For 2021 we’ve supplemented our successful 2-week Java Overland tour with a 17-day Sumatra to Bali, Indonesia tour which adds on Gunung Leuser National Park – part of the World Heritage-listed Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra – as well as a stay on Samosir Island in awe-inspiring Lake Toba – the World’s largest crater lake.
To accommodate our new Sumatra detour we’ve cut down our Java Overland tour by a couple of days meaning that in addition to this comprehensive Sumatra to Bali odyssey, a 12-day Java and Bali option – Yogyakarta to Denpasar – is still available for those with limited time.
Beginning in charming, laid back Yogyakarta with its awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, this tour takes you by road and rail through Java’s lush scenery of emerald paddies, forest, national parks and towering volcanoes. There are stops at Solo and Malang – both fascinating, historic and scenic towns with plenty of well-preserved colonial-period architecture and local markets to explore.
Another memorable highlight is dawn at Mount Bromo and a hike through the volcano’s caldera plus a jeep, boat and hiking adventure in remote Alas Purwo National Park. A ferry ride takes us to a quiet corner of Bali for a stay in a delightful eco-resort before finishing our tour at well-connected Denpasar Airport.
A wide variety of sites, activities and landscapes plus fabulous food and super friendly people: we hope you’ll enjoy these tours as much as we enjoyed researching them!
Extensions and Private Tours
Please note that too keep costs down and avoid spending half the tour in airport lounges or on weather-dependent ferries, we’ve deliberately avoided trying to include everything on any single tour of this vast archipelago but extensions to pretty much anywhere else in Indonesia – Jakarta, a beach add-on in Lombok, Sulawesi, Flores or even a detour to check-out Komodo’s most famous residents – can be easily arranged.
Our "Top 5" unique things to see, do and experience in Java and Sumatra
See wild orangutans on a rainforest hike in the UNESCO-listed National Park
Stay on an island amid majestic scenery in the world's largest crater lake
We reckon one of the friendliest, laid back and attractive cities in the entire country
Sunset at this atmospheric and awe-inspiring World Heritage site
A jeep ride through an active caldera and ascent of a volcano before breakfast?!
Culture and Customs
Knowing what to expect from local culture and customs will help you get more out of your visit...
Sumatra and Java are the country's western most islands with Bali to the east and the island of Borneo to the north across the Java Sea.
Long and thin Java and Sumatra have volcanic backbones with lush, fertile plains and forest lying south and north. Some 2 kilometres of the Bali Straight separate Java from Bali.
Sumatra and Java have an equatorial climate so with less pronounced seasons than mainland Southeast Asia but more rains fall between Nov and Feb.
West Indonesians form a subgroup of the Austronesian family. The island is largely monoethnic with some older groups remaining in remote areas and Chinese minorities in urban areas.
The majority of Indonesians are Muslims with a Christian minority in Sumatra and Hindu beliefs persisting in far-flung parts of Java. Animist influences are still common in certain areas.
Obviously rice and noodle based but the rich local cusine includes a huge range of classic and regional dishes. It's usually only mildy spiced and vegetarians will be spoilt for choice.
Genuine local knowledge is what turns a good travel experience into an unfforgettable one. Here's our shout-out to the locals that help maket that happen.'
Javan born, Yogyakarta resident Ari will lead our Indonesia tours with his winning mix of good humour, enthusiasm, patience, flexibility and in depth local knowledge!
Our specialist Sumatran guide goes by the unlikely name Lily, (actually short for Lilik). Equally at home in the jungle or a local market and particularly renowned for his mock Batak execution demonstration!
Things To Know
Useful information and practical tips you should know before you travel to [country title]...
Helpful Country Info
The Republic of Indonesia
Indonesia c 260+ & Java 140+ million
GMT + 7
Approx 14-15,000 Indonesian Rupiah for $1 or 18-19,000 for a UKP
Money changers widely available but ATMs usually issue only small amounts at a time
230V, 50Hz (with 2-pin round plugs)
WiFi in most places
3G/4G SIM cards available
Bahasa Indonesian with Java dialect widely spoken and some English in urban areas
Majority Sunni Muslim with Christian and Hindu minorities
Frequently Asked Questions
When's the best time to visit Java?
With an equatorial climate rainfall and temperatures are more even throughout the year than in mainland Southeast Asia although the driest months are generally between May and September which corresponds to the high season. Rain, when it does occur, tends to be short and sharp so easily avoided. We would avoid Ramadan when much is closed (dates variable from year to year) as well as Bali’s Nyepi festival but we’d say pretty much any other time of year is fine.
Which innoculations do I need?
The generally recommend vaccinations for Indonesia for the standard tourist include cover against hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus and polio. Java is considered by the WHO as a low-risk malaria area.
Do you recommend your tours for people travelling on their own?
Our small group tours make ideal holidays for solo travellers. Small, fully escorted groups, eating together, family style and no compulsory single supplements all go towards making you feel like you are travelling with a group of friends. If you don’t want to share then ask about single room supplements.
How do I pay for the holiday, and is there a surcharge for credit cards?
We ask you to pay a 10% deposit upon booking your holiday with the balance being due 60 days prior to departure. There is no surcharge for paying with a credit card. We accept most major credit cards including American Express.
Packing light is a virtue, it'll make getting around easier and gives you room for souvenirs and the special things you find along the way. Packing "as little as possible" doesn't mean you have to forego comfort and any items you may forget are usually available locally for a fraction of the price.