Bucketlist2Life

Indonesia 2 week itinerary – Java to Flores without flying

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 9 min read · 8 comments

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TL;DR

You are interested in exploring Indonesia (and we don't mean just Bali) but you only have a limited amount of time? This guide will give you a plan how to travel Java, Bali, the Gili islands, Lombok, the Komodo National Park, and Flores in just two short weeks. Of course everything is explained with our handy bucketlist2life map!

This itinerary allows you to explore the highlights of Indonesia as well as some hidden gems. If you stick to this route you can see Java, Bali, the Gili Islands, Lombok, the Komodo National Park, and Flores in just two short weeks. This travel guide shows you that you don't have to be on a several months-long backpacking trip to explore off-the-beaten-path areas like the Komodo National Park. And all that without any inland flights!

Day 1 – Arrival in Yogyakarta

Arrive in Yogyakarta, settle in and take in the atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this city and the Taman Sari Water Castle is a real hidden gem.

In the evening, go to Malioboro street where you'll find a lively night market full of super delicious food stalls as well as clothes and probably the cheapest souvenirs you'll find on this whole trip. Enjoy some street food and your first Bintang beer.

Travel: /

Sleep: Yogyakarta, Java

Picture of Bintang beer
Our first Bintang in Yogyakarta, Java

Day 2 – Borobudur and Prambanan Temples

The Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. And while its sheer size is impressive, there are also plenty of details to explore, like the stupas and Buddhas on top and some intricate rock carvings. Additionally, the views are amazing. Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and we're sure that it's equally as impressive and shouldn't be missed on your Indonesia travels.

If you only have a limited amount of time, don't repeat our mistake to try and take local buses. Yes, it's possible but it's time-consuming and they sometimes break down altogether (we write this from experience). If you want to see both of these amazing temples in one day, take a tour. They are not expensive and you can make the best of your limited time!

Travel: /

Sleep: Yogyakarta, Java

Picture of Borobudur temple
Borobudur, Java

Day 3 – Train from Yogyakarta to Probolinggo

The next stop on this itinerary is Probolinggo because it's the perfect base to explore the Bromo volcano. It might seem excessive to dedicate a whole day of your limited time to a train journey but you'll need it. The ride itself takes at least 8 hours and is a super interesting experience in itself. And trust us: You want this day of rest before the next two days that are about to come.

Travel: ~8 hours by train

Sleep: Probolinggo, Java

Picture of Indonesian train station
Train station on Java

Day 4 – Bromo volcano

Again, if you have a limited amount of time, you want to take a tour to explore the Bromo volcano. It's possible to do this self-guided with a scooter, but it's going to take more time. Many guesthouses in Probolinggo offer guided tours and ours was amazing. You'll get up in the dark to drive to a viewpoint and see the sunrise over the volcano. This might be the best picture spot we've ever been to. Afterwards, you drive through the caldera and make the short climb to the crater rim. If you are early and a fast walker you can leave the other tourists behind. Standing on the edge and looking down into an active volcano is an indescribable feeling. But beware, the rim might be a bit disconcerting if you are scared of heights.

Because this tour is a morning activity, you can hop on another train in the afternoon to Banyuwangi, the perfect base to explore the Ijen volcano. Make sure to get a good night's rest because this next hike is going to be tough.

Travel: ~4 hours by train

Sleep: Banyuwangi, Java

Picture of Mt. Bromo
Bromo volcano, Java

Optional: Tumpak Sewu waterfall

If you have a day to spare visit the super instagrammable Tumpak Sewu waterfall. It's on the south coast of Java, opposite Probolinggo. Apparently, the way down is quite a hike but it seems to be quite worth it to see the several streams of water flowing down a cliff edge with a volcano in the distance.

Day 5 – Ijen volcano

Book a guided tour to the Ijen volcano via your guesthouse in Banyuwangi, because you want to have a gas mask with you. And we don't assume that it's part of your regular travel gear. You'll leave in the middle of the night because the ascend begins at 1 am. You want to be in the crater before sunrise to see the unique blue flames! Don't underestimate this hike. Some people don't make it and you can even let yourself be pulled and pushed up the hill by several porters.

After you make it to the rim you'll start your descent into the crater. Here you'll see the famous blue flame. The colour originates from the sulphur, which is still actively mined in this volcano. To see the porters carry 80 kg (175 lbs) of sulphur and more up this steep mountain is awe-inspiring. And they do this several times a day! When the sun goes up you will be able to see the highly acidic crater lake. Once you make it back up to the rim, you can see the amazing views which you missed on your ascend during the pitch-black night.

Because this is a morning activity again, you can make your way to Bali in the afternoon. The ferry to Bali leaves from Banyuwangi and a bus will take you from Gilimanuk on Bali to Mengwi, from where you can take a quick taxi to Ubud.

Travel: ~5 hours by bus and ferry

Sleep: Ubud, Bali

Picture of Mt. Ijen
Ijen volcano, Java

Day 6 – Explore Ubud and its surroundings

We chose Ubud as a place to stay on Bali because it's central and there will be plenty of beaches waiting for you in the days to come. This is not a Bali guide, there a plenty of those online already. Instead, we'll give you a few of our must-dos.

We loved exploring Ubud with the instagrammable vegan restaurants and its beautiful temples, like the Saraswati water temple. In Ubud's surrounding, our favourites were of course the Tegallalang rice terraces and the Tirta Empul Temple.

On Bali, there are so many temples and waterfalls to visit, just pick the ones that sound most appealing to you! Of course, you can prolong your stay on Bali to your heart's content if you do have the time.

Travel: /

Sleep: Ubud, Bali

Picture of Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul Temple, Bali

Day 7 – Bali to Lombok

Today, take the ferry from Padang Bai to Lombok. If you don't plan to visit the Gili Islands, we advise you to take the local ferry to Lembar on Lombok, because it will bring you closer to your next destination Sekotong in southern Lombok.

Travel: ~5 hours with two taxi rides and one ferry

Sleep: Sekotong, Lombok

Picture of infinity pool on Lombok
Hotel on Lombok

Optional: Gili Islands

If you do decide to visit the Gili Islands, there are three options: the party island Gili Trawangan, the quieter Gili Air, and the romantic Gili Meno. There are plenty of guides out there on the Gili islands.

We on the other hand have a different idea for your trip: the secret Gilis – a less touristy alternative to the three main Gili islands.

Day 8 – Secret Gilis

The secret Gilis are a group of small islands off the coast of Sekotong, Lombok. Most of the islands are uninhabited but some do feature guesthouses. If you do have time to spare, spend a night on one of the islands. But they are also great for a day trip. Many places in Sekotong offer island hopping tours including snorkelling gear and several beach stops. The snorkelling we've done in this area was among the best we have ever done. You'll see plenty of soft corals and have a good chance to find a turtle or two. The beaches are beautiful and more often than not you'll have them all to yourself.

Travel: /

Sleep: Sekotong, Lombok

Picture of Gili Layar beach
Gili Layar

Day 9 - 12 Boat trip to Flores via Komodo National Park

This is where the real adventure of your trip starts. There are plenty of mixed reviews of this boat tour online and we adwise you to read a couple of them before you decide to do this trip. Our journey was incredibly choppy, even the captain didn't come out of his cabin for a day because he was feeling unwell. The crazy thing? We would totally do it again!

The boat leaves in Lombok in the afternoon and you'll watch the sunset on one of the small islands off the coast of Sumbawa. On the next day, you'll visit the beautiful waterfall on Moyo island.

Day three is where the adventure begins. You'll visit Komodo Island where you'll get a first glimpse of the majestic Komodo Dragons. Afterwards, you'll visit Pulau Padar with the amazing pink beach (yes, it's really pink) and the Instagram-famous viewpoint. You end the day with the hundreds of flying foxes of Kalong Island.

On day four, grab the opportunity to visit the Komodo Dragons again on the island of Rinca. When we were there, we saw fewer tourists and more Komodo Dragons. Do opt for the longest hike, trust us, it's worth it! Afterwards, you'll go to Manta Point to try and find these majestic ocean dwellers.

In the evening, you'll be dropped off in Labuan Bajo. Our recommendation is to visit the local fish market for dinner, where you can gorge yourself on fresh fish for reasonable prices.

Travel: ~550 km ( 350 mi) along the course of 4 days / 3 nights

Sleep: on a boat

Picture of two Komodo Dragons mating
Komodo dragons on Rinca

Day 13 – Labuan Bajo

Today, explore the surrounding of Labuan Bajo. Don't miss the stunning Gua Rangko cave, which you can only reach by boat. Additionally, there are some great waterfalls like the Cunca Wulang waterfall and great viewpoints like the Bukit Amelia Sea View.

If you're not ready to fly home just yet, you can travel further east on Flores and explore the traditional village Wae Rebo and the three coloured lakes of the Kelimutu volcano.

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8 Comments

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Jen Nilsson

06.07.2021, 09:08

What? There are things to do outside of Bali? Who knew! Kidding. But I did spend a month in Bali and barely made it anywhere outside of Monkey Forest Road! I saved this for later.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

07.07.2021, 11:10

We literally only spend three days on Bali and that was not nearly enough. I thought the whole island is a tourist trap before we went but I was very wrong. Maybe I have to go back one day and see a Kecak Dance!

Lannie

30.06.2021, 16:30

What an incredible itinerary! I’d love to do it myself sometime :). I only managed to visit Bali but Mt Bromo is definitely on the list!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

02.07.2021, 19:26

We need to spend more time on Bali in the future...

End

30.06.2021, 08:16

Amazing itinerary and I love that you did it all without any flights. I love finding different ways to get around, and train and ferry would be my top choices. Definitely more time to appreciate the areas you're traveling through than spending time on an airport

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

30.06.2021, 08:35

I try to avoid flying as much as possible to protect the environment at least a bit. A bonus is that I love every kind of boat ride....

Elena at TravelByExample

30.06.2021, 02:29

Great itinerary, thanks for sharing! Would love to see Komodo dragons in a wild!

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

30.06.2021, 08:05

You're welcome! It was a lifelong dream of mine to see the Komodo dragons! And it was easier to achieve than I thought...

Chalk and cheese travels

29.06.2021, 22:35

Great itinerary guys only went to Bali ourselves and never made it to the Gili Islands wish we had.
Will save the guide for future reference

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.06.2021, 22:52

The things you can miss on your travels are crazy sometimes. We didn't see a single waterfall on Bali...

Cynthia | Adventuring Woman

29.06.2021, 21:05

What a great itinerary for exploring Indonesian highlights! I'm especially fascinated by Komodo National Park. And love how it's done without any inland flights!

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29.06.2021, 22:53

Seeing the Komodo Dragons was one of my lifetime highlights!

John Quinn

29.06.2021, 14:33

I’ve always been a bit iffy on whether I would go to Bali. Beaches aren’t so much my thing. But this itinerary! Now we are talking. Those volcano tours are amazing. Carina you two planned the perfect trip. I’m off to price this…

Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.06.2021, 17:09

I felt the same about Bali before traveling to Indonesia. In retrospect I wish I had planned more time for Bali and given it more of a chance...

Stefan (BerkeleySqB)

29.06.2021, 13:27

Those volcanoes sound very intriguing, but getting up around midnight? Harsh. Those porters really get a good workout by the sound of it.

Seeing Komodo Dragons in the wild would be awesome.
I've spent a bit of time backpacking in Indonesia but haven't been to a single one of the destinations your article is about. Good reason to visit again soon.

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Carina | Bucketlist2Life

29.06.2021, 17:00

Now I'm intrigued! Which parts of Indonesia have you travelled?