Chock-full of fun activities, this two-week sojourn through Java and Bali is perfect for adventure-minded travelers who also want to check off the top sights and cultural experiences. From the ancient Buddhist complex of Borobudur to the artist studios of Ubud, in-between, you'll hike to the summit of Mt Ijen Volcano, snorkel around Menjangan Island, cycle through the Jatiluwih rice paddies, learn the art of Balinese cooking, and much more.


  • Explore the world's largest Buddhist complex at Borobudur
  • Trek to the summits of  Mount Ijen and Mount Batur for sunrise
  • Marvel at the colorful marine life while snorkeling at Menjangan Island
  • Learn to cook traditional Balinese dishes after shopping at a local food market

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Yogyakarta Yogyakarta
Day 2 Taman Sari & the Underground Mosque, Sultan Palace, Prambanan Yogyakarta
Day 3 Borobudur, Candi Rejo Yogyakarta
Day 4 Surabaya (East Java), Transfer to Mount Bromo Mount Bromo, East Java
Day 5 Mount Bromo to Ijen Ijen, East Java
Day 6 Hike to the top of Mt Ijen Volcano, Transfer to Pemuteran (Bali) via Gilimanuk Pemuteran, Bali
Day 7 Snorkel around Menjangan Island Pemuteran, Bali
Day 8 Munduk, Aling Aling Waterfalls & GitGit Waterfall Munduk, Bali
Day 9 Cooking Class, Munduk & Tamblingan Lake Exploration Munduk, Bali
Day 10 Ubud, Ulun Danu Bratan Temple & Jatiluwih Rice Fields by Mountain Bike Ubud, Bali
Day 11 Sunrise Trek to Mount Batur's Summit Ubud, Bali
Day 12 Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul Temple & Tegalalang Rice fFelds Ubud, Bali
Day 13 Explore Ubud Ubud, Bali
Day 14 Ubud to Denpasar, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Yogyakarta

Colorful rickshaws enliven the streets of Yogyakarta

Selamat Datang! Welcome to Indonesia! Your private driver will meet you at the airport for a transfer to your hotel in Yogyakarta, the capital city, colloquially referred to simply as "Yogya." Yogya has been the region's seat of power for more than a millennium, including the 8th-and 9th-century Sailendra dynasty that produced the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan, a short distance from Yogya.

The rest of your day is designated free time to relax beside your hotel pool or to explore this vibrant city known for its colorful rickshaws, Dutch colonial buildings, lively street markets, and as a traditional center for the arts. 

Day 2: Taman Sari & the Underground Mosque, Sultan Palace, Prambanan

Tamin Sari, the former pleasure palace for the early Sultans

Today, explore the city's top historical sites, beginning at the Kraton, or Sultan Palace, which has served as the compound of the Sultan of Yogyakarta since 1756, with gracious pavilions and courtyards entered through gates guarded by giant dragons. Then it's on to the Taman Sari, built in the mid-18th century as a pleasure palace (with an underground mosque) for the Sultan of Yogyakarta and his wives and concubines. The palace overlooks the Umbul Pasiraman pool complex, where the Sultan could observe the women bathing (whoever caught a rose thrown from the tower would be his 'wife' for the day). 

Next, head to Prambanan (known locally as Roro Jonggrang), considered by many to be the most beautiful Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. Built in the 9th century, its iconic main temple (rising 140 feet/47 m) is dedicated to Shiva (the destroyer), while to either side are smaller, yet similar, temples to Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the sustainer). You'll soon understand why Prambanan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Then, return to your hotel for the balance of the afternoon, or explore Yogya' at leisure.

Day 3: Borobudur, Candi Rejo

Sunset at Borobudur

After breakfast this morning, head northwest from Yogya' to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur. Occupying a remote hilltop in the lee of two volcanoes, this vast complex was built some 1,200 years ago as a 95-foot-high (29 m) step-pyramid stupa of nine stacked platforms decorated with more than 500 Buddha statues (many seated inside a perforated bell-shaped stupa), plus some 3,000 stone panel reliefs illustrating the life and teachings of Buddha. Your guide will reveal the iconic religious elements' meaning and the vast stupa as you roam in awe.

Then head to the nearby village of Candi Rejo for a quintessential experience with the locals. You'll lunch here, plus learn about the production of tobacco and krupuk (a popular deep-friend, cracker-like snack), plus gain an introduction to gamelan music in a local school, and experience a bicycle ride or horseback ride through the surrounding countryside. Then return to Yogya' to relax and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 4: Surabaya (East Java), Transfer to Mount Bromo

Sunrise over Mount Bromo
Today you'll enjoy dramatic Javanese landscapes as you journey by train from Yogya' to Surabaya in East Java. You'll lunch in Indonesia's second-largest city before continuing with a private guide for a three-hour drive to Mount Bromo, in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Still active and smoldering, Mount Bromo (7,641 feet/2,329 m) and neighboring Mount Semeru (12,060 feet/3,676 m) offer a sensational panorama from your hotel, located close to the caldera. The balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy the stunning vistas and cool mountain air and to perhaps hike the trails around your hotel.

Day 5: Mount Bromo to Ijen (East Java)

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Mount Ijen
After time to further explore Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which covers a massive area of 300 square miles (800 sq. km), you'll drive east along the coast of the Bali Sea to Mount Ijen. This 9,085 feet tall (2,769 m) stratovolcano is the easternmost of many volcanoes that occupy a massive ancient caldera studded with cones and craters. Ijen is renowned for its beautiful electric-blue lake: despite its benign look, it's highly acidic (and is considered the largest acid lake in the world). Admire it at a distance this evening from your hotel at Banyuwangi, with many fine beaches, plus beach breaks for surfers.

Day 6: Hike to the top of Mt Ijen Volcano, Transfer to Pemuteran (Bali) via Gilimanuk

An early rise is rewarded atop Mount Ijen

An early wake-up call today as you prepare for your two-hour hike to the crater lake atop Mount Ijen in time for sunrise. It's cold at the summit at dawn, so be sure to wear warm clothes and layers so you can take off items when the sun comes up. After time to admire the breathtaking views, you'll return to the volcano's base, then transfer to the Banyuwangi dock to catch a ferry to Bali.

It's only a 45-minute journey to Pelubehan in Bali. From here, you'll transfer to your hotel in Pemuteran, a laid-back fishing village on Bali's northwest coast. Pemuteran is famous for its black volcanic-ash beaches and as the jumping-off point for West Bali National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat), snorkeling, and diving adventure around Menjangan Island, which you'll enjoy tomorrow.

Day 7: Snorkel around Menjangan Island

Menjangan island is renowned for spectacular corals

This morning, take a half-day boat trip around Bali Barat National Park, enjoying the scenery and snorkeling at some of Bali's most beautiful marine sites. This is considered the premier area in Bali for snorkeling, especially around Menjangan Island. Although uninhabited, several temples rise over the shore, including Taman Pingit Klenting Sari (guarded by stone tigers) and Pura Gili Kencana (the island's signature monument), with its pure white stone statue of the elephant god Ganesh.

Your boat trip includes a local-style picnic lunch served on board or on a beach if the tide is right. In the afternoon, you'll return to your hotel to relax on the beach and enjoy the tranquility of Permuteran.

Day 8: Munduk, Aling Aling Waterfalls & GitGit Waterfall

Aling Aling waterfall

Your scenic morning drive follows the north coast road before turning south to follow a twining route for the forested volcanic heights of Central Bali. Your destination is Munduk, a mountain retreat that still functions as a center for coffee and cocoa plantations, as it has since colonial days. The area is most famous for its "secret" waterfalls. You'll hike to Aling Aling waterfall, a slender cascade tumbling 100 feet (35 m) into a stunning turquoise pool. 

Enjoy leaping into Aling Aling's refreshing pool before hiking the short, paved trail through a lush ravine to GitGit waterfall. This tendril cascade, fed by the waters of Lake Buyan, plunges some 130 feet (40 m) into its jade-colored pool, where you can swim or relax and enjoy the views. Continue to your hotel in Munduk, on the western slopes of an ancient caldera and overlooking Lake Tamblingam, within the caldera of the extinct Bedugul volcano.

Day 9: Cooking Class, Munduk & Tamblingan Lake Exploration

All the fresh ingredients for a Balinese cooking class

It's time to learn the art of Balinese cooking this morning with private hands-on, immersive tuition from a local chef. You'll feast your senses on the flavors and fragrances as you conjure local ingredients (which you'll buy at a produce market with your host) into such traditional dishes as sayur Bali (Balinese vegetable soup) ayam bumbu Bali (Balinese fried chicken), and tempe manis (sweet-fried tempe) singing with the sweet-sour aromas of garlic, shallots, tomatoes, and sugar.

The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the cool heights around Munduk at leisure. Perhaps a horseback ride, a plantation visit, or an easy hike in Buyan Tamblingan Lakes Nature Park, popular with bird watchers and other eco-tourists; small temples dot the lake's southern and eastern shores, such as the 10th-century Ulun Danu Tamblingan temple. Row boat rentals are available on the lake, and you may even choose to glide across the serene waters in a traditional jukung canoe.

Day 10: Ubud, Ulun Danu Bratan Temple & Jatiluwih Rice Fields by Mountain Bike

The Jatiluwih rice terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today, head south from Munduk to Ubud with your driver, perhaps stopping first to admire and photograph the traditional Hindu and iconic Bali Handara Gate at the Handara Golf & Resort entrance. A short distance brings you to Lake Bratan to visit the famous and equally photogenic Ulun Danu Bratan temple, which seems to float atop the waters. Built in 1633, this intricately-carved Hindu temple honors the three primary Hindu gods: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.

Descending the southern slopes of Mount Batukaru, you'll stop and mount a mountain bike to explore the Jatiluwih rice paddy fields—granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status for their antiquity and cultural and scenic importance. Cycling through this lush landscape provides an intimate insight into rural Balinese life, as women in traditional clothing and conical hats plant rice and farmers plow the fields with buffalo. Then continue to Ubud for the balance of the day at leisure to enjoy this center of Balinese culture and arts. It's early to bed for your pre-dawn wake-up call tomorrow.

Day 11: Sunrise Trek to Mount Batur's Summit

Sunrise from atop Mount Batur

You'll wake in the very early morning for a private transfer to Kintamani, a village at the base of Mount Batur (5,633 feet/1,717 m), an active volcano in northeast Bali. Your pre-dawn trek to the summit follows a well-trodden stone-and-dirt path in time to catch the first light of day as it casts a magical spell over the caldera lake and Bali below. Eat breakfast atop the crater ridge before descending to sea level and Ubud. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy a soothing and well-earned massage or other spa treatment, or to explore the town's many art galleries and crafts workshops.

Day 12: Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul Temple & Tegalalang Rice Fields

Devotees seek purification at Tirta Empul water temple

A short drive this morning takes you to 11th-century Gunung Kawi temple to admire 10 23-foot-tall (7 m) candi (shrine) funerary reliefs carved into a rock face overlooking the sacred Pakrisan River. Combine your visit with the Tirta Empul water temple, just a 10-minute walk upriver, and where Hindu devotees enter the pools for ritual purification beneath waterspouts gushing out sacred spring water—a chance to learn about the rich traditions of Balinese Hindu culture.

The twin temples lie close to the iconic Tegalalang rice terraces—an area of layered paddies sculptured to wrap around the curves of a steep valley. You can walk downhill through the waveform terraces from a scenic overlook for a closer look at the traditional subak irrigation system. Later, you'll have plenty of time to further explore Ubud, including shopping, or perhaps to enjoy a spa treatment.

Day 13: Explore Ubud

Monkeying around in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

You'll have the whole day to relax by your hotel pool and/or to explore Ubud on your own. A few recommended options include:

  • A stroll through the Ubud Monkey Forest, a serene 30-acre (13 ha) tropical forest studded with stone-carved statues and three Hindu temples, roamed by crab-eating macaques.
  • Visit Ubud Royal Palace (Puri Saren Agung), one of Ubud's main attractions, with its ornate carvings and lush surrounds.
  • Explore Ubud's many art galleries and craft studios, the Ubud Art Market, the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), and Neka Art Museum, showcasing collections by many of the island's preeminent artists. You can even learn how to make pottery, play the gamelan, or perform a Balinese dance.

Day 14: Ubud to Denpasar, Depart

Good bye Indonesia
Good bye Indonesia
Enjoy the comfort of your Ubud hotel prior to your transfer to the airport to depart Indonesia.

More Great 2-Week Indonesia Itineraries

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Map of From Yogyakarta to Bali - 14 Days
Map of From Yogyakarta to Bali - 14 Days