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Itinerary - Indonesia - 6 weeks (First time backpacker)

Posted by firsttimeindo on 10/8/2014 at 08:04

Hello Everybody,

On the 20th of august I will leave for 6 weeks to Indonesia. I will fly in and out from Bali. As I booked my ticket rather last minute and I'm a first time backer, I would love some advice on my Itinerary. Of the six weeks I would like to spend two on Bali, because of a friend who lives in seminyak.

My main question is; what is the typical backpackers trail (one where I will quickly meet new people to spend the night or travel with). I have a large budget and can take some domestic flights. My first idea was to do Java - Bali - Lombok. (optional komodo..)

First idea for my Itinerary:

21/8 Arrive at Bali; booked a hotel for two nights to get rid of the jet-lag.

Java (1 - 1.5 week)

23/8 Fly into Bandung (I want to skip Jakarta). Any good backpacker hostels?
24/8 Bandung - Pangandaran (stay two nights into Pangandaran)
26/8 Pandangaran - Yogyakarta (stay three nights in Yogy)
29/8 Yogy - Malang or Surabaya (what is the best place to stay for bromo tour)
30/8 Bromo Tour
30/8 or 31/8 Leave Java by Plane from Surabaya or Malang

Lombok (+- 1.5 - 2 weeks including Gilis & Lembo)

31/8 Fly into Mataram from Java
+- 5-7 days Discover Lombok - Mt. Rinjani trek
3 days Gilis
2 days Lembongan


Around 12/9 -
30/9 Arrive at Bali and do everything there in the remaining time.

30/9 Back to Europe

My biggest doubt is Java. Is it worth the time, or should I skip it and consider the option Bali-Lombok-Flores (komodo). I'm very flexible, but want to end my trip in Bali with at least 1.5 week left. Please give me some good tips. I like beaches, islands and some parties!

Your advice is very much appreciated!!



#1 firsttimeindo has been a member since 10/8/2014. Posts: 4

Posted by firsttimeindo on 10/8/2014 at 08:28

One thing I forgot to mention.. I'll be arriving with a Visa on Arrival as I dont have time to handle it with the embassy anymore.. any tips?

#2 firsttimeindo has been a member since 10/8/2014. Posts: 4

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Posted by mooball on 10/8/2014 at 09:14 TF writer

I guess the first thing you need to figure out is how you are going to extend that visa. It's going to be the thing that everything else is based around as you'll to be in one place for at least a few days and maybe more. I guess that place should be Bali, so make sure you get back to Bali with enough time to extend that visa. This means if day 30 lands on a Sunday, you'll have to make sure you get back to Bali on Friday early enough to get to the immigration office before it closes. With that in mind, let's talk about the rest.

Java is one of my favourite places to travel in Indonesia as it's a bit crazy. Filled with people, but with patches of untouched beauty. I like your itinerary in Java. I'd actually nick up to Tangkuban Perahu in Bandung before heading off to Pangandaran . If you get up early enough, you can get someone to take you on their motorbike and be back at your hostel/hotel by 10am. That's what I'd do. Then you can get the bus to Pangandaran and arrive perhaps before it's dark. Plenty of places to stay in Bandung, but it's not a place where you're likely to meet many other foreigners. Best bet is probably Hunny Hostel or Chez Bon if you want a hostel. But for the money, you can get a really cheap private room elsewhere... pretty crappy though. Given it's your first time backpacking, go to either of those hostels. Both are pretty good.

When you arrive in Bandung, you're going to be going WTF if it's your first time to Asia. Culture shock is going to be a 9 out of 10 in all likelihood, but if you're up for adventure, you should be able to push through that.

I really like Pangandaran and it's definitely worth a day or two. If you have two days, rent a motorbike one day and go to Green Canyon and Batu Karas for a day trip.

Yogya is a favourite traveller hang out spot. This is perhaps one of the few places in Java that you will mingle properly with other foreigners. Most other places just don't have big enough numbers of foreigners in them.

Bromo tour will start from Yogya and I recommend just going to one of the travel agencies and looking at their price lists. It'll make life a lot easier than travelling by a mixture of train and bus all the way to Bromo on your own -- although that is a cheaper option and more in line with what the purist would. Almost everyone visiting Bromo will stay in Cemoro Lawang right on the rim of the caldera the night before and then catch a jeep to the lookout. If you're not into that, you can get out of bed at like 4am and just hike to wherever you want to see sunrise. That way you can avoid the crowds. But the crowds didn't really bother me at Bromo...

The tour should be able to arrange transport for you direct to Surabaya airport. If not, they can definitely drop you off somewhere convenient so you can catch the appropriate transport there.

Lombok itinerary looks good.

All in all a good itinerary, but it will be full on for your first backpacking trip especially if you've never been to Asia before.

If you want to delete Lombok, you could add Flores or Sumatra. Same with Java. But as it is, it looks good.

#3 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 439
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Posted by firsttimeindo on 10/8/2014 at 13:03

Thank you so much for your reply! Really helpful!

I see you recommend to travel by bus (or minibus).. to be honest I would love to travel more by train. I've read that the Banjar station is fairly close to Pandangaran. I would prefer to travel by train from Bandung - Banjar.. are there regular busses available from Banjar to Pangandaran? Great tip about hiring a motorcycle, would love that!

The same goes for the Bromo.. I see you recommend the trip from Yogya. But I really dont like the fact that I will be packed for eleven hours in a mini-van. I rather like to take a train to Malang/Surubaya and connect with Probolingo and book a trip from there. Any advice here, go straight to Surabaya and connect with Probolingo? I dont bother to stay a day in either of the three cities if the connection is not great, but I would like to visit Bromo and fly off to Lombok (or Bali) on the same day.

About the VOA:

I've read that Lombok also has a immigration office in Mataram, my plan would be to drop it off - take the Mt. Rinjani trek - and pick it up after, to not waste too much time. Does anyone has experience with the immigration office in Mataram/Lombok? If not recommended, I suppose I should go to Bali first, just to be safe on the VOA. And probably I should combine Lembo with my stay in Bali and not Lombok.

Thanks again all!

#4 firsttimeindo has been a member since 10/8/2014. Posts: 4

Posted by firsttimeindo on 10/8/2014 at 13:39

Please see the source of the good experience with the Lombok immigration office, if it is really that convenient it is a useful tip for everybody planning to visit Lombok and in the need of a extension on their VOA. Looking for some experience..

#5 firsttimeindo has been a member since 10/8/2014. Posts: 4

Posted by savorygal on 10/8/2014 at 18:36

I don't have personal experience extending a VOA in Mataram but it is the immigration office I use for my residency visa. The staff are helpful & speak a bit of English. I know many people who have extended their VOA with no issues. So I would say your idea of dropping off your passport & then trekking Rinjani is a good one.
safe travels, welcome to Indo

#6 savorygal has been a member since 16/7/2010. Posts: 174
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Posted by mooball on 10/8/2014 at 23:11 TF writer

Trains... They are fun, comfortable and worth giving a go in Java. The problem is that they're often slower despite bad traffic on the roads. It just depends I suppose. The train can drop you off in Banjar. From there, you'll need to catch an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to the bus station. Will cost about a dollar.

Also, for a real Indo experience, try buy the economy train ticket. Not sure what the story is on that route, but often it's not air-conditioned and sellers are allowed on the train. I much prefer that as you can get cheap food and drinks when the train pulls into stations. In the upper classes, sellers aren't allowed on and you either have to buy from the train food people (yuk) or go to the door when the train stops and shout down the tracks for someone to serve you.

Train from Yogya to Surabaya or Malang and then onto Bromo is popular, but requires a bit of flexibility. If you're doing that, you don't need a tour as the tour is basically just the minivan. So choose either Malang or Surabaya first. Malang is a bit more adventurous and is really for those with an extra day to spare. Hardly anyone does the Malang route compared to the one from Surabaya/Probolinggo.

If you choose Malang, google "bromo the alternative way" for a post I did for travelfish on that route. If you choose Surabaya, get off the train and catch a bus to the bus station outside of town. If that is too complicated, catch a taxi or ojek. From the bus station, catch a bus to Probolinggo. It will either drop you off at the bus station or on the main highway depending on its route. If you get dropped off on the highway, catch an angkot (local minivan) to the bus terminal for about 2,000 rupiah. From the bus terminal, buses go to Cemoro Lawang where all the accommodation for Bromo is located. The last bus leaves at between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. If you miss that, catch an ojek for about 80,000 rupiah to Cemoro Lawang and make sure you wear long pants and long sleeves. I did that once in shorts and tshirt and it started raining. The rain was like ice and the air temperature around 5ºC. Great trip though!

Personally, I'd choose the Malang route if I was doing solo independent travel to Bromo as you get to see both access routes. Just beware it's a bit more advanced.

#7 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 439
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