Ultimate Indonesia Itinerary: Bali and Beyond
- by Ari Travels
Imagine swimming with manta rays and sea turtles, sitting on deserted sand bars, swimming in cascading waterfalls, and hiking active volcanos all at a price that will cost less than your apartment rent back home in the USA. Well, you can do all of this in the country of Indonesia. Indonesia is home to the most unreal landmarks and friendliest locals in the world. The country of Indonesia has been by far my favorite place I have ever been to and you will find out why in today's blog post.
I spent an entire month exploring Indonesia and have highlighted an affordable one month Indonesia itinerary for you that includes the best guides, accommodation, and everything else you need to know for a perfect, hassle-free trip to Indonesia. Additionally, you can reach out to me for one-on-one custom travel planning or consulting for all countries Indonesia and beyond. Now let’s get exploring!
Things to Know About Indonesia
When you arrive to Indonesia, you can purchase a visa on arrival for $32. You can use cash or card for purchase. The visa is valid for up to 30 days with another 30 day extension (if you want to stay a full 60 days). Contact me for how to extend a visa in the best possible way as the process can be confusing from my own experience!
Indonesia's main form of payment is Cash. They use the Rupiah. I would recommend the Charles Schwab Debit Card to withdraw cash from ATMs to avoid paying ATM fees. When traveling Indonesia, you will be paying 98% of your way through cash. Entrances into rice terraces, waterfalls, temples, etc. all use cash. Drivers all use cash (unless you have your card connected to the Grab or GoJek App). Cash is key here and I cannot stress that enough. They barley have credit card machines here and if they do, they will most likely charge you an additional 3-5%.
Be aware that some of the ATMS in Indonesia will not accept foreign debit cards especially on some of the smaller islands. It’s important to take out a lot of cash (I recommend starting with about 10 million Rupiah) on the island of Bali before heading elsewhere. That way you should always have enough cash before heading to smaller islands. I noticed The yellow ATM’s called Maybank will always take foreign debit cards, but if there isn’t one around just keep trying others until you’re able to get cash out. Eventually they will work. In order to avoid ATM issues, take out small quantities of cash (500k-1,000,000 Rupiah at a time).
When using your credit card to book accommodation or transportation etc. I recommend using a card that doesn’t charge international transaction fees such as the Capital One Venture card.
The best time to visit Indonesia is April-October.
To get the best prices on accommodation, you should plan on traveling here mid April-May or September-mid October. There might be a little bit of rain here and there, but it's manageable rain. For the best weather (but the highest prices) June, July and August will be guaranteed perfect weather.
- Because Indonesia is a tropical climate, rainy season here is no joke, especially on the Island of Bali. Normally, I am an advocate for traveling during shoulder season, but I would not recommend risking it and traveling during here rainy season. If you do choose to travel here during the off season, bring an umbrella and be prepared for plans to get cancelled as its likely it will downpour all day.
Cell Phone use in Indonesia
The best cell phone provider in Indonesia is called Telekomsel. Do not get any other sim card provider, as this one works very well on all of the islands, even the more remote islands. You can buy a Telekomsel sim card at a local shop (they make ones that work for either just Bali or all the Indonesian islands. Make sure you get the one that works on ALL the islands) OR through the Airalo App. Airalo is an app that allows you to have affordable cell data plans all over the world without needing a physical Sim Card which is what makes using your phone without wifi extremely convenient. Use my code ARIAHN516 for $ off!
As a digital nomad, having a reliable cell phone provider is important to me if I need to be working form my phone or wifi cuts out.
Be aware that on some of the smaller islands, the wifi may be spotty at times. The wifi will most likely work very well right in the lobby of your hotel or villa. Higher-end accommodation will also have great working wifi, as budget accommodation may be a little iffy here and there. The island of Bali is home to thousands of digital nomads, which means that even the cheapest hostels will have reliable Wifi
Note: All of the accommodations I will be listing on this blog will have good wifi so refer to this blog if you want to make sure you’ll be connected no matter what!
Transportation in Indonesia
GoJek and Grab are Indonesia’s version of Uber. Download them both prior to your arrival to Indonesia. You can take very affordable rides (motorbike taxis are the best way to get around!) and also order food to be delivered. Make sure to sign up prior to leaving so the apps are ready to go by the time you arrive.
Motorbike rentals are encouraged on the Islands as well. Indonesia does not require an IDP to use the motorcycles.
Other Stuff to Know
The islands of Indonesia are either Hindu or Muslim, so women need to dress modest. Its okay to dress less conservative on Bali, but still, please respect the culture! My packing lists on Amazon have affordable, yet modest clothes perfect for islands inside or outside of Bali.
The tap water is not drinkable in Indonesia. Most hotels and hostels will have refill stations for water though, so bring a reusable water bottle to conserve plastic.
Make sure you have the proper travel adaptor for electronic use. You cannot use plugs in Indonesia without it.
You will be swimming, hiking and doing a lot of outdoor activities. Some of the sand might be covered with coral, making it hard to walk on the beach or go swimming. The rocks at waterfalls can be sharp so grab yourself a pair of hiking sandals. They will be your best friend on your Indonesia trip! My go-to sandals are my Teeva Hurricanes. Do not even bother packing sneakers as they will get stinky, dirty and hot!
Wear sunscreen! Indonesia is right on the equator and the UV can get to a 12 sometimes mid day.
3 Week Indonesia Itinerary that will Make you Feel like You’re Living in a Tropical, Prehistoric Dream
I have this itinerary listed by how many FULL days you should be spending in each location. Make sure to factor travel days into the itinerary!
2 Full Days in Surf Town Canggu, Bali
Upon your arrival to Bali, the first town you will want to visit is Canggu. Canggu is a modernized surf town that famous for its aesthetically pleasing cafes, delicious smoothie bowls, surfing, beach clubs and sunsets that look like watercolor paintings. Canggu is a digital nomad hub which means there’s tons of people from all over the world that live here, so you’re bound to just walk into a cafe and leave with new friends right away which is awesome.
When you leave the airport to your accommodation, make sure to not pay any more than 300K Rupiah. For a reliable driver, you can contact my local friend Agusto on WhatsApp (+62-81999905227) and he will drive you around the island, to and from the airport or help you with anything you need during your time in Bali.
Where to stay in Canggu
I stayed at Urban Jungle House and it was in a great location, had both private and dorm options, reliable internet, a pool, kitchen and wonderful staff. I highly recommend staying here during your time in Canggu
Hostel Recommendations in Canggu (click for more)
Urban Jungle House (where I stayed): $22/night for a private or $10/night for a dorm.
Tipsy Gypsy: $10/night
Hotel Recommendations in Canggu (click for more)
Urban Jungle House (where I stayed): $22/night
Uma Guesthouse: $17/night
Ayu Guesthouse: $20/night
What to do in Canggu
Visit the many cafes and eat delicious, clean, food. Canggu has healthy, affordable ($3) delicious food. See my blog post about the best cafes to visit in Canggu for recommendations
- Take a surfing lesson
- Watch the sunset
- Have a day at Finns Beach Club (get their sushi-its delicious!)
- Visit Tanah Lot
- Go to a local coffee plantation
- Go shopping for trendy clothes at “One Love” market
5 Full Days in Tranquil Ubud, Bali
Ubud is the heart of Indonesia and is where you see all the Instagram photos of waterfalls, rice fields, and pool villas. I loved spending a longer amount of time in Ubud because it was so tranquil and relaxing. I learned a lot about the local culture and even spent some time relaxing by the pool surrounded by rice fields. Ubud is seriously dreamy!
Ubud is about an hour and a half from Canggu. Don’t forget to contact my friend Augsto on WhatsApp (+62-81999905227) to drive you from Canggu to your accommodation in Ubud and drive you to all your activities you will be doing in the Ubud area. Augusto charges around 500k ($30) per day to take you to all of these places. If you have a group, it can be even cheaper to split it. The price is very affordable and you help support the locals!
Where to Stay in Ubud
I would highly recommend splurging on a nice accommodation while you’re here. There is nothing more dreamy than waking up in your private villa surrounded by rice terraces and nature’s beauty. I have linked all three of the accommodations that I stayed at below.
The Arcadian “Terrace” Suite: Where I also stayed.
- You can either rent the entire villa and have two rooms with the pool all to yourself, or rent out one of the rooms and share the pool with the other half of the villa. (It ranges from $50-$250/night)
For a budget friendly option in Ubud, consider staying at the Wayan House. They have shared dorm rooms for as little as $8/night or privates for $15/night. The Wayan House is a homestay, so it's a great way to get the local experience.
Other budget friendly hostel recommendations (click for more)
Green Patty: $6/night
Sunshine Vintage House: $7/night
Budget friendly hotel recommendations (click for more)
Ubud Day 1: Waterfalls and Temples
On your first day here (not counting a transit day), contact my friend Augusto WhatsApp (+62-81999905227) to go on an epic adventure of North Bali. The cost for having a driver for the day will be around 500K Rupiah or $30. If you have a group to split it with, it can be extremely affordable. Bali has so much to offer, so you definitely will want to see as much as you can during your time here.
Your first visit will be Sekumpul Waterfall which is voted to be “Bali’s best waterfall.” You cannot miss this waterfall. The viewpoint of Sekumpul is breathtaking, but I highly recommend you take the stairs down to the bottom of the falls and experience it from below as well. There is a 120K ($8) entrance fee into the waterfall which is pricy for Indonesia, but still worth it. You don’t really need a guide to do this hike as you just walk down the stairs and follow the path! You do have to cross a small stream at the bottom, but it’s only a few inches deep.
The second stop will be Banyu Wana. This waterfall gives off a fairy tale feel as it's surrounded by luscious plants and flowers. The walk to this one is downhill on the way down, but going up can be exhausting, so if you are feeling tired and need to hire a scooter to drive you back up, that is an option. The waterfall costs 60k ($3) to enter. It’s worth the drive to see many cascading streams of water pouring out from a cliff surrounded by flowers.
The third stop will be to Ulun Danu Temple. This temple is Bali’s most photographed temple for many reasons. You can also grab a buffet lunch here to for an affordable price.
After the temple, stop at Wangari Hidden hills for a photo of the lake and Munduk Molding Plantation hotel.
The last stop will be a monkey forest. Now - there is a monkey forest directly in Ubud, but it can get completely overcrowded with tourists and it's a lot more expensive. If I were you, I would opt for this monkey forest instead. You can even hold, take selfies and feed the monkeys for free. Ask Agusto to take you to this monkey forest as its not a very popular one. He will know which one it is.
Ubud Day 2: Exploring the City Center
After a packed day 1, you will probably want to spend time relaxing in your private pool at your villa. I suggest taking this day to check out the Saraswati Temple located right in the city center of Ubud. Entrance is also free. During sunset, go for a walk at the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a trail that has all the amazing views of Ubud and lined with palm trees along the way. Make sure to stop at Kafe restaurant along the way for a delicious dinner. I splurged on Day 2 and also hired a chef to cook a traditional Balinese dinner, which you should too. Ask your air bnb to arrange it. You can get to and from the Ubud city center by either taking a grab motorbike taxi or renting one yourself for a cheap price.
Ubud Day 3: Rice Terrice, Waterfall & Coffee Tasting
Yes, its time to chase more waterfalls! You’re going to be heading to a lesser-known waterfall called Leke Leke. This waterfall is easily accessible by a path that you walk down for about 15 minutes. The beginner hiker can easily get to the bottom with no problem. It costs about 20k rupiah ($2) to enter this waterfall.
After Leke Leke, make sure to check out Jatiluwih rice terraces, an UNESCO heritage site. The views here are crazy. Locals still farm rice here, so it makes for a great cultural experience.
Lastly, enjoy a flight of traditional balinese coffee and tea at the plantation. Ask Augusto, and he will take you to the best one, and sampling is free here.
Ubud Day 4: Waterfall and Day Club
Visit another waterfall called Tibumana waterfall. Unfortunately during my time here, the rain had flooded the entrance, so it was not open but if you go here in the summer months you should have no problem with visiting this waterfall.
After a waterfall visit, head to Tegallalang rice terraces (also knows as Alas Harum).These are Bali’s most famous rice Terrances and there is actually a new day club called Cretya. It's located right in the rice terrace field and has great infinity pools, yummy food and drinks. While you are here, you can also enjoy the other attractions in Tegallang such as the walking path, swing, viewing platforms and trails. It does get pretty busy here, so if you want it to yourself, go early in the morning. It costs 50k rupiah (or $2.50) to enter into the day club and the rice terrace fields. If you choose to do the Bali swing there will be an additional cost, but exploring the rice terraces is included in the price.
End the day with shopping at the Ubud market.
Ubud Day 5: East Bali
It’s time to experience a lesser-known part of Bali which is the east of Bali. This place is Extremely underrated for what it offers. I am still shocked this place is not
nearly as discovered as I thought as it is absolutely stunning.
Start off with a sunrise at Bukit Cinta viewpoint. On a good day if its not too cloudy, you can see epic views of Mount Agung from this viewpoint.
Next, check out the Tirta Gangga Temple. This water temple is unique because it floats and you get around by walking around on stones suspended in the water. Feeding the Koi fish is an optional activity if you are interested you can purchase fish food from any of the surrounding stands near the temple parking lot.
Your last visit in East Bali will be a natural infinity pool at a waterfall called Gembleng. The 60 stair walk up is gorgeous and the views are insane. Upon approaching the waterfall, there is a natural infinity pool overlooking the jungle side. I loved coming here because there was so little tourism that I could fully enjoy the area without the feeling of being overcrowded. There was one other small group of three people here when I came. This is a must-do during your time in Bali.
Other optional activities to do in Ubud
There are tons of other activities to do in Ubud that I did not get to doing during my time, but suggestions are listed below if you have an additional few days here or want to add into the current itinerary!
3 Full Days in Epic East Java (Malang)
It’s time to go “off the beaten path” and explore East Java. East Java is known for its epic adventures and unreal landscapes, waterfalls, active volcanos and craters. Seriously, this place is something out of a movie.
How to get to Malang City in East Java
The easiest way to get to Malang is to fly. You can look for flights that go to Malang or Surabaya. You will most likely find the most affordable flights going to Surabaya, but then from Surabaya, a taxi will cost around $12-$15 USD (500k rupiah)
If you fly directly into Malang, you may pay more, but a taxi will only cost about $4 to your accommodation. Use 12goasia to find the best flight prices.
Another option is to take the ferry from west Bali and then take a train. You can find the train route here on 12goasia. If you choose this option, make sure to add an additional day onto your itinerary for the extra travel day.
Where to Stay in Malang
I stayed at Mador Malang Dorm Hostel. This place was in a perfect location, had very affordable day trips and the other travelers here were so friendly and I left with four wonderful new friends. I am so grateful for this hostel and the kind hospitality of the workers here. The hostel is extremely affordable and only costs $5 for a dorm room or $10 for a private. Just be aware that it’s a very simple accommodation and there are not any fancy “bells and whistles!”
Accommodation is super affordable in Malang and won't cost more than $25/night for a hotel or Airbnb.
Other Hostels in East Java (click for more)
So! Boutique: $6/night
Hotels in East Java (click for more)
INNI Homestay: $20/night
Red Doorz: $15/night
Sierra Villa Malang: $25
East Java Day 1: Colorful Villages
On your first day of arrival, plan on visiting the colorful city of Jodipan and the Blue Village. Both the villages are right next to each other and only about a 15 minute walk away from Mador Malang Dorm Hostel. Don’t forget to grab a great patio lunch or dinner at the Java Dancer Cafe.
***For Day 2 and Day 3- Make sure to sign up for all these day trips at least 24 hours in advance with Mador Malang Dorm Hostel or Viator to secure a spot to split with other travelers so you don’t have to hire a private driver and spend extra money***
East Java Day 2 (Day Trip to Famous Waterfall)
If you love waterfalls, you will love this one. Tumpak Sewu also known as “1,000 waterfalls” is arguably Indonesia's best waterfall. This giant monster has thousands of streams cascading down into a cliff making it feel like you’re on another planet. Tumpak Sewu is 2.5 hours away from Malang and you can arrange a day trip here by signing up with the Mador Malang Dorm Hostel. Tumpak Sewu is by far the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. On a good day if there are no clouds in the sky, you can also see the volcano from the observation deck. The observation deck is only a 5 minute walk from the parking lot, but if you’re feeling extra adventurous, hire a guide and take a hike to the bottom of the falls.
Note: If you want to hike to the bottom, you have to go during dry season (June-August). Unfortunately, when I went in October it was still only shoulder season, but there was still rain and it had flooded the bottom of the falls, broke the bridge which made it too dangerous for us to be able to hike to the bottom. The viewpoint was still 1000% worth it, so regardless if you hike to the bottom or not, make sure you visit Tumpak Sewu Waterfalls during your time in East Java.
Depending on how many people go, your trip here can cost as little as $6 (100k rupiah) round trip to go here if you can find people to split a car with. During your time at the falls, there is also another option to explore the Goa Tetes. You can hike up rivers and waterfalls and it's great adrenaline rush.
East Java Day 3 (Day Trip Mount Bromo Sunrise Tour)
Be prepared to wake up early- and by early I mean you are leaving the hostel at 12:30 am for the most epic sunrise you will ever witness in your life. If you’re not a morning person, pump yourself with coffee because this trip will the the highlight of your time in Java. Today, you will be getting to see the sun rise above an active volcano called Mount Bromo. Mount Bromo is one of East Java’s most famous volcanos. This sunrise has to be my top 3 sunrises I have witnessed in my 11 years of traveling the world. I don’t even have words for how crazy it felt to see a sunrise in the clouds over 3 active volcanos.
This whole excursion starts with a pickup at the hostel in a vintage Jeep. You’ll cruise for about 3 hours to the Mount Bromo Sunrise point. From the Sunrise point you will be welcomed with coffee, tea or hot chocolate and fried banana for breakfast. Form the cafe, you only have to walk about 5 minutes up about 20 stairs to the viewing platform (your guide will show you where to go). I would recommend watching half the sunrise at the viewing platform, but there are better spots to see it in a more natural setting. If you walk past the viewpoint platform, there are paths that lead down a hill called “King Kong hill.” I found this place relaxing because it was secluded and away from the crowds. I also got to meet some wonderful locals and other photographers snapping some really cool photos here. If you are a photographer and want the best photos of the sunrise, consider walking past the viewpoint and go to King Kong hill instead.
After an epic sunrise, you’ll get to go see Mount Bromo at another viewpoint in the daylight. I still did not think this volcano was real. It was nuts seeing it in person!
Lastly, you can go on an optional hike up to the top of the crater of Mount Bromo. Just so you know, it’s a lot of stairs so be prepared to climb, but the views of the inside of the crater are so rewarding!
Another optional day trip you can do during your time in East Java is the Mount Ijen Crater hike. I have included a link to book an affordable tour here.
1 Full Day in the Land of Dragons: Komodo National Park
Yep, you’re going to the land of man eating dragons, but don’t worry these beasts only live on the actual island of Komodo! Komodo islands are made up of 5 different islands that have landscapes that feel like Jurassic Park.
How to get to the Komodo Islands
From Malang in East Java, you will need to fly out of the airport of Surabaya to Labuan Bajo. The flights from Malang to East Java are either very expensive or have super long layovers. You can get from Malang to Surabaya for around $12-$15 (500k rupiah) by having your accommodation arrange a taxi for you. The drive from Malang to Surabaya is around 2 hours, depending on traffic.
You will most likely have a layover on the Island of Bali because all flights depart and land from Bali. There are rarely any direct flights anywhere unless you are flying just to Bali.
Book the cheapest flights using 12goasia.
Where to stay on the Komodo Islands
Stay right near the airport at Sunset Hill Hotel on Labuan Bajo. There is no need to get a hotel any further from close to the airport. Sunset hotel has a great restaurant, views and pool. The cost for one night is approx. $30 for two people.
Other Hotels Near the Labuan Bajo Airport
On day 1 (your only full day here), you will be taking an Island hopping tour. This tour will be taking you to the famous Padar island, Komodo island to see the man eating dragons (yes its wild seeing these prehistoric creatures in person!), a sand bar, pink beach and multiple snorkeling spots. Plan on budgeting 1 million Rupiah ($100 USD) for this tour plus 450k Rupiah for the entrance fee into Komodo National Park. This tour will be more expensive, but my friend and I both agreed that it was for sure the highlight of our entire Indonesia trip. The only way to see these secluded, Jurassic park islands is by tour. You cannot go to any of these islands on your own. Make sure you have well over enough cash for the entrance fee and the tour fee if the company asks you to pay cash. Also, don’t forget to snorkel at each one of the spots as they are all beautiful and unique!
Book the same tour I did by clicking here
Another option is to do a 4 day 3 night boat excursion which covers all of these spots and you even sleep on the boat! I was unable to do this because I am a remote worker and needed wifi for meetings and the boat tours normally run on weekdays. You can book one below if you have the time and want even more of an epic experience at the Komodo Islands, although If felt as if the day trip still exceeded my expectations.
Overnight Boat Tour Excursion If you have more time!
1 Full Day: This is a Travel Day/relaxing Day
You will probably be pretty tired from having too much fun exploring Indonesia, and you need a transit day before your next destination, so fly back from Komodo Island to Bali and transit close to the airport in Denpasar.
Stay at Surigas living hotel. It's a simple hotel that’s owned by a woman and her husband. They are such sweet souls and will make you feel at home. Spend the rest of your evening relaxing and get ready to head off to another island the next day
3 Full Days on the Iconic Nusa Penida Island
Nusa Penida is famous for its viewpoints of turquoise blue water and rock formations, white sand beaches and friendly locals. Get ready to see some jaw dropping views of Nusa Penida!
How to get to Nusa Penida
You can easily arrange a ferry from the Sanur Port in Bali. The port is only about 30 minutes from Suraigs Living. Contact my friend Augusto on WhatsApp (+62-81999905227) for an affordable taxi to Sanur Port. You can book affordable ferry tickets on 12goasia. The ferry will take approx. 35 minutes to get to Nusa Penida from Bali.
Where to stay on Nusa Penida Island
Apit Lawang was such a great time on Nusa Penida. The owner is awesome and so is her staff. You can choose a dorm bed for only $7 or a private bungalow room with bathroom for $15. The hostel Wifi works everywhere on the property which is great for workers like myself and additionally the property will be able to arrange any taxi drivers for you or motorbike rentals. I highly recommend renting a motorbike to explore Nusa Penida during your time here.
Hostel Recommendations on Nusa Penida (click for more)
Double D: $7/night
Wright Hostel: $7/night
Camar Cottege: $10/night
Hotel Recommendations on Nusa Penida (click for more)
Wait Garden Cottage: $20/night
Diamond Beach Bungalow: $20/night
Nusa Penida Day 1: (West Side of the Island)
On day 1, you will be heading to the iconic dinosaur shaped viewpoint called Kelingking Viewpoint. You can also hike to the bottom of this beach, but its for experienced hikers only as it can be extremely dangerous so just be careful!.
Make sure to also stop at Broken Beach and Angels Billabong while being on this side of the island. If the tide is low enough, you can swim in the natural infinity pool at Angels Billabong.
Nusa Penida Day 2: (East Side of the Island)
Make sure you wake up early for day two because you want to beat the crowds at this viewpoint. I recommend you head off to Diamond Beach around 6:30 am. It gets very crowded because it has only one set of stairs that lead down to the beach. This viewpoint is 100% worth it though and personally, I think it's the most impressive on the whole island. If you’re an experienced hiker, definitely consider hiking to the bottom of the cliff. This beach was probably one of the most unique and beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The white sand, turquoise blue water contrasting with cliffs and palm trees just made it feel like I was in a tropical wonderland! Again, climbing down to this beach is not the safest so proceed with caution and be careful. I would probably consider taking off your shoes to have a better grip.
Note: The waves/currents here get huge and I mean 5’ waves. Please swim with caution and watch your things so the waves don’t take them under.
After you visit Diamond Beach, head to the Rumah Pohon Treehouse and take an iconic photo here if you desire. You can also swim at Atuh beach as well and the walk down is easier.
Make sure to also squeeze in time to explore the Goa Giri caves and Tembeling Springs. These natural springs are great for cooling down and snorkeling.
Nusa Penida Day 3: (Snorkeling & Beachside Chilling)
On day 3, book a snorkeling tour to see the manta-rays and other incredible sea life and coral! The snorkeling tour will take you to a few different spots around Nusa Penida and each area is unique in its own way. It was such a cool experience and a great way to start off the day!
After, enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Secret Penida Cafe. I loved spending a chill day at this beachside cafe. They have a beautiful pool, delicious meals and great views of the ocean. Its free to come here if you buy something to eat or drink. Their salads and lava cake was my favorite.
3 full days on the Secluded Gili Islands + Lombok
If you’re an ocean lover, the Gili Islands will be a great place for you! The Gili Islands are located off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia and made up of 3 islands: Gili Trawangan Aka Gili T (the party island), Gili Meno (the chill island) and Gili Air (the one in-between the both). It takes only about 10 minutes to get from island to island.
How to get to the Gili Islands
From Nusa Penida, you can book a 1.5 hour high speed ferry that will take you to the main island of Gili T. From Gili T, you can either stay on Gili T, or easily arrange a boat to take you to Gili Meno or Gili Air. Make sure to book the ferry ahead of time using 12goasia.
Upon arrival to the Gili Islands, make sure to contact my friend Dri on WhatsApp (+62 853-3760-8545). Dri is a local who lives on Gili Meno and will be happy to transport you to and from the 3 Gili islands, take you on a snorkeling tour and do anything to help you! He is awesome, so make sure to connect with him and say that Ari sent you.
Where to Stay on the Gili Islands
Gili Meno is where I stayed and it was very nice and relaxing on the more chill island. Gili T gets very loud with parties and being a remote worker, I needed something less crazy! The great thing about the Gili Islands is that they are so close to one another that if I wanted something busier or new to do, I could just have Dri take me to Gili T or Gili Air.
There is one Hostel on Gili Meno
Rabbit Tree: $13/night
Hotel Recommendations on Gili Meno With Breakfast Included (click for more)
Rust Mimpi: $15/night
Fantastic Cottages: $24/night
Meno Dream (where I stayed): $32/night
If you want to splurge, make sure to book this villa. It’s a four bedroom villa and located right on the beach. You can actually snorkel right here and see lots of sea life and even blue starfish. If you split it between 6 people, it will only cost around $35/person!
Hostel Recommendations on Gili T (click for more)
- If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, Gili T is the place to be. They have some great hostels that cost less than $10/night. See my recommendations below (click here for more Gili T hostel recommendations)
Mad Monkey (best on the island!): $10/night
Glili Castle: $9/night
Broken Compass: $10/night
Hotel Recommendations on Gili T (click for more)
Welldone Guesthouse: $11/night
Gili Amor: $25/night
Guava Garden: $32/night
Hostel Recommendations on Gili Air (click for more)
Tipsea Turtle: $10/night
Captain Coconuts: $11/night
Hotel Recommendations on Gili Air (click for more)
Segar Village: $18/night
Pandan Bungalow: $23/night
Pelangi Cottages: $27/night
Gili Islands Day 1: (Snorkeling & Beachside Lunch)
Contact my friend Dri on WhatsApp (+62 853-3760-8545) to take you on a snorkeling tour. Make sure to head out around 7:00 am and have him take you to the iconic statues right away. The statues get flooded with tourists, so it was really cool (and worth it) to swim by them without all the crowds. This was definitely the highlight of the snorkeling trip! The statues are located just off the cost of Gili Meno.
After you see the statues, Dri will take you to other secret spots around all three of the Gili Islands. This snorkeling was hands down some of the best that I have ever done.
After snorkeling, stop by the beachside restaurant called Two Brothers and enjoy a delicious lunch with beach views. The fried tofu was my favorite thing here.
Gili Islands Day 2: (Visiting a Local Village in Lombok)
On day 2, you are actually going to make the trip to the larger neighboring island called Lombok. Lombok is a lesser-known part of Indonesia and is home to the original village called the Sasak village. Lombok is only about a half an hour boat ride from the Gili Islands. Have Dri take you on his boat to Lombok and arrange a driver. Upon getting to Lombok, you will hop in the car and drive about 2 hours to the village. The village is famous for their homemade weaving, jewelry, farming & original sustainable living. This was a great local experience to immerse yourself in the Indonesian culture.
See other day trips to Lombok from the Gili Islands below
Gili Islands Day 3: (Island Hop)
Make the trip to both Gili Air and Gili T. on Gili T you will find cafes, resultants, beach swings and some fun beach clubs. Make sure to stop at Casa Vintage Beach Cafe for a good smoothie.
You can rent a bike on these islands to explore!
2 Full Days in Uluwatu
After the Gili islands, you will head back to Bali. Uluwatu is located at the very south of Bali. It’s famous for its beautiful blue waters, great surfing and unique landscapes and temples.
How to get to Uluwatu
You will be spending one full day of travel, so make sure to incorporate this into your itinerary. Ask Dri to arrange a boat from Gili Meno back to Bali. After taking the ferry, you will end up at Padang Bai which is the eastern side of Bali. Contact Agusto on WhatsApp (+62-81999905227) to pick you up and take you to your accommodation in Uluwatu. The drive will be a few hours from the ferry port in East Bali to your accommodation in Southern Uluwatu.
Where to stay in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is one of the most expensive areas of Indoensia, but there are still affordable accommodations if you look hard enough. To make your trip planning easier, I have included some for you!
Hostels in Uluwatu (click for more)
Surfers House Green Bowl: $8/night
Saltuns of Swell: $11/night
One Degree Sunset: $17/night
Hotels in Uluwatu (click for more)
Tregge Surf Camp: $17/night
LaLa Homestay: $22/night
Uluwatu Day 1: (Temple & Viewpoints)
- Balangan Beach Viewpoint
- Uluwatu Temple
- Karang Boma Cliff
- Cliffs at Pantai Tegal Wangi
- See a cool shipwreck at Suluban Beach
Uluwatu Day 2: (Beach Day)
Bingin is a quiet hidden beach and perfect for a relaxing day to end your Indonesia trip! Hit up Single Fin beach club if you're looking for a party. Make sure you also check out surfing and take a lesson!
After three amazing weeks of Indonesia, you will want to stay and explore even more of this country. As I am finishing this blog post for you, I think to myself what a wonderful world we truly live in. This trip was one of my top 3 destinations I have visited and I cannot wait to start planning my trip back to Indonesia this summer and continue sharing with you the beauty that this country has to offer. For now, I hope this itinerary was helpful and you have the best time in Indonesia. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for any additional Indonesia planning or to request a custom itinerary. Happy traveling :)