Replies: 4 - Last Post: Dec 15, 2012 8:27 PM Last Post By: thelazycyclist
Nov 7, 2012 7:29 AM
Myself, I've been there 30 years ago, on busses and ferrys.
Has anybody cycled Sumatra or Java recently? What about the roads ,and the traffic?
Ferrys are still operating? Heard some bad stories about Pelni.
Idea is to fly from Singapore to Central Sumatra, cycle from Lake Toba via Bukkittingi to the Port to java, cross Java， then to Bali. (Okay, I know its about 3500 km) .
And what about the islands east of Lombok (Nusa Tenggara)? Should be not much possibilities to cycle, nor are the ferrys reliable.
What do you think about that?????????
Nov 7, 2012 12:52 PM
Nov 9, 2012 12:21 PM
2Hi, regarding reliability of ferries in Nusa Tenggara, I do not think you need to worry. You should find the ferries easy to use, though crowded of course. I have just spent 3 months cycling (Dahon Speed Pro and trailer) in Maluku and had no problems apart from one Pelni trip. (There are large numbers of young men going to the island of Buru where gold has been discovered and the boat with a capacity of perhaps 3,000 had about 15,000 on board)
The Pelni ships operate on a two week cycle, so may not coincide with your timing. For some strange reason booking in advance can be difficult.
Along the Nusa Tenggara chain of islands there are frequent ferries.
By the way Bahasa is not a complicated language, and the effort of learning some will be amply rewarded.
Nov 16, 2012 6:45 AM
3Indonesian drivers are maniacs, but you will have had plenty of experience with them in Asia by the time you get to Indonesia. I can't give you any info on Sumatera, but the best road for you in Java is the north coast road. Unfortunately it is the one that long distance truck drivers use, so don't even THINK about cycling at night. It also misses the best cities to visit, such as Bandung and Jogjakarta. To get to these, I suggest you put you bike on a bus and go over the mountain range which runs down the middle of Java.
From Bandung, catch a train to Banjar, then cycle to Pangadaran for a swim and rest, then cycle the 15kms or so to Kalipucang, catch a ferry to Cilacap, then cycle to Jogjakarta to visit Borobudur Buddhist temple, Prambanan Hindu temple, and the sultan's palace. You can cycle to Malang and then to the ferry terminal at banyuwangi for the ferry over to Gilimanuk on Bali. Take the south coast road on Bali to get to the next ferry at Padangbai for Lombok.
Dec 15, 2012 8:27 PM
4After taking the boat from Melaka (Malaysia) to Dumai (Sumatra), we spent a couple of months cycling in Sumatra, Java and Bali in May and June this year.
In Sumatra the traffic was worst on the eastern side but much less in the mountains as well as the western coast road down to Bengkulu. Traffic picks up a lot again once you cross back over the mountains and for the last couple of hundred kilometres to the ferry crossing to Java.
In Java we took backroads to Bogor and then the main road (the one that goes over the mountain rather than around it) to Bandung and on to Banjar. This route was really unpleasant at times and lots of traffic and no shoulder and on at least one occasion we were forced off the road by overtaking traffic, particularly buses. Shortly after Banjar we turned off the main road (near Majeneng) and went down to the south coast and rode over to Yogjakarta that way which was really nice. We took the southern route from Yogja to Banyuwangi via Blitar and sometimes on backroads when they were available. This was busy at times too around the towns and cities but still nothing like the roads or traffic around Bandung.
On Bali we circled the island clockwise and most of the coast road was empty of traffic and wonderful. Busy again around Denpassar and the southern portion but no big deal.
Both ferry crossings are very frequent and short.
Indonesian traffic was for us probably the heaviest/worst in Asia, particularly on Java's main roads but once you're off these it generally improves a lot and gives you a chance to enjoy the often spectacular scenery. However, finding a way to connect all the backroads and make progress across the islands whilst under the tight visa constraints (and our own time constraints with a flight booked from Bali) means that most cyclists seem to spend some time on the busy, but direct main roads.
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