While you could easily spend a lifetime exploring Indonesia‘s rugged coastlines, white sand beaches, lush jungles and magnificent volcanoes, most of us will only spend a few weeks enjoying this paradise. The best Indonesia itinerary we can imagine takes you from volcanoes to jungles to beaches in only two weeks.
To help you experience some of Indonesia’s most beautiful places, we’ve compiled an unforgettable two-week itinerary that will take you across this magnificent country.
From sunrise at the ancient temples of Borobudur, winding through tiny villages and countryside by train, soaking in a bath cushioned by tropical flowers, walking through the lush rice fields of Sidemen and, finally, to the sun-soaked beaches of beautiful Gili Air -you can live it all!
Allow your imagination to run free and let us take you on a journey as you read…
Duration – 1 or 2 days
While you will likely arrive in Jakarta, we recommend pushing through your jet lag and boarding a 1 hour and 40 minute flight to Yogyakarta (or Jogja as the locals call it). We think this gorgeous city should be the first stop on your Indonesia itinerary because it’s “the cultural capital of Indonesia”.
Jogja features the best batik studios nestled between apartments, traditional craft shops lining the streets and ancient temples reaching high above the rice fields.
After relaxing with a massage and good night of rest, we recommend taking one of the many classes offered by local artists such as shadow puppetry, ikat batik dyeing or even a cooking class.
If you love chocolate, you will find heaven at Chocolate Monggo Factory and Store. Learn about the history of cacao cultivation while sampling a variety of delicious chocolates ranging from 77 percent dark to volcanic sea salt.
Samanvaya tip – Get hands on and learn to make Jamu (a traditional Indonesian healing tonic) from a local.
Duration – 1 day
You simply cannot create the best Indonesia itinerary without including Borobudur. Greet the sunrise and watch the morning mist fade away from the steps of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, located only an hour from Jogja.
Even though Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim nation, it is home to the world’s largest Buddhist temple -Borobudur. After you’ve finished exploring, don’t forget to grab a glass of refreshing coconut water from a street vendor.
Samanvaya tip – If you want to avoid the crowds and experience Borobudur like a local, drive up to Punthuk Setumbu and watch sunrise cast Borobudur and the surrounding area in a soft, pink glow.
Duration – 1 day
Whether it’s the gentle sway of the cars, the views into unspoiled countryside or the chance to sit with your own thoughts, there’s something romantic about a train ride. After exploring Borobudur and the surrounding area, take a 5 hour train ride from Yogyakarta to Surabaya and peek into local life.
While Surabaya is a fascinating city, you won’t have time to explore it with only a two week itinerary of Indonesia. It’s best to check into your hotel and take a rest so that you’re able to wake up early in the morning to hike up Mount Bromo.
For those who are not enthralled by the romance of trains, you can hire a driver to take you from Borobudur to an accommodation in Surabaya or a guesthouse closer to Mount Bromo.
Samanvaya tip – Stock up on local snacks before boarding the train!
Duration – 1 or 2 days
Next stop on our best Indonesia itinerary is one of the most incredible volcanos in the world where people can actually visit. There are few things as majestic and awe-inspiring as watching sunrise over the crater of Mount Bromo.
As the warm glow of sunrise breaks the horizon and the volcanic forms stand starkly against the fading shadows, you feel as if you’ve been transported to another planet.
While it’s possible to hike to a sunrise viewpoint, taking a Jeep is an equally exciting option. Don’t forget to bring a warm jacket and stop at one of the local shops to enjoy a cup of Bali coffee or hot chocolate.
After the sun has risen, you will have the option of trekking through the fog, across the Sea of Sand and up to the caldera’s edge. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen because the sun will be very strong during the descent.
Samanvaya tip – Don’t hire a horse to cross the Sea of Sand because the horses aren’t treated well and the walk is short.
Duration – 2 or 3 Days
You could easily spend two weeks in Bali (or, even two years), but we have highlighted the very best of this beautiful island in two locations below.
A lively area where sumptuous beach clubs meet boutique shops, exciting night life and delicious dining, Seminyak is the best bustling place to add to your Indonesia itinerary. Spend the afternoon lounging on a daybed at Azul Beach Club, Potato Head, La Plancha or Ku De Ta, while sipping a coconut and feeling the sea breeze on your skin.
For those with an adventurous heart, wake up early in the morning to hike up Mount Batur and enjoy panoramic views all the way to the ocean. It’s also possible to visit the contoured rice terraces at Jatiluwih or bath in the sacred pools of Tirta Empul Water Temple as a day trip from Seminyak.
If you’re craving a night of excitement and dancing under the stars, don’t forget to visit La Favela, a stunning nightclub designed to evoke the Balinese jungles, the colorful favelas of Rio and the unground bars of 90s London or New York.
Samanvaya tip – While Seminyak is a great place to spend your time, other beach destinations you could visit instead include Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Uluwatu or Sanur.
Duration – 2 or 3 Days
The next stop on our best Indonesia itinerary takes you away from the high-paced Seminyak life. During the drive up to peaceful Sidemen, you will witness the natural beauty of Indonesia’s rural countryside. Here the pace of life is slow and the natural environment is wild.
As you drive past expansive fields of rice, you will see cows and their babies sleeping in the shade, chickens darting across the road, offerings lining the temple steps and families dining together.
Treat yourself to a luxurious flower bath filled with frangipani, jasmine and rose petals while listening to the sounds of birds and the wind carrying through the valleys.
Whether you trek through the fields, take a silversmithing class from a master, learn to cook a Balinese curry or simply relax in the beauty of nature, you will experience a side of Bali that many seek but few find.
Samanvaya tip – After a day of exploring, sip on a cocktail and watch sunset over the rice fields and ocean from the infinity pools of Samanvaya Luxury Resort and Spa.
Duration – 2 or 3 days
As the best of your two weeks in Indonesia come to a close, it’s time to add one final stop and the best Indonesia itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a white sand beaches. Gili Air is one of three islands located between Bali and Lombok, and it’s accessible by speed boat.
Although it’s possible to visit all three islands, we recommend spending your final days in Bali wrapped in the tranquility of Gili Air.
Imagine staying in a breezy beach hut, taking barefoot sunrise walks and then leisurely riding a bike to breakfast past coconut farms, local villages and the calm sea.
In the evenings, you can watch the sunset from a swing in the water. Gili Air is also a great diving location. To make the most of some of the best snorkeling in the world, make sure to add a day exploring the underwater statues and reefs to your Indonesia itinerary.
Samanvaya tip – Don’t swim during the low tide because the reef will be too close to the surface and you can hurt yourself and the coral.
From Gili Air, you can take a speed boat back to Bali and then fly from Bali to catch your international flight in Jakarta. While it’s possible to do this in one day, be advised that sometimes the speedboats do not leave on time -especially if the sea conditions are rough.
To ensure a smooth transition back to your home country, we recommend staying one night in Jimbaran Bay or another area near Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Creating the best Indonesia itinerary in only two weeks is difficult. For those who have a little more time to visit the best places in Indonesia, we recommend reading our post featuring incredible Indonesian landmarks and adding one or two places to your itinerary.
We hope you enjoy our recommendation and love your time in Indonesia. When you visit Sidemen, don’t forget to stop by Samanvaya for an unforgettable experience. Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions.
Sampai Jumpa (until we meet)!
By Eva Johnstone