2023 Backpacking Indonesia Itinerary

A Complete Guide Of Indonesia's Top Must-Visit Islands

Looking for a step-by-step guide on Backpacking Indonesia ? Search no more, I’ve spent the last nine years in Indonesia. Between travelling the archipelago of Indonesia and experimenting the entrepreneurship life in Jakarta.

After 9 years spending in this magnificent country and travelling almost everywhere I can tell you that Indonesia is one of the best backpacking destinations in the world ! No matter what you’re looking for, backpacking Indonesia by train, luxury vacation, exploring active volcanos, diving in paradise or meeting the dragons of Komodo, the adventures you could have in Indonesia are endless. Everything you need to know before backpacking Indonesia, from how to stay safe in Indonesia to the best places you should visit. I am providing the best informations you need to ease the stress of your travel planning. If you’re considering backpacking Indonesia, don’t wait! Book your flights and get over here !

Where is Indonesia located

Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the largest archipelago globally, consisting of more than 17,000 islands. The major islands of Indonesia include Sumatra, Java, Borneo (shared with Malaysia and Brunei), Sulawesi, and Papua (shared with Papua New Guinea). 

Overview about backpacking Indonesia

Backpacking Indonesia

Best time to visit Indonesia

Indonesia has a tropical climate with two seasons. The raining season and the dry season. The Best time to visit Indonesia is between May and September. When the weather is dry but not so humid.

How safe is Indonesia

Indonesia is a pretty safe country, even if you're a female solo traveler. However keep in mind that Indonesia is home of natural disasters. And also petty theft that occur especially in Jakarta.

Backpacking Indonesia tips & hacks

The number one thing holding back people from traveling is Money. Indonesia is affordable for any backpacker and tourist, especially in terms of housing and food.

best places to visit in Indonesia

If you’re planning on backpacking Indonesia, you will notice that Indonesia is quiet huge to visit it only for couple weeks. You’ll probably need a decade not to say more to visit the whole archipelago. So to eases your trip I selected the best places to visit in Indonesia.

Backpacking Bali

I have lived in Bali for one year and I have visited it many times and I can tell you that Bali is heavily influenced by Western culture and that not represent the authentic essence of Indonesia. However, Bali is special by its culture and its people, you will find wealth of attractions, including world-class surfing, breathtaking panoramas, thrilling volcano hikes, hidden waterfalls, and budget-friendly culinary experiences and accommodations. 

 Top Things To Do In Bali, Indonesia 

Backpacking Yogyakarta

backpacking Indonesia

Welcome to the soul of Indonesia, Yogyakarta. I have been to Yogyakarta more times than I can count. It’s a fantastic city. Most of the locals call it “Jogja”.  Yogyakarta is located in the beautiful island of Java in Indonesia that includes two iconic temples, Pranamanan temple and Borobudur temple.

Top Things To Do In Yogyakarta, Indonesia 

Backpacking Flores

backpacking Indonesia

The Flores and Komodo Islands offer some of the most spectacular views of Indonesia’s beautiful landscape, colorful culture, and fascinating wildlife. If you want to experience these wonderful places during your backpacking Indonesia, you should consider including these islands in your itinerary. 

Best 10-day itinerary for Flores and Komodo Islands.

Backpacking Sumatra

backpacking Indonesia

If you’re backpacking Indonesia and seeking to immerse yourself in the wild nature, you should travel to Sumatra. The biggest Island of Indonesia is a tropical paradise boasting lush rainforests, towering mountains, pristine beaches, and remarkable biodiversity. It is the sixth-largest island in the world and home to several national parks, including the famous Gunung Leuser National Park and Bukit Lawang.

Backpacking Sumbawa

Until now, Sumbawa remained relatively unknown. This is one of the exciting reason why I decided to explore this Island. I didn’t regret it because I have discovered one the best waterfall ever in my life. If you like not doing things like others and go off road you should definitely put Sumbawa on your backpacking Indonesia list.

Discover the unique waterfall of Sumbawa, pulau Moyo

Backpacking Bandung

backpacking Indonesia

I love to say that Bandung has a special energy, located in west Java, it’s the gateway on the weekends for most of the jakartans people. So, if you are looking for a cultural escape and meeting local people Bandung is the right place. With a diverse food scene, lush tea plantations, volcanoes and hot springs, modern shopping malls and Instagram-worthy cafes, Bandung truly has something for every style of traveller. 

Backpacking Sulawesi

Not many tourists make it to Sulawesi. If you have a profound appreciation for tribal culture and nature, look no further than Sulawesi. This stunning island offers spot for diving, captivating wildlife and ancient tribes. 

When planning to backpacking Sulawesi, remember that the island is huge, the bus ride from Manado to Makassar takes 50 hours, and the tourist attractions don’t always have an airport nearby. 

Backpacking Lombok

Home of Mount Rinjani, Lombok has nothing to envy to her neighbour Bali. Lombok is a volcanic paradise surrounded by stunning coral reefs and picturesque islets within the Indonesian archipelago.

From a stunning hike an a active volcano to having day trips through jungle waterfalls, and chilling in the serenity of white sandy beaches, Lombok is a destination that promises adventure and tranquility. 

Read : the best Things To Do In Lombok Indonesia

The Best 9 things To Do In Indonesia

Indonesia is home to countless experiences that could keep you explore for a lifetime. So, I will make it easier for you by giving you the best 9 things to do during your Indonesia itinerary. 

1. Swim in the stunning Weekuri Lake, Sumba

backpacking Indonesia

Does backpacking remote islands in Indonesia excites you, the you should visit Sumba in the southern part of Indonesia. The island of Sumba remains almost unknown despite being twice the size of Bali.

If you want to go swimming in the lake then you may be disappointed as the water is not very deep but you can paddle around providing you watch out for the pretty coral that grows here.

2. Experience Sunrise At Mount Bromo

Backpacking Indonesia

For hiking enthusiast there are many mountain you can do when Backpacking Indonesia one of them is the majestic Bromo. Mount Bromo is one of the most beautiful volcanoes in Indonesia. Catching the sunrise views on Mount Bromo is one of the most popular activities in East Java. 

3. Dive into Underwater Wonderland of the stunning Rajat ampat

Backpacking Indonesia, papua

Are you ready for an adventure like no other? Get ready to dive into the enchanting world of Papua, a hidden gem nestled within the tropical paradise of Indonesia. Papua is a diver’s haven, a place where magic unfolds beneath the surface, and a whole new realm of discovery awaits.

4. Backpacking the Tumpak Sewu Lampo

Backpacking Indonesia

If you’re looking for many waterfalls in one place then Tumpak Sewu Lampo waterfall is not to be missed on your itinerary! The Javanese name means “many waterfalls.” Located an hour driving from Malang this 120-meter-high curtain of falls is the best waterfall in all of Indonesia. If you are photographe enthusiasts! Tumpak Sewu offers endless opportunities to capture magical shots.  You can even fly your drone to get extraordinary perspective.

5. Meet the dragon of Komodo

backpacking Indonesia

Flores is an amazing island known to be the only place in the world where you can see a real living dragon. This giant lizard is what drew me to Komodo National Park.One of the place were I left my tears because of its insanely gorgeous landscape, the stunning wildlife and the warm people. No matter how much you expect from Flores, you’ll always be positively surprised. Even my description and my excitement of this island is only a scratch on a surface of the wonders you’ll encounter if you take this journey. And it was one of my favorite parts about backpacking in Indonesia. 

6. Catch Sunrise At The Stunning Borobudur Temple

backpacking Indonesia

Witness the breathtaking beauty of Borobudur Temple at sunrise, an experience that will leave you in awe. Located in Central Java, Indonesia, this ancient Buddhist temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic landmarks in Southeast Asia. This is such a beautiful spot to visit when backpacking Indonesia. 

Check out the Unique Things To Do And See In Yogyakarta

7. Go diving in Pulau Seram, Maluku

Backpacking in Indonesia

Pulau Seram in Maluku, Indonesia is another great place for diving enthusiasts to explore. With its diverse and untouched marine ecosystem, it offers a unique and thrilling diving experience. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a beginner, there’s something for everyone to discover in the waters around Pulau Seram. Pulau Seram is a must added for your backpacking Indonesia bucket list. 

8. Explore Pulau Kenawa

Backpacking in Indonesia

Pulau Kenawa is a small island located near Sumbawa Island in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. It is known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and scenic hiking trails.

One of the most popular activities on Pulau Kenawa is simply relaxing on its pristine beaches and enjoying the tropical scenery. But the island also offers opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, and even surfing. Visitors can take a hike up the island’s hills to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding area, or go snorkeling to explore the colorful coral reefs and marine life that inhabit the waters around the island.

9. Orangutans Trekking in Sumatra

backpacking Indonesia

Definitely one of the most exciting things to do while backpacking Indonesia is to go on a trek to see the orangutans in Bukit Lawang. And it’s pretty easy to do on a budget!  These intelligent and gentle creatures can be observed in their natural habitat during guided jungle treks. The park’s rehabilitation centers also offer the opportunity to learn about conservation efforts and witness the incredible work being done to protect these magnificent primates. 

Best Travel Itineraries for Backpacking Indonesia

You can make more than thousands of itineraries in this giant archipelago. But i’m here to help you ! If you are visiting Indonesia for the very first time, Java and Bali with an extension of Lombok island are the popular options. Find bellow the variety of Indonesia itineraries to inspire you get the best out of your trip in Indonesia!

2 Weeks backpacking Indonesia Itinerary suggestion

backpacking Indonesia

If you want to backpacking Indonesia and can’t extend more, 2 weeks will work well with you.This 2 week Itinerary will give you the chance to see the many side of Indonesia. The deep culture of jawa, their stunning volcanos like mount Bromo and Ijen crater as well as the biggest boudhiste temple in the world, Temple of Borubudur. Then you will visit one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia. Bali. I suggest to focus on south bali ( uluwatu, Jimbaran, Nusa dua).  You will meet travellers, honeymooners, surfers, and digital nomads. There is nothing better than spending the last night on the magical island of Nusa Penida. 

Here my suggestion for 2 weeks itinerary : 

Jakarta> Yogyakarta> Malang> Banyuwangi> Bali> Nusa Penida

  • Jakarta: 2 nights 
  • Yogyakarta: 3 nights 
  • Malang: 2 nights 
  • Banyuwangi: 3 nights 
  • Bali: 3 night
  • Nusa Penida: 1 night

Total: 14 nights in Indonesia. 

3 Weeks backpacking Indonesia Itinerary suggestion

Best places to see in Indonesia

These 3 weeks will help experience into the dept culture and adventure of what Indonesia could offer to you. These 3 week Itinerary will give you the chance to explore the deep culture of jawa and their stunning volcanos like mount Bromo and Ijen crater. Bali and the stunning beaches on the south coast. The 5 nights in Lombok can give you the time to hike the majestic Mount Rinjani or explore pink beach and the south coast of Lombok. 

Here my suggestion for 3 weeks itinerary : 

Jakarta> Yogyakarta> Malang> Banyuwangi> Bali> Nusa Penida>Lombok

  • Jakarta: 2 nights 
  • Yogyakarta: 3 nights 
  • Malang: 2 nights 
  • Banyuwangi: 3 nights 
  • Bali: 4 nights
  • Nusa Penida: 2 night
  • Lombok : 5 nights

Total: 21 nights in Indonesia. 

Backpacking Indonesia Suggested Budgets

Backpacking Indonesia on a budget is about 12$ per day. If you are looking for luxury vacation or on honeymoon, you should spend around 50$ per day on your vacation in Indonesia. From beaches and mountains (lots of them) to historical sites and temple to hiking and diving; there are so many options that fit any kind of budget.

A Daily Budget in Indonesia

Expense Ultralight Backpacking Flashpacker The travelling couple
Accommodation: $5-$10 $10-$15 $20+
Food: $2-$7 $8-$15 $35+
Transport: $2-$6 $6-$10 $15+
Nightlife : $3-$9 $10-$15 $15+
Activities: $0-$10 $10-$20 $20+
Total per day: $12-$42 $44-$75 $105+

Where to stay in Indonesia

We recommend choosing a hotel that’s near (or a short shuttle ride away from) your chosen tour operator’s office. That way, you can easily check in, drop off your bags and head right out on an adventure. 

Booking.com could be the cheapest option. If you are staying on an island, like Bali, then airbnb is a good shout for longer term stays. 

Location: Hostel: Why We like it:
Bali Bali bamboo jungle Place with jungle with a beautiful view and a nice rest area where is very pleasant to chill
Banyuwangi Banana homestay friendly atmosphere, reasonably priced, excellent breakfast, many cute cats
Lombok Lombok backpacker hotel
Great vibe hostel for solo travelers 
Yogyakarta The Patio Yogya Central locatino, comfortable beds, and awesome breakfast included!
The geckos homestay  All around great hostel with awesome views, and good food.

How Do You Get To Indonesia

Flying is the most convenient way to reach Indonesia. You can find flights from various locations worldwide, as there are numerous airports across the different islands. Popular destinations to fly into include Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Lombok, and Denpasar (Bali). It’s convenient to fly into one of these cities and then depart from another, eliminating the need for a round-trip.

The duration of your journey to Indonesia depends on the specific part of the country you plan to visit and your departure location. From the France, including stopovers, the travel time typically ranges from 13 to 15 hours. If you are traveling from other Asian countries, it can take as little as 2 hours or up to 4-5 hours.

The price of a return flight departing from France varies between 500€ (off-season trip) and 800€ (in high season). For the best flight options, I recommend checking Skyscanner and google flight as it provides a comprehensive selection of flights from around the world.

BACKPACKING Around Indonesia

To navigate Indonesia’s vast wonders composed of over 17,000 islands you might understand that Backpacking Indonesia ain’t easy easy. It all depends on how much time you’ve got, how many islands you want to visit and your budget. Here are some common modes of transportation you can use to navigate the country:

  • Domestic Flights: Indonesia has a vast network of domestic flights connecting major cities and islands. Airlines such as Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and AirAsia.

  • Train travel is another popular and comfortable way to explore Indonesia. The country has an extensive railway system, particularly on the island of Java. The Java Railways network connects cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya.

  • Buses are available all around Indonesia, they connect various cities and towns, both within and between islands. You can choose from different types of buses, ranging from standard to executive and VIP classes, depending on your comfort preferences.

  • Ferries and Boats: If you’re backpacking Indonesia’s archipelago, you will need to use inter-island Ferries. Ferries and boats operate between islands, providing scenic and sometimes faster routes. Popular routes include Bali to Lombok, Java to Bali, and Sumatra to Java.

  • The Indonesian uber: Grab and Gojek are popular ride-bike apps in Indonesia. They offer transportation options, including cars, motorcycles, and even food delivery services in major cities. 

  • Motorbike Rental: Motorbikes are a common mode of transport, particularly in tourist areas. Renting a motorbike gives you flexibility and freedom to explore Indonesia at your own pace. However, Make sure you have a valid international driving license and follow local traffic rules for safety.

Backpacking Indonesia Information about Indonesia Visas

Before backpacking Indonesia, make sure you’re aware of all visa requirements. Visas are issued by Indonesian embassies and consulates around the world, so be sure to contact them directly for more information. Most countries require a visa that must be applied for in advance at an Indonesian embassy or consulate. 

The cost of your visa will vary based on your nationality and where you plan on entering Indonesia (you may need more than one). For example, British citizens who wish to enter via Bali should obtain a visa prior to arrival costing £52 ($80) and lasting 15 days. Citizens of most countries can get a 30 day-extendable stamp, free of charge, or pay $35 for a “Visa on Arrival,” which can be extended for 30 more days.

Since the pandemic has hit the world, the free visa tourist is not available and replaced by the business tourist. Just remember to check your appropriate government website for all the specific information you need for your entrance to Indonesia. 


Useful Online Tools For Your Indonesia Trip

There are a wide range of apps and online tools that can make backpacking in Indonesia super easy, thanks to the world of digital:

Grab: The Grab app is available pretty much all over Indonesia and is brilliant for getting cheap lifts from one place to another. It can also be used to order food, which is great if you’re feeling lazy or unwell.

Go-Jek: Go-Jek is another version of Grab but is more popular in Bali. It’s great to have choices, and you can use the “go-life” app to order massages, cleaners, and repair services.

Tiket: This app is great for buying train tickets across the island of Java. It’s easy to use, and you can save up points to get money off your next ride.

12Go Asia: This website and app allow you to book your train, bus, boat, and shuttle travel around Indonesia. It compares a range of suppliers and gives you the best deal. It’s excellent for boat transfers around Bali, the Gili islands, and Lombok.

Klook: Klook is the cheapest provider of tours in Indonesia, and it’s a super easy way to book them.

Airbnb: Airbnb is a great website for longer-term stays and unique accommodations in places like Bali. It’s famous for its fabulous villas and treehouse offerings among rice terraces.

Religion in Indonesia

backpacking Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest muslim country in the world. And several others religions coexist and freedom of religion is implemented in the constitution. If you happen to visit Bali, Hinduism is the dominant religion on the island.

For visitors, keep in mind that religion is something central to most of the Indonesians, it is important to always respect local customs and habits. Wearing a swimsuit is not a problem on tourist beaches such as Bali or Lombok. But remember that being topless for men, could be prohibited and for women remember to cover your shoulders and neckline when walking in the street.  

Useful advise: try to have always a scarf or a sarung in your bag to cover your shoulders and your hair when visiting religious places.

Indonesia cultural etiquettes

Indonesia is a country with rich cultural traditions and customs. It’s important to respect the local culture and adhere to certain etiquettes. Dress modestly, particularly when visiting temples or religious sites. Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of worship. It’s also customary to greet others with a smile and a slight bow. Engaging in polite and respectful behavior will go a long way in fostering positive interactions with the locals.

Learn some useful Indonesian phrases and words

Indonesia has more than 800 languages the official language is the The “Bahasa Indonesia”. Indonesian language is a relatively easy language to learn. Especially that Indonesia language uses the Latin alphabet, so it will be easy for you to find your way around the signs and read the menus. These basic phrases will help you during your backpack trip in Indonesia :



English Indonesian English Indonesian
Hello Selamat pagi how much is it  itu berapa ? 
I’m fine  Baik-baik saja where is the bathroom ? Kamar kecil dimana ?
Thank you

Terima kasih

please  Silakan
Eat Makan where is it ? itu dimana ?
sorry  maaf what is this ?  ini apa ? 
city center pusat kota See you soon  Sampain jumpa 

Final Thoughts And Advice before backpacking Indonesia

Backpacking Indonesia will leave you speechless on how countless are the experiences you will have. Whether you’re solo travellers, couples, Indonesia is quiet safe. From the landscapes to the friendly people, their insane deep culture, Backpacking Indonesia has to be on your bucket list destination. Make sure you stay there at least 3 weeks. Make sure you have a good travel insurance for your trip. Respect the local culture ( remember each island have different culture and different way to perceive tourists). If you planning to rend a bike, drive safe and enjoy Indonesia. I hope you guys found this Indonesia travel guide useful and can use it for your next vacation in Indonesia. Don’t hesitate to contact me via my social media or by email if you have any question about backpacking Indonesia

ENjoy Backpacking INDONESIA!

So grab your backpack and get ready to discover the wonders of Indonesia!

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