Best months:
April to September


Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 03/01/2008
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Jeanot: Java Locatie; 25 September 2005

Java is Indonesia's fifth-largest island, the site of its capital city, Jakarta, and the 13th largest island in the world. The total area of the island is 126,700 km².


Sadalmelik: Java Topography; 30 August 2007

This is the most populous of all the Indonesian Islands and home to the capital, Jakarta and the nations busiest port, Surabaya. Limit your time in these areas and head to the rural south of Java.

West Java and Panaitan Island has much to offer the traveller as does the mysterious Yogyakata, the only remaining sultanate in the country in the centre of the south coast. It's quite easy to continue your pilgramage all the way to the extreme east and the mighty wave that is G-Land. 


Maximilian Dörrbecker: Pelni Shipping Routes 2006; October 2006

There are many ways of getting around Indo: by plane, bus, car, boat, train, ojek or becak. The last one, pronounced as "BEH-chuck", is a tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in many cities. The better your communication skills are, the less you will pay and check the cost beforehand. By the way, there are no becak in Jakarta. Instead, there is the motorized bajaj (BAH-jai). In some other provinces (eg. North Sumatra, Aceh) there are motorbikes with sidecars, known as bentor (short for becak bermotor).

Ojek is motorcycle taxi, which you may want to take if you're in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb to get there.

Car is not the safest way to travel as well – rules on the roads are ignored, driving on the road shoulder is common, buses speed like maniacs and stop without warning, pedestrians cross the road anywhere, even across highways…and police is not doing anything about this mess. So it’s your decision, mates. Just in case you still decide to hire a car, the traffic moves on the left in Indonesia.

Not sure if you should consider bus as well…drivers are often drunk, on drugs or just reckless; keep an eye on your bags at all times and avoid overnight journeys in the wilder parts of the country (notably South Sumatra).

Travelling by plane is probably the safest option, though the safety record of the smaller companies is dubious. But the good thing is that a select a few carriers, such as Garuda, Lion Air, and Mandala among others, have recently bought brand new planes straight from an aircraft manufacturer which have replaced some of the older planes in their fleet. So the situation is a bit better, though be prepared that many carriers have poor on-time records and frequent cancellations.

Ferries are very popular and with PELNI (the largest company) you can go to practically every inhabited island in Indonesia. But as usual, safety records are poor, so look for safety devices on board and postpone your trip if the weather is bad.

Java by far has the best railway network; some parts of Sumatra are covered as well. Journey will take quite a long time, but the scenery is a bonus. Be aware of theft and lock your doors at night.

where to stay

Jpatokal: The slick curves of the Savoy Homann, 18th March 2008

For Budget Surfers -
Jalan Jaksa is the heart of Jakarta's traveller scene. There is a whole line of hostels for travellers, along with restaurants, bookshops and batik stores. Tator is one of the favourites among travellers – for about $10-$15 per night per person, the price includes a room and breakfast.
Another option for about $8 a night is staying on Handelum Island. There are only 6 very basic rooms and can be a very inexpensive option for those who rather silence and isolation.

For moderate budget surfers –
Jalan Wahid Hasyim is a modern and stylish hotel situated right in the centre of Jakarta. The rooms are fairly moderate priced for about $40 a night, providing a mini bar, television and hot showers!
For $20 a night, Lippo Carita Hotel is a cheaper alternative with all rooms on the beach! The rooms are clean, spacious and occupants are provided with TVs, hot water showers and air-conditioning.

For luxurious hotels -

The Mandarin Oriental is a one that you cannot miss! Presented as a really fancy higher-end hotel and is located right at Jakarta’s ‘Welcome Monument’ with great views. With Italian and Chinese restaurants, a business centre and a nightclub in the hotel, rooms start at about $80 per night per person.

what to pack

Xavigivax: Beach towel; 13 November 2007

Pack light. Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the tropical weather. Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen and sunglasses! Waterproof clothes/gear/bags might be handy when it rains.

You’ll need short sleeved t-shirts, shorts and long trousers (pants) and probably a light jacket or pullover for the more blustery days and evenings and sun cream for days out on the water. In winter bring long trousers (pants), warm pullovers, warm waterproof coats, scarves, hat and gloves!!

Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more.
Bring plenty of memory for digital cameras and bring plenty of batteries. A good protection for your camera from the sand will be good as well. 

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