30 Days in Indonesia: From Jakarta to Lombok and Back!
You have a month off and you intend to backpack Southeast Asia? You love diving with sharks, giant turtles and colourful fish in one of the world’s best coral reefs or you prefer surfing or just relaxing at the beach? How about hiking active volcanoes, climbing, jungle trekking? You love crowded tourist party places or you want to get lost far off the beaten track? Indonesia has it all! Magical islands, hundreds of temples, immaculate landscapes and cultural treasures. Relatively cheap, easy accessible, extremely friendly and safe in general, Indonesia is one of our top must-do destinations.
Indonesia is a huge country with population of more than 240 million people, spread over 18 000 islands. With all the country can offer, you can get lost in Indonesia for years 🙂
We hope that our one month itinerary will help you decide where to go!
You will probably land and start your trip from Jakarta. 30-day visa on arrival is issued for most countries. As of 2014, the visa fee is $35 in cash.
To be honest, there is nothing really interesting to see in Jakarta. Probably the best place to stay is the Jaksa area. It offers cheap accommodation and vibrant nightlife. You can listen to a local band or grab a beer almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We recommend you to spend a few hours in old Jakarta area (Kota), to walk the national monument gardens or visit the biggest mosque in the world.
Then, from Jakarta, you can take the early train (two express trains a day: 7 and 7:30 in the morning) or the flight to Yogyakarta (departures almost every hour starting at 5 in the morning). We recommend the second option!
Jogja (as locals call it) is a must-do stop while travelling across Java. It is a relatively small town, crowded with mostly local tourists offering very lively traditional atmosphere. Also, it’s the perfect getaway for the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan.
Main attraction in Jogja is the “Kraton” or Sultan’s Palace where you can ‘dive’ into the Javanese culture. It’s actually a city within the city where the current sultan resides. You should definitely visit the Jalan Malioboro market street where you can buy everything – crafts, food, clothes, paintings, jewelers, etc. Here is the place to book your trip to Borobudur and Prambanan temples. There are numerous agencies along Malioboro street to offer you different kind of packages. In fact they provide only transportation which you can also manage yourself using public transportation for less than $2 or renting a scooter for $5. However, if you want to catch the famous sunrise in Borobudur, you should get an organized minivan for $10.
Make sure you bring your Student ID card if you have one for 50% off the entrance fee ($24 Dec 2014). Four days and three nights are enough to explore Jodja and surrounding areas.
Let’s head now to Mount Bromo in East Java.
From Yogya you can take a flight to Surabaya or train/bus to Malang or Probolinggo.
Mt. Bromo is an active volcano part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java, Indonesia. On your way from Jodja to Bali you can make a stop for two days at Bromo which will definitely pay you back with one of the most spectacular sunrise views over stunning active volcanoes.
Spend a night in a local homestay in the village of Cemoro Lawang, taste some local food, wake up at 3 in the morning and head to the volcanoes before the sunrise to experience one of the most spectacular views ever. A local minibus will take you back to Probolinggo departing every 30min from Cemoro Lawang. Now it’s time to hit the beach – Bali here we come 🙂
From Probolinggo you can either get back to Surabaya and take a flight to Denpasar or you can take a bus directly to Bali from the Probolinggo bus station (two daily departures 12pm and 6pm – around $12).
Bali was definitely the highlight of our month trip in Indonesia! Surf, beaches, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, stunning temples along with perfectly-preserved Hindu culture and local traditions and celebrations.
We stayed in Ubud – definitely it’s Bali’s cultural heart, hidden high in the hills surrounded with rice fields and steep ravines, away from crowded night clubs and drunk teens. This is definitely the perfect gateway to explore Bali!
We rented a scoter and woke up early every morning to have a lovely breakfast with homemade banana pancakes. Then we grabbed our helmets and started exploring every little part of the island to experience local villages culture, festivals, temples, lakes and volcanoes with all the roads surrounded with amazing landscapes.
Bali has everything to offer! If you want high mountain lakes and active volcanoes head north to Mt. Batur, Lake Batur, Lake Beratan. If you want waterfalls, rafting and quiet black sand beaches head even further north to Lovina beach. If you want local craft villages head east to Amlapura area. If you want crazy night life or a cheap surf lesson head west to Kuta, Seminiyak and Legian Beaches. On the other side Sanur beach offers more laid back vacation resorts beach atmosphere. In general no matter what you are up to, Bali has it and will not leave you disappointed 🙂 Now it’s diving time…
You can book a speedboat trip to Gillis from every travel agency or hostel in Bali. Local minibus will pick you up from your place, drive you to the harbor and then it’s an hour and a half boat ride to Gili Trawangan for a price of $25-$40.
The three small islands are very relaxed and laid-back without motorized transportation and pretty much walkable for less than an hour. There are stunning white sand beaches with numerous cafes and restaurants, local food markets and countless snorkeling and diving options. You can even get your PADI diving certificate here for a very good price of around $350 or if you are already a certified diver you can go for a single dive for $35-40.
You can also snorkel right off the beach. There are tons of beautiful corals, giant turtles, colorful small fishes and even reef sharks all around these islands. You can book organized snorkeling trip to take you to 5-6 different sites around the islands for less than $10.
Gili Trawangan is the biggest of all three and the most crowded one. It has hundreds of homestays where you pay $10 for a double private room. Local daily catch fish market and numbers of bars with live music, restaurants and cafes along the beach will keep you well fed and entertaind during your stay 🙂
Gilis has everything for everyone – with Gili Meno, which is a honeymoon style island with almost no people and luxury resorts and Gili Air – somewhere in between the party and the laid-back place 🙂
No matter what you choose now it’s time to take the boat to Lombok …
With mostly muslim population, Lombok is far less urbanized and touristic compared to Bali or the Gilis. Climbing mount Rinjani is a must do in Lombok with its almost 4000m height, offering amazing views. On the other hand Kuta Beach (not Kuta in Bali) in the south part of Lombok should be an amazing finish of your trip to Indonesia. In Kuta you will find great surfing spots wide variety of food and accommodation options and miles and miles of white sand beaches with no one there to bother you.
This is what we did in Indonesia during our last trip! We are definitely going back to this fairytale country to explore the rest of its vivid islands and enjoy again Bali. Until next time Indonesia 🙂
We are about to share more details on each of this divine spots in our upcoming blog posts so stay tuned! Connect with us and let’s talk about travelling on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+