If you have not been to Java yet, you are missing out. The island is the fourth biggest island in Indonesia and a true gem with lots of places to discover and explore. Java is located between Sumatra and Bali and is a volcano-dotted island in Indonesia. 45 of the volcanos are currently active. Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen are one of the most popular volcanos on Java island. The capital of Java is Jakarta and home to almost 10 million people.
In this blog post, I will let you know how we spent our 6 days on Java, Indonesia and give you our 6 day itinerary.
How to get to Java?
There are several airports in Java, we actually flew into Jakarta the first time and took a flight to Surabaya the second time. You can also take a ferry when coming from Bali which we also did once. It was pretty convenient and is pretty fast when coming from West Bali.
How to get around?
There are trains and buses that you can take to get from A to B. We took a train from Surabaya to Yogyakarta and it was perfectly fine and a very cheap option. In Surabaya and Yogyakarta we had a driver who drove us to all the places we wanted to see. You can find drivers through the hotel or can research on Trip Advisor. This is how we found our driver.
We took a flight from Labuan Bajo on Komodo Island to Surabaya and started our trip here. Surabaya is fairly close to Mount Bromo and the famous Madakaripura and Tempuk Sewu waterfall. Still, we would suggest you to take a bus or van to Mount Bromo area and stay there over night. We only were able to do Mount Bromo and the Madakaripura waterfall because we only had one day and the drive from Surabaya (depending on traffic) takes about 3 h. It is still possible to do trips from Surabaya though. So if you have limited time, definitely book a day trip from Surabaya.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the Oakwood Hotel & Residence Surabaya , because we got a super good deal on booking.com. We paid about 40 dollars per night. The hotel was perfect for 2 nights and had a really great breakfast.
What to do?
Most of the people who visit Mount Bromo do a sunrise hike and it must be magical to hike in the morning. We could not make it up that early and arrived a little bit later than the rest of the people which means we had the whole place to ourselves – literally. Of course, the views in the morning are more unique, but we still loved the hike, even around 9/10 am in the morning. As mentioned, the plus is that you will have the whole area almost to yourself.
Our driver picked us up at 7 am in the morning and drove us to the closest town next to Mount Bromo. From there you will continue the ride with a Jeep to the famous viewpoint where you have the best view on Mount Bromo and the surrounding area. It was truly magical to see the scenery that surrounds Bromo – it almost looks like another planet.
After that you can ask your driver to stop several times before he will drop you at Mount Bromo where you can hike the crater. The hike is really short and not too tough, it took us less than 30 minutes. Up at the crater, you can actually hike around the crater. We did not do that, because of the really narrow path. It was also extremely windy that day and I am also afraid of heights. So nothing that I felt comfortable with 😀
After visiting Mount Bromo, we drove all the way to the waterfall Madakaripura. It is a 1 hour drive from Mount Bromo and about 30-40 minutes walk to the waterfall itself. In fact, we parked our car close by and had to take scooters to drive to location where the hike starts.
You need to be prepared to get wet, because you will actually hike behind the waterfall and through the water, which is pretty cool. There are several people who are selling rain jackets, waterproof phone cases, and flip flops. So if you need something like that, you will get it all along the hike. Flip Flops or sandals are also recommended for the last part of the hike. If you don’t have any with you prepare to do the last part bare foot or get your shoes wet.
We really enjoyed this waterfall but it was really crowded. We still think it is worth going there, especially since it is relatively close to Mount Bromo.
Tempak Sewu Waterfall
Unfortunately, we did not had the time to visit this gorgeous place in Java, but we heard so many great things about this waterfall. Tumpak Sewu is a tiered waterfall that is located in East Java. The waterfall is close to an active volcano Semeru, which is the highest mountain in Java.
Make sure to visit the view point in the morning for sunrise and if you are lucky you will have a clear view on the waterfall with the volcano as a beautiful backdrop. The trail to the waterfall is right next to the viewpoint and it takes about 20 minutes to reach the waterfall. Make sure to wear proper shoes, as the trail is a little bit sketchy, but not too hard after all.
Village of Color – Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan
I love vibrant colors and love colorful cities and this village is like a rainbow dream. Again, we did not make it there, because we did not have enough time in East Jave and thought that we could easily do a day trip from Surabaya, BUT that was not possible.
Next time, we will definitely plan a trip to Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan (Indonesian for “Village of Color”). One part of the city is completely blue and one is painted in rainbow colors. 8 students from Malang had the great idea to paint the city and partnered with a paint company in 2016. First they painted a part of the city in rainbow colors and in 2018 they painted another part of the city blue.
Mount Ijen is a must do when visiting Java, Indonesia. This was our highlight and a unique experience. I have written a detailed blog post on our Mount Ijen here.
Yogyakarta is a city in Central Java with a population of about 388,000 people. You will find two breathtaking temples close to Yogja: Prambanan (Hindu temple) and Borobudur (Buddhist temple). Yogja is home to the countries most famous university, a huge art and music scene, amazing food and much more. You will find amazing sceneries and view points close to Yogyakarta.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the Greenhost Boutique Hotel Prawirotaman and really liked this hotel. It was not too expensive, has a good location and the room was comfortable and clean.
What to do?
You have to visit the biggest Buddhist structure in the world when you are visiting Yogyakarta. The temple is surrounded by the most beautiful and scenic views and is only 45 minutes drive from Yogyakarta. With its endless mountains and valleys, it makes it the perfect place to watch the sunrise.
We already have been to Bagan and were amazed by the gorgeous Pagodas, but the temple structure in Borobudur was a completely different one that totally blew me away. I have not been to Andkor Wat yet, which is another temple that is considered to be extremely unique and beautiful.
Whereas Bagan and Angkor Wat are temple complexes, including several buildings, Borobudur is a single temple that is massive, unlike anything else that we have seen before. Borobudur is considered to be the largest Buddhist monument on Earth, a giant pyramid with 9 levels, 2672 carved panels and 504 Buddha statues. On the top level you will find 72 bell-shaped stupas, each of them containing a statue of the Buddha.
We decided to visit this temple for sunrise and had to wake up around 3am in the morning. Since the temple opens at 6am and the drive there is about 45 min from Yogja, you have to wake up early, BUT the important thing is, you will not regret it. It is magical and 100% worth it.
Opening hours: 6am – 5pm
Cost: IDR450,000 (~S$45.50) for non-Indonesian Adult
Another temple that is worth visiting while you are in Yogja is the Hindu temple Prambanan. Whereas Borobudur is a single temple, Prambanan has several unique temples. Those temples are best known for their height and stunning decoration – the tallest building is forty-seven meters high! The Prambanan Temple, a 9th century Hindu temple, is dedicated to Hindu deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
We visited the temple during the sunset hour and can recommend that. On a clear day, the sunset will make the views on the temples even more beautiful and staggering. We enjoyed walking through the temple sight for about 2-3 h.
Opening hours: 6am – 5pm
Cost: IDR325,000 (~S$33) for non-Indonesian Adult
Taman Sari is located in Yogja and is also known as the water temple. It is divided into 4 separate areas with the bathing area being one of the most beautiful and interesting one. The bathing area will also be the first section you will see entering Taman Sari. It consists out of 2 big pools and towers and you are actually able to enter the towers and see the views from upstairs.
Another highlight of Taman Sari is the underground mosque, which was again something we have not seen before. The structure consists of several staircases and windows with a small podium in the center.
Opening hours: 9AM – 3PM
Address: Patehan, Kraton, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55133, Indonesia
Cost: Rp15,000 per pax (~S$1.50)
Kedung Kayang Waterfall
We did not visit the waterfall itself but the viewpoint, because we were not feeling good that day. Bu the viewpoint itself is already worth the 1 h drive from Borobudur. Right after watching the sunrise at Borobudur, we decided to make a stop at this Kedung Kayang Waterfall. You have to pay to take photos on the platform, I think it was about 3 US dollar, which is totally ok in my opinion. Since we did not go there for sunrise, we were not able to see the Merapi volcano in the background, still the view was stunning.
Cost: ~ 3 US dollar
Address: Nagrong, Wonolelo, Sawangan, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia
Hutan Pinus Mangunan
Another stunning place that we visited during our time in Yogja was Hutan Pinus Mangunan. It is a huge Pine forest about an hour from Jogyakarta. You can wander around the forest and there are also several photo opportunities there with breathtaking views.
Address: Sukorame, Mangunan, Dlingo, Bantul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 66783, Indonesia
Opening hours: 9AM – 3PM
Jurang Tembelan is a hotspot full of viewing platforms with plenty of photo opportunities. The most incredible spot for me was the boat-shaped bamboo viewing platform with gorgeous views on the valley. We did not spend a lot of time there, just took a few photos of the boat. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be during sunrise or sunset.
If you want incredible views and Instagram worthy photo spots, you do not want to miss out on Pinus Pengger, a relatively new addition to the top places to visit in Yogyakarta. It is just an hour drive from Yogyakarta city center. This place is basically like a forest themed park that has interesting sculptures such as The Hand which is a hot Instagram spot and a great place to click a few memorable selfies, especially during sunrise or sunset. We booked a driver for the day and told him about the places that we wanted to visit by showing him the photos. The locals usually know exactly where to find those places. Please keep in mind that you have to pay for every platform separately if you want to take photos.
Opening hours: 7.30am till 11pm
Address: Jl. Dlingo-Patuk, Pantirejo, Terong, Dlingo, Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55783, Indonesia
We really wanted to visit the Jomblang Cave, because it must be a unique experience. Unfortunately, we did not had the time for that. Especially if you love adventures and nature, this cave should be on your list. You will get the necessary equipment for your 60 meter descend down into the cave.
Opening hours: 8am till 2pm
Address: Jetis Wetan, Pacarejo, Semanu, Gunung Kidul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55893, Indonesia