Since I truly believe that Indonesia is more than just Bali, I’ve decided to write about all the other beautiful places you can visit. Chances are you already have one full week planned in Bali. So here’s what you can do during the rest of your stay in Indonesia.Â
Indonesia is a big country with over 14.752 islands. This makes it hard to see all of it in so little time. The best thing you can do is choose one island and see as much of it as possible.
Java is third largest island of Indonesia after Sumatra and Celebes. On Java they speak Indonesian. Sometimes it was quite hard to communicate since a lot of people don’t speak any English. If you have only two weeks, this itinerary might help you. I started in Jakarta but since I didn’t like it that much, I’m not going to put it in the schedule.
Day 1-3: Yogyakarta
This city is a perfect place to start your trip. Itâs what most people do and if you want to meet people to travel Java with, this is the right place. The city is mostly known for its temples BorobudurÂ and Pranbanam. Almost every hostel or hotel will offer you a tour to see these. Three days should be enough to discover Yoygya.
I watched the sunset over Pranbanam the first night and then did the sunrise tour for Borobudur. This is probably the best way to do it since Borobudur is by far the most impressive temple.
Â Regarding prices, these will be around 350.000 for each templeÂ including the entrance. If youâre not watching the sunrise you can buy the combination ticket and donât forget your student card if you have one, because you get a discount here.
Another tour I can recommend in Yogya is a cycling tour on the countryside. My hostel, Happy Budha, organizes a really good one. You donât have to bicycle all the time; so donât let that stop you. You visit all sorts of local producers; you get to see how they make tempe, sugar, etc. You can include a cooking class at the end of the tour.
The price for the cycling only was 150.000RP and if you include the cooking class its 300.000RP.
Happy Buddha, the hostel I stayed in, is located in the touristic center of Yogya. Youâll see a lot of other tourists, the locals actually call this part of town âforeigner villageâ. I personally didnât think it was that bad and it makes it a good place to adapt to Indonesian culture.
The hostel is beautiful and quite. You can get a bed in a dorm from 85.000RP (5EUR). The place is super clean and you can find peace in the common areas but if youâre a solo traveler looking to meet other people, this hostel is probably the right one for you.
Day 3-7: Karimunjava
Karimunjava is still pretty undiscovered in Indonesia, although you can tell more and more people are visiting the island. And it makes sense, because it is very beautiful. If youâre looking for a tropical escape after 3 day in Yoyga, this island will fulfill all of your wishes.
How to get there
I am going to try to be as clear as possible but since there is no correct information online about transport to Karimunjava, it is really hard.
First of all, the only way to get to Karimunjava is from Jepara. Boats only leave from there. You can take a plane from Surabaya but it doesnât fly very often and you can only buy the ticket at the airport in Surabaya.
Second of all, talking from our own experience, donât buy a ticket in advance. We had bad luck and can only talk about what happened to us. In Yogyakarta they will probably offer you a âtourâ to Karimunjava. You can choose between transport from Yogya to Jepara only, or include your boat ticket and a snorkel tour on the island.
You should buy only transport to Jepara, I think this was around 150000RP. You will leave Yogya around 11:30pm and youâll arrive to Jepara around 4am in the morning. There youâll have to wait until 6am, and then they open the ticket booth. This is where it went wrong for us; the reason was that the slow boat wasnât running, so everyone had to take the fast boat. If you want to know more about this in particular, you can always send me a message on my Instagram and I will be happy to tell you more about this.
But if everything goes well youâll buy your ticket that costs about 152000RP and around 8 you will be on your way to Karimunjava.
The reason I think you shouldnât buy your ticket in advance is because even if you do, you will only get it once youâre at the harbor. There will be a guy doing the queue for you, that is the only difference. And if that guy doesnât appear, youâre stuck there, because youâll have no ticket even though you payed for it.
Karimunjava is a beautiful island. It is not that big, but big enough to spend 4 days here. You can rent a motorcycle for a couple of days and just discover the island like that. If youâve never used a motorcycle, this is the best place to learn since there is almost no traffic. From the harbor of Karimunjava to the other side of the island itâs about one hour.
There are a lot of amazing paradisiacal beaches to see. Most of them have almost no tourists. You can also book a tour, we did the snorkel tour and loved it. They take you from island to island on a small boat and in between you snorkel. If youâre lucky you even get to see a sea turtle!
There a lot of other things to do, you can camp on an island, you can go diving, etc. And donât forget to watch the sunset everyday because it is magical. The best place to see the island is at the âloveâ sign, you get a great panoramic view.
The owner of the hostel I stayed at in Yogya also owns a hostel in Karimunjava, called Body Tree. The concept is completely the same but here I did feel like it was easier to meet people. The hostel is super clean and the staff is very nice. The price was also similar to the one in Yogyakarta, about 85.000RP.
Day 7-8: Surabaya
Most people go back to Yogyakarta after Karimunjava with the idea of going to Mount Bromo from there. I, on the other hand, decided to go to Surabaya. I booked the transport on the island. Do prepare yourself because it is a long way. All in all, it took me 12 hours to get there. When actually, itâs only 300 kilometers. So yes, the traffic in Indonesia is frustrating, just so you know.
I slept in Surabaya and then explored the city a little. It is a buzzy city that reminded me of Jakarta so I wasnât fond of it, but it does have a really big mosque that is worth the visit. And donât forget to try the street food next to the mosque. There is a meal called “pecel semanggi” which you can only buy there, definitely worth a try!
Day 8-9: Mount Bromo
How to get there from Surabaya
After Surabaya we booked transport to Bromo. This mount is visited by a lot of tourist so if youâre wondering how to get there, the Internet is full of it. You can take a train to Probolingo and hire a driver to do the tour, but I hired a driver with 3 other people to go until Cemoro Lawang and it turned out being very cheap and easy. From Cemoro Lawang you can book a tour or climb mount Bromo by yourself.
Tour or no tour
I watched the sunset after climbing Mount Bromo myself and and booked a tour for the sunrise. The tours they offer are, in my opinion, very expensive. So doing it by yourself is obviously a lot cheaper and also very beautiful. If you do book the tour, donât expect to hike a lot. We barely walked 1 hour. They take you in a jeep to the viewpoint and then they take you to the crater. We were lucky and paid only 350.000RP for the jeep. The normal price is around 600.000RP. The best thing you can do in this case is find a group of people and split the cost.
The best thing you can do is just drive to Cemoro Lawang or Probolingo and just see the rooms yourself because there is no such thing as a cheap and nice hostel to visit Bromo. You wonât get anything fancy but at least you can bargain the price a little. We ended up paying 150.000RP for a room with a double bed for one night.
Day 9-10: Ijen
Sadly, I didnât get to visit Igen, but the normal thing to do is to combine Bromo and Ijen. You can do the sunrise tour in Bromo and then take a train to Banyuwangi to visit Ijen on the other day. From there on there is no public transport and you have to take a minibus or a motorbike till Ijen.Â
There are a lot of tours who offer a package to visit both of them and then take you to Bali. I didnât try it and drove with some friends from Bromo directly to Kuta, Bali.
If you want to know how to get from Ijen to Bali, you can check it here.