I would like to spend a month in Indonesia and have narrowed it down to Bali, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. Can someone recommend places go and guides in Kalimantan and Sulawesi?
Also, because of transportation technicalities, would it be better to skip out on Sulawesi or Kalimantan and do Java? It seems like it be easier to get to these two places by boat from Java than from Bali where I'd have to fly. Can someone advise me on what to do?
#1 lowalker147 has been a member since 12/7/2011. Posts: 1
I'm not an expert on Sulawesi or Kalimantan - but yes, if you only have a month, assume that you would have to fly. Are you on a particularly tight budget that means you prefer a boat to flying? (This will affect your options).
It's hard to know what to recommend without knowing what you want out of your travels. What sort of experiences are you looking for? Time on the beaches? Trekking opportunities? Off the beaten track experiences? Bali will give you a completely different experience to Sulawesi or Kalimantan or Java.
If you're keen on the beach-scene and night-life and scenery/trekking - Bali could be the way to go. Bali is probably the easiest to get around, and you have the opportunity to island hop to Lombok, Lembongan, Gili islands, etc.
Java is quite a different experience. I enjoyed Yogykarta (Borobudor and Prambanan temples) and Mt Bromo (volcanic mountains). I also believe there are nice islands at the Jarkarta end that might be worthy of a visit. But out of the options you suggested, it would probably be the area that least interested me - but it could be convenient if you only have a month. Java combined with Bali maybe.
I think Sulawesi would be doable from a transportation perspective if you can fly there, but you would want to focus your travels to certain areas (eg the Toraja area). I loved this area when I was here back in 1984 (!) and look forward to returning in the next years.
Haven't been to Kalimantan yet, so can't offer any info there.
Bottom line though - it's hard to help without knowing more about your travel interests and budget.
Haven't been to Kalimantan either but i wouldn't do BOTH Kalimantan and Sulawesi as well as Bali in just one month.
You mention guides.... do you just want to go to Tana Toraja in Sulawesi? If so that's not too time consuming, just a bit expensive to go to Sulawesi only for that! What are your interests?
The funeral ceremonies etc are the only things you actually need a guide for. Guides know which village they are in at any given time and help introduce you. I suppose you could just wander in on your own but it generally isn't "the done thing".
The rest of Rantepao (and Sulawesi) can be done without a guide though many more wealthy tourists do use one and private transport.
I really can't recommend any particular guide...there are TONS of them! There's a female guide who works out of Wisma Maria in Rantepao who everyone I spoke to seemed very happy with (Sorry I can't remember her name right now but if you ask at the reception they'll know who she is...most guides there are male)
Otherwise I'd recommend going to the official government tourist office in Rantepao.I didn't use the guide there (went to ask about a 3 day trek) but he knew his stuff, unlike some of the wannabe guide local youths hanging about!
You can organize a guide with transport from Makassar too if you want but the bus journey is very comfortable so no need really.
PS Flying is generally a lot more pleasant and convenient than Pelni ships. Do you have some reason not to fly? Up to date Pelni schedules are often really hard to come by and the ferries don't leave every day. Getting on and off those ships is a bit challenging too...hundreds of people pushing and shoving (especially the porters)