists visit. So with all that in mind, a good itinerary would be:
Fly into Yogya, side trip to Dieng, Bromo, Ijen (if you have time), into Bali along the north coast (stop for snorkelling at Menjangan, dolphins in Lovina), down to Ubud for a while, across to Padang Bai for the fast boat to the Gilis, and then return from Gilis to Kuta for one last night before flying out of Denpasar. That's 3 weeks.
Thanks som much again theres seems milion factors to take into account. Bali sounds maybe a more simple option and Java maybe more authetic but harder work (sorry reduce your advise so much) Right so flying into Bali for say 22nd, 23rd,24th August shouldnt be a problem if Idul Fitri is on 19th, Bali is not affected much by El Fitri is it?? By time we have explored Bali and get to Java (if we decide to go) hopfuly all should have died down a bit??
#7 cat122333 has been a member since 4/6/2012. Posts: 6