Are you looking for the perfect itinerary for Indonesia? In this article on our travel blog we tell you how we traveled.
Indonesia is our favorite country
in Southeast Asia. We have been there three times so far and fell in love with this country from the first moment. Indonesia is so incredibly diverse: from volcanoes to cultural highlights to the most beautiful beaches, there is everything to see here. We also like the openness of the people: although Indonesia is largely a Muslim country, people are very open to western culture.
The following route is a combination of all our previous trips . It is suitable for all those who are traveling to Indonesia for the very first time and want to get to know the diversity of the country as well as possible. You can find the corresponding card at the end of the article.
1. Itinerary for Indonesia: Exact Stops & Info Jakarta (A) Many international flights land in Jakarta. And although the city is not a natural beauty, you can have a nice time here. Worth seeing are the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, and the old town of Jakarta. You can read our tips and what we have experienced in this blog article: Jakarta Tips. We would recommend you to stay two to three nights maximum in Jakarta.
Our accommodation recommendation for Jakarta Kosenda Hotel (stylish hotel, centrally located, great rooftop bar)
Yogyakarta (B) Our itinerary will take you further to Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta itself is a nice city with a big artist scene. There is a backpacker district with lots of nice bars and good restaurants. In the vicinity of Yogyakarta are also the two well-known temple Borobudur and Prambanan, the you should definitely see. If you want to have enough time for everything, you should plan at least 3 nights. You can find our detailed blog article here: Yogyakarta Tips.
Arrival in Yogyakarta You can fly directly from Jakarta to Yogyakarta . Alternatively, Jakarta and Yogyakarta can also be reached by Train connected. The journey takes about seven hours. Traveling by train on the island of Java in Indonesia is generally highly recommended: it is comfortable, punctual and avoids the nerve-wracking traffic on Indonesia’s roads. You can find more information about the train network on Java on this website.
Tip: Accommodation in Yogyakarta Adhisthana Hotel Yogyakarta (tasteful hotel in very central location, deluxe rooms in Upper floor recommended)
Optional: Solo (= Surakarta, C) Solo (also known as Surakarta) is not on the classic Indonesia route. Most travelers continue from Yogyakarta directly to Mount Bromo without stopping. The city itself is not a beauty, but just like in Yogyakarta, you can also experience a lot of culture . For example, a traditional wayang orang dance performance is recommended.
We also liked the excursion to Gunung Lawu. If you are looking for Indonesian furniture, you will find a lot of producers in the Solo area. We were quite enthusiastic about the Pasar Legi, in which sadly 2016 a fire raged. We would recommend staying in Solo for two to three nights. You can find our experiences in this blog article: Solo Travel Tips.
Getting to Solo From Yogyakarta it is only a short hop to Solo. You can either take the train or the bus. The most comfortable and expensive option is a private taxi.
Hotel tip for Solo Hotel Alila Solo (probably the best hotel in Solo, a bit more expensive, but really something special and the pool on the roof is a dream)
Moto volcano (D) The next stop on our route is Mount Bromo. Besides Yogyakarta, Mount Bromo is probably the most popular destination on the island of Java. This is probably because the volcano itself is fairly easy to access.
Most people visit Mount Bromo as part of a sunrise jeep tour. From getting out of the jeep to the viewing platform, from which you have the famous view of the smoking volcano, it is just a few minutes Foot.
Then you drive the jeep directly to the volcano, in order to climb up to the crater rim via a relatively short footpath. As an alternative to the jeep, you can also book a motorcycle tour. Next time we would ask our driver to not to the general vantage point, because it’s pretty crowded. Be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing, as it’s usually pretty cold up there on the mountain. Most of them only stay one night and travel straight on after the tour in the morning.
Getting to Mount Bromo
You can travel from Yogyakarta or Solo to Bromo either as part of a organized minibus tour or on your own . We chose the latter and would do it again anytime. Yogyakarta (or Solo) is connected to Probolinggo – the next larger town near the volcano – by train, but you have to change trains in Surabaya.
Since we missed the last train from Surabaya, we had to switch to the bus. Arrived in Probolinggo, there are two ways to walk the last stretch to the village of Cemoro Lawang to cover at the edge of the crater: Either you take a public bus (however, buses only run up to a certain time) or you organize a driver, who in turn is a lot more expensive.
Spend the night on Bromo – our tip
Bromo Terrace Hotel (located 30 Minutes outside of Cemoro Lawang, it is a lot more attractive than the mostly very run-down accommodations there)
Volcano Ijen (E) In contrast to the Bromo, the Ijen volcano can only be reached by a 2-hour hike on foot. Keep in mind that if you want to see the famous blue fire you have to leave in the middle of the night. The Ijen is known for the fact that dozens of workers make the arduous journey here every day to mine sulfur in the crater gorge by hand. You can read our experience report on the hike in this article: Hike up the Ijen Volcano.
A possible starting point to stay overnight in the area is the town of Banyuwangi, where there are some hotels and guesthouses. It takes a good hour by car from Banyuwangi to the starting point of the trek. It is best to organize a driver directly in Banyuwangi. A guide for the hike is not absolutely necessary. We would definitely not recommend you to continue traveling on the day of the hike. We were very happy that we could sleep the rest of the day.
Arrival to the volcano Ijen To get from the Bromo to the Ijen, you first have to go back down the valley to Probolinggo. It is best to organize a transport to Probolinggo directly from your accommodation in Cemoro Lawang. From Probolinggo you can easily take the train Drive to Banyuwangi.
Hotel tip for Banyuwangi Ketapang Indah (nice rooms, great garden and pool, friendly staff)
Ubud (F) We continue to the next island: to Bali. In our opinion, Ubud is an excellent home base for exploring Bali. The place is wonderfully relaxed and there are incredibly delicious restaurants and beautiful accommodations.
Rent a scooter for a few days. You can find all our tips on this as well as a suggestion for a day trip in this article: Ubud Excursion by Scooter.
The distances in Bali are greater than you initially think. So you can also consider a driver for some destinations – such as the Uluwatu Temple in the south of the island. Depending on your preferences, you can of course stay in several places in Bali – but we were always very happy to finally be able to stay in one place for a longer period of time. If you also want to relax a bit in Ubud, we would recommend you to stay at least four nights.
How to get to Ubud From the easternmost tip of Java (Banyuwangi) to Bali it is only a stone’s throw by ferry. The journey takes just 20 until 30 Minutes – depending on “traffic conditions” at sea.
In Gilimanuk on Bali you either take a public bus to Denpasar or you organize a private taxi, which is many times more expensive. If you take the public bus to Denpasar, you can get on a bus to Ubud there or you can take a taxi the rest of the way.
Accommodation tip for Ubud Sri Ratih Cottages (beautiful complex with pool, nice rooms)
Gili Islands (G) At the latest at the end of the trip you want to relax a bit on the beach and the Gili Islands are of course ideal for that. There are three tiny islands: The busiest, Gili Trawangan, is more suitable for party friends, while the other two, Gili Meno and Gili Air, are more for those looking for peace and quiet appeals.
Meanwhile the Gili Islands have experienced quite a boom. We learned from a friend that more and more accommodations are being added. So don’t expect a lonely island paradise – the Gili Islands are now far too well known for that. Still, we really liked it on Gili Meno (our choice). Here you have plenty of time to read, snorkel and relax.
If you are after a tip for a beach holiday off the usual route: Maybe the south of the neighboring island Lomboks something for you. We’ve been told that there are fantastic beaches there.
Depending on how long you can stand it on a quiet island, we would plan between four and seven nights on the Gili Islands .
Arrival on the Gili Islands Coming from Bali, you can take a speedboat at several port locations (Padang Bai, Serangan), which is quite expensive. Alternatively, you can also take the slow ferry to Lombok and from there take a small boat to the Gili Islands.
Hotel tip for the Gili Islands Meno Dream Resort (beautiful resort built by an Indonesian-Slovenian couple, pretty bungalows, very personal)
Optional: Bukit Lawang If you are up for some adventure, we wholeheartedly recommend a trip to Bukit Lawang on the Island of Sumatra to see wild orangutans in the wild. Sumatra is not exactly around the corner, but can be reached relatively quickly by plane. Sure, you can spend several weeks or months in Sumatra alone, the island is so huge. But we think it’s worth it even for a few days.
Arrival in Bukit Lawang It is best to plan the trip to Bukit Lawang at the beginning of your trip to Indonesia. Possibility 1: If you are already in Indonesia, you can fly from Jakarta non-stop to Medan (Sumatra). Possibility 2: If you come from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, you can also fly directly from both cities to Medan.
From Medan it is about 4 hours by bus/taxi to Bukit Lawang. You can find more information about a jungle tour to Bukit Lawang in this article: Travel Guide Bukit Lawang.
To get back to the island of Java, you can either go from Medan to Jakarta or fly straight to Yogyakarta.
Accommodation tip for Bukit Lawang EcoTravel Cottages Bukit Lawang (nice and large rooms, friendly staff, great breakfast by the river)
2. Map: The Indonesia route at a glance So that you can orient yourself a little better, where the journey takes you, we have marked the individual stops of the route on a map. The itinerary starts from Jakarta (A) and ends at Gili Islands (G). Only the optional detour to the orangutans in Bukit Lawang is not included.
3. Tip: Travel guide for Indonesia Although you can now find the most important information on travel blogs on the Internet , which you need for a trip, we always have a printed travel guide for our trip. We have several travel guides for Indonesia, prefer to use the one by Stefan Loose. The Indonesia travel guide is – as we are used to from this publisher – well researched and highly recommended.
You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Indonesia (July edition )
4. More Indonesia travel reports to prepare your itinerary All Indonesia articles at a glance Travel Guide: Practical tips for a trip to Indonesia Jakarta: Tips & Highlights Tips and highlights in Yogyakarta Bali: Moped Day Trip from Ubud Bukit Lawang: Orangutans Karimunjawa: The Indonesian Island Paradise Trekking on the Ijen Volcano 5. Visual impressions: Our Indonesia video
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you been to Indonesia? How was your itinerary? Or do you still have questions about your trip? We look forward to your comment.