Java Route Guide: Ultimate days in Central & East Java

Java Route Guide: Ultimate days in Central & East Java

Java Route Guide: Ultimate days in Central & East Java

Java in Indonesia is a beautiful island filled with locations still undiscovered by tourism. Java is over 20 times larger than Bali. It is fairly easy to get around Java. In this 8-day Central and East Java route guide you will visit the most impressive waterfalls, temples, the rainbow, and blue village, tea plantations, Mount. Bromo and the Ijen Crater.

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central east java route guide map

Central and East Java route guide

Java is just a 1-hour flight from Bali and can easily be combined with a route through Bali. The Javanese locals are one of the friendliest in Indonesia. All super interested in where you are from and always wanting to score a selfie with you.

central east java route guide borobudur

Java has one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Indonesia and the largest Hindu complex of Indonesia is located in Yogyakarta.
Every chapter of this 8-day Central and East Java route includes a link with more information about that specific subject.  


Day 1 – 3: Exploring Yogyakarta

The creative capital Yogyakarta in central Java is the start of your Java route. This relatively small city is popular amongst Indonesian and international students. Prambanan and Borobudur are the highlights of Yogyakarta but there is so much more to do in this area. Yogyakarta has an international airport and is easy to reach from Singapore or Bali.

➳ Read: Things to do in Yogyakarta

Day 4: Train Yogyakarta to Malang

In the morning, head to Tugu Station in Yogyakarta. Hop on the train at 7:45 AM towards Malang. The Malioboro Express train takes 8 hours and is definitely one of the more comfortable train rides in Asia. Take the rest of the day to rest or explore the rainbow village Jodipan.

➳ Read about: Malioboro train from Yogyakarta to Malang

Day 5 – 6: Malang, rainbow village and waterfalls

Malang is in the higher part of East-Java and a much more comfortable climate than in Yogyakarta. Spend two days exploring Malang, the colorful villages of Java, and the most beautiful waterfall in Indonesia. Malang absolutely has to be in this Java route guide.

central east java-route guide tumpak sewu best waterfall

On your last day, make your way to Bromo to experience the sunrise the next morning. Don’t forget to stop at Coban Pelangi on the way to Bromo.

➳ Read: Things to do in Malang

Day 7: Sunrise on Bromo

Every Java Route has to include watching the sunrise on Mount. Bromo. Get out early and driver with a jeep up to one of the many viewpoints, explore the sea of sand and get a look inside the Bromo Crater. That same day travel to a town near the Ijen Crater. We recommend visiting Bromo and Ijen via a 2-day tour.

➳ Read about: Visiting Bromo 

central east java route guide bromo sunrise

Day 8: Ijen Crater walk

The Ijen crater is a mine for Sulfur miners who are walking up and down (1.5-hours each) the crater 3 times a day with 50 KG Sulfur on their shoulders. Watching the ‘blue fire’ and sunset is a popular activity. To see the blue fire, you have to start hiking up at 2 AM. This is definitely the hardest hike of the Java route guide.

➳ Read: Sunrise Ijen tour

After this experience, have breakfast at the base camp and catch the ferry to Bali. From Java to Bali with the ferry only takes 30 minutes. It runs every hour 24/7 and costs around 8000 IDR.

➳ Must read: 3-week Indonesia Route

How to get around Java?

The best way to get around is by train and private driver. Contact our great driver Azhar on Whatsapp (+6281336042045). Make sure to tell him you came via ‘Salt in our Hair’ so you’ll get the best price.

Best time to visit Java

Java is best to visit between April and November. Don’t get fooled by an average of 28 degrees. When visiting Bromo and Ijen it will be 0-10 degrees so you will need a few layers.

Keep in mind that in the hot season (May – September) the rice fields might be changed to tobacco and waterfalls will be less active.

Food in Java

The tastes in Java are just fantastic. Expect to have a large selection of delicious Indonesian food and in the bigger cities, there are restaurants available with western-style food.

Tip: Nasi Pecel was our absolute number one dish. :)

Java route guide: Costs of traveling

?️ Guesthouse: $15 per night (double room)
? Hotel: $35-100 per night
? Food: $15 per day (per person)
? Transportation: $10 (per day)
? Sim card: $2 (6GB)

central east java route guide sim

Sim card in Java

Telkomsel and XL Axiata are the providers with the best reach throughout the whole island. Some providers don’t work outside the city you bought your sim card or don’t work at Bromo or Ijen. XL worked everywhere for us, had a good connection and paid 30000 IDR (2 USD) for 6 GB of data.

Blog comments (12)

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  • Hannah and Nick!

    I had another question specifically about east Java! So I would fly from Bali to East Java and then from there head to Malang where I was planning on going to the Rainbow village along with Tumpek Sewu waterfall. I want to do the Mt. Bromo sunset tour as well. I was wondering what is the best airport to fly into East Java from the Denpasar airport in Bali? (I plan on only going to east Java not all of Java) Also one more question, what order would you recommend I do my tour in, in order to make it efficient as possible? Do you guys recommend anyone in particular I should message for a good driver as well in order to make these tours possible for me?

    Thank you so much :)

    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Ariahna! Surabaya airport is the closest one to Malang. Maybe just follow the itinerary shown in the guide, just skipping Yogyakarta? We don’t have any specific driver recommendations for you as we took the train to Malang, hired a guide from the car park below the waterfall and then used one of the Mount Bromo tour companies which included transportation. The links to those tours are within the guide :) Have an amazing time in beautiful East Java!

      • Thank you for your response! I was planning on using the route you both have created in order to help me. Another question is that I do see an airport directly in Malang, is it better to just fly into that airport or should I fly into the Surabaya airport?

        • Salt in our Hair

          Hi Ariahna, no definitely fly into the Malang airport if that’s an option for you! We didn’t realise there was one there as we took the train :)

  • Hi,

    We are struggling to figure how to move to one place to another. We want to visit most of East Java and Bali any detailed explanation would be appreciated. We will be lending in Denpasar in Nov.



    • Salt in our Hair

      Hi Dil,

      Whilst you’re in Bali, most people choose to get around using taxi ( grab) or by moped. There are also organised shuttle buses you can take to get to some places as sometimes the public transport can be unreliable. To get from Bali to East Java you’re quickest option would be to take a flight but you can also take a bus and then a ferry too. Here is a good website for train tickets once you get to Java and want to move around between places:

      Have fun!

  • Maya Muhdar

    I am traveling to bali by car from yogya to Bali.
    I will pass by Malang and will have 1 full day and 2 nights stay. I would like to stay at the hotel around Mount Bromo. any one has recommendations ? also I want to have trip to Bromo mountain and crater to see blue fire. Please suggest also good guide, Indonesian language is no problem but if there is nice and friendly english guide will be fine with me.


    • saltinourhair


      Please take a closer look into our separate Bromo guide. It includes hotel recommendations that are very close to Bromo mountain. For a good guide, contact Azhar on facebook and tell him we sent you. Enjoy!

  • Hi,
    Is allowed to visit the crater of Ijen Mount ?? (Get down to the crater)
    Is worth the waterfall in August ??

    Thks so much

    • saltinourhair

      If you like to see the Bluefire in the crater you need to have a guide and you need to leave in the middle of the night.
      You’ll get a mask when you’re on top of the crater (the smell/smoke can be really intense inside the crater)

      The Tumpak Sewu waterfall is definitely worth it :)

  • Hi there,

    does the SIM card also work in Bali when you buy it in Java?
    (We would get one of the providers you mentioned)


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