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Exotic Java and Bali JV

Visiting: Indonesia
Trip Duration 14 Days
 

Reviews for Exotic Java and Bali

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Exotic Java & Bali reviews verified by reevooReevoo

15 reviews

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Exotic Java & BaliScores 7.7 out of 10 based on 15 reviews
(4 out of 10)

Stephen

Harlow
Highlights: Prembanan and Borobodur. Gunung Kawi.

Insufficiently active.

Sunrise over Mount Bromo was total chaos -and not particularly interesting.

Hotels were good, but much too far out of the centre of town in Ubud and Sanur.

Not clear why the trip goes to both Ubud and Sanur.

Jatiluweh and Puru Ulun Danu Bratan really ought to be an integral part of the holiday. One should not have to organise highlights for oneself - or rely on the efficiency of the leader.

No 'plan B's in place. Essential in a country like Indonesia.
Confirmed traveller: 26 August 2017
Published on: 11 September 2017
(9 out of 10)

Jennifer

Rhyl
Amazing scenery with lots of history. Fabulous flowers and shrubs and the people were so friendly. Saw volcanic craters, beautiful sunrises with dolphins as an added bonus.
Confirmed traveller: 20 August 2017
Published on: 27 August 2017
(4 out of 10)

Valda

Twickenham
The tour was very disappointing. I realise this is personal and part of it due to the fact that I didn't like Java or Bali very much. Toxic is the word I would use rather than exotic - overcrowed, noisy, environment trashed. The itinerary leaves a lot to be desired. Of the two optional trips in Java, I didn't go on them as the first sounded like the sunrise at Angor Wat ie a tourist fest and the group had to wait hours in the freezing cold to see it. Not my idea of fun. And the second trip up Mount Ijen was again during the night and physically very difficult. And if you up all night for two nights you miss what is going on during the day as you are catching up on sleep. Why couldn't we go up during the day like we did in Nicaragua? The dolphin watching trip should be actively discouraged as when spotted all the boats converge and 'herd' them to let us tourists get a better view. So inappropriate. And don't visit the monkey forest in Ubud. They were darting them for some reason when we went there and then failing to catch them properly as they fell from the trees. Very distressing. I think also the ophanage children made to dance/entertain us in Java is really on the line and something you may want to consider. The hotels for the first half on the holiday were frankly depressing and not that clean but they did get better. Plus points - the tour leader who was very caring, the driver and bus helper, the bus and the group. I have already booked my next holiday so I hope it is going to be better.
Confirmed traveller: 06 August 2017
Published on: 16 August 2017

Hi, thank you for your feedback, Valda. We have discussed a number of the things you mentioned with our local agent. They have confirmed the dolphin optional is under review and the monkey forest is not a scheduled visit – we just pass it while walking round Ubud. As such it falls within the conservation area of a local village. In light of this, we are not able to advise why they were being darted. Though some internet research suggests there is a call to cull certain types of monkeys locally for health reasons. Some of the optionals we offer are to popular sites with a wow factor like Ankor Wat at sunrise – we appreciate they are busy and therefore not for everyone, so it’s down to personal choice to visit or not. On the plantation walk we pass a local school with extensive after school activities, including dancing. The local agent wanted to reassure you this was a spontaneous event but they will review whether it’s appropriate going forward. Though it sounds like Java and Bali weren’t for you, I trust you found your trip interesting and thought provoking.

(6 out of 10)

Jacqueline

London
A good group with an excellent tour leader. The Java part of the tour was disappointing with substandard hotels for the first 3 nights. The rooms in the first two had not been cleaned. In Bali the tour did not stay in the most interesting places although the scenery between stops was breathtaking. Some optional trips which could have been offered during the day were offered as all-night trips.
Confirmed traveller: 06 August 2017
Published on: 10 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

Kathryn

Formby Merseyside
It was good to spend more than one night at the start to recover from jet lag. The site visits were good especially with the local guides and the tour leader' s knowledge. The hike to the Cemoro Lawang is very manageable and provided great views of farming community and methods. The evening trek to Mount Bromo was the highlight of the tour for me, as the sound of the volcano was incredible. ( however you can only take a light bag - not your suitcase and and a wooly jumper, hat, scarf and gloves are essential for the optional sunrise views). The cold wait was worth it for the spectacular views and cloud formations. You can reward yourself later with hot tea and fried banana!! The Eco lodge was a good next stop to rest and enjoy a massage by the pool. A pity it rained in Ubud some of the time but it is known for it's healing waters! The walk to the paddy fields and cafe was interesting for the coconut heads with messages. The only downside was the last resort as the beach at Sanur was disappointing. I've heard from other visitors to Bali there are better beaches that would fulfil your expectations of a tropical paradise, but maybe not so near the airport. Overall I'd rate this holiday 9 out of 10 - it's the group and tour leader that make or break it and I enjoyed meeting everyone of the group. Kath
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2017
Published on: 12 August 2017
(7 out of 10)

Janev

Java was good but Bali was a disappointment - particularly the beach - at the end of the holiday -
Confirmed traveller: 05 August 2017
Published on: 10 August 2017
(9 out of 10)

Michele

Dorset
A great insight to the lovely islands of Java and Bali. Some very comfortable hotels and although the Lava View Lodges at Mount Bromo were a little more basic a great night in the restaurant singing to the local live music helped with a great nights sleep. Some very early starts to the days, not only to catch the sunrise but also to help avoid the very hot humid weather. The sunrise over Mount Bromo was quiet chilly so warm clothes definitely recommended but well worth getting up at 2.45 in the morning to see. Walking over the sea of sand and walking up Mount Bromo was a definite hi light, the smell of the sulphur, the loud rumbling and the sight of fire was amazing.
Many temples visited all completely different from each other, each facinating in their own right with very knowledgeable local tour guides to help.
A visit to a local plantation was another hi light where coffee, sugar palm, nutmeg,cinnamon, cocoa and other spices were grown and sampled, finishing with a snack, drink, gifts and a dance by local children from the plantation workers, a great end to a great morning.
The tour is very busy and quite a bit of travelling but with a great bus driver, his helper and a great tour leader in Pieter the travelling provided good time for rest.
Bali is definaltey more commercialised and quite a lot busier than Java. A great evening out to see the fire dance was a delight, very unusual and not expected at all but so worth a visit.
A great tour and well worth the money.
Confirmed traveller: 23 April 2017
Published on: 30 April 2017
(9 out of 10)

Cuba

The itinerary covered Java (interesting and varied) and Bali (noisy and touristy). I didn't like Bali because it was such a tourist destination especially for the Australians. However, this is a personal view and I think the itinerary offers the opportunity to see two very different Indonesian islands.

The itinerary was well balanced with walks, ancient buildings, dance and theatre. In a very short time I achieved a real feel for Indonesian culture and its heritage. People were pleasant, restaurants were cheap, the transport was good and the hotels, excluding the simple category were of a very good quality. Even the simple stays were fine, reminiscent of the accommodation used in the past. In fact the Lava View Lodge was so well located it would be unkind to be critical and will be happily remembered for a night singing along with the local musician.

Tips
1. If you take part in the walks to Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen you will need some good walking or trail shoes, you do not need your walking boots.
2. Take light weight wet weather gear. This can double up as an additional layer when you do the early morning walks. It can be cold so take a woolly hat and gloves.
3. Drink plenty of water. The temperature was 31 - 32 degrees in mid April but felt like 40 degrees because the climate was very humid.
4. Enjoy the culture. Go on all the optional excursions - attend the puppet show and Ramayana Ballet in Yogyakarta and see the Fire Dance in Sanur. Importantly, visit the Exhibition of Masks and Puppets on the drive to Sanur, the exhibits are life size and displayed in traditional Javanese antique houses (donations).

On a final note I would say this holiday represents excellent value for money.
Confirmed traveller: 23 April 2017
Published on: 27 April 2017
(9 out of 10)

Linda

North London
The two islands contrast well: Java still relatively unspoilt and predominantly Muslim, Bali more commercialised and predominantly Hindu.

There are a number of early morning starts, often to avoid the heat of the day, plus several 'hikes' of a rigorous nature (Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen on Java, to see sunrises, neither of which I did!).

The optional dolphin watching trip at Lovinia, Bali, was very good, although the number of boats (which could well have exceeded fifty) meant that there was a certain amount of vying for poll position, with some of the boat owners being rather aggressive.

On no account miss the included visit to the plantation on Java. I've been to several plantations in my time and this one stands out as being quite the best. The presentation was excellent and the content varied and informative. Our senses of sight, smell, touch and taste were assaulted with all kinds of lovely things. The finale was a dance demonstration by children who are supported by the plantation and it ended a most delightful morning.

The other excursion which should not be missed is the optional visit to Ulu Watu temple on Bali, to see the Fire Dance. Go very early in the afternoon if you want to see the temple (but beware of the monkeys) but go fairly early if you want a good central seat in the amphitheatre, otherwise you'll be packed in and sitting on the floor on the periphery of the acting area where there is at one point a ring of fire (no Elf and Safety here). It is quite the weirdest performance I think I've ever seen, but fascinating.

As with most Explore tours the pace is pretty full on, but the people are delightful and the countryside on both islands is beautiful. Go soon, before it all changes.
Confirmed traveller: 23 April 2017
Published on: 26 April 2017
(8 out of 10)

Paul

Reading uk
Tour was very good value. The leader had very good insights into the country but needs more awareness to deal with the stronger characters in the group. The tour leader accommodated individuals interests. The highlights for us on the trip were the highland areas in Java and Ubud. Trip notes should have included more information about dress code for temples e.g. Men should not wear shorts.
Confirmed traveller: 22 April 2017
Published on: 06 May 2017