I'm booked for a flight to Jakarta on June 18th and return on July 5th (I know, high-season). I'm planning on a couple nights in Yogyakarta and then overland to Mt. Bromo. Then I'd like to overland (leapfrogging Bali) to Lombok - though I'm open for to the idea of flying from Surabaya - I'd like to know the sense of the overland from Mt. Bromo to Lombok if anyone has experience. (I'd probably skip Ijen as I don't like the smell of Sulfur).
So I'm looking at a little over a week on Lombok/ Gili Air , but not sure how I should split it. There are a number of nice places on the south end of Lombok I'd like to check out, and a few interesting places to stay up north near Mt. Rinjani (thinking of a hike there so any advice also welcome). Since Mt. R involves anything from 1-2 nights anyway, and I've got two spots I'm looking at on Lombok - am I really missing anything if I settle into that island and ignore the Gilis? Is the water any more prestine and the scene any more relaxed? I do like small islands when I get the chance (RE: Ko Chang v. Ko Wai). But is it worth it to pack up and take a try to catch a ferry over to Gili Air in the high season - and to complicate my hotel bookings to boot! I know I sound like a naysayer, but I'm more than ready to be convinced otherwise.
Please do offer any critiques on the Yogyakarta-Bromo leg as well, any destinations I'm skipping that I shouldn't miss (. . . Solo, Dieng Plateau ) and let words fly on the relative merits of staying around Kuta(Lambok) or Tanjung.
Much appreciated all, and please forgive if I bump this a few times.
Casey, I traveled overland from surabaya to Bali (not lombok, which is even further) & it was a SLOG. I would fly if your budget allows.
as far as Gili Air vs. lombok, I would say the gili's are worth checking out. They are a very different vibe from Lombok. The water is nice in both places, Kuta lombok tends to have bigger surfs & sometimes swimming is not possible d/t the waves, but if you are a surfer you will be happy! I found Sengiggi to be a bit of a drag. One long strip of tourist facilities with not much local culture.
The Gili's are easy & cheap to get to, just go to Bangsal, and get a local boat. They run all day from 8-4. Get there earlier if you want to go to Gili air as boats are not as frequent as they are to Gili T.
Gili Air is pretty quiet, lot's of families & honeymooners, and accomodation tends to be a bit more upmarket. I know Gili T gets a bad rap as the party island, but if you stay on the North side of the island, ( coral beach area) it is super quiet and the water is lovely and you won't be awakened by the mosques at 4 am. (it's hard to escape the call to prayer on Gili air) and on GT you have the option of going into "town" for live music or dinner should you choose. Keep in mind Gili air has no ATMs so load up on cash before you go.
I love this area of the world and hope you do too. happy travels
Noted on the flight - most likely will do.
Anyone with comments on the Yogyakarta-Mt.Bromo portion of the trip would be appreciated. Not sure how long to stay around Mt. Bromo, is one day to get to Mt. Bromo and then a full day there sufficient to enjoy the scenery?
Surabaya to Bali is quite a long bus ride, but then to Lombok on top of that in one go is probably too much. From Surabaya to Padang Bai in Bali where the ferry to lombok departs from is 14hrs. Having said that, though, it is extremely cheap. It's only 70,000 rupiah for that journey.
Most people head straight from Yogya to Bromo to Bali. Some stop at Ijen too. I think there are some other cool places to visit as well if you're travelling at a slower place. Dieng is certainly worth at least a day trip from Yogya in my view. You can even do it on a motorbike there and back in a day. I like Malang and Surabaya, but you can tick of most of the activities in these cities in a day or two. Of note in Malang are the Singosari temples and in Surabaya, the temples of Trowulan and then a bunch of smaller things around town such as the cigarette factory.
If you're travelling independently, it's much easier to travel from Malang to Bromo rather than via Probolinggo. I also wouldn't write off Ijen despite hating sulphur. It's only an extra day on the journey and it really is fascinating.
Another option for skipping Bali is to break up the journey somewhat and just spend a couple of days in Bali. For example, once entering Bali on the bus, take the northern road across to Lovina and spend a night there and then the next morning get a tourist shuttle to Padang Bai. Would make the whole journey much easier.
Thanks for the advice on both threads. I was thinking of staying at Wonokitri rather than going through Probo I'd head in via Pasuruan - I guess sunrise is a big deal I just thought I'd check out some volcanoes and walk the km to the viewpoint. Would appreciate your advice on this - planning for two nights. Was ideally planning to back track to Surabaya and catch a flight to Lombok from there as I've heard the overlands can be troublesome - have only 18 days for Java & Lombok. Was thinking it'd be best to just fly straight to Lombok and skip the overland with such a short time.
That's why I was thinking Yogyakarta, Bromo, Lombok. Plan was to pick up a train to either Surabaya or Pasuruan, spend a night, then head onward to Wonokitri. Don't like organized tours so I'd prefer to go in by myself and find a place to stay. Any knowledge on the Pasuruan-Wonokitri leg would be appreciated. Would it be better to stay in Wonokitri or Cemoro Lawang?
When I was in the area in December, I asked around about the different routes for getting to Bromo and the answer that came back about the Wonokitri route was that it was mainly used by private tour groups coming in from Surabaya. Makes sense really, because I also did the Jemplang approach and I didn't see any other tourists doing that either. In fact, I didn't see another foreign tourist until I was well inside the caldera and nearly to the front of Bromo near Cemoro Lawang. I would suggest that over well over 90% of people come via Probolinggo and stay in Cemoro Lawang meaning the accommodation options there are decent. So in that case, I would always choose to stay in Cemoro Lawang if I was going to go again.
My advice is to simply follow the trail via Probolinggo. The train stops there as do all the buses on their way east to places like Bali. It'll make life easier and you'll be able to get back to Surabaya from there very easily as it's well-connected. I can't imagine Wonokitri being as easy to get to and from.
Another viable option is to get the overnight train from Yogya to Malang, catch a couple of angkots east and head to Tumpang where you can see a couple of the Singosari temples and then head up Bromo from there. An ojek from Tumpang to Cemoro Lawang should cost in the region of 80,000 rupiah.
Even though Bromo is one of the top tourist attractions in Java, it's not exactly brimming with tourists, so it'll still feel like an adventure in Cemoro Lawang.