Last year, we spent a month traveling through Indonesia. We frolicked through the mountains and highlands of the Java region, ooh’ed and aaah’ed at the ancient temples of Prambanan and Borobodur, stood at the crater of an active volcano, explored off-the-beaten-path beaches, and got up close and personal with sharks, turtles and other underwater creatures. It was hands down the highlight of our adventures in 2015. We couldn’t believe that it took us so long to finally spend some time in this beautiful country.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Max & Oksana in Yogyakarta, Java. Indonesia

Taking a break from exploring Yogyakarta, Java

See, unlike its neighbours Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, Indonesia doesn’t always make it onto the backpackers S.E.A. itinerary. It certainly wasn’t at the top of our travel wish list when we first started exploring S.E.A. For us it wasn’t the lack of sights or amazing experiences that held us back from visiting Indonesia, it was the fact that Indonesia is HUGE. Its 18,110 islands, 6,000 of them inhabited, made planning our trip to Indonesia that much more intimidating.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Komodo National Park from above. Diving in Komodo

Overlooking Komodo National Park with just a few of Indonesia’s 18,110 islands in the background

But now that we’ve had a chance to experience Indonesia for ourselves, we are ready to share our suggested itinerary with you!

2 Weeks in Indonesia Itinerary

If 2 weeks is all you have to experience the best of Indonesia, come to terms with the fact that you just won’t see everything. The country is too fast and is full of too many amazing experiences to cram into 2 weeks. But we promise you can still see and do a ton!

Yogyakarta, Java – 2-3 days

Jakarta will be a lot cheaper to fly into, but don’t be tempted to add it to your itinerary. It’s not worth the stop. Head straight to Yogyakarta and plan to stay for 2-3 days. The biggest attractions in Yogyakarta are the Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple and while seeing both in one day will be a bit exhausting it’s not impossible. Plan to visit Borobudur at sunrise and Prambanan at sunset, then spend the second day checking out the city of Yogyakarta.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Jalan Malioboro, the most popular street in Yogyakarta. Central Java. Indonesia

Jalan Malioboro, the most popular street in Yogyakarta. Central Java

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Borobudur Temple at sunrise. Java Indonesia

Borobudur Temple at sunrise. Java Indonesia

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Candi Sewu, Central Java. Indonesia

Candi Sewu, an 8th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple located 800 meters north of Prambanan in Central Java

Our Accommodation Tip: Stay close to the city center, near Jalan Malioboro (Malioboro Street). We stayed at Hotel Poncowinatan, a local no frills hotel in central Yogyakarta for just $23/night with breakfast. It’s great value for what you get but don’t expect anything fancy.

Looking for other hotel options in Yogyakarta? We recommend the Hotel Neo Malioboro for its convenient location and budget friendly prices. Click here to check availability for your travel dates!

READ NEXT: There is More to Yogyakarta Then Borobudur and Prambanan

Malang, Java – 2 days

Hop on an overnight train and make your way from Yogyakarta to Malang, the second largest city in East Java and the gateway to the stunning Mount Bromo and the Ijen Crater which sits amidst a landscape of volcanic cones and a beautiful turquoise coloured sulfur lake.

View from Kampong Tourist Hostel, Malang, Java. Indonesia

View from Kampong Tourist Hostel, Malang, Java

Those that have time to spare will plan 2 individual trips to see Mt Bromo and Ijen Crater from Malang, as each one is easily organized as a day trip with a VERY early start. But if you are short on time, join a combined Mt Bromo and Ijen Crater 1N/2D Tour that will take you to both attractions and give you an option to be taken to the Gilimanuk ferry port in the western tip of Bali Island and onwards to Kuta, Bali. But beware, the trip from the ferry across to Kuta is a long one (6-7 hrs), so it might make more sense to grab a tour that returns to Surabaya and fly from Surabaya to Bali instead.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Max & Oksana at Mt Bromo at sunrise. East Java, Indonesia

Mt Bromo at sunrise. East Java

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Turquoise sulfur lake of Ijen Crater. East Java, Indonesia

Turquoise sulfur lake of Ijen Crater. East Java

Looking for hotel options in Malang? We recommend the Helios Hotel for its good location and a great rooftop bar. Click here to check availability for your travel dates!

READ NEXT: Chasing the Blue Flame: Our Hike to the Heart of Ijen CraterVisting

Ubud, Bali – 2 days

We won’t be the only ones to tell you not to waste your time in Kuta. Unless you are looking to get drunk with a bunch of 18-year old Australians (sorry Aussies, you know we love you and your country, but you really do get out of hand when you come to Kuta), there is absolutely no reason for you to stop here. Take a bus from Kuta directly to Ubud for a more cultural and authentic Bali experience. Spend 1-2 days in Ubud, enjoying the town itself and the various day trips/activities available nearby.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Rice paddy fields in Bali, Indonesia

Rice paddy fields in Bali, Indonesia

Looking for a great place to stay? we highly recommend the Onion Collective. It’s a hotel/restaurants/ coworking space where you’ll always find some digital nomads to socialize with during your stay. Onion Collective can only be booked via Airbnb.

The Onion Collective. Ubud, Indonesia

Poolside at the Onion Collective. Ubud

Lombok/Gili Islands – 3 days

From Ubud, make your way to Lombok. Here you have a choice of spending a few days relaxing on Gili Islands or exploring the lesser known and quieter Kuta area. If you choose to relax in Lombok, like we did, opt to fly there from Denpasar, Bali. If Gili Islands is your destination, you are better off taking one of the fast ferries. If you are staying in Kuta, hire a scooter and explore the area and the nearby beaches at your own pace.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Beautiful beach in Kuta, Lombok. Indonesia

Beautiful beach in Kuta, Lombok

Wondering where to stay in Kuta? We recommend the Puri Rinjani Bungalows for its quiet location and great amenities. Click here to check availability for your travel dates!

Flores/Komodo National Park – 2-3 days

Fly to Flores (Labuan Bajo), the getaway to the Komodo National Park to experience out of this world sights and the mythical Komodo dragons. If you are a diver, choose between a liveaboard and day-trip diving experience and spend at least a few days diving in the national park. It’s an absolute MUST! If you don’t have your diving certification, go on a day-trip with our friends and Uber Scuba Komodo for some amazing snorkeling and a chance to get up close and personal with the Komodo Dragons. There are also hot springs, volcanoes and crater lakes waiting to be explored in the area.

2 Weeks in Indonesia: Diving in Komodo National Park

Underwater world of the Komodo National Park

Komodo dragons on Rinca Island. Komodo National Park

Komodo dragons on Rinca Island. Komodo National Park

Wondering where to stay in Flores? We recommend the L Bajo Hotel for its convenient location, modern design, free wifi, and great value. Click here to check availability for your travel dates!

READ NEXT: Diving in Komodo National Park: Pros and Cons of a Day Trip vs a Liveaboard

With only 2 weeks to spare, that’s about all you’ll be able to cover during your stay in Indonesia. It’s a jam-packed itinerary but is one that allows you to see the majority of Indonesia’s main sights and attractions.

If You Have More Time…

If you have more time, consider yourself lucky. You have the luxury of slowing down your travel and being able to see more and do more at each one of these stops. Here are a few suggestions on how to extend your trip:

In Yogyakarta, give yourself an extra day to wander around the city

It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs, try street food, come across a random street market, or strike up a conversation with a local “taxi” driver. Despite being one of the hot spots in Java, the city is not yet crowded with westerners, so there is space for you to meander and simply watch the locals go about their daily life.

Rows of becaks on Jalan Malioboro. Yogyakarta. Java. Indonesia

Rows of becaks on Jalan Malioboro. Yogyakarta. Java

Stop in Solo en route from Yogyakarta to Malang

It’ll break up your train journey and allow you to experience the beauty of this highly underrated town in the highlands and visit some tea plantations and temples that lie outside of it.

Learning about tea at the tea plantation outside of Solo, Java. Indonesia

Learning about tea at the tea plantation outside of Solo, Java

Give yourself a few extra days in Malang …

…to explore the town. Check out Malang’s night market, walk around the beautiful Dutch colonial-style neighbourhood or get out of town and visit one of Malang’s nearby Balekambang Beaches.

Malang, Java. Indonesia

Exploring the lesser known areas of Malang, Java.

Spend extra time in Bali….

… exploring past Ubud and the party central Kuta. Visit the Bedugal Waterfalls in North Bali, soak in the Banjar hot springs, scuba-dive the Liberty Ship Wreck, or trek to the top of an active volcano Mount Batur.

Climb Mt Rinjani in Lombok

We planned to do this trek right after climbing Ijen Crater and Mr Bromo, but were too exhausted from the other treks to embark on another 3-day adventure, but we heard it’s an amazing experience.

Go even further!

Visit Sumatra for a chance to come face to face with the Sumatran Orangutans and other wildlife, dive in Raja Ampat, renowned as one of the top 5 dive sites in the world, or explore the land of the indigenous tribes of Baliem Valley in Papua.


BEFORE YOU GO: Don’t forget travel insurance! 

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially in a country like the Indonesia. Whether you plan to explore the cities or stay a while and get to know the local way of life, being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind.

We learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way and now we never travel without coverage. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads.

Have a question in preparation for your Indo trip? Leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to give you some advice.


** Read Next **

What To Budget For Your Trip To Indonesia

13 Dishes You Should Try In Indonesia

16 Photos That Will Spark Your Wanderlust For Java, Indonesia

Cultural Close Up: Bird Market In Indonesia

Budget Friendly Way To See Sunrise At Borobudur

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2 weeks in Indonesia

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