When I checked AirAsia flights that were available from Kota Kinabalu and saw AirAsia had direct flights to Jakarta, I got very excited. I was finally set to travel to Indonesia, a similarly archipelagic country with almost twice as many islands as the Philippines.

Oddly enough, I was only able to visit one island, Java Island, the entire two weeks I was in Indonesia.

Jakarta was my entry point to Indonesia. I wanted to maximize my time exploring other destinations in Java Island and also see a bit of the Jakarta. So, I planned one full day to explore the capital before going on my flight to Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta was definitely a major highlight on my trips around South East Asia.  Yogyakarta served as the center of Javanese culture and is famous for having two of the largest temples complexes in Asia and major destinations on my travel bucket list: Borobudur (Buddhist) and Prambanan (Hindu).

Mount Bromo was another “must-see” that I’ve always craved to visit. It was my first time to come face-to-face with a volcanic crater, which made the trip extra memorable. To get to Mount Bromo, I chose an off-beat route, which involved taking a night train to Malang then traveling all the way up to the idyllic farming village of Ngadas up in the mountains. I spent a night in Ngadas before attempting to hike all the way to Cemoro Lawang, the main tourist area at Mount Bromo.

Not satisfied with Mount Bromo, I still craved to visit another volcano, Mount Ijen, famous for its surreal turquoise-colored volcanic crater lake. Unfortunately, I found out when I was already in Bondowoso that Mount Ijen was, at the time, closed off to tourists because of high volcanic activity. Instead, I decided to visit Baluran National Park in East Java and go wildlife spotting.

Itinerary Rundown

  • Malaysia and Brunei, Borneo Island
Day 1 to 2
  • Jakarta
  • Kota Kinabalu to Jakarta Flight
  • In and Around Jakarta
    • Jakarta Hostel Check-in
    • Old Jakarta Tour
Day 3 to 6
  • Yogyakarta
  • Jakarta to Yogyakarta Flight
  • In and Around Yogyakarta
    • Yogyakarta Hostel Check-in
    • Old Yogyakarta Tour
    • Prambanan Temple Complex
    • Borobudur Temple Complex
Day 6 to 9
  • Mount Bromo
  • Yogyakarta to Ngadas
  • Ngadas Homestay
  • Ngadas to Cemoro Lawang Hike
  • In and Around Cemoro Lawang
    • Mount Bromo Sunrise Tour
    • Mount Bromo Summit Crater
Day 10 to 14
  • East Java
  • In and Around Bondowoso
  • In and Around Baluran National Park
  • In and Around Surabaya
  • Surabaya to Kuala Lumpur Flight
  • Georgetown and KL, Peninsular Malaysia
  • Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia

Trip Date — March 2012