Our Indonesia trip wasn’t a planned one, it was one of those spontaneous trips you decide to do which change your life. We visited Indonesia in 2017 and it was quite different from what we had expected. The beaches were amazing, the waterfalls are beautiful, and it was fun (almost!) to include Jakarta and Bali in our Indonesia itinerary.
After coming back from this gorgeous country, we both wished to have stayed longer there but our jobs stopped us from pursuing this thought and so, we had to make do with a short but memorable 10 days in this country of volcanoes and islands.
If you are just like us and don’t have a lot of time to spare in this country, then our 10-day Indonesia guide will help you in planning a short but amazing trip to this paradise.
Day 1: India to Jakarta (Indonesia)
Our Indonesia itinerary started from India, from where we had flights to Jakarta – the capital of Indonesia.. My friend, Radhika, was traveling from New Delhi and I was starting from Hyderabad. We figured we will meet at Kuala Lumpur since we had a layover of around 2 hours. We had chosen an Air Asia flight since it was in our budget and cost us only 18000-20000 INR.
Day 2: Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Indonesia)
On the second day of our Indonesia trip, we reached Jakarta around 12 p.m. and were really struggling to understand how to go to Yogyakarta from here. Since it was the week of Eid holiday in Indonesia, all the trains were full and we only had the option of buses to arrive at our destination.
First, we had to reach Pulo Gebang bus stand from where we could book an onward bus to Yogyakarta. Since we aren’t too much into spending money, we chose to take a local bus from the airport to Pulo Gebang. It cost us around 40,000 Rupiah (190 INR) for one person and it took around an hour to reach the bus terminal.
From Pulo Gebang, we got an A.C bus to Yogyakarta which took around 8-10 hours to reach and cost us 425,000 Rupiah (2050 INR) per person. The bus was quite comfortable and had an attached bathroom which was decent enough to be used. We reached Yogyakarta around 2 a.m. and had to take a cab to reach our homestay.
In Indonesia, Go-Jek App is quite famous and cheap, but we didn’t have the app installed so we had to hire a taxi on the road which cost us 80000 Rupiah (380 INR), a little more than the gojek car. We finally reached our homestay (50000 Rupiah (250 INR) per person) around 3 a.m. and hit the bed because we were too tired from the 24-hour constant journey.
If you have extra time in hand you can also go for scuba diving in Karimunjawa, a very adventurous place for all the divers. In fact you can also check out the Kawah Ijen Volcano as well. One of the coolest experiences of Indonesia.
Day 3: Yogyakarta to Kuta, Bali
Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple (Yogyakarta)
Next day, we had planned to visit the famous Borobudur Temple and the Prambanan Temple which Yogyakarta in Indonesia was quite famous for. So, we left the homestay with our luggage since we had a night flight to catch for Bali.
We left around 11 a.m for Borobudur and spent around 30-45 minutes looking for a bus or a cab. Finally, an Uber arrived and we boarded it to head out to Borobudur which was situated around 50 km from Yogyakarta.
Luckily, our Uber driver was really friendly and nice and since he knew English, we were able to talk to him and learn more about the history and volcanoes of Java and the rest of Indonesia. He told us many amazing stories and also offered to take us from Borobudur to Prambanan and then leave us at the airport.
So, we traveled the whole day in an A.C SUV for 470000 Rupiah (2300 INR). We certainly could have reduced the cost if we knew the area well and had a clue about the bus routes but alas, we were blinded there.
We first went to Borobudur and reached this place around 2 p.m.
Let me just say that, it was definitely love at first sight. We have always been to historical and nature-friendly places and Borobudur is one such marvelous place. You see so many Stupas here, arranged so beautifully together and you can see volcanic mountains surrounding this place which provides an amazing view.
The sunrise is said to be really exceptional here and you could easily spend a whole day just gazing around and walking through this architectural beauty.
We spent around 2 hours here and didn’t even realize so much time had passed when it struck us that Prambanan stays open only till 5 p.m. So, we ran to find our car and start for the other amazing site, we stopped at the pharmacy but we got lost on our way out (Yeah, the exit from Borobudur can be a little confusing). Although if you have time in hand, we would definitely advise you to not miss the sunrise in Borobudur.
Thankfully, our driver was waiting just outside the exit so he guided us to the car and we sped toward the Prambanan temple to witness the sunset over there. On our way, our guide told us an amazing story of the Prambanan princess and how the 999 temples of Prambanan came to exist.
We finally reached the famous Prambanan temple around 4.45 p.m and then we just strolled around marveling at the beauty of it all. The temples here resemble the Angkor Wat temple and you can also see the Merebu volcano from here. We were completely mesmerized by the beautiful sunset here and wished we had a little more time.
Finally, we started for the Yogyakarta airport for our flight to Bali (3200 INR per person) and said goodbye to the cultural city of Indonesia.
Note: Entrance tickets (770000 Rupiah – 3700 INR per person) to these UNESCO Heritage sites is quite expensive and valid for 2-3 days so make sure that you make the most of it and spend at least a day at both the sites.
We reached Bali, the most sought out place in Indonesia, around 11.30 p.m. and so we headed to find a hostel for the night. The cabs are pretty expensive over here so we walked the whole way from the airport to Kuta. It took us around 1-1.5 hours to reach the hostel and to know that it was already full. So, we went in search for another hostel which might be in our budget and that is how we stumbled upon the Legion street and the Kayun Hostel Downtown which 100000 Rupiah (500 INR) per person for a night.
If you wish to explore National Parks, check out this guide on Komodo National Park, which is near Bali.
Day 4: Bali (Indonesia)
Next day, we started for the beaches and the famous Uluwatu temple of Bali. We hired a scooty from the beachfront side for 130000 Rupiah (650 INR). Kuta beach was too crowded and more a place for surfers and families so we didn’t spend too much time here.
We headed to the Jimbaran beach which was actually more peaceful and spent an hour or two here. We had our lunch on the beach on a sunbed which cost us about 2150000 Rupiah (1300 INR) for the both of us. Then, we headed to the Pantai Pandawa beach which was on the other side. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the place but it was so worth it.
The route to Pantai Pandawa goes through a hilly road so there are a lot of twists and turns which really make the whole adventure so much more fun. And the view near the Pantai Pandawa beach is just too gorgeous with the blue sea and the bright blue sky.
If you are looking to explore a few tours in Bali, check out few of the Best Bali Adventure Tours.
Next, we headed to the Uluwati temple which was another 40 minutes through the hilly terrain. And it was certainly both exciting and scary. Driving in Kuta region is a little scary as people speed a lot and the roads are too hilly so you have to be extra careful.
By the time we reached Uluwati temple (Entrance price: 30000 Rupiah – 150 INR per person), it is almost dark and the temple was about to close but we hurried a little and were able to look from the inside. This temple on the cliff is really beautiful and there are regular shows held here which you can watch to learn a little more about the Balinese culture.
Finally, we headed back to our hostel as we had planned to party a little in the streets and so, we went back and dressed up. We danced with random strangers in different clubs and really enjoyed the vibe here and has a really expensive meal (98500 Rupiah – 500 INR per person) at Sky Garden Bali on the Legion street but the entire night was completely worth it.
Day 5: Kuta to Ubud (Bali)
On our 5th day, we were heading for the Ubud region which held the main attraction for us. We had booked a van through our hostel itself which cost us 80000 Rupiah (400 INR) per person and took 2-3 hours to reach the place.
There, we checked in a hostel named The Joker Hostel (100000 Rupiah – 500 INR per person) and then we made our way to the famous Ubud Monkey Sanctuary. It was at walking distance from our place so it took us just 20 minutes to reach and take the ticket (50000 Rupiah – 250 INR per person).
The thing about Ubud is that it has a completely opposite vibe of Kuta. It is not a party place and most shops close down here by 10 p.m. but it has a much cleaner and cooler atmosphere. Also, there are many amazing temples, waterfalls, and other attractions here than the Kuta region.
The Monkey Sanctuary was one which is actually huge and filled with numerous monkeys (as the name suggests). It is a great place to just chill and relax and roam about. Also, there are many exit points here so you have to be careful and always beware of the monkeys, they can snatch away any interesting items from you. 😛
Then, we headed back to our hostel from another gate which took us about 45 minutes. We relaxed for some time in the hostel. In the evening, we just strolled around the shopping street and had a delicious Pizza meal at one of the places.
Day 6: Ubud, Bali
This was our D-day when we were going to cover the most important spots in Ubud. We started with the famous Ubud Tegelalang Rice Fields and were met with a slow downpour of rain. However, on the way, we witnessed a really pretty sunrise which absolutely made our day.
Once we reached the Tegelalang rice field, we were just blown away by its beauty and its vastness. We didn’t even realize how big this place actually is so we just walked deeper into the place and spent a greater part of our morning here. Also, there is no entrance fee for this place so don’t fall for anyone’s trap.
Next, we came back to our hostel to have some breakfast and then we made our way to another famous attraction, Tegenungan Waterfall. The entry ticket to the waterfall is about 20000 Rupiah (100 INR) per person. But make sure you visit this place in the morning because, by the afternoon, it gets really crowded.
So, we spent a couple of hours here just splashing in the water and then hiking to the top of the waterfall. Then, we headed back to the city to try the famous Balinese massage. (100000 Rupiah – 500 INR per person)
Now, this was our first time so we weren’t sure how it would be and how embarrassing it might turn out to be. But I must say, both of us were completely satisfied with our experience. Our entire body felt completely loose and languid after it. Gosh, I can still remember how great it felt to just relax and let yourself get massaged.
After that, we headed for the highest swing in Bali at Zen Hideaway which was about 45 minutes from our hostel. The way to this place is absolutely picturesque and you can witness a gorgeous sunset from here too.
When we reached Zen Hideaway, the sun was about to set but we still had enough time to enjoy. So, we paid for both of us 520000 Rupiah (2500 INR) per person and then first tried our luck at the small swing to get ourselves acquainted.
Check out another waterfall close to Tegenungan Waterfall – Sekumpul Waterfall
Once we were comfortable, we moved on to the bigger swing and God, how lovely it felt. It felt as if we were just flying in the sky with no tension or fear. Truly, that was one of the most freeing experiences of my life and I am so glad that we gave it a shot. Next day, we had to leave Bali but if you have more time, then you can visit other places around Bali such as Canggu, Batur, Gianyar, etc.
Day 7: Ubud to Kuta to Denpasar (Bali) to Probolinggo
Early morning, we started for the famous Campuhan Ridge Walk. The place was barely 2 km from our hostel and then stopped at the Water Palace on the way too. Both of these places are really amazing and a great place to explore in the morning. We witnessed a beautiful sunrise from the Campuhan Ridgewalk although it took around 30-40 minutes of hiking on the path.
Kuta to Denpasar (Bali)
Next, we endured a series of misfortunes which has incidentally made our Indonesia itinerary even more memorable. We accidentally booked the wrong flight tickets for Surabaya which was near our next destination. As a result, we had to figure out some other way to reach Surabaya from Bali. After a lot of searches, we found a bus that would be leaving in the evening so we booked it for our journey.
We had some time to kill so we asked about the Scuba Diving cost and how much time it would take. The tour guide said it would barely take 2 hours and the cost would be 400000 Rupiah (2000 INR) per person which was quite cheap. Alas, we forgot to counter in the fact that traffic in Kuta is unimaginable and so, we missed our bus.
Thankfully, the owner of the tour guide returned our money. We headed to the Denpasar bus in a taxi (115000 Rupiah – 560 INR). All this drama certainly added the cost but we hoped to reach Bromo on time and be able to visit the famous volcano.
Denpasar to Probolinggo
We found a bus for Probolinggo for 320000 Rupiah (1600 INR) per person which took 12 hours. The most interesting part about this journey was that the buses are transported to the other island via a ferry. So, they get loaded into the big ferries where you can go on the deck and stretch your legs for a while.
If you want to go further and explore Lombok, read the guide Visiting Lombok from Bali
Day 8: Probolinggo to Mount Bromo to Yogyakarta
Probolinggo to Mount Bromo
We reached Probolinggo at 5 a.m. in the morning. Then, we walked to the bus stand where we would find vans for Bromo. Sadly, there weren’t any vans going so early because there weren’t a lot of passengers. Usually, you have to pay just 20000 Rupiah (100 INR) per person for reaching Bromo. However, since we were alone, we had to hire the entire van for 325000 Rupiah (1600 INR).
After an hour, we reached Bromo and here we took a room for 100000 Rupiah (500 INR). We freshened up and then headed to Bromo on a bike (b for two people). Mt. Bromo is an inactive volcano and looked like some alien planet. You can climb the steps to the mountain to reach the top which can take about 30 minutes. There is a lot of dust flying around but once you reach the top, the view looks spellbinding.
We spent some time on the Bromo and then we headed back to our room. We also wanted to watch Bromo from afar and climb other peaks. So, we hired two motorbike drivers to take us around. It cost us 225000 Rupiah (1100 INR) per person for the entire Indonesia trip. And, they dropped us back to the Probolinggo bus stand so that we could head back to Jakarta.
So we climbed the mountain on the bikes and it got so damn cold that we were freezing by the time we returned. But it was so amazing. We watched Bromo from afar and it looked lovely. But that’s not all, we witnessed one of the gorgeous sunsets too.
Mount Bromo to Surabaya to Yogyakarta
After having the time of our lives, we returned to Probolinggo. Then, we took a bus to Surabaya(30000 Rupiah – 150 INR per person). We reached in 2-3 hours but we still had to reach Jakarta from here which was around the 18-20 hours away. So, we took a bus to Yogyakarta for 138000 Rupiah (660 INR) per person.
Day 9 and 10: Yogyakarta to Kuningan to Jakarta to India
Yogyakarta to Kuningan
From here, things went a little downhill for us. We reached Yogyakarta early in the morning around 6 a.m. but Jakarta was still 12-14 hrs away. So we were waiting for a bus to Bandung which would have ideally left us closer to Jakarta. However, since we were in a hurry, we took a bus to Kuningan (180000 Rupiah – 860 INR per person).
Now, Kuningan is a small town which is 3-4 hours away from Jakarta. Unfortunately, we confused it with Jakarta’s Kuningan. That was a huge mistake. By the time we reached Kuningan (3-4 hrs away from Jakarta), it was 1 a.m. Our flight was at 7 a.m. in morning.
Kuningan to Jakarta to India
Somehow we got a local bus to Jakarta for 150000 Rupiah (720 INR) per person, but we reached only by 8 a.m. so we ended up missing our flight to KL. Thankfully, we got another flight to KL leaving at 2 p.m. so we booked that and reached our destination (Additional cost of 4400 INR per person which we could have saved 🙁 ).
There were a lot of other mishaps even after reaching KL but let’s keep them for some other time. Overall, the Indonesia trip was a memorable one and we learned from the blunders that we made. We hope that you learned something too and will now be able to plan a successful trip for yourself.
If you want to enjoy a successful backpacking trip across Asia, then do read Backpacking Asia – 40 Things You Need to Know