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My girlfriend and I are planning to visit Indonesia this summer from 3-24 June. When we were planning the trip we found out ramadan is from 15 May to 14 June.

We were first planning to start our adventure in Yogyakarta and make our way east slowly. We were told Java is mostly islamic, which would force us to plan our journey as we need to buy public transportation tickets beforehand. So we adjusted our plans and want to go to the less-islamic Bali, Gili islands and Lombok.

This leaves us with a couple of questions as we don't want to disrespect any locals:

  • Is Bali/Gili/Lombok the best choice for us to travel to instead of the more islamic Java?
  • How is public transportation on these islands during Ramadan and the holiday-week after?
  • Do we need to book our accomodations/transportation in advance for these islands?

I found some answers on this forum, but this was mostly for the Gili islands, which doesn't seem to be affected by Ramadan.

marked as duplicate by jpatokal, Ali Awan, Mark Mayo Mar 12 '18 at 9:13

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I have lived in Java and am living in Bali, just for reference.

Is Bali/Gili/Lombok the best choice for us to travel to instead of the more islamic Java?

That depends. I like Bali to live on but as a tourist destination it’s completely different from the experience of Java. In Bali, expect mass tourism and all the things that come with that, like hawkers and overpriced guides. This goes even more for the Gilis where foreigners probably outnumber locals. Lombok is still mostly quiet though. But just as Islamic as Java, or more so. The Gilis are officially part of Lombok but are so touristy that it won’t matter.

I also don’t see why Islam should be stopping you from visiting, but you may have to use more touristic restaurants for food during during the day during Ramadan if in Java or Lombok, or snack somewhere quiet.

How is public transport on these islands during Ramadan and the holiday-week after?

On Java there is public transport, for trains you sometimes have to book beforehand but not that long, maybe a few days. The holiday week might be more crowded than usual but I really don’t think it will be impossible to find something, as long as you book several days in advance! Opinions vary, so if you want to be absolutely certain, just book longer ahead. There are trains, buses and even semi-shared private vans going from one place to another. You can even fly from almost any city to another but flights may be expensive at that time.

On Bali there is almost no public transport to speak of anyway, same as the Gilis and Lombok, but the Gilis are small enough to not need it. You’ll have to get private transport or rent a motorbike for the others.

Do we need to book our accomodations/transport in advance for these islands?

No, not in that season, there are plenty of alternatives even if your top pick would be full.

  • I do not agree the second point. The week after the Ramadan is the traditional "Balik campung". Dozen of million people will go back to their village causing chaos in public transport – Madlozoz Mar 12 '18 at 14:33
  • @Madlozoz but still wouldn’t it be possible to do that if you’re at least a few days ahead of time? I’m not saying try to book it on the same day... – Sebastiaan van den Broek Mar 12 '18 at 14:34
  • Not always. Train station bus station and main road will be cloged. No booking can solve that. Pre-booked planne and to some extend long distance taxi should be OK. I'd say from 13 to 20 june is a good time to stay in Gilli, away from the Indonesian craze – Madlozoz Mar 13 '18 at 8:53

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