Few countries can compete with Indonesia in Southeast Asia, if someone looks for a really complete destination with fascinating cultural heritage, pure nature and relax on paradise beaches. Indonesia is a giant country with more than 17,000 islands that offer unlimited possibilities, and a lifetime would not be enough to explore even a small part of this country. We propose your here the classic itinerary with the best things to see and do in Indonesia in 3 weeks.
Your trip to Indonesia will start in Jakarta, the chaotic capital of the country. Your itinerary will continue in Southeast direction while you visit the most emblematic places on the island of Java. You will get to know the charming town of Jogyakarta and the fabulous temples of Borobudur and Prambanan in the surroundings, and after that you will visit the volcanic area where Mount Bromo (a still active volcano) is one of the major sights to see. Then, you will spend almost a week in Bali, where you get to know the fascinating and unique Hindu culture of the island together with some of the most beautiful rice terraces in the world. In the last part of your trip to Indonesia you will enjoy beaches and lots of great activities in the water. On Nusa Lembongan Island you can get to swim with giant manta rays, while you will finish your trip on Gili Meno Island you can relax and snorkel with marine turtles.
What to see in Indonesia in 3 weeks – the classic itinerary
Day 1-2. Jakarta, a chaotic capital
Day 3-5. Jogyakarta and the famous temples around
Day 6-8. The volcanic area, visit to Mount Bromo
Day 9-14. Bali, a unique island with unique culture
Day 15-17. Swimming with manta rays on Nusa Lembongan
Day 18-21. Swimming with turtles and relaxing on Gili Meno Island
Day 1-2. Jakarta
The city of Jakarta is not amongst the most popular destinations in the traveler’s agenda. It’s not hard to understand that, since Jakarta is a chaotic city with disastrous transport (our local friends simply refer to as Jam-karta). Jakarta might not be one of the best places where to go in Indonesia, but it’s worth dedicating a couple of days to visiting it to know the most emblematic sights and also to experience from close to enormous contrast between the different social classes of Indonesia (luxury malls next to very poor neighborhoods).
Day 3-5. Jogyakarta
Jogyakarta is one of our favorite cities in Asia. A city full of historical monuments and great atmosphere. In addition, near Jogyakarta you can find two very important temples to visit in Indonesia: Borobudur and Prambanan. If I had to pick one temple you should see in Indonesia, this would be the Temple of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple on our planet. You will be amazed by its beauty and you will spend a few hours inside the temple contemplating the different sculptures and small details. You can read here in details the best things to do in Jogyakarta.
Day 6-8. Mount Bromo
The island of Java is full of active volcanoes and Mount Bromo is one of the most famous amongst them. To see the sunrise at Mount Bromo is definitely one of things you must do in Indonesia.
In order to visit Mount Bromo you have two options: you can either take a tour from Jogyakarta, in which you will visit Bromo and some other volcanoes and finally you will be taken to Bali. The other option is to do as we did and visit also some other cities in the area like Solo (Surakarta) and Malang.
Día 9-14. Bali
There’s no doubt that Bali is probably the most famous island where to go in Indonesia. In fact, before our trip to Indonesia, we had some prejudices about Bali, since the island also has a quite bad reputation for being an island filled with “cheap” party, drugs and drunk people, however, this ambience is only limited to the South of Bali, whereas the rest of the island is a real marvel.
The best way to get to know Bali is setting a base in the charming town of Ubud and explore the island from there in a motorbike. Discover the beautiful rice terraces and Hindu temples in a motorbike is one of the most memorable things to do in Indonesia. Bali is also famous for its traditional festivities, like the Full Moon Ceremony, and people devote a lot of effort to these celebrations.
Day 15-17. The island of Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan, this tiny island South of Bali is not amongst the most known islands. It’s a really calm island with a nice local vibe, and the beaches aren’t really spectacular. Nevertheless near the island you get the chance to swim with huge manta rays, which is probably one of the most impressive animal-related adventures to have in Indonesia. You don’t even need to do scuba diving, since mantas come quite often to the surface, so you can see a bunch of them snorkeling. If you don’t plan to stay in Nusa Lembongan, you can book here your trip from Bali to swim with mantas near Nusa Lembongan.
Day 18-21. Gili Meno Island
When you get to this point of your trip around Indonesia, you will already feel like getting some relax on one of the beautiful beaches in the country. The Gili Islands, near the island of Lombok and not very far from Bali, are ideal candidates for that. There are 3 Gili Islands in total, and Gili Meno is the calmest one amongst them. In addition, apart from relaxing on the beach, you will only have to jump into the water and you can get to swim with huge marine turtles that live around the island. If you prefer, you can book your boat trip to Gili Islands from Bali.
Three weeks are very short to get even a taste of this country, but we have that our 3-week itinerary give you some help to visit the most important places where to go in Indonesia.
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