Java to Bali trip itinerary
After seeing Yogyakarta, many travellers visit Mount Bromo, an active volcano in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. However, fewer include a stop at Ijen and even fewer travellers visit the Sewu waterfalls in the east of Java.
That’s a big shame. The Ijen volcano is one of the most spectacular sights to visit in Indonesia and the Sewu waterfall are famed as the most beautiful waterfall in all of Indonesia.
A reason not so many travellers include the Ijen and Sewu waterfall in their trip itinerary is that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip with all these stops.
And that’s exactly what you are going to find out in this post. We have done the research for you, which means you can just follow our guide on how to get from Java to Bali and see the best of Java along the way.
With all these highlights, this trip is for many travellers the most enjoyable part of their entire trip to Indonesia!
The destinations we will cover are:
Destination #1: Yogyakarta
As the heart of Javanese culture, we think there’s no better place to begin your journey than Yogyakarta.
Also fondly known as Yogya or Jogja, this vibrant city is the only one in Indonesia still ruled by a monarch — a Sultan to be specific. That alone is a testament to how much Yogya values its history and culture.
How to get to Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta has its own international airport, but not a lot of countries have direct flights to Jogja. If you’re coming from outside Indonesia, your most probable entry point is Jakarta.
From the capital, you can you can take the train for 6-9 hours, a flight for 3 hours (including transfers), and the bus for 10.5-16 hours. Fares start at 175,000 IDR ($11).
See here a more detailed description of the route from Jakarta to Yogyakarta.
Destination #2: Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo boasts of a view that is out of this world. Sitting on the Tengger caldera with its top blown off and its crater continuously smoking with white sulphur — it’s a lunar landscape that will take your breath away, especially at sunrise.
No wonder it is one of the most hiked volcanoes in Indonesia. Another reason why it’s so popular is that it’s quite relatively accessible with less than 1-hour hiking.
PRO TIP: It can get really chilly on your way up as you wait for the sun to rise. Temperatures can get as low as 5°C. It’s best to wear a sweater and jacket that can protect you from the cold and the wind, but nothing too thick for innerwear — It gets really hot as soon as the sun is up! Don’t have a warm jacket with you? No problem, it’s easy to rent a jacket for just a couple of dollars as soon as you get out of the jeep.
How to get to Mount Bromo
It all depends on where your base camp is! The basecamps you can choose from when visiting Mount Bromo are: Malang, Surabaya, Probolinggo and Cemoro Lawang. We’ve written a more detailed guide about which Bromo basecamp to choose.
For the purpose of this itinerary, we will focus on Malang because it is also the most accessible gateway point when visiting the next destination, which is Sewu Waterfalls. To get from Yogyakarta to Malang, you can take an 8-hour train for 114,000 IDR ($7.00) or a 6-hour bus for 300,000 IDR ($19.00).
From Malang, you can arrange a private jeep through your hotel to get you to the foot of Mount Bromo. Alternatively, you can book a Bromo sunrise tour with Klook. Rates start from 620,000 IDR ($40.00).
PRO TIP: In this Java to Bali itinerary, we describe the DIY version to visit Bromo, Sewu and Ijen, but in all honesty, it requires quite a bit of planning. To travel with more ease, you can also book one of the tour packages described in this post about how to visit mount Bromo.
Destination #3: Sewu Waterfalls
Sewu Waterfalls are most commonly known as Tumpak Sewu, which means “a thousand waterfalls”. Not that there are really a thousand waterfalls here, but it surely looks like that when you look at its majesty!
From the entrance of the park, your first stop will be the Tumpak Sewu viewpoint. That’s just a 10-minute walk. From here, you can get a view of Sewu Waterfalls in all its glory. Backdropped by the highest mountain in Java, Mount Semeru, it’s truly a sight to behold.
POR TIP: For a more magical experience, get here early in the morning, even before sunrise. The fog adds a dreamy element that makes for some of the best photos of this multi-tiered waterfall.
From the viewpoint, you can reach the bottom via a 30 to 40-minute walk. The trail is pretty safe, but definitely requires some courage and upper-body strength. You’ll be passing by bamboo ladders, slippery rocks, and makeshift bridges. Definitely wear sandals or trekking shoes. Flip-flops are a no-go.
You can’t really swim at the basin, and you won’t have to — the power and strength of the waterfalls around you will be enough to make you feel rejuvenated.
For its grandness, Sewu Waterfalls is still a relatively unknown destination. If you are already making your way from Java to Bali, we really think you shouldn’t miss the chance to see what we think is the most beautiful waterfall in Indonesia.
How to get to Sewu waterfall?
From Malang, it’s about a 2-hour drive to get to Tumbak Sewu. we described it in more detail in our post about how to visit the Sewu waterfalls.
Destination #4: Mount Ijen
Ijen Volcano, or Kawah Ijen, is one of Java’s most unique destinations because it houses the world’s largest acidic volcanic lake. Its crater glows a beautiful turquoise emitting electric blue flames. These flames are especially beautiful at night.
It’s best to arrive at the crater a few hours before dawn. And just when you think the magic show is over, the sun slowly rises and displays the most enthralling backdrop to Ijen Lake.
Note that you will need a gas mask as you near the crater because the high level of sulfur can be toxic (and smelly). Don’t worry if you don’t have one. Gas masks are available for rent for around 50,000 IDR ($3.20) and are mostly included in the tour.
Apart from being a tourist destination, Kawah Ijen is also a fully commercial volcano. You’ll see locals hard at work at the crater, collecting sulphur deposits and bringing them down the mountain. Some try to sell small sculpted rocks to visitors, which is a great way for the miners to earn a little extra.
How to get to Mount Ijen
The most common base camp to Mount Ijen is Banyuwangi, Java’s easternmost town. If you visited Sewu before going to Ijen, we recommend taking the southern train route and taking the train from Jember station to Banyuwangi.
If you stayed in any of the other basecamps and didn’t visit Sewu before continuing to Bromo, you can find the exact route details for the northern route to Banyuwangi in this route guide from Bromo to Ijen.
Destination #5: Bali
Bali is an island paradise with a compelling mix of nature and culture. It is a constant item on many travellers’ bucket lists for the famous Balinese culture, sandy beaches, rice terraces and age-old temples.
It has a laidback vibe, also making it a go-to destination for surfers and digital nomads. The beach towns on the west coast of Bali like Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu are the most tourist destinations but if you want to visit the best beaches of Bali, you have to visit the south.
There is the famed art heritage of Ubud, miles of rolling paddy fields, hidden waterfalls and volcanoes to hike. Bali is also a great base to explore the many offshore islands such as Nusa Penida or a side trip to neighbour island Lombok.
How to get to Bali
From Banyuwangi, you can get to Bali by ferry, and then continue to your destination by taxi or bus.
The ferry to Bali leaves from Ketapang station to which you can either take a taxi, or a train from Karangasem Station in the city centre. A ticket costs around 43,000 IDR ($2.70) and travel time is 20 minutes. From Ketapang station, the harbour is just 10 minutes away on foot.
Next, take a ferry from Ketapang Harbour to Gilimanuk Harbour on Bali Island’s western coast. Ferries are available 24 hours and a ticket costs 10,000 IDR ($0.60) for the 45-minute journey.
TIP: Relax and unwind at Sumberkima Hill Retreat
Once you arrive in Bali, you can take a bus or taxi to the island’s most popular destinations like Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, or Uluwatu. We’ll discuss these options below, but first, we want to introduce a new idea: take a few days to rest at Sumberkima Hill Retreat.
The itinerary we shared above will likely be one of the highlights of your trip to Indonesia, as you’ll visit some of Java’s most incredible places in less than a week. This includes several sunrise tours, but also plus 8-hour journeys to reach your next destination.
Experience True Peace at Sumberkima Village
Now imagine yourself relaxing by a gorgeous swimming pool, taking in views of Mount Ijen (and possibly Bromo on a clear day) after this intense trip. That’s exactly what you can do at Sumberkima Hill Retreat.
Forget about busy traffic or street vendors at every corner; Sumberkima is a quiet little village located on Bali’s northwest coast, just a 30-minute drive from the harbour where boats from Java arrive. It’s a relatively new destination for travellers to Bali, and that’s what makes it so unique.
There are not many accommodations, but if you choose to stay here, we highly recommend booking two or three nights at Sumberkima Hill retreat. They offer bungalows for very reasonable prices. Prices range from 800,000 IDR ($51.00) per room for 2 person bungalow, up to 4,500,000 IDR ($290.00) for a 6-person villa. All bungalows and villas are amazing in their own way, and no matter which room you book, you’ll always have access to all their common facilities.
This includes transportation via an electric golf cart to their stunning swimming pools or on-site restaurants. The pools are truly spectacular, and on a clear day, you can see the sun setting behind the Ijen volcano. They also offer several nearby activities, like visiting a stunning white sand beach strip, snorkelling tours, or hiking the Sumberkima Hills.
The best part is that you won’t need to leave the retreat at all, as they offer everything you need — including room service. For me and my family, this was the perfect way to rest for a few days after our East Java itinerary, and I highly recommend this stay to anyone.
How to get to Sumberkima?
When arriving from Java, all boats dock at Gilimanuk, which is just a 30 to 40-minute drive to Sumberkima Hill Retreat. You can easily find a taxi at the harbour for around 200 IDR ($0.00), or arrange a pickup with Sumberkima Hill Retreat directly.
How to continue your trip through Bali from Sumberkima
After our stay at Sumberkima, we booked a private driver who took us to the Jatiluwih rice terraces, with a stop at the stunning Munduk waterfalls en route. Munduk is a picturesque valley in northern Bali, home to some of the island’s most impressive waterfalls.
A 2-3 hour trek allows you to visit four waterfalls, making it an ideal stop on the way to Jatiluwih. Additionally, there’s a fantastic eco-restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious lunch while admiring the jungle views.
After the trek, our driver, Putu, drove us to Jatiluwih where we arrived at night. Waking up the day after in this guesthouse, with a view on never-ending views of lush, rolling rice paddies, was just a dream (TIP: Book first floor).
Interested in making the same trip? Our driver, Putu, is truly exceptional. His extensive knowledge of Bali’s history made the day fly by and provided an excellent introduction to Bali’s culture following our Java visit. You can reach out to him you can contact him here via Whatsapp.
From Gilimanuk to other destinations in Bali
Gilimanuk Port is located all the way in northwest of Bali. From here, it’s still a 3-hour drive to Canggu, 3.5-hour to Ubud and more than 4.5-hour drive to Uluwatu.
If you are heading to any of these destinations, you can choose between taking a taxi directly to your destination or taking the bus to Denpasar or Mengiwi.
If you have the budget for it, it’s possible to take a taxi from Gilimanuk Terminal all the way to your Bali destination. Expect to pay close to 1,000,000 IDR ($64.00) for popular destinations like Canggu, Seminyak or Ubud.
By Bus to Denpasar
You can then take a taxi from Terminal Ubung to your hotel in Bali. Expect to pay around 70,000 IDR ($4.50) – 100,000 IDR ($6.00) to Kuta, Seminyak or Canggu.
Bus schedule from Gilimanuk to Denpasar
|PO Putra Abadi||04:15-08:40|
|50,000 IDR ($3.20)|
Check Bus Tickets
|PT Putra Sehati||00:30-04:00|
|50,000 IDR ($3.20)|
Check Bus Tickets
By Bus to Mengwi
There are also buses from Gilimanuk to Mengwi Bus Terminal, which is more or less between Ubud and Canggu. A ticket costs around 65,000 IDR ($4.20) for the 3-hour bus ride. However, the last time we checked (March 2023), we couldn’t confirm the bus schedule for this route.
From Mengwi, you can book a Grab taxi to Ubud for around 50,000 IDR ($3.20), Canggu 80,000 IDR ($5.00) or Kuta for around 145,000 IDR ($9.00). The drive to Canggu and Ubud will take about 30-45 minutes and about 1 hour to Kuta.
Alternatively, you can pre-book the Perama Tour bus from Mengwi to Kuta with rates from 120,000 IDR ($7.50) on 12Go.Asia.
PRO TIP: Heading to northern Bali? From Gilimanuk, there is a direct bus service to Singaraja in North Bali. This passes through the main beach resort area of Lovina. Fares are from 45,000 IDR ($2.90) and it takes about 1.5 hours.
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.