Indonesia is a country between Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Pacific and Indian oceans. Amazingly, it is the world’s largest island country and archipelagic state, as well as the 14th largest country in the world by land mass. Over the past few years, Indonesia has been one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia has over 17,000 islands and is surrounded by various bodies of water, it boasts a myriad of scenic and serene islands and beaches. Indonesia is a tropical country offering stunning beaches, surfing spots, yoga retreats, and cool active volcanoes.
You’ll also find one of the biggest islands in the world here, Borneo, which has extensive biodiversity when it comes to plants, animals, and culture. And we’re just getting started. Read on to discover what else you’re going to find if you spend 3 weeks in Indonesia.
RELATED POST: Best beaches for a summer vacation
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO INDONESIA
Indonesia can be hard to navigate due to its geographic appearance. It can also be confusing to decide when is the best time to visit. But the travel tips below will help you plan a 3-weeks itinerary for Indonesia.
When is the best time to go to Indonesia
The summer season in Indonesia is from June to August which is also the peak season and the best time to visit. The rainy season is from December to March, these are the months you should really avoid.
Are 3 weeks enough for Indonesia
Indonesia has lots of islands, although the main attractions are located on the bigger islands where domestic flights are frequent and affordable. Spending 3 weeks in Indonesia gives you plenty of time to explore its cities, hike its active volcanoes, and catch some waves on the surfing islands.
What to pack
Packing for 3 weeks in Indonesia depends on the activities you plan to do. For example,e if you want to do some serious hiking, make sure to bring proper hiking shoes or boots. If you want to spend more time surfing or on the beach, bring 3-4 swimwear. For those planning to visit temples, you have to dress properly before you enter sacred places. Check our packing list for a summer vacation.
How to get around
To get around Indonesia, the modes of transportation available are taxis, car rentals, trains, planes, and buses. Since it is an island, it also heavily relies on ferries and water taxis for transportation. The fastest option would be to fly but this is only advisable for far-flung islands.
The most affordable and convenient option is to ride the bus. If you opt to admire the rural scenery then boarding the train is the perfect option for you, although it’s mostly available in Java. A car rental is also a great option.
Language and currency
The language that is most spoken in Indonesia is called Bahasa Indonesia, followed by Javanese. Some useful words/phrases that tourists could use when in Indonesia include
- selamat Pagi – good morning
- selamat sore – good evening
- selamat malam – good night
- Permisi pak – excuse me sir
- permisi bu – excuse me ma’am
- sampai jumpa – goodbye
- terima kasih – thank you.
Indonesia’s official currency is Rupiah. Cash is still the most widely used mode of payment, especially in remote locations. In Bali, Visa and Mastercard are commonly used.
Visa and COVID-19 protocol
It’s easy to plan a holiday for 3 weeks in Indonesia because this country has one of the most flexible and friendly visa policies in the world. The only nationalities who must apply for a travel visa are those with passports from East Africa and some parts of South Asia and the Middle East. The rest of the world can enjoy a 30-day visa-free.
Since January 2022, Indonesia has been open to visitors. You must present your COVID-19 vaccination card and download the app PeduliLindungi and fill in your information. You don’t need to show any negative test results or proof of health insurance. You can get the most updated information at this Indonesian government site.
Other travel tips
When you are planning your 20 days in Indonesia, these travel sites and tools will help you arrange your hotels, flights, car rental, and even book cooking classes and find suitable travel insurance. These sites will help you plan everything in one sitting and ensure that you will have an amazing vacation.
MUST-SEE PLACES IN INDONESIA (pinned map)
Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google
3 WEEKS IN INDONESIA ITINERARY
If you’re planning to stay for 3-weeks in Indonesia, the most recommended places to visit are Jakarta, Mount Bromo, Mount Ijen, Yogyakarta, Bali, and Lombok.
Jakarta is a dynamic city filled with art spaces that house contemporary artworks by local and international artists. It also has old colonial buildings which are repurposed as cafes and museums, it’s basically one of those cities where historical and modern architecture mesh.
Yogyakarta is the only Indonesian region to still be ruled by a monarchy, you could personally visit some of the royalty’s residences. It also has tons of five-star hotels here that are cheaper compared to Bali, if you want to pamper yourself, this is the perfect place to do so.
Bali is a must-visit not only for those who want to see temples but for adventurous souls as well. Some of the activities that you could do there besides surfing include cliff jumping, sliding down natural and man-made waterslides, hiking, and diving.
Jakarta and Bandung for 3 days
Jakarta is a concrete jungle that depicts an energetic landscape that turns into a stunning night skyline. It has tons of rooftop cafes where you could have either a romantic dinner with a special someone or a night out with your friends. It also is a melting pot of people of various cultures, so you’ll get to try out their foods and learn more about their history.
Aside from historical and modern structures, Jakarta have islands as well. Which is perfect for those who want to experience Jakarta’s tropical side. Jakarta is an awesome place to start because a lot of international flights from Oceania, Europe, and even the Americas land in Jakarta or Bali.
Things to do in Jakarta
- Visit Jakarta’s top spots with a local guide – check the tour price
- Day trip to Bandung
- Istiqlal Mosque
- Ciater Hot Spring – combine a day trip with a volcano day hike
- Merdeka Square
- Thousand Islands
- Day trip to Kawah Putih – join a group tour
- Ancol Dreamland Themepark
- Ragunan Zoo
- Setu Babakan
- Basuki Abdullah Museum
- Book a full-day tour in Bandung
Accommodations in Jakarta
- Affordable: Wonderloft Hostel or Sleepy Raccoon Hostel
- Mid-range: Ashley Tanah Abang or Juno Tanah Abang
- Luxury: The Hermitage or Four Seasons Hotel
Yogyakarta for 3 days
Yogyakarta is well-known for its cultural heritage and traditional arts. It is recognized as Indonesia’s cultural hub and is also the country’s batik capital. Batik is an ancient fabric wax-resist dyeing tradition in Java Indonesia. Aside from that, it is also famous for nasi gudeg, which is a must-try Javanese dish.
To reach Yogyakarta if you’re coming from Java, the modes of transportation include train, bus, and driving. The most recommended option is to board the train with a travel time of more than six hours. The cheapest option is to ride a bus but it would take you more than 15 hours to reach your destination.
Things to do in Yogyakarta
- Borobudur Temple – enjoy a sunrise visit with stop at Merapi Volcano and Prambanan or do the sunrise from Setumbu Hill
- The Taman Sari
- Merapi Volcano
- Kalibiru National Park
- Setumbu Hill
- Tour the Royal Route – you can do it on a bicycle
- Sewu Temple
- Plaosan Temple
- Jomblang Cave
- Timang Beach
- Candi Lumbung
- Ullen Sentalu Museum
- Pinus Pengger
- Book a food walking tour
- Overnight trip to Mount Bromo from Yogyakarta – look at the itinerary
Accommodations in Yogyakarta
- Affordable: Puri Pangeran Hotel or Omah Pathok
- Mid-range: Hotel Neo by Aston or Ayaartta Hotel
- Luxury: Marriott Hotel or Novotel Suites or Melia Purosani
Mount Bromo for 4 days
3 weeks in Indonesia must include hiking, but not any typical hiking. During your vacation here, you must hike an active volcano. Mount Bromo is a must-visit for people who want to see an active volcano and other breathtaking views without much hiking. Aside from that, the place is easy to access and it offers affordable packages compared to other volcano excursions.
Aside from the volcano itself, Mount Bromo tours are also famous for Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and Ijen Crater. To get to Mount Bromo from Yogyakarta, you could board the train which would take 4 hours of travel time, or ride the plane to Surabaya and then get picked up by your chosen travel agency’s shuttle.
Hiking just Mount Bromo would take you only 45 minutes one way. However, it would take you three days to hike Mount Bromo if you choose a combined tour with Ijen Crater (which is the most advisable tour package). Surabaya is usually the base location when hiking because you can use public transport such as buses and minibuses.
Things to do in Mount Bromo
- Luhur Poten Temple
- Mount Penanjakan
- Savannah Hill
- Ngadas Village
- House of Sampoerna
- Cheng Hoo Mosque
- Heroes Monument
- Ria Kenjeran Beach
Accommodations in Mount Bromo
- Affordable: Smart Tlogomas or Shinta Guesthouse
- Mid-range: Royal Orchids Garden Hotel or Ascent Premiere Hotel
- Luxury: Plantaran Bromo or Hotel Tugu Malang
Ijen Crater for 3 days
Mount Ijen is well-known for its blue fire, which can only be seen here and in Iceland. It is also home to the world’s largest acid lake and you can experience great sunrises here because you’ll be able to witness the sky in different hues up close.
To reach Ijen Crater from Yogyakarta, you could travel by train, bus or fly. Boarding the train is the most recommended option as it’s the cheapest and is also comfortable. However, it would take more than 13 hours to reach your destination whilst if you fly, it would only take you almost 5 hours.
Hiking just Mount Ijen would only take almost 2 hours, but some packages offer 2-day hikes wherein you can hike both Ijen Crater and Mount Bromo. Banyuwangi is a popular base for those who want to hike Mount Ijen because you could rent a 4×4 jeep and arrive at Ijen in 1.5 hours.
Things to do in Mount Ijen or Banyuwangi
- Ijen Crater sunrise hike
- Mount Ijen blue fire trekking tour
- Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater 3-day tour
- Sukamade Beach
- Meru Betiri National Park
- Jagir Waterfall
- Jawatan Benculuk
- Overnight trip to Ijen Crater from Bali – look at the price
Accommodations in Banyuwangi
- Affordable: Mango Tree Homestay or Mocca Guest House
- Mid-range: Aston Hotel or Ketapang Indah Hotel
- Luxury: Ijen Resort and Villas or Illira Hotel
Bali and Lombok for 7 days
If you’re going to stay for 20 days in Indonesia, it is imperative to stay in Bali and Lombok for at least a week. Bali is so popular that many visitors forgot that it’s not a country, but an island in East Java. Bali is well-known for its idyllic beaches, captivating cultural scene, and local delicacies.
However, there’s more to Bali than meets the eye. It is a safe haven of some sort, not only physically but even mentally and spiritually. Bali is known as a surfing spot, but there’s more to it than that. You can also go temple hopping or hike through Bali’s best waterfalls. 3 weeks in Indonesia is incomplete without visiting Bali and Lombok – the two most sought-after destinations in the country in the last decade.
You could reach Bali if you’re coming from Yogyakarta by train and taking a flight. Flying is the fastest and easiest way as it would only take you 3 hours to reach your destination. However, if you’re craving an adventure and have ample time to do it, you could also board the train. The travel time would take 19 hours.
Bali actually has a bit of everything and is suitable for everyone because, in Denpasar, there are tons of surfing spots and backpacker trails, perfect for adrenaline junkies. While Ubud, which is north of Denpasar, is more suitable for laid-back people who want to unwind and reflect. It is well-known for the abundance of yoga retreats that you can find there.
If you have more time, I recommend you book a 4-day trip to the famous Komodo Island to see the magnificent komodo dragons.
Things to do in Denpasar
- Bali Wake Park
- Nusa Penida Tour – book a private boat with snorkelling and see Manta Rays or compare the price with this similar tour
- Gate of Heaven
- Bali Snorkeling Tour – snorkelling at Blue Lagoon Beach
- Sign up for a surfing beginner’s class
- Tanah Lot – best to visit with a tour guide
- Taman Festival
- Waterbom Waterpark – get a single-day pass
- Sanur Beach
- Mount Batur – do a sunrise hike and visit a natural hot spring
- Instagram Tour – join a tour of Bali’s Instagrammable spots
- Bahra Sandhi Monument
- Go white water wafting – check the price or rafting with an ATV ride
Things to do in Ubud
- Book a package tour – visiting Ubud’s top spots or compare to this tour
- Campuhan ridge walk
- Museum Puri Lukisan
- Pura Taman Saraswati
- Jungle Swing
- Gianyar Night Market
- Rice Paddies
- Goa Gajah
- Monkey Forest
- Attend a yoga class at Yoga Barn
- Watch a Legong dance performance
- Agung Rai Museum of Art – join Batik making class or silver jewellery making class
Things to do in Lombok
- Party on Gili Trawangan
- Tiu Kelep Waterfall
- Air Kalak Hotsprings
- Gili Meno Snorkeling
- Pearl Farm
- Kuta Lombok Beach
- Mount Rinjani
- Sekotong Islands
Accommodations in Denpansar (Canggu)
- Affordable: The Tipsy Gypsy Hostel or Serenity Eco Guesthouse
- Mid-range: The Calmtree Bungalows or D’djabu Villas
- Luxury: Regali Villa or Blossom Exco Luxe Villas
Accommodations in Ubud
- Affordable: Kamar Suci House or Dijumahrai Homestay
- Mid-range: Goya Boutique Resort or Alamdini Resort
- Luxury: Beehouse Dijiwa or Villa Kayu Lama
Accommodations in Lombok
- Affordable: The Pondok or Indah Homestay
- Mid-range: Gili Teak Beach Front Resort or Vila Ombak
- Luxury: Batatu Villas or Nero North
SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN INDONESIA ITINERARY
Indonesia has 17,000 islands, so you definitely wouldn’t run out of new islands to visit. In fact, if one plans to visit all of the islands, they would spend 49 years doing it if they visit one island per day. Aside from that, Indonesia is one of the world’s biggest tea producers, so you could experience sipping tea straight from the source, at a plantation!
Besides nature-related activities, you could also soak up cultural heritage through a plethora of temples and shrines that they have here. Pair it with various classes that they offer and you’ll certainly experience maximum cultural immersion. Planning a vacation for 3 weeks in Indonesia shouldn’t be too overwhelming, it should be exciting and a warm-up to your well-deserved holiday.