Travel Workshops & Tours

Information & FAQs Indonesia Tour

Do I need a visa for Indonesia?

With some exceptions, most countries (includes EU, U.S, Asean, Japan, China, Korea) do not require a visa for a 30 day visit to Indonesia. For more information visit this site.


What are the general travelling conditions of Indonesia during August?

Generally dry and clear.  Weather conditions check here.


It is also Indonesia's tourism peak season with many European travellers.  Weekends will see a surge in local and nearby countries visitors.   Which is the reason why we get up early to get to good vantage points & places before others arrive.


How do I get to Yogyakarta (a.k.a. Jogyakarta or Yogya/Jogya)?

From where you are, you can fly to Jakarta and take a train or flight to Jogya.  Alternative, fly to Asian air hubs. From Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar/Bali there are direct AirAsia flights to Yogyakarta.  Check skyscanner for airline options, best fares and connections.


Don't forget, it will be summer.  You are likely to get better airlines & hotels deals the earlier you book them.  Don't wait till the last minute!


Any suggestions when making stopovers?

Jakarta.  The Indonesian capital is notorious for hectic activity and gridlocked streets.  If you plan on flying into Jakarta and stopping over,  I recommend staying in the old  city Kota Tua/Old Batavia.  From Jakarta you can choose to fly to Yogyakarta or take a train (about 7-9 hours), and add overnight stopovers along the way visiting the areas of Bandung and Bogor.


Singapore.  A city of contrasts predominantly associated with shiny skyscrapers and efficiency, There’s another side to the city that couldn’t be further from its slick, ultra-modern image that can be more explored.  Should you  plan on  making a short stopover, I recommend staying in Chinatown.


Kuala Lumpur.  A cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, impressive shopping districts, food from all parts of the world, and natural wonders within day-trip distance.  If you stopover here, I recommend staying in Bukit Bintang or Chinatown.


Bali.  A postcard destination, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. Soak up the sun on the beach or go cultural.  Invigorate your mind and body in a yoga class.  I recommend not staying too long in Bali if you are connecting from here.  The tour will end in Bali/Ubud giving you ample time to explore.  If staying over and connecting from Bali, I recommend laidback Sanur (beaches, good food and good chillout options).


I am travelling with a travel companion who is not a photographer.  What should I be aware of?

I aim to keep the group small and cosy. You'll understand that we simply can't take 12 photographers and 12 companions;-).  Due to limited places, space, transport requirements and location, travel companions pay the same rates as the photographer*.  Your travel companion should follow the tour schedule.  We are not able to make separate transport arrangements.  Your travel companion should be aware that this is a photography tour tailored for photographers and photography opportunities and we set on local tours at unusual hours.  The timing and schedule may change en route to fit photography opportunities and local situations.  We wake up very early in the mornings ;-).


Please be on time (grace period of 5 mins waiting time for late-comers) as we will depart after the grace period.  If you or a travel companion are late, you will have to sort out transport arrangements yourself at your own cost to get to the photography point.


As an alternative, we suggest that your travel companion meet or reunite with you in Bali-Ubud where we will arrive on day 9 (14th August)


* Please get in touch if you plan on travelling with a  non-photographer companion and we can see if we are able to make specific arrangements or suggest alternatives.


I am travelling with a family with children.  Can they join?

Due to the nature of the tour and location, we are not in a position to accept travellers under 21 years of age.


Please get in touch if you plan on travelling with family and children and we can see if we are able to make specific arrangements or suggest alternatives.


I am a traveller with special needs (wheelchair, mobility and physical challenges, etc), can I join the tour?

Due to the nature of the tour and location, we are not in a position to accommodate travellers with special needs.  However, if in doubt please let me know your special needs and I can advise if I can meet your requirements.


How do I know which hotels to book?

In the detailed program you will receive, there will be links ( to where the workshop leader will be staying at each destination, always centrally & conveniently located with options from budget to luxury accommodations. You choose what suits you in that area, make your booking through any hotel booking search engines of your choice.  Simple!  Just a few clicks!


Why are accommodations and meals not included as a package?

You having choices, freedom and control over your budget & personal needs is important to me.  Booking a group with a hotel is not less expensive and sometimes more, requires significant advance payments, and offers less flexibility for any changes. Online hotel booking search engines offers more choices and payment flexibility and zero commission for me = cheaper for you!


Some reasons that may help you understand my philosophy :

  • Each of us have different accommodations needs and budgets. This way you can book your own accommodations that best corresponds to your requirements.
  • You are after all on vacation.  Outside of the workshop, you can choose to have your own space & time or hang out with those who wish to hang out together.
  • We have different meal, dietary & dining companion(s) preferences.  At times due to the locations, the best or even only arrangement will be to dine together. You still have the flexibility to hang out with the group on an ad hoc basis.
  • I try to make the photography workshop and tour  accessible to different people.

The workshop activities as well as transport pick-up point will be centred at the hotel where the workshop leader is staying (a mid-priced hotel).  When booking your hotel, it is recommended that you should be within reasonable walking distance to the workshop leader's hotel.  You can easily check this on google map or  If in doubt, just ask!


How strenuous are the tour conditions?  What is the expected physical condition of tour participants?

You just need to be reasonably fit as the tour requires some trekking which is usually at a comfortable pace.


The tour at Kawah Ijen might be physically challenging for some and you can always choose to opt out.   There will be 2 separate groups leaving at the same time but at 2 different paces.  1st group catering for the physically fit and adventurous to reach the crater in about 90mins with flash lights only and the 2nd group  at a leisure pace to reach the summit for sunrise shots but unlikely to descend to the crater.


Why are we not flying from Yogya to Surabaya?

The domestic airlines do not have a reliable safety, on-time and service record.  The best among them is Garuda Indonesia which leaves late afternoon and we won't arrive at Mount Bromo to follow the program.  Moreover the flights between Yogya and Surabaya are weight restricted (15kg check-in luggage) with limited carry-on luggage and cabin space (propeller aircraft).  As photographers, we have more check-in luggage weight and our carry-ons (photographic equipment) are heavier than the allowance. Plus, we don't want to risk losing luggage.


The train is the surest way in reaching Surabaya and on to Mount Bromo.  Plus you'll get to mingle with Indonesians and view the wonderful landscapes along the way.



What is an estimate personal budget excluding my international flights and workshop fee?

Indonesia is a relatively affordable place to stay and accommodations are of a reasonable standard without splashing too much money.  You can get by comfortably for under €50 a day including reasonable accommodation standards and meals (about half/half).  Stretching it out over 11 days and if you have a tight budget, it works out to about €550.


It is always possible to do it for less by sacrificing some comfort in your accommodation and meal choices or really treat yourself to a nice vacation with a higher budget.


You should also be aware that if breakfast is included in your accommodation, in most cases, we depart before breakfast is served


I am travelling by myself and do not mind sharing accommodations.  Can you help in this?

Yes, I'll be happy to help you look for a roommate!  While filling out the booking form, there is a "Looking for roommate" option.  Just fill in the information and your contact details will be shared with other participants who might potentially be looking for a roommate.  The involved parties will contact each other directly to see if there is a good fit and make arrangements. I cannot accept any responsibility for the outcome.


Is travel insurance included?

Travel insurance is not included.  Participants are required to have a travel insurance with coverage for cancellations. medical, or evacuation emergencies.


Can I have a general overview of what is included and excluded in the Indonesia photography tour?

Sure! Transparency is important so you are in full control of your budget.


All transport (except where specified), workshops and local tours are included as outlined in the travel Itinerary.


Excluded :

  • International airfares and domestic travel costs to arrive in Yogyakarta and departing from Bali.
  • Meals, accommodation, entrance fees.
  • Tips and expenses of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance.


What kind of photography equipment should I bring along?

The tour is designed for DSLR and high-end mirrorless camera users.  Compact cameras, phone cameras and mobile devices are not suitable however, they can of course be useful to supplement your casual photography.


Personal laptops with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop  installed are 'nice to have' as we will be reviewing images and editing as we go along.  If you don't come with one, no big deal, just follow the visual presentations.


For more details, read the Suggested Equipment List.  You will find useful informtion on 'must have', 'nice to have'.


What is the skill level expectation of the photographers for the tour ?

While we will go through some quick revision about the camera & exposures, you should have some knowledge of handling your camera in manual mode, reasonable understanding about exposures (what f-stops are, controlling apertures/shutter speeds/Iso/focus on the camera).


This customised tour is not suitable for those just starting out in photography from scratch or currently using the camera in full auto mode,


For beginners and those needing a refresher, it is recommended that you join an optional half day workshop before the commencement of the workshop to understand some basic camera techniques to get the most of of the tour.  Over the next 11 days, you can improve, deepen your skills and go home with great photographs to share!


What are the booking, payment and cancellation terms?

Payment is only through Paypal which is 100% safe and secure.  You will receive a link to make the payments using your bank or credit card.  Payments are made in 2 intervals and in EUR.


1st Payment.

A non-refundable deposit of €380 to secure your booking.   (€280 for early bird bookers before 15th April)


2nd Payment.

A request for the balance payment of €500 will be sent to you on 1st June 2018.  If payment is not received within 7 days, your reserved place will be released.   Cancellations made within 2nd June 2018 to 45 days prior to the start of workshop dates are entitled to a 50% refund.


Cancellations made within a 44 days period prior to the start of a workshop will not be entitled to a refund.


Any refund made is based on the 2nd payment received less Paypal commission fees (4.5%).


Read the Tour Terms & Conditions.


Any other questions not mentioned here?

Just send an email with your specific questions(s).

© 2018 Copyright Michael Chia