Awesome Indonesia Itinerary: 2 Weeks, 3 Weeks & 4 Weeks

Indonesia , Southeast Asia

indonesia itinerary

Oh my, I really loved Indonesia. I found it strangely difficult to find a clear Indonesia itinerary before I left. I think there is so much to do it can be a little overwhelming! In an ideal world, I’d say spend months there. However, as this isn’t possible for most people, below are a few proposed Indonesia itineraries for 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 4 weeks. My itineraries aren’t wholly focused on Bali, there is much more to Indonesia than Bali!

 

Why Indonesia Is Awesome:

  • It’s diverse and offers dense jungles, beautiful beaches, volcanoes, breathtaking islands and more!
  • The wildlife is incredible. It’s one of the few places left in the world you can see wild orangutans swinging through the jungle. I also saw huggge manta rays, lots of monkeys, dived with turtles and saw Komodo dragons.
  • Indonesian food is good, particularly the coconut curries in Sumatra. It’s had a lot of influence from places like Malaysia which means lots of tasty food!

Cons of Indonesia:

  • As it’s a country made up of around 18,000 islands, you have to either fly or get a boat around. Flying sucks for the environment, so I try to avoid it as must as possible whilst travelling. But it was hard not to fly here. Internal flights are not cheap, some of the airlines are a bit dodgy and boats can take a very long time.
  • Environmental issues are a problem for Indonesia. A lot of their rainforest (particularly in Sumatra and Borneo) has been destroyed by deforestation due to the production of palm oil. Sadly I also saw beautiful islands full of plastic litter and beaches full of dead washed up coral.
  • The country has also been hit with a number of environmental disasters such as earthquakes recently. I recommend following Foreign Office advice and avoiding any areas they suggest. If you do go to somewhere where the Foreign Office advise you not to, your insurance can be voided if something unfortunate happens. However saying that, most of Indonesia is safe and the locals very much rely on the tourism industry.

On this page, I have used affiliate links. This means we make a little pocket money if you buy anything through the links we have given. Don’t worry, we will never suggest buying pants products and only recommend products we’ve used.

 

Little-Known Indonesia Travel Tip:

When booking flights for Indonesia, use NusaTrip. Booking directly via Lion Air or other airlines that operate in Indonesia resulted in two of our bank cards getting blocked. They just can’t seem to handle foreign cards for some reason!

Padar Island Flores
Padar Island, near Labuan Bajo

Indonesia Budget

A decent double room with a bathroom is around $12USD a night, with dorms around $6.50USD depending on where you are.

 

Food is also affordable too, and you can find decent food options in most places for a few dollars. Your main spend will be activities (boat trips, diving, tours) and transport e.g flights and boats.

 

Activities can be pricey, but we largely found them to be completely worth it. We managed to cut costs by staying in more budget accommodation and eating cheaply.

 

 

Indonesia 2 Weeks Itinerary

Day 1 – 3 Bukit Lawang, Sumatra (half day travel to get there, 2 full days)
Things to do and see: JUNGLE HIKES, ORANGUTANS, WILDLIFE

 

Day 4 – 8 Bali (half day travel to get there, 3 full days)
Things to do and see: HOT SPRINGS, TEMPLES, BEACHES, CULTURE

 

Day 9 – 13 The Gili Islands, Lombok (half day travel to get there, 3 days)
Things to do and see: ISLANDS, BEACHES, SNORKELING, SCUBA

 

Day 14 – Back to Bali to fly out

 

Or swap one of the above for:

Labuan Bajo, Flores (half day travel to get there, 3 days)
Things to do and see: KOMODO DRAGONS, ISLANDS, BEACHES, MANTA RAYS, DIVING

 

Indonesia 3 Weeks Itinerary

Day 1 – 4 Bukit Lawang, Sumatra (half day travel to get there, 3 full days)
Things to do and see: JUNGLE HIKES, ORANGUTANS, WILDLIFE

 

Day 5 – 11 Bali (half day travel to get there, 4 full days)
Things to do and see: HOT SPRINGS, TEMPLES, BEACHES, CULTURE

 

Day 12 – 16 The Gili Islands, Lombok (half day travel to get there, 4 days)
Things to do and see: ISLANDS, BEACHES, SNORKELING, SCUBA

 

Day 16 Lombok to fly to Labuan Bajo (half day travel to get there)

 

Day 17 – 20 Labuan Bajo, Flores (3 full days)
Things to do and see: KOMODO DRAGONS, ISLANDS, BEACHES, MANTA RAYS, DIVING

 

Day 20 – Back to Bali to fly out

 

Indonesia 4 Weeks Itinerary

Day 1 – 4 Bukit Lawang, Sumatra (half day travel to get there, 3 full days)
Things to do and see: JUNGLE HIKES, ORANGUTANS, WILDLIFE

 

Day 5 – 12 Bali (half day travel to get there, 5 full days)
Things to do and see: HOT SPRINGS, TEMPLES, BEACHES, CULTURE

 

Day 13 – 16 Labuan Bajo, Flores (half day travel to get there, 3 full days)
Things to do and see: KOMODO DRAGONS, ISLANDS, BEACHES, MANTA RAYS, DIVING

 

Day 17Flight back to Bali

 

Day 18 – 22 The Gili Islands, Lombok (half day travel to get there, 4 days)
Things to do and see: ISLANDS, BEACHES, SNORKELING, SCUBA

 

Day 23 – 27 Lombok Main Island (half day travel to get there, 4 full days)
Things to do and see: BEACHES, HIKING, SURFING, VOLCANO

 

Day 28 – Fly from Lombok International Airport to Bali Airport to fly out

 

 

Mini Guide To Each Place In Indonesia:

1. Bukit Lawang, Sumatra

bukit lawang orangutan

Say Hi To The Orangutans!

Bukit Lawang is the gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park. From there, you can do guided treks into the jungle to see orangutans. It’s a truly magical experience.

 

To do it, you need at least two full days in Bukit Lawang. That way you can do a two day trek with one night staying in the jungle which is pretty magical.

 

Most treks also include tubing back along the river, which is good fun! Don’t worry about your stuff, the guides use dry bags 🙂

 

We spent 3 full days in the area. The river is lovely and Bukit Lawang has lots of nice eating and chilling places. We went in November, which is off season so it was very peaceful.

 

How To Get To Bukit Lawang:

We flew into Medan and got a pick up from the airport via our hostel for €30 euro ($33USD) total for a shared car one way. It’s a 3-5 hour drive to Bukit Lawang along a fairly bumpy road.

 

You can get the public bus and I normally would but I couldn’t get my head around the public transport option and decided to push the boat out and get a private transfer this time around.

 

If you are smarter than me, this website details how you take the public bus from Medan to Bukit Lawang.

 

Guided Treks Into The Jungle

Most guest houses organise guided treks for you. We did it through Suma Guesthouse & Dorm, which is a fairly basic hostel but an okay place to stay on the river.

 

Our guide into the jungle was amazing and we saw lots of orangutans, one even held James hand. You can book jungle treks from 1 up to 5 days. The longer the trek the more likely you are to see tigers and elephants deep in the jungle, however you will stink to high heaven after that long in the jungle.

 

Cost Of Jungle Trekking

€80 (around $90USD) each for 2 days. This includes all food and basic tent accommodation in the jungle. It was a bit pricey for us but completely worth it.

 

Equipment For Jungle Trek 

  • Raincoat
  • Good walking boots or shoes. I have SALOMON Women’s Ultra 3 GTX Hiking Shoes and James has Merrell Men’s Moab 2 GTX Hiking Boots. Both pairs are amazing. Remember to go half a UK size up for the Salomons though!
  • 2 T-shirt’s you don’t mind getting filthy
  • 2 pairs of shorts or zip of trousers you don’t mind getting filthy
  • Pajamas
  • A head torch
  • A sturdy backpack with rain cover. We have an older version of this osprey backpack. The newer version seems to have good reviews as well.
  • Mosquito repellent (lots of it, they are ferocious)
  • 3 pairs of underwear and socks
  • Suncream
  • A hat
  • Sleeping sheet
  • A camera/phone with a case
  • Extra water (although the guides tend to provide it)
  • A swimming costume and clothes you don’t mind getting wet when tubing back
  • Any medicine you need, plus something for upset stomachs just in case
  • Toilet roll
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Baby wipes for washing. There are no showers at the overnight camp in the jungle, but you can wash in the river.

 

What NOT To Bring:

  • Cameras or phone without a protective case, the jungle is VERY muggy and destroyed a few phones and cameras belonging to people in our group
  • Anything nice, it will get destroyed

 

 

2. Bali, Indonesia

The Most Popular Place In Indonesia

So there are mixed reviews on Bali. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations for people travelling to Indonesia and as such it’s pretty touristy these days.

 

If you are not into the touristy scene head away from the Southeast corner of the island, away from Ubud and Kuta.

 

I couldn’t get to Bali due to time restraints. However, the usually reliable (in my humble opinion) Nomadic Matt has a useful blog on budget travel in Bali.

 

How To Get To Bali:

Flying! You can fly easily to Bali from most places in Indonesia. There are also ferries from nearby islands such as Lombok.

 

3. The Gili Islands, Off Lombok

Gili Air sunset

Extraordinary Experience: Scuba Dive With Turtles

I spent 5 days on Gili Air learning how to dive. Learning how to dive has been one of the best things I’ve done. I learned with Blue Marlin Gili Air who were a fabulous dive school. I met a turtle on my first dive ever!

 

However if you are not into diving and are only away for a few weeks, 3 full days on one of the Gili Islands should be fine. The Gili’s are made up of three picturesque beach islands, and broadly fit into the following categories:

 

Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T): The party island. I’m a square so this wasn’t for me. This however is the most developed island with the best tourist infrastructure e.g. lots more bars and restaurants. Gili T is good for solo travellers.

 

Gili Meno: The honeymooners island with more expensive resorts. It is fairly small and limited when it comes to backpacker places and stuff outside the resorts.

 

Gili Air: This is a happy middle ground between Gili Meno and Gili T. It is where the most locals live. It’s chilled and has plenty of bars, shops and restaurants. When we went there, we could pick a beach restaurant and have it all to ourselves on the side of the island opposite the port.

 

How To Get To The Gili Islands:

From Bali

To get to the Gili Islands, you can stay in the harbour town of Padang Bai for the night and catch one of the fast boats to the Gili Islands. You can also catch the boat from Amed.

 

The fast boats tend to go between 9am and 9:30am. Gili Cat and the Bluewater express are popular fast boats to the Gilis. You can book tickets via tour guides in Padang Bai, as it tends to be cheaper than booking in advance online. Do note, the fast boats are not a particularly cheap option as tickets can cost up to $80 return.

 

You can also get the public boat from Padang Bai which departs every hour on the hour, but you have to go via Lombok, which is a 5 hour trip in itself. Then you have to get off and get on a public boat to the Gili’s from there. It’s an 8 hour trip including waiting around.

 

It only costs IDR 40,000 per person (just under $3) to get to Lombok, then IDR20,000 – 85,000 to get to the Gilis from Lombok mainland. But you have to wait for boats to fill up and there are different prices depending on which boat you get on.

 

From Lombok

We flew into Lombok International Airport from Medan (via Bali). The Gili’s are just North West of Lombok main island. From there we got an airport pick up (using our hotel as their transfers were as cheap as cabs to the port near to the Gili Islands (called Bangsal Harbour) and stayed in Bangsal for one night as we had a late flight. We stayed at Arnel Bungalow and our airport transfer cost IDR 30, 000 ($21).

 

Bangsal Port, Lombok

There isn’t much in Bangsal. Bangsal Port used to be awful but it’s slightly better now but still very confusing. Aim to get their early (8am – 9am). It’s difficult to work out when the boats go and where to buy tickets. The touts will try and confuse you, and try to sell you chartered boat tickets. Ignore them.

 

Tickets are sold from a small hut in the middle of the beach, where there is a makeshift open air waiting room. It’s to the left of the jetty. We managed to get tickets for the public boat, but then had to wait for the boat to fill up.

 

We left around 9:30am.

 

Mind The ‘Porters’

People will try to take your bag on the boat and then charge you as a porter. Just keep your wits about you. Tickets for the public boat to Gili Air cost IDR 20,000 and IDR 15,000 on the way back for some reason. The price varies by island as does the boat schedule.

 

Back To Lombok

To get back to Lombok from Gili Air we asked what time the public boats go from the ticket office near the Gili Air jetty. We bought our tickets 30 mins in advance of a boat leaving.

 

4. Lombok Main Island

When I went to Indonesia, sadly I couldn’t go on the Mount Rinjani hike on Lombok Main Island due to the recent earthquakes. Mount Rinjani is an active volcano and the hike is not for novice walkers. It’s very very tough.

 

Mount Rinjani

The Mount Rinjani treks start from Sembalun and Senaru, and can take up to 4 days, 3 nights. Guided tours start from around $269.

 

Stay Safe!

You can do the climb independently, but it’s actively discouraged by the community and the government. A guided tour provides food, porters and supplies, and is a safer option. Also be aware it gets cold at night up the volcano, so bring warm clothes.

 

Other things to do on Lombok involve staying in Kuta (not to be confused with the one in Bali!) and exploring the East and West from there. The landscape around Kuta is scenic and if you hire a scooter you can enjoy the hilly roads.

 

Lombok Beaches

Beaches worth visiting are Mutiara Beach which is good for snorkeling (don’t let anyone on a motorbike lead you to any other beaches, it’s a rip off) and Pink Beach 2 (Pantai Angin Angin), which is quite a drive! The beach isn’t that pink but the waters are clear and calm.

 

Surfing In Lombok

When it comes to surfing, Selong Belanak is a good beginners beach. With Mawi, Are Guling and Segar more for intermediate/advanced surfers. Gerupuk and Ekas offers a mixed selection of options for beginners and intermediate/advanced.

 

A 3 hour surf lesson can cost around $24. Surf board rental just on it’s own is about $4 a day.

 

How To Get To Lombok:

It’s a short flight (about 35 mins) from Bali to Lombok. You can also get to Lombok from Medan, but have to get a connecting flight in Bali.

 

The longer but cheaper and more environmentally friendly option is the public boat. There is the public boat from Padang Bai harbour, Bali to Lombok. It takes 5 hours and costs 40,000 per person (just under $3). The public boat departs every hour on the hour.

 

 

5. Labuan Bajo (aka Komodo Island), Flores

Komodo dragon

Meet Incredible Giant Lizards

Labuan Bajo as a town is nothing to write home about, however you can do amazing boat tours of the islands from here. These include the Komodo islands (home to the Komodo dragon), the scenic Padar Island, the pink beach and manta point (which as its name suggests, is full of manta rays!).

 

How To Get To Labuan Bajo:

We actually went there via a 4 day 3 night boat trip from Lombok to Flores. We did this with Wanua Adventure and it cost $172 USD (IDR 2,500,000) per person for a cabin or $97 USD (IDR 1,800,000) to sleep on a roll mat on deck.

According to their TripAdvisor reviews, some people had a great time on their boat trip with Wanua, but I can’t say it was the case for us. I think it’s down to which boat you get put on (Wanua have a few) and your guide.

 

Hellish Boat Trip

For me, this boat trip was the kind of boat trip where I was happy to be alive afterwards. There were 20 of us squashed on what was basically an old fishing trawler. The crew would regularly smoke in the engine room next to the fuel. Sometimes the boat rocked so violently I thought it was going to tip up. There were less life jackets than people.

 

The boat was broken and old, and creaked like it was going to fall apart. We had a cabin and most other people just slept on the deck. Neither were great options as the cabin filled with fumes and was absolutely boiling as well as leaking when raining.

 

Where The Heck Are We?

This whole situation might have been improved if the crew and our guide were great, but our “guide” barely spoke to us. Although we stopped at some cool places (viewpoints, beaches, islands, snorkeling) he never told us where we were or what we needed to bring. Meal times were totally random. They’d get breakfast ready at 5am but not tell anyone so people missed it and sometimes lunch would be at 10.30am, whilst other times it would be 2pm.

 

Maybe Just Fly

You can fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali and take boat trips to see all the cool things we saw. This is probably a much safer, albeit less environmentally friendly option.

 

Want To Know More About Travelling In Indonesia? 

If you want to hear more about my adventures in Indonesia, read my Indonesia story:

Indonesia Travel: My Husband Got Stolen By Another Woman

 

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