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Indonesia one-month-itinerary

  • arcticsounds

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Hi all,

    In July me and my girlfriend are travelling to Indonesia.We’ll fly into Jakarta the 6th of July and fly out of Jakarta the 7th o fAugust. This means 31 days, yay!

    To be honest, I’m having a really hard time planning a draft itinerary for our trip. More than any other trip I’ve made before. I’ve been scanning forum posts for days, as well reading in my Lonely Planet, but the more I read the more I change my mind.

    We are both 26 years old. It is our first time in Indonesia.We are used to travelling though. We have been to India and Nepal before. We are interested in a lot of things, but if we had to choose, we choose for:

    Culture (temples, ceremonies,…)
    Activities like hiking/trekking, bicycling and snorkeling. Not that much into diving or surfing.
    Nature: beautiful walks, views,… We’re not that much interested in seeing wildlife like orang-utangs or the giant lizard.
    Beaches (without resorts and cruise-ships)

    The islands that are attracting me the most are:

    Sulawesi
    Flores
    Lombok
    Bali
    Java

    We just don’t know which one (or two) to choose and to combine…

    I’m afraid Bali will be too touristy and not to our likings. But I’m also afraid to miss something if we don’t visit Bali. I know we have to avoid Kuta and Phuket. But there are definitely things that are attracting us in Bali. Ubud looks very nice, as well as the rice fields. We like eating out on a budget and drinking a beer (we’re from Belgium btw). Though not every day, drinking a beer or cocktail at the beach looks like a pleasant way to close the evening. Going to a cosy restaurant is something we enjoy a lot on travels, and Bali is probably the place to be to find cosy restaurants?

    We like to be off-the-beaten path, but not for 31 days. We like other people around us. We like vibrant (not party!) places. So I’m looking for an itinerary that has both of 2 worlds. It definitely has to stay abit romantic ;)

    I hope some travelers can give me some advice on where to spend our time. Thanks in advance!

    #1 Posted: 26/2/2014 - 04:41

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  • somtam2000

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    Welcome to Travelfish :-)

    Given you're flying in and out of Jakarta , then Java being one of your islands makes sense. Here's a couple of suggested itineraries to get you started:
    Java in 1 week
    Java in 2 weeks

    Given your interests, Boroburdur and Bromo are must sees in my opinion.

    After Java, well if you overland it through Java then Bali fits well. But, as you mention, parts of it are heavily touristed -- including Ubud . What you could do is enter via ferry in the west, straight to Permuteran for snorkelling in Menjangan Island, then from there up into the hills to Munduk for a waterfall and chilling out fix. There goes four days.

    From Munduk you could head across to Ubud or down to the south coast, say to Balian but either way it's going to get more touristed. But another option, would be to go from Munduk to Amed (East Bali) - a bit of a long day of travel but Amed glorious (and busy) in July and has plenty of calm bays for snorkelling.

    From Amed you could get a speedboat to the Gili Islands over on Lombok and lose the rest of your time there before flying back to Jakarta via Bali.

    If you skip Bali, I'd switch it for Flores over Sulawesi. For Flores, grab the free Flores ebook here for some ideas as I've gotta go feed the kids now :-)

    More questions, ask away.

    #2 Posted: 26/2/2014 - 04:55

  • arcticsounds

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Thanks for your advice, somtam!

    I've allready downloaded the Flores ebook. If we'll go to Flores, I can definitely use this for planning our way through the island.
    Why exactly would you choose Flores over Sulawesi? Especially the Tana Toraja region looks very nice and magical. We're not that much interested in the ceremonies, because I've heard that in July-August it gets VERY crowded and I don't like the idea of seeing pigs getting slaughtered. What's attracting me the most is the country-side and the trekking opportunities. But maybe we'll find that also in Flores.

    If we go to Flores, is it a good idea to visit the Gilis? As there are white sand beaches in Flores as well, why should we go to islands with crowdy beaches?

    #3 Posted: 27/2/2014 - 02:51

  • SBE

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    Unfortuately July and August are peak season everywhere in Indonesia, not just Sulawesi but August is worse than July. I think Somtam suggested skipping Sulawesi because Flores is nearer Bali on the map. It's easy to fly to Labuan Bajo from there and there are also snorkelling boat options (run by Perama etc) from Bali or Lombok. If you don't want a very overcrowded boat it's probably better to do these boat trips in the reverse direction (ie from, not to, Labuan Bajo).

    If you just want to go to Tana Toraga on Sulawesi for trekking (ie don't want to go anywhere else on Sulawesi) and you don't mind forking out money on extra flights, it's relatively quick and easy to do too. Air Asia has flights between Bali and Makassar and from Makassar there are daily comfortable buses to Rantepao. The bus journey time is usually about 8 hours but it can be longer, depends if there are any roadworks. There are both day and overnight buses. If time is short, you could just use night buses but I'd recommend taking a day bus there and a night bus back. The bus route is is very scenic and well worth seeing. The day buses stop twice, once on the coast for lunch and once at a tea room with stupendous mountain views and they have reclining seats and plenty of legroom so it's a relatively painless 8 hours (unless you get a bus with a loud sound system). The night bus from Rantepao can drop you off at Makassar airport very early in the morning (around 5am -5.30) so you could book a morning flight to go somewhere else that same day. Makassar is a major airline hub so you could get back to Jakarta very easily from there.

    PS Phuket is in Thailand, not Bali, but you're right about wanting to avoid Kuta :-)

    #4 Posted: 28/2/2014 - 09:31

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    somtam and SBE are Indonesia experts, so I'd take any advice they give very seriously.

    we're spending three weeks in Indonesia in June, and plan to visit Yogya, Bali, and Lombok (including Gili Air). we're really looking forward to Yogya both for the temple complexes and the touch of Java culture. from there, we have booked a flight direct to Lombok on Lion Air. from what I can tell it is a daily flight departing in the 1730 range and arriving Lombok 2000 (including the one hour time change).

    i don't know if that fits your style or plans, but it could be one way to skip past Bali if you wanted on your way east or a chance to visit Yogya on your way back to Jakarta. good luck. cheers.

    #5 Posted: 28/2/2014 - 10:03

  • jenmi

    Joined Travelfish
    24th December, 2013
    Posts: 4

    most people already said it here. however Gili is not in Flores , Gili is in Lombok, east of Bali, while Flores is further east from Bali / Lombok

    If you make it to Flores, you should go to Komodo Island. It's beautiful to see komodo in person.

    #6 Posted: 2/3/2014 - 16:46

  • SBE

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    If you stay in the general region Somtam suggested you could trek up Mount Rinjani on Lombok. I haven't done it but it sounds a lot more hardcore than the hiking and trekking in Tana Toraja! You need warm clothes and proper climbing boots for Rinjani because the altitude is much higher (Rinjani is Indonesia's second highest volcano). Depends what kind of trekking you're into.

    #7 Posted: 2/3/2014 - 20:23

  • arcticsounds

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Ok, I think we'll probably skip Bali. If we were visiting Indonesia outside the tourist season we would definitely go to Bali. But as July and August are both months in which Indonesia sees a lot of tourists, especially in Bali, we'll try to avoid crowded places and try to find our joy in other places.

    With 31 full days in Indonesia, we'll probably start of flying to Makassar to spend a week around Tana Toraja. We don't want to do trekking there - more walking and visiting towns. We'll save the trekking for Rinjani. Afterwards we'll take a flight to Flores and spend some time visiting places advised in the ebook somtam advised me. After visiting Komodo we'll do the boat-trip to Lombok. Do the trek and spend time on beaches (not sure about Gili, because some people told me they get very crowded..) As exacto suggested, we'll probably take a flight from Lombok 2000 to Yogkarta. There we'd like to visit temples and get in touch with Javanese culture. Finally we'll be going back to Jakarta by train or bus.

    If anyone has recommendations to add things in our itinerary (or advise to do it differently), feel free to comment!

    I already want to thank you all a lot for the replies, they're helping us so much!

    #8 Posted: 3/3/2014 - 04:59

  • somtam2000

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    Sorry very late back into this. In answer to your questions:


    Why exactly would you choose Flores over Sulawesi?

    It's easier travel, more spectacular landscape imo and it better lends itself to a short trip.

    Especially the Tana Toraja region looks very nice and magical. We're not that much interested in the ceremonies, because I've heard that in July-August it gets VERY crowded and I don't like the idea of seeing pigs getting slaughtered. What's attracting me the most is the country-side and the trekking opportunities.

    It's very pretty. I found the cemeteries, especially the hanging ones and the ones for kids, fascinating, but the funerals are brutal and extremely gratuitous. I found the way the animals were treated -- especially the pigs -- absolutely awful. Animal brutality aside, the scenery is impressive.

    But maybe we'll find that also in Flores.

    Yes you will. I'm a big wrap on Flores.

    If we go to Flores, is it a good idea to visit the Gilis? As there are white sand beaches in Flores as well, why should we go to islands with crowdy beaches?


    Flores has some great beaches, but best on islands like Kanawa (where I'm heading soon -- and SBE I hear ;-). there are a lot of other great beaches on Flores, and, compared to Gilis, few tourists. But then Sulawesi has the Togean islands (we have an ebook for there too :-) ...

    I guess what I'm trying to say is Indonesia doesn't lend itself to a short trip. One or two islands are a good taster for a couple of islands more the year after. But on most of the grand islands you'll find great beaches, volcanoes, fascinating culture and decent food.

    Hope that helps!

    #9 Posted: 4/3/2014 - 06:35

  • mooball

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    For me, if I was heading to Indonesia for 4 weeks... or 33 days or whatever it is, I'd do Java, Bali and Flores . That's it. (make sure you get a visa in advance)

    Start in Jakarta and get out of there within 24 hours. Take 2 weeks to cross Java and make sure you don't skip most of the island and head straight to Yogyakarta like most people -- you'll miss the essence of Java if you do that as Yogya is quite touristy. From there, enter Bali and base yourself somewhere like Ubud and hire a vehicle of some sort. That vehicle is your ticket to seeing Bali properly as without it your once again stuck in tourist towns. These tourist towns aren't bad, just as Yogya in Java is not bad, but they don't lend themselves to getting under the skin of Indonesia.

    After 10 days or so in Bali, fly to Flores. Fly into Labuan Bajo and out of Maumere. Or vice versa. Whatever you do, make sure you give yourself time to explore the islands around Labuan Bajo. I prefer Seraya over Kenawa, but both are magnificent island hideaways with fantastic snorkelling right off the beach. Both also offer day trips to see Komodo dragons on either Komodo Island or Rinca. Along the way there are plenty of incredible snorkelling spots which may even include swimming with manta rays. Getting across Flores is easier with a private car and driver and I'd recommend that unless you have time on your side which you probably don't.

    So yeah, I'd skip Sulawesi, Lombok and Sumatra. With one month or so, you really need to be aligned with transport connections and my itinerary sort of gives you that.

    #10 Posted: 6/3/2014 - 01:24

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  • arcticsounds

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 5

    It's been a while but I had to think things through!
    I made some decisions and finally got a plan which I start to really like.



    So we will do Java first (around 9 days). From Surabaya we'll take a flight to Maumere on Flores. We will travel from Maumere to Labuan Bajo , visiting Moni , crater lakes, Bajawa , etc. on the way. From Labuan Bajo we'll take a Perama boat to Lombok. It'll pobably take around 12 days. In Lombok we'll do a 3day-bicycling tour to visit towns (Kuta, Tetebatu,…). We'll do the Rinjani trek and aftwards relax on a beach (maybe Gili Air). That'll probably be 9 days. If we have time left we'll fly from Lombok to Bali to spend our last couple of days there.



    Right now I'm planning the route from Maumere to Labuan Bajo. As there seem to be some Flores-experts/lovers on this board, maybe someone can suggest us a draft route? We have 7 days to go from Maumere to Labuan Bajo.
    On day 1 we'll arrive early so we'll immediately go to Moni. The next day I definitely want to hike Kelimutu. Afterwards we'll do the route Moni - Bajawa - Ruteng - Lubuan Bajo. But I don't know how long to spend in each village and which 'side trips' to do… Hopefully somebody has some experience in travelling this route!
    Thanks a lot!!

    #11 Posted: 27/3/2014 - 16:18

  • arcticsounds

    Joined Travelfish
    26th February, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Hi all,

    Still planning ;)
    I have a few final questions before rounding up our itinerary. I hope someone is able to help me...

    We'll be spending 10 days on Flores. We'll be traveling from Maumere to Labuan Bajo. We'll try to use public transportation as much as possible. But I'm sure we'll need a driver at certain days. Is it possible to hire a driver just for specific parts in Flores? For example, we'll be heading to Kelimutu (from Moni) one morning and driving to Riung in the afternoon. I guess we'll need a driver for that. Also for visiting multiple villages in the Bajawa region. I don't know if it's possible to hire a driver in Ende or in Bajawa? Because I only read stories about hiring a driver in Maumere and doing the whole trip with a driver…

    My second question is for the Lombok part. We'll be spending our last 2 days on one of the Gilis. We'll be flying out of Jakarta at 18:45. Is it possible to leave Gili Air or Meno early in the morning, heading to Mataram and flying to Jakarta in half a day? Or would that be too risky because of flight delays etc?

    Thanks for the help!!

    #12 Posted: 25/4/2014 - 16:44

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