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3 Week Indonesia Itinerary – Java, Bali, and Komodo National Park

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Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Sarah Puckett

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!

Sarah and at Tim Padar Island overlook in Komodo Islands Indonesia

3 Week 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.

Day Trips from Bandung

I highly recommend visiting Kawah Putih, also called the White Lake. It’s got a spooky, otherworldly vibe that makes it different from 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 about $50 USD/person.

>>> Click here to book the Kawah Putih (White Lake) Tour we took in Bandung

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.

Book Day Tours in Bandung:

Where to Stay in Bandung

For accommodation, I highly recommend the Four Points Sheraton (from USD 70/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.

>>> Click here to book the hotel we stayed at in Bandung!

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 USD 30 per person.

Where to Stay in Batukaras

You could choose to stay in Pangandaran, but the vibe at Batukaras is worth going a little bit out of the way for. There is 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.

>>> Click here to book the Airbnb we stayed at in Batukaras!

Body Rafting in Green Canyon

Regardless of where you stay, you can ask your host to arrange a body rafting trip through the Green Canyon (about USD 30/per 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. If it’s not your speed, rest assured – more docile boat tours to the canyon are also available.

>>> Click here to book a body rafting tour in Green Canyon

>>> Click here to read our blog post about body rafting Green Canyon

Days 6-9: Yogyakarta

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

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

>>> Click here to search hotels in Yogyakarta

Visiting Borobudur

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 daytime groups arrive is well worth it to have a bit of solitude.

Sarah at borobudur temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Visiting Prambanan

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.

Book Tours in Yogyakarta:

Day 10: Surabaya

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

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.

>>> Click here to search hotels in Surabaya

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.

Things to do in East Java

  • 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 at Mount Ijen will be one for the books, too. It’s another 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.

How to Travel Through East Java

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

I recommend having a guide for both Bromo and Ijen Volcanos, as well as the waterfall. The routes can be tricky and Ijen and the waterfall, in particular, pose some risks that make having a guide the safest option. It is possible to visit Mount Bromo without a guide, however.

Book Other Surabaya Tours:

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 than 3 weeks for your itinerary in Indonesia, 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.

Nusa Dua

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 is 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 Denpasar Airport. However, if you’re looking for someplace centrally located in 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.

Where to Stay in Nusa Dua

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/night.

>>> Click here to book the hotel we stayed at in Nusa Dua on Bali Island!

Spa Tub in Bali

Things to do in Bali from Nusa Dua

With a short time in Bali, you can still check out some of the highlights. We hired a driver for about $40 (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 away).
Bali Rice Terraces
  • Mount Batur volcano views
  • Luwak coffee plantation (Luwak coffee 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)

Book a Bali Tour:

Day 17: Labuan Bajo

From Bali, fly to Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. This is a 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.

>>> Click here to search for hotels in Labuan Bajo

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.

Sarah and Tim with a Komodo Dragon on Komodo Island in Indonesia

Several tour operators offer 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

>>> Click here to read more about our experience on a liveaboard boat trip in the Komodo Islands

Book More Komodo Island Tours:

Day 21: Depart

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

Even with three weeks in Indonesia, you just scratch the surface of everything this country offers to travelers. We loved it, and if you follow this 3 week 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 travelers add to their itinerary for a 3 week Indonesia trip? Tell me in the comments or feel free to contact me!

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