What to see in Indonesia: Itinerary for the Trip of a Lifetime

Indonesia was our very first travel experience in Asia. Starting with one of the most chaotic places we've ever seen: Jakarta. It was intimidating yet exciting. G had a one year contract based there. ONE YEAR. One year to explore this fabulous archipelago. Sure, it wasn't enough to kick off our long 'to do list' -it's never enough. 

Itinerary of a trip in Indonesia

However, from Java to Sulawesi, we've seen wonders we could hardly believe actually exist.

Either you're going for a couple of weeks or for a long term trip, I hope you'll enjoy traveling in Indonesia as much as we did -and I hope this post will help you decide your itinerary in Indonesia. Selamat jalan!

Itinerary of a trip in Indonesia

ACROSS THE WILD - 10 DAYS trip in Java

Kawah Ijen - Get to the sulfur extraction zone by 2:30 am to see the beauty of the volcano's blue flames, combined with the sulfuric acid gas and the raw sulfur. You'll see the minors, who carry around 70kg of sulfur, barefoot, singing and smiling, everyday -it sure will make you see life differently. The view of the sunrise from the top of the crater is breathtaking.
Mt Bromo - Jump in a 4x4 at 3 am to see the sun rising on the caldeira, revealing the top of the volcanoes. You'd feel you're on the Moon!
Yogyakarta - This colorful and arty city worth a few days stop, to explore the traditional markets, batik shops, the Royal Palace and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Prambanan temple -go at sunset for the perfect light.
Borobudur - A 8th century Buddhist monument, six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, 504 Buddha statues, looking toward the beautiful landscape of South Java... The area is also known for its wonderful wide rice terraces.
Pangandaran & Batu Karas - I told you about this laid-back and friendly seaside resort in my post about Indonesia's best kept secrets. Batu Karas is particularly fantastic during the week -quiet & peaceful. A real paradise, with a slower pace of life. The exploration of the Green Canyon is also an experience you won't forget. Pangandaran is awesome to party on the beach -I remember a incredible reggae live on the beach during sunset... Feels like a dream!


INTO NATURAL BEAUTY - 20 DAYS trip in bali

Kuta & Seminyak - Sure, it's not that authentic anymore. Full of tourists, fancy places to party, Western restaurants... But it's part of Bali. It would be a pity to go to Bali and stay only there, but it would also be a pity to go in Bali and not seeing this particular atmosphere. Get a good massage, relax, go shopping in one of the coolest mall, get lost in the gangs (tiny streets), watch the sunset from the beach, a Bintang in your hand, enjoy a night at Potato Head...
Bukit Peninsula - There are plethora of beautiful beaches to discover. Take a scooter and enjoy a road trip along the coast. Uluwatu offers a stunning view -it's a must-see. Impossible beach is remote and quiet. And sooo many others...
Nusa Lembongan - If you want to see 'the real Bali', the old, authentic, traditional one, far from the traffic and the crowds, you picked the good place. Enjoy the calm, go snorkeling, dive with the mantas, explore the incredibly colorful seabed...
Ubud - Welcome in the heart of Bali! The home of its exciting culture, full of old temples (Goa Gajah, Yeh Pulu, Tirta Empul, Gunung Kawi are terrific), traditional dance shows, charming restaurants, great arts & crafts, brilliant live concerts, delicious food, and a beautiful forest, home of thousands of monkeys. Beauty is everywhere here.
Tenganan - The oldest traditional Balinese village in the island. If you're in luck, you can see a real Balinese ceremony -not a fake version to please the tourists.
Amed - This is a perfect spot to just relax, drink some cocktails in the deserted beach, take a snorkeling trip on a fisherman boat, and meet some locals.
Tirta Gangga - This water palace spreads in middle of pools, lilies and fountains. Local kids play in the water, Koi carps beg for some bread, and travelers get lost in this beauty... 
Gunung Agung - Watching the sunrise from the top of the volcano after three hours of night hike is a magic experience. The view really worth the physical effort. Poignant memories.
Mt Batukau - Hiking across the rice fields with a local is a great way to explore the area. Jatiluwih offers an incredible view on the hilly landscape, covered with rice terraces.


IN SULAWESI'S LAND OF DEATH - 5 DAYS trip in Tana toraja

I told you about this incredible place in my post about Indonesia's best kept secrets Toraja people spend their whole life saving and planning for their family's death rituals. All their life is directed towards the death. The Toraja Land is wide, with several places to visit.
Rantepao - The main village, perfect base to explore the surroundings. You can visit the markets of the town, and should definitely have a dinner in Café Aras. If you want to hire a guide, I highly recommend Samuel. He's local, super nice, and speaks very good English and French: samueltoraya@yahoo.co.id. 
Ke'Te Ketsu - The village is now converted into a living museum, with the express purpose of displaying Toraja beautiful architecture. Local people produce bamboo carvings and other traditional handicrafts. 
Sangalla - Baby grave in a tree, in the middle of a gorgeous bamboo forest.
Lemo - Cliffs rise precipitously from the rice fields like stone work condominium, crypts carved with prodigious manual labor high into the solid rock house the moral remains of Toraja nobility. Burial chambers are cut out of the rock and several balconies filled with effigies look out.
Londa - One of the oldest hanging graves belonging to the nobility. A larges balcony is filled with effigies of the dead.
Palawa - Toraja's oldest village, with buffalo horns in front of the houses -one of the most interesting to visit.


A PIECE OF PURENESS - 15 DAYS trip in nusa tenggara

Gunung Rinjani - The most incredible experience I had so far in Indonesia. Trekking through the volcano and its caldeira is a unique adventure. For the people, the scenery, the vibes, the air... - If you have the opportunity, just go for it.
Kuta Lombok - Paradise found! Rent a scooter and explore the area on the road. The beaches are stunning, the view amazing, and the atmosphere laid-back and serene... Try the Warung Bule for a nice dinner. It's delicious!
Mawi - This beach is hidden at the end of a long muddy path, so it's always quiet, a secret spot for surfers, and paradise to relax with the best view you can imagine... Not to mention the green coconut and pineapple snacks.
Gili Islands - Three islands with pristine beaches, great detox cocktails, crazy parties, giant turtles & colorful fishes in a clear water, and horse carts as main vehicles. Perfect after the Rinjani trek!
Maluk, Sumbawa - If you wanna feel you're lost in the middle of nowhere, turquoise water, palm trees & white sand as scenery, and nothing else to do than chillax, go explore Sumbawa. It's still a beautiful secret place.

places to visit in indonesia we missed & look fantastic too:

Meet the orangutans - Tanjing Puting National Park, Borneo
Relax & dive in heaven - Togean Island, Sulawesi
Dive in a wonderful seabed - Wakatobi, Sulawesi
Explore Kelimutu National Park - Flores, Nusa Tenggara
Sail & dive into the wild - Raja Ampat, Papua
Dive in the green island, Pulau Weh, Sumatra

What about you, what were the highlights of your trip in Indonesia? Any other fabulous places I missed during my explorations (there must be a looot)?