Padar Island view

Indonesia Itinerary – Java, Bali and Komodo National Park

If you are planning a trip to Indonesia, you are already doing something right. Indonesia is one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited. The people are warm and kind, the food is great, and it’s safe and easy to get around. On top of that, the natural sights are incredible. From beaches, to mountains to incredible wildlife, Indonesia is a traveler’s dream! My 3 week Indonesia itinerary is a perfect introduction to this country for first-timers, or repeat travelers who haven’t dived into Java, Bali or Komodo National Park just yet!

Indonesia Itinerary Overview:

  • Days 1-2: Bandung and Kawah Putih (White Lake)
  • Days 3-5: Batukaras and Green Canyon
  • Days 6-9: Yogyakarta
  • Day 10: Surabaya
  • Days 11-13: Surabaya to Bali tour via Madakaripura Waterfall, Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen
  • Days 14-16: Bali (Nusa Dua)
  • Day 17: Labuan Bajo
  • Days 18-20: Komodo National Park
  • Day 21: Depart

Indonesia Itinerary Day-by-Day:

Days 1-2: Bandung and Kawah Putih (White Lake)

I recommend flying into Bandung, Java. While Jakarta is more of a hub than Bandung, Indonesia’s capital city doesn’t offer much to visitors. You can fly internationally into Bandung just as easily!

Bandung is a good glimpse into contemporary city life in Indonesia. Locals also consider it a great place for shopping.

There isn’t much to do within the city itself, but there are some great day tour options you can do in the surrounding area. This is what makes a visit to Bandung worthwhile.

I highly recommend visiting Kawah Putih, also called the White Lake. It’s got a spooky, otherworldly vibe that makes it unlike any other place I’ve visited. You can book a tour online or arrange a driver with your hotel. We booked this tour on Klook for insert cost.

Read more: Volcanoes in Java

Another popular option is visiting the volcanic crater of Tangkuban Perahu. We opted not to visit this place because we’d heard the hawkers selling souvenirs are overwhelming and ruin the experience a bit. That said, if you’re in Bandung for a few days, you could visit this one as well as Kawah Putih.

For accommodation, I highly recommend the Four Points Sheraton (from $70 USD/night). It’s in a beautiful old white building, the breakfast is fantastic and there’s a nice rooftop restaurant with views over the city.

Kawah Putih White Lake

I like to think we found the perfect spot at the White Lake

Days 3-5: Batukaras and Green Canyon

From Bandung, you can hire a private or shared van transfer to Batukaras, a small fishing and surfing village about 45 minutes outside of the beach resort city of Pangandaran. A shared van will cost about $15 to $30 USD per person.

You could choose to stay in Pangandaran, but the vibe at Batukaras is worth going a little bit out of the way for. There’s a good backpacker and surfer scene near the beach, with some accommodation options catering to surfers there as well.

We stayed a 15 minute walk from the beach, along the Green River at this Airbnb. The rooms are comfortable and the host is nice and ready to help with anything you need.

You may have noticed we stay in a lot of Airbnbs. We find they are often the best value for money, and most have kitchens and laundry facilities which makes our backpacking hearts so happy. Click here to save $40 on Airbnb accommodation on your next trip.

Regardless of where you stay, you can ask your host to arrange a body rafting trip through the Green Canyon (about $30 USD/person). This activity is adventurous and a lot of fun, requiring a bit of swimming, climbing and hiking through the canyon. It’s not for the faint-hearted, however. I recommend checking out my guide to what to expect body rafting in the Green Canyon to see if it’s right for you.

Read more: What to Expect Body Rafting Green River

More docile boat tours to the canyon are also available.

You can arrange a van transfer to Yogyakarta from Batukaras for about $30. Your accommodation should be able to help with this.

Floating down the Green River

Floating down the Green River

Days 6-9: Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is one of Indonesia’s most popular destinations, thanks to the impressive temple complexes of Borobudur (Buddhist) and Prambanan (Hindu).

Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist temple complex, is Indonesia’s biggest tourist attraction. Construction started in 825 AD, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the complex drew international attention, or even domestic attention for that matter. For the better part of a millennium, the complex was more or less abandoned. A $25 million USD restoration project later, 2.5 million tourists now visit annually.

To enjoy the visit, most people recommend coming as part of a sunrise tour. This gives visitors access to the complex before it officially opens. In particular, we found that lingering around after the sunrise crowds leave but before the day time groups arrive is well worth it to have a bit of solitude.

Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple compound in Southeast Asia. Built around 900 AD, it has some strong Angkor Wat vibes thanks to its similar shape and Buddhist-Hindu mixed architecture. Our guide led us around and explained the motifs and stories behind the carved images and statues.

You could space out your explorations in this area over a few days, but you can also easily visit both of the temples on the same day. I recommend booking a guided tour so that you have someone who can teach you about the history and cultural importance behind the temples.

We booked this tour using our Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Tim and I both have the Chase Ultimate Rewards Sapphire Reserve Card. It has a larger annual fee ($450 per year), but it comes with $300 cash back on travel purchases and access to airport lounges around the world (which typically range from $20-50 per visit without a pass). If you apply and are approved, you can earn 50,000 bonus points. That is the equivalent of about ten tours of Borobudur and Prambanan Temples. Note: I will also receive a small commission in points if you apply and are approved. Learn more here.

There are buses and trains that connect Yogyakarta to Surabaya, but it’s much more comfortable to take a private van for about $30.

Borobudur Temple Sunrise

Borobudur Temple at sunrise

Prambanan Temple Complex

View of all of the temples at Prambanan

Day 10: Surabaya

Take it easy in Surabaya. I’ve included this large city in my Indonesia itinerary since it’s a logical departure point for trips through East Java (described below).

If you do choose to spend more than a stopover night here, The Crazy Tourist has some ideas for how you could spend your time.

Days 11-13: Surabaya to Bali tour via Madakaripura Waterfall, Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen

From Surabaya, I recommend hiring a driver or booking a tour through East Java to Bali.

Highlights to check out:

  • Madakaripura Waterfall – Java’s tallest waterfall and the second tallest in Indonesia. Expect to get wet on the short hike!
  • Mount Bromo – Weather permitting, the sunrise over Mount Bromo and its neighbors will be one of the best you’ve ever seen
  • Mount Ijen – And sunrise here well be too. It’s an early morning, but well worth it. Expect the hike to be steep and challenging.

If you haven’t already, you can read more about these iconic Java volcanoes here.

There are many tour companies online that offer this itinerary all the way to Bali, but not all are reputable. We booked with Discover Your Indonesia and had a great experience. We spent $580 USD for two people and it included our driver, entrance fees, guides, hotels, ferry to Bali and drive from Bali ferry terminal to our hotel.

Hiking through Madakaripura Waterfall

Hiking through Madakaripura Waterfall

Sunrise over Mount Bromo

Sunrise over Mount Bromo

Mount Ijen Sunrise

I’m still in awe of these colors

Days 14-16: Bali (Nusa Dua)

In my Indonesia itinerary, I’ve only included a few days in Bali as a relaxation stop before heading to the Komodo National Park and surrounding islands. That said, if you have more time, you can easily spend weeks in Bali staying in different areas. This itinerary from Bon Traveler is a great resource if you will be spending a few weeks in Bali. Additionally, I highly recommend my collaboration post with Worldering Around on the best places to stay throughout the island. 

Located in southeastern Bali, Nusa Dua is known for its idyllic beaches and swanky resorts. Soft white sandy shores extend the length of the peninsula, and the warm ocean waters are perfectly inviting. There are a handful of restaurants and shops around, but mostly it’s the kind of place where you stay on the beach and unwind. With limited nightlife, it’s a relaxing and quiet area to stay. Since it is very spread out, Nusa Dua not great for walking around, further encouraging you to just stay put at your resort.

Nusa Dua is a popular wedding and honeymoon destination, thanks to the many luxury resorts dotted along the beach. Given that most of the accommodations are high-end, expect to spend a little bit more when shopping or dining in this area.

Nusa Dua is only about a half hour drive from the Denpasar Airport. However, if you’re looking for someplace centrally located on Bali to easily access all of the main attractions from one base, Nusa Dua is not a good option. Instead, Nusa Dua is where you should go to unwind and stay in one place for a few days, especially if you are traveling as part of a couple and want a romantic getaway.

We redeemed Hilton Honors points to stay at the Conrad Bali luxury resort. There are several on-site restaurants and bars offering breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktail hour and dinner. Additionally, there are multiple pool options, including an adult-only pool by the spa. Guests have access to the indoor thermal pools and saunas, and the spa offers a myriad of massage options, including traditional Balinese treatments. Rooms are priced from $400 USD/night.

With a short time in Bali, you can still check out some of the highlights. We hired a driver for about $40 USD (not including entrance fees and lunch, which in total were about $20 more total throughout the day) from baligoldentour.com for a one day tour from Nusa Dua and were able to see and visit the following:

  • Barong and Rangda dance performance (one of Bali’s UNESCO-designated dances)
  • Batuan Hindu temple
  • Tegalalang Rice Terraces (note that these are not the UNESCO-designated ones. These are on the side of the highway and very crowded. If I could do it again I would have gone to Jutiluwih terraces a bit further way).
  • Mount Batur volcano views
  • Luwak coffee plantation (this is Bali’s notorious “poop coffee” that is made from coffee beans digested by the luwak cat. Our verdict – tastes like normal coffee).
  • Uluwatu Temple and Kecek Fire Dancing (another of Bali’s UNESCO-designated dances)
Barong and Rangda Dance

Barong and Rangda Dance

Tegalalang rice terraces

Tegalalang Rice Terraces – deliberately cropped to look a certain way

Day 17: Labuan Bajo

From Bali, fly to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. This is decent town to spend a few days in, with some day trips into the countryside villages available for those who want to explore. The main draw, however, is its proximity to Komodo National Park.

Days 18-20: Komodo National Park

While you can do day trips into the park from Labuan Bajo, I highly recommend doing a 3-day liveaboard tour. There are a number of tour operators offering similar itineraries with a range of accommodation levels. We  booked with Discover Your Indonesia again since they were reliable for our Java tour and had a fantastic time.

Highlights of a trip through Komodo National Park include:

  • Padar Island views
  • Rinca Island and seeing Komodo Dragons
  • Flying foxes at sunset
  • Snorkeling among sea turtles, rays and vibrant coral

Read more: Exploring Komodo National Park

Day 21: Depart

After returning to Labuan Bajo, catch your flight on to your next destination!

Even with three weeks in Indonesia, you just scratch the surface of everything this country offers to travelers. We absolutely loved it, and if you follow this Indonesia itinerary for your first trip, I think you will too. We’re already planning our return to explore even more of the many islands!

Have you been to Indonesia? Where else would you recommend for travelers? Tell me in the comments!

Read More: Our Adventures Through Indonesia

16 thoughts on “Indonesia Itinerary – Java, Bali and Komodo National Park

  1. Daisy says:

    This is super comprehensive! I’ve never been to Indonesia and this is great list of destinations to take note of. The sunrise over Mount Bromo is absooolutely wonderful

  2. Clarice says:

    Indonesia has always been our favorite destination. How I wish I can stay this long to follow your itinerary. 20 days would be a dream. Anyway, we’re planning to stay in Yogyakarta during our next visit. Thank you for sharing about the tour. We’ll join that too.

    • our21stcenturyodyssey says:

      It’s definitely a place I could keep coming back to. It’s so diverse and beautiful. Enjoy Yogyakarta!

  3. Amy Chung says:

    Wow that is one serious trip around Indonesia. You certainly managed to cover a lot of ground. You visited so many wonderful places. Loved that photo on the White Lake and I think you really did find the best spot. Floating down the green river looked like a whole bunch of fun and the water looked so pristine and emerald! And you have done my ultimate bucket list, visiting Borobudur. Was it as magnificent as Angkor? Surely nothing beats Angkor?

    • our21stcenturyodyssey says:

      I think you’re right that nothing beats Angkor simply because there are so many temples you can explore and it has a much stronger “adventure” feel to it. Borobudur is absolutely amazing, though!

  4. Nicholas says:

    Wonderful – and you’ve only scratched the surface! In Jogja, I’d also recommend the Sultan’s palace a.k.a. the Kraton, and Jomblang cave but you’ll need a few more days to explore in a little detail. So I appreciate why you’ve picked highlights for the three-week itinerary.

  5. shreyasaha1987 says:

    Wow this is such a comprehensive itinerary of the whole of the country. I would love to spend a month and explore all of these instead of just visiting part by part. Komodo National Park is on my list since long. It’s great to know that you have been there.

    • our21stcenturyodyssey says:

      Oh Komodo is definitely a highlight of all my travel experiences! I hope you get to go soon!

  6. Arnav Mathur says:

    This is quite the itinerary. Indonesia has got so much to offer. Even though I have been in this beautiful country for the last 6 months, I haven’t explored it like I should have. But now am going to follow your lead and go exploring.

  7. David says:

    It sounds like you had a great three weeks. I’d love to visit Borobudur and I hope that I’ll get to see more of Indonesia when I get round to visiting. I’ve saved this for future use!

  8. xxvallixx says:

    Wow, there’s so much to see and do in Indonesia! What caught my attention in particular are days 11-13 with the visit to the Madakaripura waterfall and Mount Bromo & Ijen – the sights and colors are incredible! Another country to add to my (long) wishlist 🙂

    • our21stcenturyodyssey says:

      That part of the trip was definitely a big highlight! Indonesia is incredible and I hope you get to visit soon!

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