What to absolutely see in Indonesia and the 2 best itineraries

Who I am
Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia and is made up of thousands of volcanic islands. Home to several ethnic groups, it is famous for its beaches, volcanoes, elephants, Komodo dragons, orangutans and tigers that live in the jungle.
On the island of Java arise the lively and immense capital Jakarta e Yogyakarta, known for traditional arts and cultural heritage, such as gamelan music and puppet shows.
Are you planning a trip to this wonderful place? Here are the the most beautiful itineraries and what to see absolutely in Indonesia.


  1. Useful info and necessary documents
  2. When to go: climate and best time
  3. How to reach us
  4. Getting around
  5. 10 things to see absolutely
  6. 12-day itinerary: Culture and nature in Java with relaxation extension in Bali
  7. 14 days itinerary: Bali, Papua and Raja Ampat
  8. User questions and comments

Useful info and necessary documents

  • Airports available: Jakarta airport, Denpasar airport (Bali) and Surabaya airport
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least six months on the date of entry into the country, return ticket, visa required for a period not exceeding 30 days which is issued upon arrival at the airport
  • When to go: climate and best time

    • Weather: the climate is equatorial, i.e. hot, humid and rainy all year round. In some areas there is a dry season, while in other places it is not easy to find a less rainy period. However, generally the months with less rain are those between May and September. The temperature is stable all year round, with minimums around 22/25 degrees and maximums around 30/32 degrees.
      In the mountainous areas, the rains double in intensity and quantity, further south (Jakarta, Bali and the islands close to Australia), on the other hand, two seasons can be distinguished, a wetter one from November to May and a relatively dry one, from June to October. For swimming, the sea in Indonesia is warm all year round with an average of 29 ° C.
    • Best time: the best time to go to indonesia is from June to September, especially between July and August, the least rainy - Find out more about the climate and the best time to go to Indonesia
    • Period to avoid: the months to avoid are from November to March, as those with the most rainfall.
    • Trip duration: minimum duration of 10 days and the ideal of 15

    How to reach us

    • From Milan or Rome: from Milan-Malpensa you stop in Hamad (Qatar) and from there you arrive in 9 hours. Overall the journey takes almost 18 hours with Qatar Airways. Also from Rome you stop in Hamad and the flight lasts a total of 19 hours
      Compare flights from Rome or Milan to Bali or Jakarta - from € 556,30
    • From the main European capitals: from Paris the airport is in Singapore and from there you can arrive in 1h and 45m for about 16 hours of flight with Air France + Singapore Airlines. From Berlin with KLM you stop in Amsterdam and from there you arrive in 14 hours (that's almost 17 hours in total). From London with Emirates you stop in Dubai and there are 8h and 30m, in total 17 hours of travel.
      Compare flights to Bali or Jakarta - from € 456,35

    Getting around

    Transport in Indonesia works fairly well. The internal air travel they are managed by the main company Garuda, which connects Java to almost all the islands of the archipelago, Mandala, Merpati and Bouraq.
    The railway network is a bit old and not frequent: the service is guaranteed only in Java and for the island of Sumatra.
    The bus is the best way to get around all the islands, the service is constant and good.
    Minibuses, Bero (open rear pickups) and motorized or bicycle rickshaws are also widely used.

    Crucial to move between the islands are the ferries and boats. There are also taxis that are cheap for short trips, but it is always advisable to bargain.
    As for traffic, in Indonesia driving is on the left, the road infrastructure is partly neglected and motorists sometimes have unpredictable behavior, so it is not recommended to drive alone, better to rent a car with driver. Anyhow, car rental is not useful given the distances, the great traffic and chaos that there is generally.

    10 things to see absolutely

    Indonesia is a very rich country from a cultural and natural point of view, there are several islands (so not just Bali!) That can offer a lot. Let's see together the 10 things to see absolutely in Indonesia.

    1 - Ruins of the Borobudur Temple

    Borobudur is a colossal Indonesian temple built in the th century and located on the island of Java.
    After the discovery of the site in the 1991th century, the temple was restored and in became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Covered with nearly 3.000 bas-reliefs, it is the largest temple in the world dedicated to Buddhism, with a base of 122 meters and a height of 35 meters.
    A truly impressive and fascinating monument: absolutely not to be missed!

    Recommended excursions:

    2 - Bromo Volcano

    The Bromo volcano is located on the island of Java and is one of the 150 active volcanoes in Indonesia. With its 2.329 meters high it dominates the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. One of the greatest aspirations for adventurous travelers is a climb in the clouds that envelop the volcano, or you can take a quiet visit to the park for bird watching, trekking and camping. Visit it at sunrise or sunset: it's an unmissable show!

    Bromo Tengger Semeru can be reached by private or public vehicle from Surabaya and Malang (East Java). Sriwijaya Air flies twice a day to Malang from Jakarta. Entrance to the park costs 5.000 rupees (€ 59,00).

    Recommended excursions:

    3 - Lake Maninjau

    Lake Maninjau is located in Sumatra on a volcanic crater at 461 meters above sea level A little off the beaten track, to reach the lake you have to take a narrow and winding road, but it is really worth it: Maninjau Lake is a natural wonder that offers serenity, out of the chaos of big cities. Once here, sit back, relax and enjoy the impressive scenery around you.

    4 - Jakarta

    Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia with over 10 million inhabitants. The center and the north of the city boast the largest number of attractions: not to be missed Merdeka square, the old city where remains of the Dutch colonial period are found, the old port of Sunda Kelapa where you will see two-mast boats of the Javanese maritime tradition remodeled. There are also numerous museums, art galleries and huge mosques.
    The transport network in the city is not efficient, but there are 12 bus lines (Transjakarta company) that don't work badly; most tourists prefer to use the taxi.

    Recommended excursions:

    5 - Gili Islands

    Gili Islands are an archipelago of three islands in the Caribbean Sea, where the only means of locomotion are horse-drawn carts and the view is obviously postcard-worthy. The islands are Gili Air, the closest to the coast, Gili Meno, the most peaceful and wild, and Gili Trawangane, the most fun and animated. The latter is the most touristic and offers the possibility of doing different activities, such as diving and snorkeling, or just relax. In the evening it comes alive with the various clubs that line the beach, to the sound of pop or reggae music.

    The islands can be reached by boats for just under € 10,00 and there is no running water available, therefore the bathrooms and showers use desalinated water.

    Recommended excursions:

    6 - Lombok Island

    Lombok Island is part of the Nusa Tenngra (southwestern islands). Similar in density, size and cultural climate to neighboring Bali, Lombok has developed to the point of becoming one of the main Indonesian tourist areas. Here they are pristine beaches (don't miss the one in Kuta, famous for its almost desert white sand) and, in the northern part, the Gunung Rinjani volcano (3.726 m.). Amidst spectacular trekking itineraries, keen hikers and expert climbers will find a real paradise. It is advisable to always have a guide, as they are not suitable activities for everyone.
    Lombok is a Muslim island (like the Gili) so please behave appropriately.

    Recommended excursions:

    7 - Raja Ampat Islands

    The Raja Ampat Islands are an archipelago made up of about 1.500 islands located west of New Guinea. I'm a true dream for lovers of diving and snorkeling.
    The landscape is incredible both below and above the sea: the beaches are splendid and the seabed includes one of the richest coral reefs in the world. You will be able to observe manta rays, sharks, dugongs and seahorses that live only in these waters.

    The islands, being distant and difficult to access, are not very popular. You can arrive by ferry from Sarong (two hours journey), or by joining an organized tour from Bali.

    8 - Manado

    Manado is the capital of the Indonesian province of North Sulawesi on the island of Celebes. It stands on a narrow bay with green mountains, unique in its kind, with clear blue waters. The territory around Manado is rich in forests, waterfalls and villages which offer the possibility of pleasant excursions and encounters with the local culture.

    About an hour by boat from Manado is the Bunaken Marine Park, one of the places with the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in all of Indonesia.

    9 - Bandung

    Bandung is a green and fresh city with breathtaking views that contemplate tea plantations, volcanoes and Kawah Putih, a turquoise lake rich in sulfur. It is famous for its Art Deco colonial architecture, its vibrant university center and relatively cool tropical climate. More, Bandung is a popular shopping destination, thanks to the numerous fashion shops in the Dago area, along the Jalan Setiabudi and the Jalan Riau.

    10 - Komodo Island

    Komodo Island is a magical place in the Flores Sea and is part of the Small Sunda Islands. This island is home to one of the most fascinating creatures on earth: the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world, 3 meters long and weighing up to 70 kg. Its bite, a mix of poison and bacteria, causes infections in its prey and leads to their death in a short time.
    The real attraction of the island is the Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in fauna and many corals. Here the main activity is that of snorkeling and among the most suitable points for exploration, there are locations such as Merah Beach, Batu Bolong and Tatawa.

    Recommended excursions:

    12-day itinerary: Culture and nature in Java with relaxation extension in Bali

    1. First day: arrival at Mesa Stila, Yogyakarta, hotel accommodation and visit of the coffee plantations.
    2. Second day: Visit of Borobudur temple (Punthuk Setumbu) at 5:00 am. Return to the hotel and free time.
    3. Third day: visit of the temple of Borobudur and transfer to Yogyakarta.
    4. Fourth day: visit of Jogjakarta and the Prambanan temple.
    5. Fifth day: transfer by train to Malang and arrival in Jiwa Jawa Bromo.
    6. Sixth day: wake up at 03:00 to see the spectacular sunrise over Mount Bromo. Return to the hotel for breakfast and free day until late afternoon. Sunset on Mount Bromo, return to the hotel and free program.
    7. Seventh day: visit to the producer of Caffé Luwak at Jiwa Jawa Ijen.
    8. Eighth day: at midnight 2 hour trek to the crater of Ijen volcano to see the blue fire. Back to the hotel. Free program until lunchtime. Departure from Jiwa Jawa Ijen and transfer by car to Ketapang Indah. Check-in at the hotel.
    9. Ninth day: visit to Baluran National Park. Exploration of the savannah and observation of different species of flora and fauna. Return to the hotel and lunch. Departure from Ketapang Indah. Ferry to Bali. Check-in at the hotel. Free program.
    10. Tenth day: relaxation and free time in Bali. Day off.
    11. Eleventh day: relaxation and free time in Bali. Day off.
    12. Twelfth day: transfer to Denpasar airport and return.

    How much? Price details

    • Price per person starting from: from € 2.100
    • The price includes: guide, personal hygiene kit, slippers, mosquito repellent, accommodation, transport and boat, insurance, breakfast
    • The fee does not include: Tips and other personal expenses, drinks, Borobudur sunrise hike, traditional dance (Ramayana) in Prambanan temple, night trek to Mount Ijen

    14 days itinerary: Bali, Papua and Raja Ampat

    1. First day: flight to Bali. Night on board.
    2. Second day: arrival at Denpasar airport on the island of Bali. Transfer to the hotel in Ubud, in the center of the island. Overnight.
    3. Third day: visit of Ubud, Tegenungan waterfalls, Genah Melukat Sebatu, Tegallalang rice fields, Goah Gajah and Yeh Pulu.
    4. Fourth day: visit to Jimbaran.
    5. Fifth day: departure for Jayapura. Visit to Napua and Wesaput.
    6. Sixth day: departure for Baliem Valley, then visit to Syogoksimo, Kurime, excursion to the Dani village, Klise.
    7. Seventh day: visit to Syogoksimo.
    8. Eighth day: breakfast and visit of Papua.
    9. Ninth day: breakfast, transfer to the airport to take the flight to Sorong. By ferry I arrive in Raja Ampat.
    10. From the tenth to the twelfth day: free day in Raja Ampat.
    11. Thirteenth day: return to Sorong. Transfer to the airport to take the direct flight to the island of Bali. Upon arrival, transfer to Seminyak, overnight.
    12. Fourteenth day: transfer to the airport to take the return flight to Italy.

    How much? Price details

    • Price per person starting from: from € 3.490
    • The price includes: return flight, internal flights, overnight stays, transfers, private visits, guides, arrangements as per program, travel insurance
    • The fee does not include: any service not indicated as included

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