My husband and I are off to Bali/Singapore on honeymoon next month and have been wanting to go over and spend a week+ in Java. We're looking at flying into Yogya & spending a couple of days exploring and doing daytrips to Borobudur &Prambanan. Are we missing out by not going to Jakarta? We're hoping to (time permitting) go and spend 4-5 days in the Karimunjawa Islands & are looking for a bit of advice on getting there from Yogya, where to stay etc.
We'll be heading to Bali after our time in Java and are also wondering whether it's worth going cross-country & taking the ferry across to Gilimanuk, or if the better option is flying? Would very much appreciate any advice or opinions!
Getting to Karimunjawa from Yogya should be quite easy. You need to get to Jepara and there was a blog post recently on travelfish about the boat schedule from Jepara to Karimunjawa which is up to date so you can match your transport from Yogya with the correct departure day from Jepara. Just do a google search.
From the Yogya bus station, there are buses to Semarang and from Semarang there are buses to Jepara. If you're really lucky, there will be buses from Yogya to the town of Kudus which is not far from Jepara and is somewhat of a regional hub.
The boats from Jepara to Karimunjawa don't depart daily. The fast boat takes only 1h 45m and the slow boat about 6h. There is a boat, the Kartini, which sometimes runs from Semarang to Karimunjawa, but it was out of service recently and there was no word on when it might be up and running again although things change frequently with boats there so it may well be up and running again. It would be easier just heading straight to Jepara.
Forget Jakarta. There is not much to see or do there and your time is better spent in the other parts of Java. I would recommend seeing Gunung Bromo while you're in that part of the world.
Good advice from mooball. I agree with skipping Jakarta and suggest sticking to East Java and Bali.
Hmm... How long do you have?
There are a few ways to get to Bali from Yogya. The fastest and most comfortable is to fly direct to Denpasar (Garuda, LionAir and AirAsia). Alternatively, if you have the time, then break the journey up and stay a night or two at Bromo and make your way to Bali after that. Get a bus to Surabaya and fly to Denpasar from there. It doesn't look like a long way on the map but the Sur/Den journey by bus or train and ferry is not fun. If your time is limited then flying when you have that option is a good idea in this part of the world.
The train ride from yogya to bangiwangi (sp?) via surabaya is long but the scenery is lovely. Surabaya is a big smog ridden city but is has a nice market and we had some really good food. It's worth a splurge, since you are on your honeymoon and all, to stay at the hotel Majaphit http://www.hotel-majapahit.com/ which is a beautifully restored colonial hotel built by the Sarki brothers of raffles fame. From Bangiwangi you take a ferry to gilimanuk and then have to negotiate transport to Bali destinations. Flying is definitely easier, but I enjoyed the slow pace and adventure of train travel.