Java is the main island of Indonesia where approximately 140 million people live. However, most of the 15 million tourists visiting Indonesia every year head direct to Bali, overlooking Java. Without a doubt there is a lot to see and do here: walk around globally famous temples, explore active volcanoes, wander around coffee plantations and rice fields, and visit the ancient palaces of the Sultan. Apart from the culture, architecture, and natural attractions, the Javanese cuisine is another major point: there is a vast selection of dishes rich in spices to try from. Continue reading to learn about the best itinerary for checking out the best of Java.
This post may contain affiliate links. By purchasing through these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Java Itinerary – Jakarta
Your Java itinerary will start in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, where you will most likely land. This big metropolis is a melting pot of cultures and is home to almost 10 million people. Jakarta is the perfect gateway for arriving in Indonesia and starting your trip through Java with an immersion in the culture. The city has one foot in the Javanese (and Indonesian) traditions and another in the Western world as can be seen in the contrast of the mosques and big malls standing side by side.
Once you’ve arrived in Jakarta, stay at least 2 days to recover from the jet lag and spend some time seeing the highlights of the city: such as the Istqlal Mosque, Monas (the National Monument), and learn about the Indonesian culture in the National Museum. Read this 2-day itinerary for visiting Jakarta.
Make sure to download this guide to visit Jakarta.
Where to stay in Jakarta:
Also, check out this full post with a complete list of hotels to stay in Jakarta.
Java Itinerary – Yogyakarta
From Jakarta, continue your trip through Java by taking the train (around 8 hours) or getting on a plane (1.5 hours) to Yogyakarta, the cultural city of Java.
Yogyakarta is the cradle of civilization on the island of Java, with its main points of interest being built hundreds of years ago. In Yogyakarta you can get in touch with Buddhist and Hindu cultures by visiting the many temples around the city, as well as Muslim culture, heading to the palace of the Sultan.
The must-see things in Yogyakarta are the Borobudur and Prambanan temples, the Keraton (the palace of the Sultan), and Taman Sari (the Sultan’s former royal garden).
Plan to spend 2 days in Yogyakarta if you want to rush things, 3 days to visit everything more calmly. Find out more about what to do in Yogyakarta in this Essential Guide to visit Yogyakarta.
Book here your Borobudur and Prambanan tours.
Where to stay in Yogyakarta:
Java Itinerary – Malang
After Yogyakarta, continue on the train (approximately 8 hours) to Malang.
Malang is part of every itinerary for visiting Java because it’s the best city to visit Mount Bromo, one of Java’s active volcanoes, located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.
Stay at least 2 days in Malang. One day to visit Mount Bromo with a tour – for information about the tour, make sure to read this full guide to visit Mount Bromo. A second day to check out one of these top things to do in Malang.
Where to stay in Malang:
Java Itinerary – Banyuwangi
After Malang, it’s time to head to Banyuwangi (by train, roughly 7 hours), to visit another volcano in your Java itinerary. This time its Kawah Ijen.
Kawah Ijen is the crater of an active volcano on the island of Java known for its phenomenon called electric blue flames, but also for its astonishing massive turquoise lake.
Stay 3 days in Banyuwangi: one to go on the tour to Kawah Ijen, one to take a diving or snorkeling tour to Menjangan, in Bali, and one to check out the volcanic black sand beaches of the region.
Book now your Kawah Ijen tour from Banyuwangi.
Where to stay in Banyuwangi:
Find out more about the tour to visit Kawah Ijen.
Now that you are in the eastern part of Java, you have the option to either continue your itinerary to Bali or finish your trip in Java by taking a plane back to Jakarta.
From Java to Bali
Even though it’s located in Java, Banyuwangi is also connected to Bali by boat.
After visiting Java, if you want to head to Bali, you can take the ferry from the port of Ketapang, in Banyuwangi, to the port of Gilimanuk, on the western part of Bali. The journey takes less than 1 hour.
When you arrive in Bali, you’ll be very close to Menjangan. You can either stay in Menjangan and enjoy one of the greatest diving spots in Bali or arrange a car with your hotel to take you to Ubud, Uluwatu, or Canggu (the car ride to these places takes between 3 to 5 hours).
Extras to add to your Java Itinerary
If you are taking the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, and want to stop along the way, you should spend some time in Bandung. In Bandung, you can visit coffee plantations and try Luwak coffee. Luwak coffee is an extremely exclusive and expensive type of coffee, made with partially digested coffee beans, which have been eaten and defecated by the Indonesian palm civet. You can also visit Kawah Putih, another volcanic crater that has exceptional white color.
Wanting to add some beach vibes to your itinerary? Make sure to visit Thousand Islands from Jakarta. You can spend one night at the Pulau Macan Eco Resort (find out more about Pulau Macan) or just take a day trip to one of the close islands, such as Pulau Sepa.
Looking for crystal clear water and palm trees? Java won’t disappoint you! Add a stop after Malang, making a quick detour to Semarang, and visit Karimunjawa. Here you can pass your days under palm trees, taking boat trips, and with plenty of diving and snorkeling. Here you can find everything you need to know about Karimunjawa, including how to get and where to stay.
Tips for your Java itinerary
What to eat in Java
Some of the must-try foods in Java are Nasi Goreng, Beef Rendang, Sop Buntut, Satay, and Gago Gado. If you learn more about the food in Indonesia, discover other dishes of Indonesia.
Where to buy train and plane tickets in Indonesia
The best place to buy planes and train tickets in Indonesia is through the Traveloka website.
The best tours in Java
Want to visit Java on a tour so you don’t have to worry about planning everything? Here are the best tours to consider:
How to stay connected in Java
When landing in Jakarta, make sure to buy a SIM Card, either with Telkomsel or XL, before leaving the airport. The cities mentioned above have great data coverage and it’ll be pretty easy for you to stay connected.
Once you’ve finished your Java itinerary and you want to continue your trip around Indonesia to Bali, make sure to read these posts.