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Indonesia forum

Indonesia itinerary advice/critique!

Posted by nadirahmed on 9/6/2018 at 12:20

Hi everyone!

I'm pulling together my itinerary for a four-week trip to Indonesia in December. Please let me know what you think!

Just to give you an idea of my travel style, I'm more a flashpacker than a backpacker - I like my home comforts even when I'm on the road (a private room to sleep in, hot shower, fan or AC etc.). I'd opt for culture over beach and good food over cheap alcohol/partying. I love experiencing new and unusual (by Western/British standards) things, particularly natural and/or historical phenomena. I'm neither a swimmer nor a surfer so wouldn't opt to do anything water-based (where I'm in the water!). Give me a temple or volcano any day.

My South East Asia travels have so far taken me on a 5-week trip, at breakneck speed, through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia in 2015. I also spent 2.5 weeks in Vietnam last year.

My current itinerary is as follows:

9 Dec - arrive Jakarta at 5pm
10 Dec - Jakarta
11 Dec - travel to Bandung
12/13 Dec - Bandung - day trips out to Tangkuban Perahu, Kawah Putih
13 Dec - travel to Yogyakarta
14-20 Dec - in Yogyakarta - day trips out to Borobodur, Dieng Plateau, Prambanan, Solo
20 Dec - travel to Probolingo, early morning climb up Mount Bromo
21 Dec - travel to Kawah Ijen, early morning climb to see the blue flames etc.
22 Dec - travel to Bali, probably Bukit peninsula
23 Dec - rest and recuperation on the Bukit peninsula!
24-28 Dec - travel to and explore one(?) of the Gili Islands (any suggestions?)
28-30 Dec - Ubud
30 Dec-1 Jan -Sidemen
1-3 Jan - Amed
3-5 Jan - Seminyak
5 Jan - depart DPS for London

Any thoughts on the itinerary?

I know Bali is a mostly Hindu island, but what should I expect around Xmas and New Year?

Any thoughts on which bits I might want a more structured (private) tour on? I suspect I might want some help from arrival in Probolingo to getting on the ferry at Bali.

Thank you in advance for your time!

#1 nadirahmed has been a member since 26/2/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 19

Posted by savorygal on 12/6/2018 at 23:09

The first thing that may be an issue is your timing. December is the height of rainy season and there will be rain. Lots of rain, especially in Bali.
Also, Christmas & New Years is especially busy & frantic in Bali and the Gilis ( where I live). If you prefer culture vs partying and beaches I'd steer clear of the Gilis as we really only have beaches, water sports & nightlife on offer.
Lombok may be more to your liking, but again, its going to be wet.
I also would advise you to slow down a bit, but you like "breakneck speed' travel so different courses for different horses.

You will just need to think about if you are going to go stir crazy or not if it happens to downpour for 3-4 straight days ( or longer).

Cheers & have fun

#2 savorygal has been a member since 16/7/2010. Posts: 176

Posted by nadirahmed on 13/6/2018 at 14:29

Thanks savorygal, really useful info.

In terms of the rain, I've read (can't remember where though) that the rain tends to be in short sharp bursts in the afternoon? I think I could live with that and even a longer period of rainfall (3-4 days). I'll have my kindle and am happy to spend my day/s sitting on a balcony, waiting for the rain to die down.

Re the Gilis - thanks. I'll probably give them a miss!

I probably will slow it down - my travel speed in 2015 was a result of circumstances rather than a desire to travel at that speed. I'll probably add a day to Ubud, Sidemen and Amed after dropping the Gilis. What do you think?

Thanks again (and again in advance)!

#3 nadirahmed has been a member since 26/2/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 19

Posted by Ramya on 21/6/2018 at 09:09

Hello Nadirahmed,

I think you need to explore scenic views of Bali. Best idea to explore Tanah Lot Island,Uluwatu Bali and Goa Gajah.Even if it rains you can explore the beauty around the Island with your Kindle.

Have Fun!

Cheers to your Trip!

#4 Ramya has been a member since 14/6/2018. Location: India. Posts: 1

Posted by nadirahmed on 1/7/2018 at 07:17

Thanks Ramya. Those are all on my list!

I've changed the tail end of my itinerary so now it looks like this:

22 Dec - travel to Bali
22-25 Dec - Ubud
25-28 Dec - Seminyak
28-31 Dec - Sidemen
31 Dec-3 Jan - Munduk
3-5 Jan - Bukit peninsula
5 Jan - depart DPS for London

I think that makes my itinerary a bit more relaxed as I'm not rushing from one place to another. It should also mean that if I lose a day here or there due to the rain, I should still be okay.

Any other feedback from other forumites is welcome!

#5 nadirahmed has been a member since 26/2/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 19

Posted by Megaworldasia365 on 6/7/2018 at 08:10

Regarding volcanoes in Indonesia:

1. Mount Merapi, the most active volcano on Java, is near Jogjakarta.

2.Notes on Ijen:

The volcano is 2700 meters at the highestpoint, and 2400 meters to the volcanic rim. If you want to see the sunriseyou’ll need to hike the extra 300 meters of elevation above and beyond thetrack at the rim.

The hike to the volcanic rim: There’s a 1.7 kilometer trek to the rim from the car park. Some sections are quite steep. The final 500 meters is along a flat track. Actual elevation from the car park to the volcanic rim is approx. 700 meters

Itscold up there: The weather at the top at night iscold and the wind chill is a definite factor. After the 2 – 3 hour hike fromthe car park you’ll be hot and perspiring but will soon cool off in the coldconditions. A jacket and a woollen hat are must haves for the few hours you’llspend down in the crater. The wind whips over the rim and swirls around insideand there is virtually nowhere to shelter from the cold air, save for a fewlarge boulders and the sulphur miners shack next to the lake.

FEES: The park entrance fee is 120,000 INR. If you choose to go down intothe crater to see the “Blue Fire” the fee is an additional 150,000 INR.

GAS MASK: Is also an essential item if you plan to drop into the crater. These can be hired down at the parking area for 100,000 INR.

LIGHTS: These are essential for a night trek into Ijen as there is no artificial lighting along the track or down in the crater. The best form of lighting is a head lamp, the type which miners use, which then enables you to use both hands for climbing purposes.

Descent into the crater: A steep, rock strewn descent of about 200 meters down to the crater. There are handrails in some stretches of the descent but for the most part it is a rocky trail with only boulders to hold onto as you work your way down. A descent in the dead of night can be hazardous and a torch light is an essential item. Work your way down slowly and be surefooted as the track is littered with loose rocks.

In the crater: There is a blue, acid water lake at the bottom of the crater. The strong, pungent smell of sulfur fills the air within the carter and is at its worst at the bottom where the vents are. Yellows sulfur is thick on the ground around the vents. The swirling winds within the crater blow the sulfur clouds in all directions at any given moment and for this reason if you intend getting in close to have a look at the miners a gas mask is a must have.

The blue flame: This is obviously only visible at night so a descent in the dark is required. The blue fire apparently only occurs at Ijen, and one other site in Iceland, so it’s well worth a look. Time it so you won’t have long to wait before the sunrises and lights up the bottom of the crater otherwise you’ll be hanging around in the cold for longer than need be.

Photography of the sulfur miners: These guys work damned hard in hazardous conditions for a meager return so don’t be cheapskate. If you’re going to take photos of them at work or carrying their loads, tip them. The standard tip is 5000 INR or 40 cents US!!!

safe travels.


#6 Megaworldasia365 has been a member since 26/8/2017. Posts: 25

Posted by Bungkus on 9/8/2018 at 22:30 TF writer


I’d add a day between Bromo and Ijen, although plenty of travelers climb one after the other, there is a lot of travel time from Jogya to Bromo and then to Ijen, and in the wet season can be slower. Break up the journey so you can enjoy the volcanos and not just tick the box that you’ve seen them. And give yourself some flexibility, when you get to a place you may want to stay longer or move on more quickly. Travel in Indonesia doesn’t always happen according to plan ;). Enjoy your trip!

#7 Bungkus has been a member since 28/8/2015. Posts: 16

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