Indonesia is an immense archipelago that consists of more than 17,000 islands. Out of them, some are as obscure as uninhabited sand bars, while others are internationally famous destinations like Bali. An 8 days trip, to be honest, is not even enough to cover Bali well and this island nation needs years of repeat visits to enjoy its diversity to the fullest. However, most people do not have that kind of time to invest in a country and many prefer to skim through the best of Indonesia. So, this Indonesia itinerary is for those who are time-bound and would like to experience the highlights of this gorgeous Asian country. Please note that this is only an idea, so feel free to improvise and drop me a message if you need any tips or suggestions.

borobudur is in java

Borobudur in Java

Essential Indonesia itinerary highlights

  • Explore the cultural hub of Yogyakarta.
  • Marvel at the spectacular ancient Buddhist sites of Borobudur and Prambanan.
  • Watch a spectacular sunrise over Mount Bromo.
  • Visit the volcanic region of Ijen to observe the sulphur mining and the stunning turquoise-blue crater lake.
  • Spend time in Ubud – the cultural heartbeat of Bali.
  • Visit different temples of Bali.
  • Explore the countryside and enjoy some famous Balinese dances.
  • Relax on one of Bali’s lovely beaches.

Places visited

  • Yogyakarta
  • Mount Bromo
  • Ijen Plateau
  • Ubud, Bali

    mount bromo in sunrise in java

    Mount Bromo

Breakdown of the essential Indonesia itinerary for 8 days

Day 1. Arrive at Yogyakarta. Air Asia, Garuda Airlines and many other airlines fly to both these Indonesian cities from major Asian destinations like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, etc. Explore Yogyakarta’s Kraton area and see the royal complex, Kota Gede and enjoy some of Yogya’s famous dishes like Gudeg.

Day 2. Explore Borobudur and Prambanan on a combined day trip. Ideally, try to catch a Borobudur sunrise and a Prambanan sunset. This is going to be a long day. Overnight stay at Yogyakarta.

Day 3. Go on a small group tour to Mount Bromo. This is also quite Do-It-Yourself kind of trip and check out this post for DIY details. Overnight stay near Mount Bromo.

Day 4. Carry on towards the Ijen Plateau to experience the gorgeous sulphur lake and the mysterious blue fire. This is a remote location and being a part of a small group tour makes sense. You can buy a Mount Bromo-Ijen Plateau small group tour at Yogyakarta. Overnight stay near Ijen Plateau.

Day 5. Early morning hike to Ijen Plateau and then after breakfast proceed towards Ketapang for your ferry for Gilimanuk in Bali. In Bali, head towards Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali. Overnight stay in Ubud.

Day 6. Explore Ubud, the Monkey Forest, Goa Gajah cave temple, Lake Bratan, and the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Hire a car with/without a driver, rent a motorbike, or join a small group tour. In the evening enjoy a legong dance show at the Ubud palace or relax at one of Bali’s famous spas. Overnight stay in Ubud.

Day 7. Explore the temples of Bali like the Mother Temple, Amed black sand beaches, and end your evening at Tanah Lot with the Kecak fire dance show. You can skip Amed if you wish because it is going to be a long day.

Day 8. Return home or your onward destination.

ijen is a remote destination in java

A sulphur miner of Ijen Plateau

This is a tightly packed highlights of Indonesia itinerary of 8D/9N. It will be hectic and if you want to absorb and experience the civilization, then just take it easy. If you have more time on your hands, then consider the following…

The Add-Ons to your Indonesia itinerary (Java and Bali only)

  • Stay longer in Bali and explore its different diverse parts. Divers can enjoy at Amed, snorkelers can visit the beautiful Bali Barat National Park, and nature lovers can go to Munduk or Bedugul. This is the hilly parts of Bali and has a cool, lush climate.
  • Hike the Mount Agung. Catch a sunrise at the summit.
  • Party at Kuta or Seminyak.
  • Visit Canggu for awesome street art.
  • Explore the Pasir Putih white sand beach in Candidasa.
  • Go over to Nusa Penida island on a day or overnight trip.
  • Simply relax in Ubud. Enjoy spas, a cooking class, dance workshops, and eating delicious Indonesian food at the warungs.
  • Head over to Lombok and the Gili Islands.

    The surrounding lush countryside of Yogyakarta

Required travel Information for this Indonesian Itinerary

This information is most relevant to Indian passport holders.

Visa – Visa on arrival.

Currency – Indonesian Rupiah.

Time Difference – Indonesia is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead

Points of Entry by flight – Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung, Surabaya in Java. Denpasar in Bali.

Recommended Airlines – Air Asia, Garuda Airlines, Scoot, Singapore Airlines, etc.

A view of the sea and the rice terraces on the way to Amed in Bali

What to pack for this Indonesian itinerary

  • For the city areas – Indonesia is quite cosmopolitan and you can wear short dresses, skirts, and sleeveless blouses and t-shirts. Carry comfortable shoes to walk around at ease. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun hats are recommended.
  • At religious sites – Dress modestly at religious sites. Cover your shoulders, and wear skirts/trousers/dresses which fall below the knees. Sarongs are given to cover exposed areas.
  • At the beaches – Swimsuits, bikinis, and any kind of swimwear is acceptable. Going to the beach or swimming in the sea in your underwear, especially for men, is best avoided. Nudity is a strict no-no in Indonesia.
  • At the volcanoes – It gets cold at the summit, especially in the mornings. Carry light jackets or pullovers, and comfortable hiking shoes.

    Apsara dance in Bali

    The black sand beach of Amed

    Tropical fruits of Indonesia

Have you been to Indonesia? How did you like it? If you have any questions or feedback, do not forget to let us know.