Immerse yourself in the wonders of Indonesia on this three-week adventure across three of the country's most spectacular islands. Spot rare orangutans on an unforgettable multi-day jungle trek on Sumatra, then hop over to Java to visit ancient Buddhist temples and climb active volcanoes. Your adventure ends on the tropical beaches of Bali, where you'll snorkel through colorful underwater worlds and raft down the Ayung River.


  • Search for orangutans on a multi-day jungle trek on Sumatra
  • Tour the ancient Buddhist temples of Prambanan & Borobudur
  • Hike to active volcanoes on Java
  • Snorkel among colorful coral & tropical fish at Menjangan Island
  • Relax on Bali's famous beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sumatra, Medan City Tour & Transfer to Tangkahan Tangkahan, North Sumatra
Day 2 Hike & Float Through the Jungles of Tangkahan Tangkahan, North Sumatra
Day 3 Transfer to Bukit Lawang  Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 4 Gunung Leuser National Park Jungle Trek Day 1 Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 5 Gunung Leuser National Park Jungle Trek Day 2 Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra
Day 6 Transfer to Berastagi Berastagi, North Sumatra
Day 7 Hike to Sibayak Volcano, Transfer to Samosir Island Samosir Island
Day 8 Samosir Island Motorbike Tour Samosir Island
Day 9 Transfer to Medan, Fly to Yogyakarta, Java Yogyakarta
Day 10 Visit Kotagede, Plasoan & Prambanan Temples Yogyakarta
Day 11 Visit Borobudur, Pawon, & Mendut Temples Yogyakarta
Day 12 Train Journey to Mount Bromo Mount Bromo, East Java
Day 13 Mount Pananjakan Sunrise Ascent, Transfer to Mount Ijen Ijen, East Java
Day 14 Sunrise Trek to Mount Ijen, Ferry to Pemuteran, Bali Pemuteran, Bali
Day 15 Free Day in Pemuteran  Pemuteran, Bali
Day 16 Menjangan Island Snorkel Excursion  Pemuteran, Bali
Day 17 Transfer to Ubud, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces & Monkey Forest Ubud, Bali
Day 18 Ayung River Rafting & Traditional Balinese Dance Show Ubud, Bali
Day 19 Transfer to Sanur Sanur, Bali
Day 20 Free Day in Sanur Sanur, Bali
Day 21 Transfer to Denpasar Airport, Departure Denpasar

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Medan, City Tour & Transfer to Tangkahan

Great Mosque
Medan's Great Mosque

Welcome to Indonesia! Upon arrival at the Medan Airport, you'll be picked up by your private driver and set off on a city tour of Medan's most famous sites—including the Sultan Palace, Great Mosque, and Chinese Temple. Afterward, you'll set off on a long drive via Binjai and Batang Serangan to reach the village of Tangkahan, the gateway to the rainforests of Gunung Leuser National Park and your base for the night. 

Day 2: Hike & Float Through the Jungles of Tangkahan

Elephants trek down the Batang River in Tangkahan

Today you'll explore the lush jungles of Tangkahan, starting with a guided 3-hour trek. Then it's time to switch gears and relax as you float down a calm river and discover the jungle from a different perspective. After a stop at a hidden waterfall for a refreshing swim, the return journey takes you back on foot, crossing through palm oil plantations and a small traditional village. 

Day 3: Transfer to Bukit Lawang 

Traditional Batak architecture on the banks of the Bohorok River

After breakfast, a Jeep takes you on a 3-hour off-road journey to the village of Bukit Lawang on the eastern edge of Gunung Leuser. Along the way, you'll see rubber plantations and lush jungle vegetation, and pass lots of scenic countryside before arriving at your accommodations in Bukit Lawang. 

Day 4: Leuser National Park Jungle Trek Day 1

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you drive through the jungle
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you hike through the jungle

This morning, leave civilization far behind as you head deep into the heart of the Gunung Leuser National Park for a multi-day guided trek through the jungle. Keep your eyes peeled for orangutans as you make your way through the rainforest in search of these incredible gentle giants.

Camp out with your guides overnight in the jungle to maximize your chances of witnessing orangutans in their natural habitat, along with Thomas's leaf monkeys (langur), long-tailed macaques (crab-eating macaques), gibbons, black gibbons, and other exotic flora and fauna unique to the area, including tropical birds and butterflies.

Day 5: Gunung Leuser National Park Jungle Trek Day 2

Spot rare and endangered orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park

Wake up with the sounds of the jungle all around you and enjoy coffee and breakfast before starting your second day of trekking through the Gunung Leuser National Park

Known as the largest wilderness area in Southeast Asia, Gunung Leuser is one of the best places to explore the natural beauty of this amazing ecosystem, as well as come face to face with wildlife such as orangutans. This huge park is also home to the rare Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, and leopard cat.

Enjoy learning about the different plants and animals here as your experienced guide leads you on a tour through the park, before you return back to Bukit Lawang for a well-deserved shower and a beer or two.

Day 6: Transfer to Berastagi

Check out the amazing views over Mount Sinabung
Check out the amazing views over Mount Sinabung

After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Bukit Lawang and begin the 5-hour journey to Berastagi. En route, stop to visit the Sembahe River and Sibolangit, which is known for the Two Colors Sibolangit Waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Indonesia.

Once you arrive at Berastagi, check into your hotel and relax, before setting out to explore in the afternoon. Visit Gundaling Hill, where you can check out the views over the nearby volcanoes, Mount Sinabung and Mount Sibayak, and then continue to the fruit market and Lumbini Natural Park, where you can see a replica of Myanmar's famous Schwedagon Pagoda.

Day 7: Hike to Sibayak Volcano, Transfer to Samosir Island

Lake Toba
Lake Toba is the largest lake in Indonesia

Today kicks off with an active start, as an early morning transfer takes you to the slopes of Sibayak Volcano. After a hike to the summit, you'll watch the sunrise over a magnificent panorama before heading back towards Brastagi. Along the way, stop for a soak at the Lau Debuk-Debuk hot springs to soothe tired muscles.

After lunch, it's time to hit the road again as your driver takes you from Berastagi to Samosir Island on Lake Toba. Formed after the eruption of a supervolcano around 75,000 years ago, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world.

Stop en-route to visit the villages of Dokan and Simarjarunjung, to see the traditional ways of life and the iconic Rumah Bolon-style houses with their uniquely shaped roofs and entrances. From here, you'll continue to the magnificent Sipiso Piso Waterfall, where you can take a refreshing dip in the plunge pool before admiring the views of Lake Toba as you head down to the shore. From here a boat takes you over to Samosir Island, where you'll continue to your accommodations. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure on the island before retiring to your hotel for the first of two nights on the island.

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Day 8: Samosir Island Motorbike Tour

Samosir Island
 Traditional houses on Samosir Island

After breakfast, set off for a tour of Samosir Island by motorbike, visiting several traditional Batak Toba villages. See traditional dances in Simanindo, visit the tombs of the ancient Sidabutar kings in Tomok, and discover the stone chairs and tables used as the meeting place of the Siallagan kings in Ambarita

Along the way, it's also possible to stop at a local school to see the activities of young children in the class, visit traditional hand-weaving villages, and stop at other cultural sites such as ancient burial grounds.

In the afternoon, return to the hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure. 

Day 9: Transfer to Medan, Fly to Yogyakarta, Java

A traditional Javanese performance

After breakfast, you'll make the boat crossing back to Parapat and then transfer to Medan via Pematang Siantar and Tebingtinggi. Along the 5-6 hour drive, you'll have the opportunity to stop at many interesting and scenic spots. Upon arrival in Medan, transfer to the airport to catch your onward flight to Java and the city of Yogyakarta.

Your driver will welcome you at Yogyakarta airport and transfer you to your hotel, where you can relax and get settled in for the evening, or head out to explore the city. With streets decorated with stunning graffiti, coffee shops, charming restaurants, and temples decorating the skyline, there's plenty to see in Indonesia's cultural capital.               

Day 10: Visit Kotagede, Plasoan & Prambanan Temples

Prambanan Temple
Prambanan Temple

After breakfast, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to explore a few historic neighborhoods and significant architectural sights near Yogyakarta

The first stop will be the Kotagede Heritage District where you will learn about the remains of the first capital of the independent Javanese kingdom known as the Mataram Sultanate, which was established in the 16th century. Your guide will take you through the royal palace, the royal cemetery, the great mosque, and the surrounding defensive walls and moats. The area is also known for its silver craft, so you may want to take a break to do some shopping.

Next, you'll head to Plaosan, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Buddhist temple located in a village about 45 minutes outside of Yogyakarta. The final stop on your tour will be Prambanan Temple, a 10th-century Hindu temple compound that is dedicated to Shiva. In Prambanan, you will learn about the temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana. 

After a full day of touring temples, you'll be returned to your hotel to relax or spend more time exploring Yogyakarta.
In the evening, you have the option of a dinner show at the Puri Wisata Theater in Prambanan, where you can watch a performance of the Ramayana in traditional costume. The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic consisting of 48,000 verses telling the story of Rama, son of King Dasaratha who sets off in search of his wife who was abducted by the demon Ravana. This is one of the fundamental writings of Hindu mythology.

Day 11: Visit Borobudur, Pawon, & Mendut Temples

Wander around the iconic stupas at Borobudur
Wander around the iconic stupas at Borobudur

You'll have an early wake-up call today for your transfer to Borobudur—one of the world's largest Buddhist temples. Once you arrive, watch the sunrise in this peaceful place before taking a tour of the grounds. 

From Borobudur, your guide will continue driving, and you'll explore some of Java's most beautiful Buddhist temples, including Pawon and Mendut. After taking time to walk around and learn about these significant religious sites, you will be able to enjoy an authentic Indonesian lunch.

In the afternoon, join a small tour to the market of Yogyakarta to discover the local food stalls, herbal drinks, and exotic spices.

Day 12: Train Journey to Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo
Sunrise over Mount Bromo

Today, you'll board a train from Yogyakarta to Jombang, for a scenic 4.5-hour journey through the Indonesian countryside. 

Upon arrival at Jombang train station, you'll be greeted by a private driver and taken to your hotel at the foot of Mount Bromo

Day 13: Mount Pananjakan Sunrise Ascent, Transfer to Mount Ijen

View on the volcanoes
See the sunrise from the summit of Mount Pananjakan

Before first light, a private Jeep ride takes you to the 9,104-foot (2.775 m) summit of Mount Pananjakan to watch a memorable sunrise over the Tengger Caldera. From this vantage point, you will have a panoramic view as the morning mists dissolve over Mount Batok and the active Mount Bromo as well as the caldera in the background. 

Once the sun is up, you'll descend and begin your short trek to the famous Mount Bromo. After the climb, your private driver will transfer you to your next destination: Banyuwangi, at the foot of the Ijen Volcano. Here you can get settled into your accommodation and rest up for another early morning!

Day 14: Sunrise Trek to Mount Ijen, Ferry to Pemuteran, Bali

Blue flames at Kawah Ijen
The blue flames of Mount Ijen

Rise before dawn today for your climb to the top of Mount Ijen's crater, where you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise washing over the valley and sea below. Ijen is famous for its blue flames, caused by burning sulfur found inside the crater, and its incredibly acidic, but beautifully green crater lake. 

Alongside your local guide, your ascent will take you past groups of sulfur miners who roam the volcano every day, holding their well-balanced baskets, to extract the yellow crystals from the edge of the largest acid lake in the world

After your ascent, your driver will take you to Banyuwangi Harbor, where you'll catch the ferry to reach Bali. Upon your arrival, you'll be transferred to your accommodations in Pemuteran.

Day 15: Free Day in Pemuteran 

Beach at Pemuteran
Relax on the beaches of Pemuteran

Today is free to relax and enjoy the white sands of Pemuteran. Your driver is available should you have any places you would like to visit. Take advantage of this day of relaxation to snorkel or dive (you are currently at of the most beautiful dive spots in Bali), spend a few hours sunbathing on the beach, or organize a walking or biking excursion in Bali Barat National Park.

Day 16: Menjangan Island Snorkel Excursion

Snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan Island
Snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan Island

Today, set sail with a shared local boat to the underwater paradise of Menjangan Island. This island is part of the Bali Barat National Park, a nature reserve known for its pristine coral. Snorkel through this colorful underwater world admiring the brilliantly colored marine life.

After a picnic lunch, head back to Pemuteran where you can enjoy a free afternoon. Relax by the pool or set off to explore before enjoying some authentic Indonesian cuisine in the evening. 

Day 17: Transfer to Ubud, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces & Monkey Forest

Visit monkeys at the Sangeh Monkey Forest

Today you leave the coasts of Pemuteran and transfer to Ubud, the cultural center of Bali. Along the way, visit the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These famous rice fields form a natural amphitheater, giving a beautiful overview of the Balinese subak irrigation system.

Continue to the village of Wongaya Gede, where you can visit the Batukaru Temple, then stop to say hello to the cheeky residents of Sangeh Monkey Forest. Spread over 15 acres of forestland with giant nutmeg trees and some ancient ruins, the main attraction here are the hordes of funny yet wise Balinese monkeys.

Day 18: Ayung River Rafting & Traditional Balinese Dance Show

Raft down the Ayung River

Today you'll experience the island from a different perspective, as you raft down the Ayung River. Equip yourself, board the raft, and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes as you flow down the river towards an awaiting buffet lunch.

At the end of the day, your driver will take you to Ubud Palace to watch a traditional Balinese dance show.

Day 19: Transfer to Sanur

A brilliant sunset over Sanur Beach

After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for an hour's drive south to the coastal town of Sanur. Your afternoon and evening in Sanur are free for you to wander through the town or along the promenade, dine at one of the many delicious restaurants, visit the night market, relax at the beach, or catch up with some rest at your hotel. 

Day 20: Free Day in Sanur 

Stop for an ice cream on the beach in Sanur

Savor your last day in Bali at your own pace. Spend a day at the beach, take a bicycle ride around the coast, relax by the pool, try one of the many recommended restaurants, and don't forget to try some of the local gelato!

Day 21: Transfer to Denpasar Airport & Depart

A traditional Balinese offering

After breakfast and depending on your flight schedule, your private driver will take you to Denpasar Airport today to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Indonesia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Indonesia? Check out these other Indonesia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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Map of Explore Indonesia: Sumatra, Java & Bali - 21 Days
Map of Explore Indonesia: Sumatra, Java & Bali - 21 Days