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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 30 Mar 2006
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Indonesia or Singapore

I've been planning my trip to SE Asia and onwards for a while now, originally thinking of shipping from Darwin to East Timor then ferries through Indonesia to Malaysia. Phoned the Indonesian consulate in Aus and a 60 day visa sounds easy, but they had no idea about taking the bike, followed up by faxing them the info as requested and of course have recieved no reply. This combined with the latest Australian news stories of protests in Jakarta is making me consider just starting off in Singapore instead. Not really a specific question here, just after opinions and comments really, which would be my best route?
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  #2  
Old 31 Mar 2006
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I wouldn't be put off by some media reports about a few protests. Indonesia isn't about to erupt in unrest. The road traffic is your worry.

However, if you do decide to give it a miss, consider shipping to Malaysia instead. Most travellers with vehicles seem to give Singapore a miss, due to major bureacratic hassles and expense.

I'm looking forward to Indonesia. There are some phantastic travellers stories about it here on Horizons and elsewhere.

Have fun,
Peter.
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  #3  
Old 1 Apr 2006
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Hiya,

In my opinion if you have the chance to go through Indonesia on a bike - Do It!!!

We travelled through this time last year, starting in Belawan (shipped the bikes from Penang) and went through Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores and then across to Timor and shipped from Dili to Darwin. The 60 day visa is a must, and just about gives you enough time to get through the above islands.

We never encountered any hostility, quite the opposite in fact. We met loads of Australians happily living there. I am quite positive, having also travelled through Iran and Pakistan, that the media really do sensationalize certain situations and this keeps people away from these countries. Obviously government have to cover their ass by warning people not to go there and you have to use your own common sense too!

We avoided Jakarta, but went through some of the smaller cities in Java (which were still pretty massive!). We tried to ride down the west coast of Java but the road (what there was of it!) ran out and we had to end up going through Bandung.

Flores was incredible, from end to end the island is 350km long but the road is around 700km, very curvy to say the least.

It's an awesome country and we'd love to take our bikes back over there again but we would fly out before the 60 days is up and try to get another 60!

We didn't have a blog or website, but did write a series of e-mails over the 2 years travelling from the UK to NZ so let me know if you would like me to e-mail you the Indonesian ones!

Please please please don't miss Indonesia!!

Cheers
Jacqui
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  #4  
Old 1 Apr 2006
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Hi again,

Just re-read Peter's post and he mentioned that the road traffic is your worry...

In Java it can be pretty full on, but considering most of the Indonesian population live there, it's bound to be a bit hectic. We tried to keep off the major highways (which are in pretty good nic) but this wasn't always possible in Java. The back roads were often in fairly rough condition, but a little more interesting than a highway!

The roads and traffic in the other islands are fine, lovely winding roads. It gets fairly smoggy and busy at the bottom of Sumatra where you cross to Java but the rest of the island was relatively traffic free.

Wait till you get to India.... then the traffic will be your worry!!!

Jacqui
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  #5  
Old 1 Apr 2006
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Thanks Pete and Jacqui for the advice, I think I really knew that and am maybe just suffering from pre trip nerves. The route I have planned is the exact reverse of yours, Jacqui, how'd you go with getting the bike into Indonesia? carnet or what? The consulate in Sydney didn't have a clue when I spoke to them. The idea about flying out to renew the visa has occurred to me too, see how I go time wise. I'd appreciate a copy of your emails, all the way from the UK if you can. I'm looking at SE Asia as a starting point, if I enjoy it I'll keep going from there on a RTW, either Europe - Russia or Alaska - South America.

Steve

[This message has been edited by Doc59 (edited 01 April 2006).]
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  #6  
Old 1 Apr 2006
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Hi Steve,

No worries, I can send all the e-mails...There are quite a few though!!

Yes, we did use carnet's in Indonesia. We cargoed the bikes to Belawan and the Customs guy there knew all about them. Some of the borders in SE Asia know about them and some don't but we pretty much used them every border crossing. Strangely though they don't want to know about them at Bangkok airport when we flew the bikes from Nepal!

Cheers
Jacqui

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  #7  
Old 2 Apr 2006
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The people who are telling you that Indonesia is great are not travelling on Australian passports.There is a definate difference when they find out you are from the land of Aus! we took all Aus ID off our bikes as did 2 other Aussies who did the same trip at a similar time....and we were still not that happy.......and we are not wimps...at present we are in Guatemala and have done the R T W thing twice so have been to lots of different countries. As Aussies Indonesia was where we have felt the most insecure.
The newish 30 day visa is also a worry....we shipped with Perkins to east Timor and rode into indonesia from there. the 30 days is not a good time frame....we made it with only hours to spare and really you would need to consider flying out to renew your visa.
Singapore had added a lot of extra paperwork and charges to people who travel through there and not sure it is worth the effort.
But....you can ship with Perkins direct to malaysia if you want to.....think the bike has to go into a crate but that is not as difficult as it first seems....give them a ring and talk to them.
Check out what Tom Forde has to say about riding through Indonesia in the travellers stories.
It is a shame they are so unhappy with us as there are some great rides in Indonesia....that would be even better if they were somewhere else..........
If we can be of any more help e mail us....Cheryl.
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  #8  
Old 2 Apr 2006
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In 2003 I crossed from Malaka (Malasia) to Dumai (Sumatra) and foowed the islands until I reached East-Timor (then stil a bit shaky).

All I can say is: It was the nicest country I have been in almost 4 years of RTW.

In the end (leaving to Timor), the police checked my "big bike permit" and told me very friendly: "Thank you for visiting our country. We hope you will come back one day. But if you come back, please make sure your permit is renewd after it expires. This one experied 6 weeks ago"

No anger, no fine, just friendly words.
Also, it was the first country (after asia) where I did not have to ask the price of a meal before I at it. Only once they wanted to charge me to much, and when I told them so, they lowered the price to a aceptable one.

I love Indonesia !!!!!
but I have a dutch pasport

To enter you need:

-visa (2 months is the minimum to cross from Sumatra tro Timor)
-Carnet de pasage

After customs and imigration (very easy) you need to go to the loca police-station and ask for a "permit" to ride your "big bike". This is just a letter from the police, it,s free, but oficially you need to renew it on every island (unless you can get it for all islands ofcourse)

The whole entry-process is (in 2003) easy and hasle-free. I actually drove my bike though town to the customs-office


Maarten


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[This message has been edited by mmaarten (edited 02 April 2006).]
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  #9  
Old 2 Apr 2006
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True enough, we were travelling on NZ passports, but met many Australians who live and work in Indonesia with no problems.

Reading Tom Forde's blog on Indonesia it seemed he was just pissed off with the traffic / people / roads etc... Sorry, but that's all part of it, you've got to take the good with the bad... Like I mentioned earlier, travelling around India is 10 times worse, so perhaps that is why we didn't find it so bad in Indonesia.

I would imagine I'd be pissed off too if I only had a 30 day visa to travel through from Sumatra to Timor. It is difficult to find out ferry information so you do need to keep some extra time up your sleeve... If I spent 30 days in Indonesia riding every day I would be desperate to get the hell out of there too. Hence getting a 60 day visa which enabled us to get off the beaten track and away from the congested highways.

Everyone has different experiences and advice, some good and some bad. After 10000km in India I hated it with a passion and couldn't wait to leave - now I can't wait to get back there!

Jacqui
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  #10  
Old 3 Apr 2006
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Thanks again all, special thanks to Jacqui for the emails, I'll enjoy reading about your trip. I've read most of the trip reports including Tom Forde's and, although most people have enjoyed the country, Cheryl makes a good point. I'm not completely inexperienced with overseas bike travel, spent 3 1/2 years living and riding in Saudi Arabia, but for the start of a long trip I don't want to be uncomfortable, looking over my shoulder and not enjoying myself. I still have several months before I go so think I'll just keep an eye on the political situation and decide when the time gets closer. In the meantime I'll check out the shipping to Malaysia, I've been to Singapore and from what Cheryl say's and what I've read, it does seem more hassle than it's worth.

Steve
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  #11  
Old 3 Apr 2006
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I totally agree with Jac and Marteen - Indonesia is a great place to travel through and very friendly.
We rode through just over a year ago and loved it - check out our blog for more info

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  #12  
Old 4 Apr 2006
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In October 2004 Indonesia bought in new visa laws and they were not very popular with the locals who were in the tourist industry in Indonesia.....they would only issue 30 day visas....they ( the tourist people in Indonesia) said that they were going to lobby to have the visa law changed as people would not like the new cost and the time frame. i am not sure if this has happened or not. Today when going to Yahoo i looked at the news and as of this week things have really started to fall apart when it come to Indo-Aus relations......so do not go with any Aus ID on your bike.
We have travelled with Kiwis who said they kept being told hoe the locals love Kiwis and hate people from Aus......I would still tead carefully on an Australian passport.
Can i add...as an Aust woman in Indonesia on a bike I had a few additional problems...like they always said my bike was bigger than the other bikes i was travelling with and i always was charged more to put my bike on a ferry even thought my bike was a 600cc and the others were a 600 and a 1100cc. they seemed to target me all the time for extra fees......tell me that is not sexist!!!!!!!
Even when the fellows tried to say it was the same and /or smaller they would not listen. David always bought the tickets but it was at the boarding point the used to try and stop me going on the ferry. This happened on 3 ferry journeys.
Have been to indonesia 3 times now and in my case it is 3 strikes and they are out!!!!!!!
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  #13  
Old 6 Apr 2006
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Hello Doc,

Well what can I say it has all been coveredboth for Indo and against. I am an Australian and have been travelling to Indo (kalimantan) since 1996. Was in JKT during the anti Suharto riots and I have never once felt threatened by Indonesian people. So much in fact that I have married one and we now reside in Bali.I am on an Aussie passport and have never had the least amount of trouble.

Maybe the reason some people do is that they don't understand Indoneasian culture or try to get to know the people. Please learn some Bahasa before you go and use it, you will be respected for it.

I am based in Bris now for the next few months and you can get in touch with me if you like to help you with info bout Indo of just for a chat. My wife is here for the next 2 weeks so she would be able to teach you some words and what not to do there.

Email me if you would like to get in touch. Oh I ride as well and have a few bikes here and 1 there.

Cheers
Ivan
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  #14  
Old 18 Apr 2006
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Sorry Ivan, haven't been on here for a while and just read your post. At the moment I'm leaning towards shipping to Malaysia but as I said earlier, I still have a couple of months before I leave so am keeping my options open. Malaysia seems so much more open than Indonesia for Australians as far as visas etc go. If you are in Brisbane for a while yet, email me and we can get together for a and a chat or a ride sometime. It would be good to get your thoughts on travelling through Indonesia.

Steve
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  #15  
Old 6 May 2006
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[QUOTE=David and Cheryl Laing]
we took all Aus ID off our bikes
As Aussies Indonesia was where we have felt the most insecure.
The newish 30 day visa is also a worry....we shipped with Perkins to east Timor and rode into indonesia from there. QUOTE]

How about Aussie plates? I'm British but have an Australian bike, going there in about 8 weeks.

Has anyone done the East Timor to Indo border recently? I'd hate to get stuck at the first hurdle.

Ta
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