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Three weeks: Java & Gilis

  • Shoshana

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Hi all,

    I am spending three weeks in Indonesia in July. I have a return flight to Jakarta . I'm a solo female backpacker.

    I'd definitely like to visit the following: Yogy, Boro, Prambanan, Bromo, Dieng Plateu, Kawah Ijen.

    I'd also like to do a few days of scuba diving. I think the Gilis Islands are my best bet?

    Given that, can I work the following into my schedule: Bandung, Garut, Pangandaran, one of the national parks on Java? Or would it be a better use of my time to explore Bali a bit more?

    Also, should I work my way overland from Jakarta to the Gilis and then fly back and return home? Or should I go diving first and work my way East to West? Or does it not matter?

    Many many thanks

    #1 Posted: 25/4/2014 - 11:15

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  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    I did a similar 3 week trip a couple summers ago. I didn't spend much time in Jakarta , but only hit Yogya, Bromo, Banyuwangi, cut across Bali and only stayed for a night and then Gili Air before taking one night in Senggigi and taking a flight back from Lombok to Jakarta the next day. I don't remember specifics, but think I spent around 5 nights in both Yogya and Gili Air, gave me a chance to soak them up more.

    I think it is a nice idea to end with Gili Air, as I always prefer to put the beach time at the end of my trip to have the salt water clean my scratches and heal my bruises. I'd originally thought to head up to Dieng Plateu, but really enjoyed Yogya and didn't get around to it, also skipped Ijen after having hit Bromo and just wanting to relax in Banyuwangi. With the time you have, I might recommend just a loose itinerary of 2 weeks on Java and see if you get stuck somewhere, then a week including your time to get across Bali. I skipped it for the smaller Gili Air because my idea of a tropical island is one with no cars and that I can walk around in a morning. You certainly don't need 5 nights in Yogya, but I'd recommend 2-3 full days.

    In Jakarta, you may enjoy Six Degree hostel - but will want to pre-book, and the same for your train ticket from Jakarta to Yogya. That time of year things start to get a little busy and I found a few people complaining they couldn't get the train ticket they wanted when they attempted to. The trip from Yogya to Bromo takes a full day and you won't get into Bromo until late - though some people book a tour straight through from Yogya to Banyuwangi via Bromo and Ijen, and for convenience that might be a good idea if you can get some people together to share the cost of the ride.

    #2 Posted: 26/4/2014 - 03:30

  • mooball

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    Bandung , Garut, Pangandaran is possible in that schedule. Bandung for 2 nights, Garut for 2 nights (maybe 3 if you climb a volcano) and Pangandaran for at least 2 nights, but many people get stuck in this part of the world because they're having such a good time.

    So Bandung to see Tangkuban Parahu, Garut for the hotspring water in your bathroom (and perhaps Gunung Papandayan) and... Pangandaran for the beach and seafood and generally just hanging out. If you get bored, 3 nights is enough. A train from there to Yogya is easy enough and if trains are booked full (they sometimes are), catch a bus. Same goes for Jakarta - Bandung -- train is best, but there are hundreds of buses travelling this route daily.

    #3 Posted: 19/5/2014 - 08:52

  • Shoshana

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Thanks so much both.

    Caseyprich - was getting to Gili Air easy and worthwhile? My main purpose is for scuba diving, rather than beach time, so I'm also now considering staying on Bali and going to Permuteran (for Menjangan) after crossing over from Java, and then on to Amed - possibly via a few days in Ubud. Is there stuff to do on Gili Air other than relaxing at the beach? And if you met any divers, what did they say the diving was like? Many thanks!

    Mooball - oh great, I think I might build them into my schedule then :) Is it worth climbing a volcano at Garut or would they be broadly similar / not as exciting as Bromo, if climbing Bromo is planned later in the trip?
    Also, I often hear that I should book a train in advance, but realistically does that mean one week or one month or more in advance?

    Thanks again :)

    #4 Posted: 19/5/2014 - 10:22

  • mooball

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    I think Bromo is unique and there really aren't too many other volcanoes like that. Also, you don't really climb that so much as take the stairs.

    Gunung Papandayan is a volcano with lots of different stuff to see and you do actually climb if.

    The problem with trains is that they are full on public holidays, school holidays, Ramadan. It's not the end of the world if a train is full as there is always a bus. Just book your train tickets when you're sure of a departure day, even if it is the day before (which is usually is for most ppl)

    #5 Posted: 19/5/2014 - 20:08

  • caseyprich

    Joined Travelfish
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    Getting to Gili Air was very easy, a quick boat ride from Bali - and I've heard the Gilis are considered by many to have some of the best diving, can't speak from personal experience. In fact, the 'beach' time is not the best there because there is so much coral - otherwise it is just a nice place to relax and walk around.

    #6 Posted: 19/5/2014 - 23:50

  • noddytravel

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    Why bother with Bandung, Pandangaran... ? check out Malang and stay a couple of days (or more) so much to explore in the area, use as a base for Bromo and many other places, same with Yogya, get out of the city and explore. Be sure to do a sunrise viewing from Sentembu Hill overlooking Borobudur before visiting the temple straight after.
    Lombok is awesome, esp outside of Gili's/sengiggi, you could spend more than a few days here. though to save time, maybe check out scuba options at 1000 islands above Jakarta or Karimunjawa..? I don't know anything about scuba in those areas, but they are nice, and it would save time and money by not having to go to Lombok.
    as much as I love Indo, its not a great place to be on schedule, especially if Ramadan is on. (which is a possibility while you are there)

    #7 Posted: 21/5/2014 - 21:32

  • noddytravel

    Joined Travelfish
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    Why bother with Bandung, Pandangaran... ? check out Malang and stay a couple of days (or more) so much to explore in the area, use as a base for Bromo and many other places, same with Yogya, get out of the city and explore. Be sure to do a sunrise viewing from Sentembu Hill overlooking Borobudur before visiting the temple straight after.
    Lombok is awesome, esp outside of Gili's/sengiggi, you could spend more than a few days here. though to save time, maybe check out scuba options at 1000 islands above Jakarta or Karimunjawa..? I don't know anything about scuba in those areas, but they are nice, and it would save time and money by not having to go to Lombok.
    as much as I love Indo, its not a great place to be on schedule, especially if Ramadan is on. (which is a possibility while you are there)

    #8 Posted: 21/5/2014 - 21:34

  • mooball

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    I guess the question is more, why not? Both Bandung and Pangandaran have something to offer. As does Malang. And countless other places across Java. So yeah, why not those places?

    #9 Posted: 21/5/2014 - 23:42

  • noddytravel

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    Mooball, you're absolutely correct. there is no reason NOT to go. The whole of Java has been one of my favourite places anywhere to travel and I always recommend it to other travellers. I was merely thinking of somebody on a tight schedule, I never have one so I like to go everywhere. But Pangandaran is pretty far out of the way, I was just trying to help Shoshana maximize her travel time, especially considering she was trying to fit Lombok/scuba in also. I suggested Malang due to the vicinity of the places Shoshana listed as wanting to see, plus the many other great natural attractions nearby that she hasn't mentioned. (and, well, I just love the area)
    Bandung, Pangandaran, in fact the whole island is an amazing place to explore, but I'm a slow traveller and hate feeling rushed in an attempt to 'see everything' in a couple of weeks. It is possible to be somewhere new everyday, but that's just not how I do it. I hope that clarifies my view point.

    #10 Posted: 22/5/2014 - 00:30

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  • noddytravel

    Joined Travelfish
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    oh and Shoshana, from all the divers I meet, Flores is apparently some of the best in Indonesia. Been there, but not diving (possibly the only person not to be!) but once again, a tight schedule and not so cheap internal flights might make that next trip's destination. but if you were considering flying to Lombok, maybe go to Labuan Bajo for a few days instead. Do your diving and see the Komodo National Park.
    also apologies for the double post earlier, wifi issues and unsure how to delete?!

    #11 Posted: 22/5/2014 - 00:39

  • Shoshana

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2014
    Posts: 5

    Thanks both!

    I'm beginning to think that I'll end up making decisions about where to go once I'm there - it's still nice to have an idea in advance though :) And I think I may well have time to go to all three - Malang, Pangandaran and Bandung.

    Thanks also for the idea of Karimunjawa - looks promising.

    I'd love to go to the Komodo National Park, and spend more time on Lombok as well, but like you say - I think I might save both for future trips. Seeing as Indonesia is so big and has so much to offer, I think I need to be strict with myself this first brief visit and maybe stick to Java and a bit of Bali :)

    It is Ramadan when I'm there - will this impact on me massively? I know people head home for the holidays so transport is slower and fully booked. Are sites still open? And should I also avoid eating during the day so as not to offend anybody?

    Thanks!

    #12 Posted: 22/5/2014 - 04:37

  • mooball

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    Ramadan is a month long and it's fair to say that transport is more full at the end of the month than at the beginning. Towards the end of the month, everything is full. Just don't try and do too much travelling in the week before the big day or else you may get frustrated as everyone is returning home for holidays. Jakarta is relatively empty at this time...

    At the beginning of the month, few people are yet travelling home so transport will be ok, but still pre-book! The other thing to worry about is school holidays. If they some how overlap with Ramadan, then it gets complicated.

    Eating during Ramadan is not a problem but a good rule of thumb is not to eat or drink anything in the street at all during fasting hours. Eating in restaurants and cafés is perfectly ok and you'll find plenty of malls in the cities with restaurants that are open. At night, these same restaurants are full with people breaking fast...

    Also look for restaurants/warungs not owned by Muslims. There are plenty of them and locals should help you find them.

    So yes, Ramadan will impact your journey somewhat, so you just need to be flexible and patient and perhaps creative with solutions for transport :).

    #13 Posted: 22/5/2014 - 08:06

  • Shoshana

    Joined Travelfish
    25th April, 2014
    Posts: 5

    That's really helpful - thank you :)

    #14 Posted: 22/5/2014 - 14:39

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