4 days, 1 volcano, 4 islands, 1 helluva trip
Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
86Trip End Jul 27, 2011
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Where I stayed
Cemara Indah Hotel Probolinggo
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Read my review - 3/5 stars
Forget Hotel Name, left of Niki Rusdi Hotel
What I did
Right from the get go, we realize, that this won’t be a comfortable trip. We get to Probolinggo at the foot of Bromo Volcano after 9pm in over 12 hours and on two buses. Wake up call at 3.30am to depart at 4.00am to a viewpoint for sunrise. While we get ready, still half asleep, every 5 minutes someone knocks on our door, trying to sell us hats and sweaters, because apparently it is really cold up there
Another few glimpses of the lunar scenery over breakfast at our simple hotel and we are on our way to catch up with Vera. I expect to arrive on Gili Islands the morning of the next day. We don’t get there until the afternoon another two days later.
Here is the breakdown of that crazy journey:
1. Yogyakarta/Central Java to Probolinggo/East Java: Over 12 hours, 2 mini buses. Undoubtedly worth the long trip – see above.
2. Probbolinggo/Java to Denpasar/Bali: Over 12 hours, a mini bus, then a larger bus that broke down, so we change into another local bus, then another, then a ferry and on with the last bus. Phew. The hotels behind the bus station are all booked out. The one we find is nice and cheap
3. Denpasar/Bali to Singgigi/Lombok: Over 6 hours, one mini bus, one ferry, one taxi, one missed connection that only leaves in the morning. Another night waiting to resume our journey. On that ferry I was looking for a sink where I could wash my hands without needing to touch any doorknobs or mandi. I only ran into even more gross options. So I walked into the tiny ferry kitchen asking, or rather pointing, if I can use the sink there. Phew, good to feel clean hands again. I step over a cooking pot and a roach on my way out and settle down at a picnic table on the middle deck where Manu already types away furiously, trying to work ahead for the night. Our plan is to cross over to Gili Islands today. But if we are to believe the touts, we already missed the last ferry that goes at 4pm. We are hoping they lied, but at least we got our WIFI fix in Denpasar before leaving. You can’t have it all. As I was making these notes, we are thoroughly enjoying the sound of the wind, engine hum and incredible lack of loud, obnoxious music or cigarette smoke being blown at us
So far, I would not recommend Indonesia as a budget destination unless you have a slightly masochistic trait (which we seem to). If traveling as cheap as possible is not your agenda however, it is a stunning, incredibly beautiful and rewarding country that can be enjoyed at very affordable mid range prices* (*must-add-note as I am typing this up several weeks later: As long as you stay ON the beaten track). Pick your route along air hubs and arrange transportation with as premium-sounding agencies as you can find. Otherwise, get over yourself, enjoy the rough life (and if you can, skip the bitching, which we can’t seem to stop ourselves).
I am just telling Manu that traveling on open waters makes me slightly uneasy (not because I get seasick, but because I have huge respect for the open sea) when I catch a dolphin jumping, maybe 50 meters from the ferry. And those are the moments that make all the rough stuff so very worth it.
4. Singgigi/Lombok to Gili Trawangan: 4 hours including waiting between one mini bus and one boat, finally wading on shore from the boat through the white powdery sand. Vera meets us and takes us to our bungalow with open air bathroom. Ahhhhh……This trip physically broke me (or rather my back) and mentally took a lot out of me. I am so ready to just crash on the beach.
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