Thursday, January 06, 2011

Tips for your Java Tour

In my 6-day Java tour, I spent about 2,200,000 Rp (~RM780 or US$245) on Indonesian soil. I feel guilty for being kiamsiap (stingy). To compensate for that, I am going to do a free promotion for this fascinating destination.

Public Transport or Tour Group?

When I was in Java, I traveled mostly by public transport. But in areas not accessible by public transport, e.g. Bromo and Ijen, I did join tour group. Taking public transport can be slow, and sometimes one has to bargain with the service provider. The advantage is that you get to experience the ‘real Java’. (Remember the crowded mini bus from Probolinggo to Ngadisari?)

If you want a hassle-free vacation, your better bet is to join a tour group right from your country. The downside is that you will lose some degree of freedom.

A compromise is to hire a driver at soon as you set foot on Java. This way, you can travel fast and still retain freedom to choose. However, whether you can trust the driver is a big question mark.

Money Matters

Money changers are hard to come by in Java, but you can withdraw cash from ATM with your credit card.

Phone Call & Internet

4 or 5-star hotels should provide Wifi, and you can make calls right from your room. If you stay in budget hotel, try to look for wartel and warnet. There were people selling prepaid SIM card at Surabaya Airport.

Should you go Kawah Ijen?

The 3km hike to Kawah Ijen can be taxing. So, should you go there?

When I was on my way back from the crater, I saw many Westerners in their 50s or 60s going up the hill, some with the help of walking sticks. Is the trip too tough? I will leave it to you to answer.

Note that descending should be easier than ascending, if it is not raining. If it rains, the dirt path can be slippery.

Java Time

Java time is GMT+7, or one hour behind Malaysia’s. Sunrise is 5~5.30am in Surabaya and Malang; sunset is 5~5.30pm. By 6pm it’s all dark.

Night owls from West Malaysia must adapt to local timing. If you wake up at 8am, you miss half the fun.


  1. Why must feel guilty for being stingy leh? Haha

  2. An interesting place to visit indeed.. though not somewhere I would go by choice :P

  3. day-dreamer
    Tourists are expected to help local economy mah...

    haha... Java is not popular among Malaysians.

  4. Driver to Bromo and Ijen is EXPENSIVE. We hired a driver to these 2 locations (due to time constraint), and we spent 1.5 days with him. Total damage 2 million Rp per car. That's about RM6xx or RM3xx per pax. I was heartbroken!

  5. If you have more than 4 persons, than the price would be more reasonable to bear.

  6. why are you feeling guilty for being kiamsiap leh?? i think it's totally find to go on budget..

  7. i think if i'm alone i think i would hire a driver from hotel, for convenience and also for safety reason.. like what i did in India..

  8. but when you mentioned on "how much you trust the driver", i actually was a little shock because i really didn't think about this question when i just hire a driver for 3 days to drive me from a city to another.. *gasp*

  9. That sure is a good price for a 6-day visit. I think if you have enjoyed your trip at however much or little you've spent, then that's all it matters. No?

    I think I'll stick to a guided package tour though. Thanks for sharing.

  10. kyh
    Some people don't mind paying that amount for a driver. It's just like many tourists prefer to stay in 5-star hotels, even if they don't spend much time inside the room.

    If I am alone, I won't hire a driver lah. I don't feel easy to be with him for so long. Well, unless it's a she, and a pretty one.

  11. I admire your bravery. The invitable haggling and bargaining over prices with the local people scares me. But, by traveling like this, you are able to see more places and I do enjoy reading about them in your posts.

  12. Spending RM780 for a 6-day trip is pretty all right. I think I spent almost close to that amount for my 4-day trip to Bali.

  13. Autumn Belle
    There is nothing brave to speak of.

    Mei Teng
    I thought you stayed in 5-star hotel?