When we start to write an article, we take a look at the notes and pictures we took. While writing we bask in memories and smile. It sounds cheesy but it especially applies to Indonesia. It even made us checking flights again. Indo is a archipelago that consists of 17,000 islands and on one of those you will lose your heart. Here’s a travel route Indonesia just made for you! Oh wait, actually two routes! Let’s jump right into them!
Getting to Indonesia
Your holidays in Indonesia start with booking your flights. Depending on where you want to start exploring the huge country, different airports can make sense. Coming from Europe you will often fly via the Middle East and Singapore. Then you will have three main options to either fly to Medan (North Sumatra), Jakarta (Java) or Denpasar (Bali). As we we made our way from North Sumatra to Flores we started our Indonesia adventure in Medan.
Travel Route Indonesia – Countless possibilities
The beauty of the country is the incredible variety of possibilities. Answering the question on what you exactly want to do should be the starting point of planning your trip. Are you mainly traveling to Indo to surf or to hike and exploring the nature? Would you rather like to stay in remote areas or in more touristy areas (that’s not always a bad thing)?
Each of the 17,000 islands has different advantages and none is a waste of time, so you need to pick the ones that serve your needs best. Flores, for example, is not on many travelers radar but perhaps one of the best choices if you enjoy long hikes through pristine jungle. In Java, Sumba and Sumbawa you will find some world-class waves and North Sumatra is home to the incredible Orangutans.
Tip #1: Decide on the focus of your trip! Long hikes in the nature of Flores or surfing in Bali?
Now that you decided this first part, you need to plan on what’s realistic to see time-wise. You will always be too short on time. You can’t even see everything in three month, trust us!
Planning conservatively is key to not making your trip stressful! We also wanted to see too much and ended up skipping a handful of stops in our six weeks in Indonesia.
After you’ve decided on what to do in which period of time, the next step is to decide how to get from A to B. There are busses, trains, flights and ferries available and now it’s up to you. Frankly speaking, we flew a lot. Clearly too much. One thing we regret in retrospect.
Now, that CO2 emissions are significantly more present for us, we wouldn’t do that anymore. Our hint here is to research the options you have in detail. Busses can be a lot cheaper than a plane and also allow you to experience the landscapes.
Tip #2: Plan the route logically as well as chronologically and decide which matter of transport makes most sense (for you and the planet).
Travel Route Indonesia #1 – Two Weeks
Two weeks are a short time for a huge country that’s why we did the cherry picking for you! Our two weeks travel route Indonesia starts in Bali. That’s why you would fly to Denpasar.
Hinduism, Beaches and Waterfalls – Welcome to Bali
Of course, Bali is on many peoples list and surely is visited most often in Indonesia. For some people Indonesia just seems to be Bali, which is certainly wrong to say. Despite the fact being extremely popular among tourists from all over the world, Bali still retained its – super peaceful – vibe.
Once landed in Denpasar, don’t do the mistake and spend too much time in the capital itself or Kuta area. It’s crowded, loud and everything but relaxed.
Canggu – Let’s start your adventure
To start your trip and get settled in Bali we would suggest to start in Canggu. In Canggu you will meet many other travelers and will have the chance to enjoy great typical Balinese food before enjoying a beautiful sunset at Old Man’s.
Medewi or Amed – Surf or underwater paradise, your choice
If surfing is something you plan to do, Medewi should be on your list! Two very different waves, great food and lush green rice fields explain Medewi quite well. We really liked Medewi and felt home from the first second. If you don’t surf, you could also consider skipping Medewi and spend time in Amed, in the very east of the island. Here, you will find a rather relaxed beach and possibilities to snorkel and dive.
➳ If you decide in favor of Medewi, we have a dedicated article on surfing in Medewi.
Ubud – Jungle, Rice Terraces and plant-based heaven
Ubud is definitely one of the place in Bali you need to see. Certainly one of the most-visited destinations but it surely also managed to retain his spiritual vibe. It is surrounded by countless waterfalls, beautiful jungle and many sights you need to visit during your stay. As there are many things to do in Ubud you should spend a couple of days. First, we thought four days would be too much but after starting to explore the first water falls with our scooter, we noticed that we could have probably spent two weeks in the area.
➳ You are searching for things to do in Ubud? This way!
Nusa Lembongan – Paradise on 8 square kilometers
If we would need to pick a few favorite places on our three months through Indonesia and backpacking in Myanmar, Nusa Lembongan would be one of them. On the tiny island everything is just around the corner. Great Warungs (typical Indonesian restaurants with great food), white sand beaches and the some picturesque spots to enjoy watching the sunset.
With three surf spots located close to the shore it’s also a surf mecca! Divers come here from far away to witness the beautiful marine life and yogis come here to find inner peace! It’s an island that literally has everything!
Due to its size you might think it could get boring on Nusa Lembongan? You couldn’t be more wrong.
➳ If you follow our recommendations, make sure not to miss any of these highlights on Nusa Lembongan.
Flores – Mother nature as it was meant to be
We didn’t have a lot of expectations when we sat at the gate in Denpasar waiting for our delayed plane to Labuan Bajo. While researching we just stumbled upon a video of the Komodo National Park that made us book the flights. Well, what am I supposed to say. One day after leaving Bali, we found ourselves standing on top of Palau Padar, being completely speechless. The views on top of the little island still give us goosebumps when we think about it.
From here, we continued further east, heading to Ende to witness the sunrise on Kelimutu – another highlight on our trip. We drove up the mountain with a taxi in the pitch dark, made our way to the crater and enjoyed a kopi and where speechless – again. Incredible Indonesia!
After a few hours standing there absorbing the first warming sunbeams of the day, we started our decent, back to Moni. We made our way through pristine jungle and soon arrived back in our little guest house. The lovely old lady that hosted us, brought us freshly made pancakes, fruit and a hot coffee with a smile.
➳ More out more about our adventure at Kelimutu National Park here!
We have been incredibly grateful for our experiences in Flores. That’s why this beautiful island should be part of your travel route in Indonesia.
➳ More on our Highlights on Flores and everything we’ve done, this way!
Two week travel route Indonesia #1: In a nutshell (Table)
|Medewi or Amed, Bali
|Day 8-11 (or 12)
|Komodo National Park (Palau Padar), Flores
Travel Route Indonesia #2 – Three or more weeks
When you have the privilege to have a bit more time in your hands than the average traveler, here’s a travel route through Indonesia where you will see even more of this beauty of a country. It is a very similar route to the one we took and we can just say very frankly, we loved every single stop!
Medan – Hustle & bustle but also something very special!
For us travelers Medan is the gate to North Sumatra. From here you can fly further to islands like Simeulue or Nias or the city Banda Aceh. After spending two weeks in Myanmar, we flew via Singapore to Medan, where our Indonesia adventure started.
We personally didn’t like the chaotic city a lot, so rather planned our onwards journey. So frankly speaking we didn’t do much!
However, the jungle close to Medan inhabits one of the earth healthiest populations of Orangutans. Here, we’ve heard quite often, you can trek through the jungle and witness the great apes. If you decide in favor of a trip like that, make sure to leave some bucks in the donation box, to support the organization that tries to increase its population again.
Please allow us a side note: We personally are highly skeptical of tourist attractions that try to catch the attention with animals. It could be totally unfair but as we haven’t been at the sight in Medan, we just want to raise your attention to it. Always have an eye on how animals are treated. Never come too close to wild animals, even if the photo would be a tiny bit better. Pay nature all respect you can!
Yogyakarta or Bromo – Up to you, traveller!
After Medan and surfing in northern Sumatra, we flew to Yogyakarta. The bustling city is on many bucket lists as it’s home to a handful of incredible temples. Beside some smaller temples the main sights here are Borobudur and Prambanan. The two of us decided in favor for one temple, Borobudur. Here, we wanted to see the sunrise and therefore left the slightly stressful city of Yogya after exploring it for a few days.
Close to Borobudur we found a peaceful place to stay*, enjoyed the calm and woke up extremely early after a good dinner and a short swim in our pool. Despite that we haven’t been super lucky with the weather, the sunrise was a great experience.
➳ In this post we bundled everything you need to know for you stay at Borobudur.
For our very own taste, Yogya was a bit too busy and Borobudur seemed to be a tourist trap. On the one hand it was a great experience to see the sun climb up the sky on the other hand it was quite expensive and touristy. For that very reason, we also wanted to mention another option: Mount Bromo. We didn’t make it but heard great stories from it. So you could consider!
Bali – No hidden gem but certainly a gem!
Bali is truly incredible and we love the vibe of the island. Of course, it became more crowded in the last years but it’s still an insane place on our planet. There are a gazillion of articles out there, long posts and even books filled with tips for Bali thus a short paragraph wouldn’t get anywhere near on what the island would deserve.
There is so much to see. Countless water falls around Ubud, great beaches in the East and world-class waves in Medewi. Bali has it all! Our recommendation would be to stay at least a week or two in Bali, but even six won’t get boring!
Did you read through the entire article until here? Then you already got three of our recommendations: Canggu, Ubud and Medewi or Amed!
Nusa Lembongan – A scooter, a surf board and a yoga mat
Just beside Bali you will find Nusa Lembongan and its tiny brother Nusa Ceningan. We came here with very little expectation but fell in love with the tiny islands right away. It’s completely different to Bali, it’s not comparable to Lombok or Flores. It’s literally unique! One of the main reasons is its size. Nothing takes long! Even crossing the entire island is done with a chill drive within 20 minutes and you are surrounded by jaw-dropping things to see.
Just that you know what you expect! There is incredible surf on Nusa, divers from all over the world come here, yogis find their inner peace. If all that didn’t catch you attention, you can also go on long hike through the jungle and jump in the bluest water you can imagine.
Make sure to not miss anything on these two little neighbors.
Flores – Luckily totally underrated!
We haven’t heard of Flores prior to our trip. We just stumbled upon an incredible video that showed Palau Padar and we started to look up where exactly these ‘Komodo Islands’ actually are. A few weeks later we found ourselves sitting in a small plane to Labuan Bajo.
Once we started our descent to Labuan Bajo, we couldn’t sit calm anymore. Was this actually the place where we go? Yes it was!
The Komodo National Park is simply insane. And the most beautiful things we weren’t even able to see from the plane.
In our two week travel route we kindly suggested Flores as a stop. For you, being on a the road a bit longer we kindly say: You have to go to Flores (If you haven’t been yet)!
We don’t want to spoiler too much but in short the following spots are recommended: Labuan Bajo, the Komodo National Park (Palau Padar most importantly), Kelimutu National Park and the Waerebo Village.
Our dream would have been to get a scooter and drive from the west to the east, from Labuan Bajo to Maumere. Streets are good, traffic isn’t crazy as you might be used to from other parts of Indonesia and you would have the chance to fully explore Flores. But also three months come to an end, so we haven’t had enough time in our hands to do that!
Three week travel route Indonesia #2: In a nutshell (Table)
|Yogjakarta or Bromo, Java
|Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida
|Labuan Bajo, Flores
|Kelimutu National Park, Flores
In the end we can just give you a couple of recommendations at hand but you decide where you go and what to see. In any way, you will have a great time in Indonesia, that’ certain.
➳ Want to get an even better feel of the country and our stops? Head over to our Instagram Highlights!
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Enjoy your time and feel free to share your experiences with us! 🙂