Travel to Indonesia: Java, Bali and the Gili Islands

Who I am
Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

As mentioned in the previous article, where I outlined the stages of our journey, the destination chosen this year was Indonesia and precisely a tour between Java, l'arcipelago in Karimunjawa, Bali e le isole Gili.

We started from Rome and with a stopover in Dubai we reached Jakarta, the starting point for our adventure.

We were able to follow the itinerary we had set fairly faithfully, the only stage we had to skip, alas was the visit to Mount Bromo and the trekking on the volcano.



Indonesia Travel Itinerary, 24 days.

  • Jakarta
  • Yogyakarta
  • Japan
  • Archipelago in Karimunjawa
  • Bali – Ubud
  • Gili Trawangan
  • Bali – Kuta
  • Jakarta

Some Tips for a Trip to Indonesia

In my opinion, a fundamental advice is to check the dates of Ramadan, as the last days the feast of the interruption of fasting is celebrated, this can lead to some inefficiencies, but above all the inevitable tourist exodus in big cities or tourist destinations.
We found ourselves in Yogyakarta in those days and I must say it was a real delirium, some restaurants were closed and the most famous sites (Borobudur and Prambanan) were full of tourists.

Viewed

Il visa in Indonesia costs 35 $ (you can also pay in euros), it lasts 30 days and you pay directly at the airport at the immigration desk before collecting your luggage.
I also remind you of the exit tax to be paid at the airport at a cost of 150.000 rupees.

ATM or Cash

The question of money is always delicate when you go to faraway places, and also for Indonesia the question is cash or cards?
I used the ATM and the good thing is that I was able to withdraw both in Java and Bali, the bad thing is that they cloned an ATM and a prepaid card but fortunately my bank blocked the operations and I had no problems. The advice is to notify your bank before leaving, bring several different cards and take all the security measures indicated by the banks.



July 29

Jakarta

The first stop of our trip is Jakarta, it is actually just the starting point to reach Yogyakarta.

I recommend Hotel in Jakarta

staying in Jakarta I recommend 2 options, based on your travel itinerary:

Hotel near the train station

If you decide like we did to take the train to Yogyakarta, I definitely recommend the MaxOneHotels a Jalan Attorney, the backpackers street, near the Gambir Station. There are about 15 minutes on foot but with luggage it is better to take a taxi.
Nice hotel and above all clean rooms a bit small but for one night it is perfect.

The train leaves at 9,00 in the morning and in about 7/8 hours you will be in Yogyakarta, the journey is pleasant, beautiful scenery and even the lunch served on the train is not bad.
I recommend booking the train to Yogyakarta from Spain, especially if you go in high season there is a risk of not finding tickets. You can buy them on the site www.ticket.com and pay by credit card.

Hotel near Jakarta Airport

If, on the other hand, you have to take a plane the next day, we recommendHotel FM7 Resort, is located near the airport and they have a very efficient shuttle service, they are also very well organized for early morning departures in fact breakfast starts at 4 in the morning.


The rooms are nice and modern, THE PORTE restaurant is very good. The hotel has a swimming pool, whirlpool, sauna, gym and spa.


30-31 July

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is the cultural capital of Java, famous especially for the temples of Prambanan e Borobudur. We stayed at the Gallery Prawirotaman Hotel, located in the exclusive neighborhood in Prawirotaman, very nice area with the main street full of restaurants and clubs.

1 August

Borobudur and Japan

To reach Jepara and Yogyakarta there are minibuses that also leave in the evening, so you can arrive early in the morning (more likely at night) and take the ferry to the island. The minibus is certainly the cheapest choice but not the easiest.

In my opinion, in a journey like this where the journeys are long and demanding and the means are never too punctual, we must try to optimize times and make the most of your trip. That's why we decided to rent a car with driver, who first took us to Borobudur, and after visiting the temple we reached Jepara in about 4 hours, a very convenient and not excessively expensive solution, 1.000.000 Rp (about 64 euros).

The visit to Borobudur it was really nice even though it was full of tourists even though we arrived at 8,30 in the morning. If you are in the mood for a lift, it is worth visiting at dawn.


2-8 August

Karimunjawa

Being able to get the tickets in advance traghetto per Karimunjawa it is impossible, we have turned to the Bumi Tours agency found on the internet (based in the port) managed by Roy, who joined us at our hotel in Jepara, complete with a briefcase for documents and sold us the tickets for the Fast Boat per Karimunjawa. Roy is a reliable and very professional person, in fact we have also relied on him for the subsequent movements and I recommend him to anyone who happens to be in those parts.


2017 update: Roy currently works in the Bali area, for tours and trips to Karimunjawa the manager is now a certain Dany. Some blog users have relied on him to purchase ferry tickets.

The crossing from Jepara to Karimunjawa takes about 2 hours, not very pleasant for those who suffer from the sea.

Karimunjawa is a true tropical paradise still little beaten by western tourism. The archipelago is made up of a series of atolls with crystal clear sea and incredible depths, perfect for those who dream of relaxing on the beach but also for those who have a passion for snorkeling and want to venture into the incredible depths of these islands.

Initially we were supposed to stay 4 days, but due to the high sea the ferries did not leave and we were stuck on the island for another 3 days. Unfortunately we had to change the program and give up the visit of Mount Bromo.

9 August

Da Karimunjawa a Bali

According to the initial itinerary we should have now reach Mount Bromo. We had rented a car with Roy from the Bumi agency for Rp 1.500.000. The idea was to arrive at the volcano at night and go directly to make the excursion at dawn without having to take a hotel.

Alas we had to give up the Bromo, to reach Bali in the direction of Ubud.

To go to Ubud we had 2 options:

  • Return to Yogyakarta and find a hotel, the next day take a plane to Denpasar (Bali) and then a taxi to Ubud.
  • Or rent a car with driver and drive directly to the Banyuwangi port to take the ferry to Bali (ferries depart all day every 30 minutes, even at night).

As Guzzanti's Quelo said "the second you said", we then entrusted ourselves to Roy and together with another couple of Spaniards we reached the port of Banyuwangi at dawn (about 13 hours for the modest sum of 2.200.000 Rp).

10-11 August

Ubud-Bali

After 30 minutes by ferry we arrived in Gilimanuk, north of Bali where we took another car with driver who in 4 hours took us to Ubud at a cost of 600.000 Rp. The buses that are not exactly the best all arrive in Denpasar from where then you have to take a taxi if you want to get to Ubud.

In Ubud we initially chose the Tanah Merah Resort & Gallery (link diretto a booking.com), hotel with luxury huts located 4 km from Ubud, but then due to the unexpected in Karimunjawa we had to cancel.

We opted for The Grand Sunti located in an excellent position very close to the Monkey Forest and a short walk from the center in a street full of restaurants, bars and shops. The Hotel is very nice, the staff are helpful, the pools are very nice and the breakfast buffet is excellent.

The rooms are spacious and clean but I recommend the Deluxe or Super Deluxe rooms, as the Superior rooms have a bad bathroom.

To go to Prambanan we took the bus n. 1A, not particularly convenient as described on the lonely planet, but certainly cheap (3.000 Rp). Despite the not excessive distance, 17 km, it took us almost 2 hours plus the waiting time for the bus.

Probably the best thing is to rent a moped or if you don't want to venture into the chaotic Javanese guide you can easily take a taxi.

Often those who visit Java at this point go to Bromo, there are many agencies that offer the tour with a subsequent stop for Bali.

Driven by the desire for sea and white beaches, we have decided to reach it spectacular archipelago of Karimunjawa, located between Java and Indonesian Borneo. We then headed to Jepara from where ferries leave for Karimunjawa.

1 August

Borobudur and Japan

To reach Jepara and Yogyakarta there are minibuses that also leave in the evening, so you can arrive early in the morning (more likely at night) and take the ferry to the island. The minibus is certainly the cheapest choice but not the easiest.

In my opinion, in a journey like this where the journeys are long and demanding and the means are never too punctual, we must try to optimize times and make the most of your trip. That's why we decided to rent a car with driver, who first took us to Borobudur, and after visiting the temple we reached Jepara in about 4 hours, a very convenient and not excessively expensive solution, 1.000.000 Rp (about 64 euros).

The visit to Borobudur it was really nice even though it was full of tourists even though we arrived at 8,30 in the morning. If you are in the mood for a lift, it is worth visiting at dawn.

2-8 August

Karimunjawa

Being able to get the tickets in advance traghetto per Karimunjawa it is impossible, we have turned to the Bumi Tours agency found on the internet (based in the port) managed by Roy, who joined us at our hotel in Jepara, complete with a briefcase for documents and sold us the tickets for the Fast Boat per Karimunjawa. Roy is a reliable and very professional person, in fact we have also relied on him for the subsequent movements and I recommend him to anyone who happens to be in those parts.

2017 update: Roy currently works in the Bali area, for tours and trips to Karimunjawa the manager is now a certain Dany. Some blog users have relied on him to purchase ferry tickets.

The crossing from Jepara to Karimunjawa takes about 2 hours, not very pleasant for those who suffer from the sea.

Karimunjawa is a true tropical paradise still little beaten by western tourism. The archipelago is made up of a series of atolls with crystal clear sea and incredible depths, perfect for those who dream of relaxing on the beach but also for those who have a passion for snorkeling and want to venture into the incredible depths of these islands.

Initially we were supposed to stay 4 days, but due to the high sea the ferries did not leave and we were stuck on the island for another 3 days. Unfortunately we had to change the program and give up the visit of Mount Bromo.

9 August

Da Karimunjawa a Bali

According to the initial itinerary we should have now reach Mount Bromo. We had rented a car with Roy from the Bumi agency for Rp 1.500.000. The idea was to arrive at the volcano at night and go directly to make the excursion at dawn without having to take a hotel.

Alas we had to give up the Bromo, to reach Bali in the direction of Ubud.

To go to Ubud we had 2 options:

  • Return to Yogyakarta and find a hotel, the next day take a plane to Denpasar (Bali) and then a taxi to Ubud.
  • Or rent a car with driver and drive directly to the Banyuwangi port to take the ferry to Bali (ferries depart all day every 30 minutes, even at night).

As Guzzanti's Quelo said "the second you said", we then entrusted ourselves to Roy and together with another couple of Spaniards we reached the port of Banyuwangi at dawn (about 13 hours for the modest sum of 2.200.000 Rp).

10-11 August

Ubud-Bali

After 30 minutes by ferry we arrived in Gilimanuk, north of Bali where we took another car with driver who in 4 hours took us to Ubud at a cost of 600.000 Rp. The buses that are not exactly the best all arrive in Denpasar from where then you have to take a taxi if you want to get to Ubud.

In Ubud we initially chose the Tanah Merah Resort & Gallery (link diretto a booking.com), hotel with luxury huts located 4 km from Ubud, but then due to the unexpected in Karimunjawa we had to cancel.

We opted for The Grand Sunti located in an excellent position very close to the Monkey Forest and a short walk from the center in a street full of restaurants, bars and shops. The Hotel is very nice, the staff are helpful, the pools are very nice and the breakfast buffet is excellent.

The rooms are spacious and clean but I recommend the Deluxe or Super Deluxe rooms, as the Superior rooms have a bad bathroom.

From Ubud we headed to Gili Island, precisely to Gili Trawangan, the busiest of the three islands, the other two being Gili Meno and Gili Air.

I recommend moving from Bali to the Gili Islands

To go from Bali in the Gili Islands we have relied on the Blue Water Express, we booked through Gilibookings.com and had a great time. Pick-up service is included but limited to certain areas, we were in Ubud and they picked us up directly from the hotel.

In Gili Trawangan we stayed at fantastico Karma Kayak, which is located in the north of the island, in a very quiet area but excellent for snorkeling. However, with a pleasant walk in 20/30 minutes you are in the heart of the nightlife.

19-20 August

Kuta-Bali

We spent the last few days in the too busy Kuta, we slept at Samsara Inn, very nice hotel in an excellent location and quite quiet, although during the night some "alcoholic noise" is inevitable, on the other hand we are in Kuta !!

12-18 August

Gili Trawangan

From Ubud we headed to Gili Island, precisely to Gili Trawangan, the busiest of the three islands, the other two being Gili Meno and Gili Air.

I recommend moving from Bali to the Gili Islands

To go from Bali in the Gili Islands we have relied on the Blue Water Express, we booked through Gilibookings.com and had a great time. Pick-up service is included but limited to certain areas, we were in Ubud and they picked us up directly from the hotel.

In Gili Trawangan we stayed at fantastico Karma Kayak, which is located in the north of the island, in a very quiet area but excellent for snorkeling. However, with a pleasant walk in 20/30 minutes you are in the heart of the nightlife.

19-20 August

Kuta-Bali

We spent the last few days in the too busy Kuta, we slept at Samsara Inn, very nice hotel in an excellent location and quite quiet, although during the night some "alcoholic noise" is inevitable, on the other hand we are in Kuta !!

An area that we really liked is Seminyak, it is located about 3 km from Kuta, it is certainly more elegant than Kuta full of splendid restaurants, among which I recommend the vegetarian restaurant Zula Vegetarian Paradise, really good even for me who am not vegetarian.

ALSO READ: Where to Stay in Bali

21 August

Jakarta

To return to Jakarta we had purchased the flight with AirAsia directly from their website before leaving, about 40 euros per person, an excellent flight of about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

We slept last night at the FM7 Resort Hotel Jakarta, a hotel close to the airport, highly recommended for a stopover while waiting for a flight.

I hope that this travelogue of mine will be there and I am ready to answer more specific questions.

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