Central and East Java travel 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.
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 travel 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.
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 has 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 travel guide.
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 route around Java has to include watching the sunrise on Mount. Bromo. Get out early and drive with a jeep up to one of the many viewpoints, explore the sea of sand, and take 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
Day 8: Ijen Crater walk
The Ijen crater is a mine for Sulfur miners who are walking up and down (1.5-hours each way) the crater 3 times a day with 50 KG Sulfur on their shoulders. Watching the ‘blue fire’ and sunrise 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 this Java travel 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 travel 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 dry 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
- Hotel: 35 – 100 / night
- Food: 15 USD / day
- Transport: 10 USD / day
- Simcard: 2 USD / 6GB
- Guesthouse: 15 USD / night
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.
When you purchase something through our links we earn a small fee. However, you still pay the same. Win-win!
- Find Hotels via Booking.com
- Find a Rental Car via Sunny Cars
- Find Cheap Flights via Skyscanner
- Get a Travel Insurance via Heymondo
- Book Tours & Attractions via Viator
- Book a Bus/Train/Transfer via 12Go
Looking for more travel information? Plan a chat with us for personalised travel advice or get an answer from the Salt in our Hair Travel Community on Facebook.
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 :)
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?
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 :)