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Borobodur

Itinerary Indonesia 

Roadtrip Bandung (Java) -> Sanur (Bali)

map Indonesia

Travel itinerary Indonesia - 3 weeks: Java and Bali

We happen to end up in Indonesia by coincidence, a good coincidence. Due to a busy period at work, we didn't get the time to plan a trip, so a week before the start of the school holidays we really did not know where to go ... after searching the internet for a while we saw a 'last minute' deal to Indonesia with the Dutch organisation 'Koning Aap', everything at half the price ... Booked quickly and a few days later we are on the plane :).

What's the best time of year to travel to Indonesia? From June until October weather is fine, after October rain season starts. So if you want to avoid the heavy rains, it's best to choose the summer months.

We fly from Amsterdam to Bandung with a stop in Singapore. Bandung airport is a very small airport, so no long queues or annoying questions at customs. A smooth start of our holiday!

schiphol airport
bandung airport
bandung airport

Java

Bandung

Bandung is a relatively large city, but is much more pleasant than the big cities such as Jakarta, because of the atmosphere that the Dutch left behind here many years ago. Around Jalan Braga you will find the largest concentration of art-deco buildings in the world. Definitely worth hanging out in this city.

While we stay Bandung we visit the Tangkuban Perahu National Park, the only volcano crater in Java that you can reach by road. Handy because we suffer from a major jetlag, and not walking was a nice bonus! There is a beautiful hiking path around the crater.

On our way back we pass a tea plantation (Malabar Tea Estate), the kids play some hide and seek, wherever you are, they will play the same games :). On the plantation you see people working and the tea leaves are picked, in the factory you can see how the tea is made and you can immediately taste something.

tea plantation indonesia
volcano indonesia

Bandung -> Yogyakarta: by train! A good way to relax and enjoy the marvelous landscape

rice field
bandung train
bandung

Yogyakarta

The city you can't skip while being in Indonesia. This city is the center of Javanese culture. You will not get bored easily here!

We mainly explore this wonderful city by a becak (a kind of bicycle taxi, fun for the kids!!). What we certainly find worth a visit is the former palace of the sultan, the Kraton of Yogya, strolling along the batik workshops, the silversmiths, the wajang doll workshops, the tanneries, the shopping street Jalon Malioboro, ...

In the evening we go to a Ramayana ballet play. A perfect activity when you travel with kids!

yogyakarta
becak indonesia

The political heart of Yogyakarta is the Kraton, the palace of the sultan. Yogyakarta has a long tradition as a sultanate and the palace is still in use by Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. As a tourist, you can take a look inside the palace walls, which are largely decorated as a museum. You can admire old photos and utensils, but also pay attention to the architecture that has Dutch influences here and there. The Kraton is also used for cultural performances.

Not to forget: Yogyakarta is the perfect base to visit the famous Borobudur temple. This is about an hour and a half's drive from the city. Dating back to the 9th century, this is the largest Buddhist shrine in the world and is made up of several terraces, with no less than 1500 different reliefs and 600 open-worked stupas, depicting the way to nirvana. If you manage to touch one of the Buddha statues hidden in the bell-shaped stupas, you can make a wish!

Take your time here, this place is really stunning... when the weather is good this place is a dream if you like making pictures!

borobudur temple
borobudur temple
borobudur temple

Just a little less known than the Borobudur temple, but just as impressive is the Hindu temple complex Prambanan. This complex consists of several structures and temples, the three main temples are the most impressive. The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia.The richly decorated structures are dedicated to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, and the handsome details tell the story of love epic Ramayana. The Prambanan is fairly close to the city and is therefore easy to combine with a nice bike ride through the green rice fields and small villages in the area. Also nice: in the evening the story of the Prambanan comes alive during the Ramayana ballet. The kids loved this, even if they didn't understand one word of it, it's a memory they will nog forget!

prambanan
prambanan
Ramayana ballet

Solo

Arguably the heartland of Javanese identity and tradition, Solo has a distinct character determined by the city’s long and distinguished past. As a seat of the great Mataram empire, it competes with, Yogyakarta, as the hub of Javanese culture. In contrast with Yogyakarta, however, conservative Solo is less interested in courting foreign tourists, resulting in a more authentic urban experience. This felt like the 'real' Indonesia for us, we only stay here for one night so there isn't much time to explore the area.

Near our hotel, with the ice ice cold pool we find a restaurant for our evening diner. We go there with another Belgian family. This is a restaurant for locals, so the menu was not understandable to us, we just order about everything, we are with 9 persons anyway and assume we can finish everything. That is a good bet, we eat everything, although it is not only chicken and rice with peanut sause... it also turned out to be satay with rabbit innards. Even greater is our surprise when we get the bill, dinner and drinks for 9 persons: 13 euros in total ...

swimming pool

Batu

The town of Batu is only fifteen kilometers from Malang, at the foot of Mount Arunja. In the middle of the mountains and surrounded by a sea of flowers and beautiful fruit orchards. We have a few days here, so we take our time to explore the surroudings!

hotel batu
waterfall batu
waterfall batu

Not far from the city, a visit to the Air Terjun Cubanrondo waterfall is definitely worth it. The waterfall is about 60m high and is quite spectacular! Bart could also experience what it is like when the locals want to take a picture with you, normally our children are regularly approached for this because of their blonde hair :)!

A short walk between the flowers and the fruit orchards is not really a must, but a nice trip if you have enough time!

We go to the center of Batu to find an ATM. In the main square we see a Ferris wheel, the children are immediately very enthusiastic and just want to make a round in the wheel and saying 'no' is not an option ... even all the rusted bolts did not scare them off (I'm not comfortable with it !!) they love it!

ferris wheel in batu
flowers
ferris wheel in batu

The most spectacular thing we visit in Batu for me is a small tofu factory. I really can not understand that this is possible, one man was smoking above the tofu, we see the ashes of his cigarette fall in the tofu, there is absolutely no hygiene, in the place where the tofu is baked everything is burned and dirty ... and at the end of the tour we are told that this tofu went to all the hotels nearby ... I don't think I've eaten tofu since!!

java factory
tofu factory

But the main reason we stayed in Batu is because it is a good base to visit the Bromo volcano.

Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East JavaIndonesia. With a height of 2,329 meters it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the best known. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.

The mornings at the Bromo volcano, on the Indonesian island of Java, are among the most beautiful in the world. The combination of the spectacular moonscape, the rising fog and the golden rays of the sun make the sunrise at Bromo one of the most special experiences of a trip over Java. At least that was what we were promised ... After breakfast at 3 am we leave the hotel, an hour later, however, the car fail ... our driver is busy calling and started tinkering with the engine himself. In the meantime it slowly becomes light and it is clear to us that we would miss the spectacular sunrise. After a while another car is been brought and we can continue our journey. And even in daylight, the environment is breathtaking! It is quite a tough ride before we reach the volcano's caldera, which are actually three volcanoes together.

bromo volcano
bromo volcano
bromo volcano

We visit the volcano with a guide, this is already included in our trip, but you can also easily organize this yourself. From the village of Cemoro Lawang, where you can choose between many guesthouses to stay, you can climb the volcano yourself. It is very popular, so check whether everything is fair.

bromo volcano
bromo volcano
bromo volcano
bromo volcano
bromo volcano

You can climb the inner crater. The path here is quite steep, for tourists there is also an opportunity to do this part by horse. This also turned out to be included in our trip, and for the children it's a fantastic experience! The last part to the crater is a staircase consisting of 253 steps. The view from the top of the crater rim is breathtaking! You can see the sulfur fumes rising from the crater and the smell is terrible ... The volcano is still very active and it is regularly closed to visitors since two tourists died in an eruption in 2004.

Kalibaru

If you're a foodie and love to explore new flavors and cuisines, then the small town of Kalibaru in East Java, Indonesia is a place to put on your list. This town is not only known for its lush green tea plantations and stunning natural beauty but also for its delectable local cuisine. The cuisine of Kalibaru is a blend of Javanese, Indonesian, and Chinese influences, making it a unique and flavorful experience. From spicy sambal to savory beef rendang and mouth-watering fried noodles, Kalibaru's food scene will leave you wanting more. But that's not all, the town is also famous for its sweet delicacies like lapis legit (layered cake) and klepon (glutinous rice balls filled with palm sugar). And no better way to experience all this by following a cooking workshop! The workshop is also for the kids, I try to keep them away from the sharp knifes, but besides this it is a perfect activity to do with the kids. We also get a tour in the garden, and see the herbs and spices. The workshop ends, of course, by eating all the food!

java
flower java
cooking class java
cooking class java

Bali

Bali is a destination known for its beautiful beaches, picturesque landscapes and vibrant culture. But this Indonesian island has much more to offer than just sun, sand and surf. Bali is a place steeped in history and tradition, with an array of diverse experiences waiting to be discovered. From ancient temples to lush rice paddies, Bali offers a unique blend of spiritual and natural wonders that will leave you breathless. Whether you want to soak up the sun on a secluded beach or immerse yourself in the local culture, Bali has something for everyone. Bali is so different to Java, for us it is one of the most diverse and fascinating destinations! 

ferry bali
ferry bali
bali

Lovina

We take the ferry from Java to Bali and drive first to Lovina. We stay in a good hotel, take a massage in the afternood, yes, this is the good life! Next morning it's time for some adventure. We go on a dolfin tour, and leave before sunrise!

lovina
massage bali
swimming pool

Imagine the thrill of being surrounded by playful dolphins in their natural habitat, jumping and spinning in the crystal clear waters of Lovina, Bali. This unforgettable experience is like no other, even when it's only 6 am. Whether you're an animal lover or simply seeking a unique adventure, swimming with dolphins in Lovina is an absolute must-do! And yes, we're not the only ones here, there are a few dozen boats filled with tourists doing the same as we do, it's a fun spectacle to witness.

dolfins

Ubud

On the journey from Lovina to Ubud we pass the beautiful lake Bratan with the spectacular Ulan Danu temple. Unfortunately, it is cold and foggy and the rain is pouring down. Not an idyllic view, but we can imagine what it would be like in clear weather.

monkeys
temple bali

Monkey forrest Ubud

One of the most popular spots in Ubud is the 'Monkey Forrest'. If you are looking for a thrilling wildlife adventure that will leave you mesmerized? Look no further than the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali! Home to over 700 monkeys, this enchanting forest is a must-visit destination for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. As we wander through the lush greenery, we are greeted by the playful primates swinging from tree to tree and frolicking in the crystal-clear streams. But don't be fooled by their adorable appearance, these mischievous monkeys are known for their cheeky antics and love for stealing anything they can get their hands on. From temples to bananas, nothing is safe from their grasp! Our kids absolutely love this place! 

monkey forrest
monkey forrest ubud
monkey forrest
playing
temple ubud
bike tour
monkey forest
yoga ubud

Other fun activities in Ubud:

  • Explore the Tegalalang Rice Terrace

  • Do a bike tour

  • Stroll around on the Ubud Art Market

  • Enjoy the little shops and restaurants in the center of Ubud

We visit the organization "Sjaki-Tari-Us," an organization that supports people with mental disabilities. Kids can play and participate in crafts with the children cared for by the organization. It is a very nice afternoon, an absolute amazing day in our Indonesia trip!

Sanur

To end our Indonesia journey we have a few days of beach time with of course some massage time! We stay in the Sri Phala Resort and Vila. 

swimming
beach sanur
boat tour

After a day we have seen enough beach for a while and we decide to take another trip. The two options here in the south of Bali are Tanah Lot and Waterbomb. Waterbomb is a huge water park, but because our children are still a bit small for wild slides and we are here mainly for the real Indonesia we choose Tanah Lot.  

Tanah Lot is a beautiful coastal temple in Bali, Indonesia. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bali, attracting thousands of visitors every year. The temple is located on a rocky outcrop that is surrounded by the sea and can only be accessed during low tide.

Tanah Lot is a Hindu temple that dates back to the 16th century. It is dedicated to the god of the sea, and legend has it that the temple was built by a high priest who used his magical powers to move a rock from the sea to the shore. The temple is also known for its stunning sunset views, which make for a truly unforgettable experience. But we are here in the afternoon and it is cloudy, but it's still an impressive place!

tanah lot
tanah lot
tanah lot

Three days before we fly back home, we see a terrible message in our news app: flight MH17 has been hit by a missile and has crashed, this flight was flying exactly the same route that our flight would also take three days later.... The passengers on this flight were also just families with children who were on their way to enjoy a wonderful trip together, this news was very hard to grasp. There is a strange atmosphere during the entire return flight to Amsterdam, we follow a much longer route because part of the airspace is closed and we feel some relief ourselves when we arrive safely in Amsterdam.  

Check out our other family-friendly travel itineraries here!

Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.

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