Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Indonesia Trip '08 – Time To Dust Off Those Traveling Shoes

After my successful Manila trip last year, I’ve been looking forward to repeat the experience with a new destination. Earlier in the year, I’ve decided to select Indonesia as the next ASEAN country that I would like to visit this year. As fate would have it, a few friends that I recently known were also planning to visit Indonesia this year so it was easier for me to find traveling buddies to go on the trip with. Unlike the previous Manila trip, my traveling companions this time around would be closer to my age and share more common interests with me. While it was a blast traveling with the guys I went with last time to Manila, there were more than a few occasions that I wished that I had someone more alike to share the moments that I was experiencing with.

There would definitely be a lot of difference between this upcoming trip, planned in April, with the Manila trip I went on last year. For one, we would be away for much longer than before and will cover more cities during our trip. Given that situation, we agreed to try and follow the more frugal backpackers route but staying at guesthouses and arranging our ground tours ourselves. I have always dreamed of going on a trip the way a backpacker would do but was always been unsure if I can do it alone. Having traveling companion nearer to my age and interest meant that we could consider the plan to rough it out while traveling since we would have each other to look out for the other.

We went to the Matta fair at PWTC last weekend but it seems that a lot of the packages were not really catered for the backpacker’s budget. There were not many choices of accommodations that were rated any lower that 3 stars and almost no one had listings for hostels or guest houses. A lot of the ground tour packages also seemed a bit on the pricey side considering a lot of the activities that they offer were things that we can arrange ourselves easily enough when we get there. So instead of booking our packages during the Matta fair, we decided to shop around for ideas of what to do and use that in our internet searches to see if there are any better deals that we can find online.

To date, we have already listed a few activities that we would want to plan to while we’re there. Visits to museums and monuments in Jakarta, watch schooners at Sunda Kelapa harbor, Taman Mini Indonesia, a spa day at Sari Ater Hot Spring in Puncak, shopping in Bandung are among the activities that we already have in mind. But chief among the sites that we would be visiting for our trip will have to be a day trip to experience the wonder of the Borobudur and other relics available in Yogyakarta. A visit to Borobudur has been something that I wanted to do for a long time and I am definitely looking forward to do it in April.

We’ve already booked out flights and now focused on finding affordable accommodations in Jakarta, Bandung and Solo. We pretty much have a nice place to stay in while in Yogyakarta which I’m just waiting for their confirmation. We’re also currently looking at few options for ground tours if there are to places that we need permits/entrance fees or if they are a bit out of the way to travel with our backpacks. We may want to rough it out but not break our backs while doing it! The other thing that I’m also looking forward to is to travel across Java on trains which for me has always been my favorite method of transportation. There is just something about the idea of taking a train ride that is still quite romantic for me.

There is still a lot of work to be done and I would welcome any suggestions especially on where to find cheap accommodations in Jakarta, Bandung and Solo. Pointers of what to do, see and eat while in Jakarta/Puncak/Bandung/Yogyakarta/Solo would definitely be helpful for us to plan our trip as well. We’re not looking to splurge on a lot of items but definitely want to be able to immerse ourselves in the travel experience and culture during the 9 days we will be there. Being able to do it cheaply would definitely be a bonus.

Tentative travel schedule
Day 01 - Departure from KUL - Jakarta, overnight Jakarta
Day 02 - Full day Jakarta, overnight Jakarta
Day 03 - Exit Jakarta - Puncak - Bandung, overnight Bandung
Day 04 - Full day Bandung, overnight Bandung
Day 05 - Exit Bandung - Yogyakarta train trip, overnight Yogyakarta
Day 06 - Full day Yogyakarta, overnight Yogyakarta
Day 07 - Full day Yogyakarta, overnight Yogyakarta
Day 08 - Exit Yogyakarta - Solo train trip, overnight Solo
Day 09 - Departure from Solo - KUL


Chen said...

hi nick. when i went to Solo, most of the mid-range hotels were full, because it was weekend. Not sure about the cheaper options. Perhaps it is better to have a reservation beforehand if you're going during peak season. I don't think April is peak season though, so that's good for you.

Chen said...

oh yeah, be very careful in the overnight train. my guide book says things may go missing in the train, so keep important and expensive stuff close to u.

buy train or bus tickets from legitimate counters at the stations. do not buy from so-called agents who may be hanging around there. u may end up getting an inferior seating class than what you paid for if u use the agents. sometimes, the agents will tell u the standard class seats are full, only expensive class tickets are available. beware of scams.

otherwise, indonesia is a very nice place and very affordable to visit. have fun!!

Shah said...

Wahh that's going to be one fun trip. So check my blog entries on Jogja to find out about some of the interesting stuff we did there

Nickxandar said...

Chen ...

We're basically will be roughing it out during the trip. Always wanted to experience the backpacker's adventure and Indonesia feels safe as well as familliar enough for us to attempt it. This means we would be trying to avoid staying in places rated higher than 3 stars whenever possible :p

The Bandung to Jogja train trip would be during the day. We'll taking the LonelyPlanet recomendation to enjoy the surrounding sights during the trip. Tickets will be bought when we actually get there.


Dah :-D

Your Jogja entries were the first ones that I checked out when planning for the trip. We opted to let the homestay that we will be staying at to arrange the trips as they are included in the tour packages.

Given the number of avid photogs (2) and long winded bloggers (1 - moi) on the trip, rest assured that we'll be documenting each step of the trip for everyone to share .. hihihi

m@x said...

Hey Nick, All da best. Pls get me some brochures on Bandung. I'm going in May!

Do check out Candi Sukoh in Solo. The erotic temple. Naked carvings and all. :)

M@X, your neighbour. :)

Chen said...

Backpackers should be okay I think. Do not leave any expensive stuff in the room whenever you are out. Try to leave passport, more expensive items and extra cash in safe deposit box if the hotel have one. If you don't find it too troublesome, bring a few envelopes which got gum so that u can lick it and seal the envelope. store your cash / passport inside and seal the envelope, sign across the seal so that u will know if someone attempt to open the envelope and people will be less daring to try to pilfer a few pieces of your currency notes.even safe deposit boxes are not 100% safe, as the hotel staff also have the keys to the box. better safe than sorry, my policy whenever i am overseas!