Wonderful 1 Week East Java Itinerary: Temples, Volcanoes and Waterfalls

If you were ever in doubt about Indonesia, East Java Indonesia has no shortage of incredibly scenic landscapes, volcanoes, temples, waterfalls, and loads of Javanese culture.

If you’re looking at an Indonesia map for the first time, It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are 7 main regions (Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Lesser Sunda Islands, Maluku, and Western New Guinea), With Java being the most populated island.

Java Indonesia consists of Central Java, West Java, and East Java where the ‘must see’ attractions (volcanoes, waterfalls, temples, etc.) are extensive! but in this article, I’ll focus on an East Java itinerary that will show you only the best the island has to offer in a 1-week itinerary AND some bonus destinations if you have a few more days to spare.

TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re starting your trip from Jakarta or West Java Indonesia, Indonesia’s Central Java attractions should not be overlooked. We started in Yogyakarta. I love to travel in Central Java because it hosts the wonderful culturally rich city of Yogyakarta and is the perfect place to start your journey of the attractions in Java island Indonesia.

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    Day 1 to 3: Yogyakarta

    In Yogyakarta, you will find two of the most coveted tourist destinations in Indonesia: Prambanan Temple and Borobudur Temple Java Indonesia. Both these monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites and are vastly different in their structure and design.

    HOW TO GET TO YOGYAKARTA

    Yogyakarta is centrally located so getting there is easy with a variety of options via BUS, TRAIN & FLIGHT

    JAKARTA to YOGYAKARTA 🚌🚅✈️

    BALI to YOGYAKARTA ✈️

    SURABAYA to YOGYAKARTA 🚅✈️

    Borobudur Temple

    Borobudur temple at sunrise with woman standing between stupas and sunrise pink lighting - East Java itinerary
    Borobudur Temple Complex (Yogyakarta) – East Java Itinerary

    Borobudur Central Java Indonesia is the LARGEST BUDDHIST TEMPLE IN THE WORLD! How interesting that in a vast majority Muslim country, you’d find the largest Buddhist monument in the world! It just shows you the cultural diversity of Java as well as the beauty of different religions living in unison in the country.

    RELATED READ: Borobudur Java Indonesia Temple at sunrise + 6 Factors to consider before buying your ticket

    The sheer size of the temple Borobudur Java Indonesia is a sight to behold. One can effortlessly spend a good 3 to 4 hours walking the grounds and ascending the tiers to finally reach the stupas. As this infamous tourist spot in Indonesia is extremely popular, there is the option to visit for a Borobudur sunrise tour or during regular hours.

    Borobudur Temple in East Java side landscape view of entire complex

    The sunrise tour affords you the ability to see the sun rising over the Borobudur compounds which is great for photography purposes. It’s a super early start especially if you aren’t staying near the temples.

    Prambanan Temple

    The Prambanan temple sign couple standing behind with candi prambanan temple in the background - East Java itinerary

    The island of Java Indonesia also hosts an equally beautiful Hindu masterpiece, Prambanan, which was also awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.

    Characterized by spine-like features, unlike Borobudur, Prambanan temple suffered more significant wrath from the Mount Merapi volcano, as you will still see rubble and debris of the ancient stone yet to be restored to Prambanan temple.

    TRAVELIST TIP: If you’re short on time, Both these temples can be visited on the same day, especially if you are doing a Borobudur at sunrise, Java Indonesia is incredibly hot so sunrise is a brilliant option to escape the humidity of the afternoon. Prambanan temple is also favoured to be visited from late afternoon into early evening for sunset.

    More Activities in Yogyakarta

    TOP 1 DAY YOGYAKARTA TOUR PICK

    Merapi Jeep Tour Yogyakarta in East Java
    Merapi Jeep Volcano Tour (Yogyakarta) – East Java Itinerary

    The Temples and Volcano Tour

    5-Star Rated | “The best organizer I ever met. Always on schedule, top activities, top private car, and very kind!”

    🌄Sunrise at Borobudur Temple

    🚙Jeep Volcano Tour of Mount Merapi

    🛕Prambanan Temple Tour

    ➡️Check Pricing and Availability for the Temples & Volcano Tour

    Lumo Taxis on Malioboro Road in Yogyakarta East Java itinerary

    There are some wonderful other places to visit in Yogyakarta but depending on your schedule you may have to pick and choose what you can and can’t do:

    🏖️ Timang Beach

    🔦 Jomblang Cave

    🍦Try Tempo Gelato

    🌃 Experience Yogyakarta at night

    Frequently Asked Questions: Yogyakarta

    From Central Java, It’s time to make your way to Jawa Timur Indonesia (East Java province in Bahasa Indonesian)

    PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: We opted to use a train from Yogyakarta to Surabaya and had a tour company fetch us from Surabaya train station. Our East Java road trip began and ended in Surabaya, but depending on where you’re staying will determine your route.

    HOW TO GET TO SURABAYA

    I’d recommend it by train or flight. The train tickets may take longer, but they are comfortable and cost-effective. I did however notice that if you book flights early enough in Indonesia, you’ll find great deals, and there is also the option to grab a flight that costs the same as a first-class train ticket. We chose Surabaya because it was a larger city and had more travel options compared to East Java Malang.

    YOGYAKARTA to SURABAYA 🚅✈️

    JAKARTA to SURABAYA 🚌🚅✈️

    BALI to SURABAYA ✈️

    >>🗺️Check out this East Java Map to see where we’re heading

    Day 4: Madakaripura Waterfall

    Madakaripura Waterfall in East Java itinerary
    Madakaripura Waterfall – East Java Itinerary

    I’ve truly never seen a waterfall anything like it. Madakaripura Waterfall East Java Indonesia is a towering waterfall that creates a beautiful curtain of mist and enriches the ever-growing moss of the cavernous rock face.

    READ THE FULL POST: The Most Enchanting Waterfall – Madakaripura Waterfall Indonesia East Java

    It was one of the most enchanting places I’ve ever seen. The walk into visiting Madakaripura is an easy journey but if you hadn’t researched it before, you have no idea what to expect and I still feel typing these words I cannot do it justice.

    It took my breath away!

    Madakaripura Waterfall

    You will get wet, but who cares when you’re in this magical place? This unusual Malang waterfall created some incredible vertical panoramic shots. The walk through the cleared jungle path was also delightful.

    TRAVELIST TIP: So as you can see in the picture above, we’re in raincoats/ponchos. we actually weren’t as prepared for what to wear before we reached the destination. But there were plenty of vendors, selling, umbrellas, swimwear, raincoats etc. on the path to the waterfall so if you’re not keen to get super soaked – support the local vendors on route

    THE TOUR WE BOOKED

    We did this leg of the trip as a Private Multiday 3 Day 2 Night Trip from Surabaya (ending at Ketapang harbour). We visited Mount Bromo Volcano, Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and Kawah Ijen Crater Lake volcano >> BOOK THIS TOUR

    Private 3D2N Mount Bromo Volcano, Tumpak Sewu Waterfall and Ijen Volcano Tour

    sunrise over mount Bromo landscape at bromo Tengger National Park East Java

    INCLUSIONS

    🚗Private airconditioned transport

    🗣️English-speaking driver

    🚙Private 4WD Jeep for Bromo sunrise and crater visit

    🚶‍♂️Local trekking guide at all sites

    🛌 Accommodation 1 night in Banyuwangi and Mount Bromo area

    🥣Breakfast

    🚢Ferry ticket

    🚘GETTING TO CEMORO LAWANG: 

    From Madakaripura Waterfall to Mount Bromo location is quite a drive, but it’s interesting to ride through the East Java island countryside. You’ll also note a significant temperature drop as you ascend to the higher elevation.

    After visiting Madakaripura waterfall you will drive to the visit of Cemoro Lawang which is the closest village to Mount Bromo. There are a number of hotels, hostels, and homestays in the area and I highly suggest staying as close to the entrance to the Bromo National Park entrance as possible because again this is one of the most famous places in Indonesia to visit some there will be plenty of locals too that have made the journey to visit this spectacular natural wonder!

    Day 5: Mount Bromo

    Mount Bromo sunrise Indonesia
    Mount Bromo Volcano – East Java Itinerary

    Mount Bromo at sunrise along with the climb up to the crater rim was ultimately the travel experience that inspired me to take the risk and embrace my passion for travelling and start this blog.

    That is how memorable visiting Mount Bromo is.

    I’ve yet to find a person who can disagree with that statement. If this is the first time you’ll be visiting an active volcano you’ll realise how bucket list-worthy this moment is.

    Visiting Mount Bromo for sunrise is one of the most popular East Java attractions. The Bromo sunrise is best seen from Mount Penanjakan and then after sunrise, you head to Mount Bromo itself and take a short hike (walk up a series of stairs and across a sea of sand/ash) to the crater rim.

    At the crater rim, you can literally see the smoke coming off the sulfur and it’s pretty safe. This is truly one of my favourite volcanoes in Java Indonesia.

    After summiting the crater, the tour guides will drop you off at your accommodation to shower and refresh, grab some breakfast (since it’s still breakfast time), and then you’ll head off to your next destination.

    Looking for more Mount Bromo Tour options?

    READ: How to Choose the Best Mount Bromo Tour for You + My Recommendations

    Frequently Asked Questions: Mount Bromo

    TOUR FROM BALI

    Private 3 Day 2 night Tour From Bali: Bromo, Ijen and Tumpak Sewu

    INCLUSIONS

    🚗Private air-conditioned transport

    🗣️English-speaking driver

    💦Local guide and entrance fees at Tumpak Sewu Waterfall

    🚙Private 4WD Jeep for Bromo sunrise and crater visit

    🚶‍♂️Local trekking guide at Mount Ijen

    🎟️Entrance fee for Mount Bromo and Ijen

    🛌 Accommodation 1 night in Cemoro Lawang, Hotel 1 night in Bondowoso

    🥣Breakfast

    🚢Ferry ticket

    🚘 GETTING FROM BROMO TO TUMPAK SEWU WATERFALL: 

    After taking in the breathtaking beauty of Bromo Mountain Indonesia, you’ll wonder if it can get any better. It will and does.

    The drive through Bromo Tengger Semeru National is stunning. As mentioned we did this through a tour company making it a literally effortless trip.

    Day 6: Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, Goa Tetes Waterfall, Kapas Biru Waterfall

    Tumpak Sewu Waterfall

    As you can see Java has no shortage of natural beauty. Possibly the most famous East Java waterfall is Tumpak Sewu Waterfall Indonesia, but just in its immediate vicinity is Goa Tetes waterfall, and a few kilometres away you’ll find Kapas Biru Waterfall.

    Tumpak Sewu is an incredible mammoth 120 m tall waterfall in an amphitheatre-style rockface cascading down into the gauge. It’s beautiful to see from two viewpoints.

    Want to learn more about this incredible adventure to the waterfall East Java holds?
    READ:
    Tumpak Sewu Waterfalls in East Java

    The panoramic view is easily accessible and only a few metres from the entrance, then you descend into the gorge which is a bit more of a treacherous journey. The path involves walking down some make-shift mud stairs and handrails made of not-very-sturdy bamboo so I’d strongly suggest you wear some grip sandals or aqua boots.

    When you do reach the bottom it’s a great scene and there is a constant mist in the air which creates a simply magical atmosphere. This is truly one of my favourite East Java Indonesia waterfalls.

    Just left to the turn of reaching the gorge of Tumpak Sewu waterfall East Java Indonesia is the short path to Goa Tetes waterfall. It’s a lovely bonus and even more so because you can stand under these smaller gushing falls which is incredibly refreshing!

    Goa Tetes Waterfall

    Just another 5.5 km away is a third beautiful waterfall called Kapas Biru. It’s also not the easiest path to walk through to get to but if you have a bit of extra time, it’s worth a visit. 

    Kapas Biru Waterfall

    These waterfalls are high up on our list of East Java destinations which truly proves that the Indonesian Island East of Java has a lot on offer.

    Day 7: Kawah Ijen Crater

    Mount Ijen Volcanic Crater Lake

    Another of the highly recommended things to do in East Java is Kawah Ijen Crater. It’s certainly one of my East Java highlights. We arrived in Bondowoso at 17:00 and left for Kawah Ijen Crater at 23:30 that same evening.

    Why those crazy arrival and departure times?

    Well for many visiting this unique destination, you have to be up at the crater edge at a particular time (the early dark hours of the morning before dawn) to view the infamous Ijen East Java blue fire flames.

    Kawah Ijen East Java Indonesia is literally one of the few places in the entire world where you’ll be able to see this phenomenon. So when I say this is once in a lifetime, I mean it! There is a very small likelihood that you will see this in your lifetime.

    The ascent again, one wouldn’t typically term a hike, but a very steep dark walk. It pretty much is paved the entire way up, but you really don’t realize how steep it is when you’re walking in the dark. I consider myself relatively fit and I was quite happy to stop a good few times to catch my breath whilst walking up to Kawah Ijen Volcano java Indonesia.

    Mount Ijen blue fire only visible in the early hours of the morning

    When you reach the top, it’s still pitch dark and that’s when it’s time to see the blue flames. The flames are produced due to the gases produced from the sulfur catching alight means that there is no guarantee that on your trip you will get to see it unfortunately and it will also never be consistent on what the size of the flames will be at Mt Ijen East Java

    We did manage to see some flames but they were small. It was still incredible, but gosh it was quite windy up there, and it is icy cold. Then there is the wait till sunrise, but you’ll find a number of guides that make small campfires in and around the crater rim (although you don’t realise where the crater is because it’s still pitch dark).

    I clung to the campfires as if my life depended on it, I had to be peeled away to go to the sunrise cliff face to actually watch it. But on that point, when the light starts to uncover the surroundings, your jaw will drop.

    Throughout the darkness, you literally have no idea what has been behind you the entire time. A monumental turquoise sulfuric lake. It is an overwhelming presence once you see it! It’s also the largest sulfuric lake in the world – should you need more convincing on why you need to visit. This definitely needs to be on the list of places to visit in East Java.

    FAQ: Kawah Ijen Crater

    Now if you want to stop here, the above is a great 1 week East Java itinerary. However, there are still plenty of East Java points of interest that I haven’t mentioned.

    There are plenty more East Java tourist attractions as well as some undiscovered gems.

    GETTING BACK TO SURABAYA: From Kawah Ijen, you can drive back to Surabaya and take a train or flight back to Jakarta/Bali and back to your home. The other option which is fairly popular is to take a ferry at Ketapang port to Bali to start your island-hopping journey.

    If you want to continue seeing what East Java has to offer whilst you make your way back to Malang or Surabaya let’s add a couple more days so you check out some other highlights below:

    East Java Bonus Destinations

    Pulau Merah (Red Island Beach)

    Not as well known as the other attractions in East Java, but definitely a photo-worthy moment. The sand has a pinkish-red hue to it, similar to what you would see on Pink Beach in Komodo Islands National Park.

    It’s a great place to relax on the beach, but also has the option to stay overnight. It’s a very good surfing destination (so I’m told). The beach can be reached by car or motorbike from Banyuwangi and is approximately 60 km away.

    Tanjung Papuma (Papuma Beach)

    This is a gorgeous little gem tucked in on the southern coastlines of East Java. What makes this beautiful beach worth a visit is its iconic islets. The waters are a stunning crystal blue which reminded me of the Philippines along with the beautiful colourful boats littered along the shores waiting to eagerly take you out and about among the rocky islets.

    It’s a popular beach and does not lend itself to much privacy but the backdrop is wonderful for laying on the beach enjoying a festive atmosphere with plenty of stalls and restaurants to cater to patrons.

    Kabut Pelangi Waterfall

    Another waterfall? Could one ever tire of these? NEVER!

    Honestly, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to these as far as Indonesian attractions are concerned. The name loosely translates as rainbow mist waterfall. The trek to the waterfall is not as easily marked and distinct as that for Madakaripura and Tumpak Sewu.

    It’s not technically difficult either but may take some time to reach the main waterfall, as you will pass smaller ones before you get there, but don’t be fooled, you need to trek on! Extremely photogenic and a must if you have a few more days to play with in Java

    Jordipan Colourful Rainbow Village

    As far as Instagram is concerned, this is truly picture perfect! If you’re in East Java Malang you need to make sure you check out this stunning gem within the city which bursts with literally all the colours of the rainbow.

    This area of Malang is what was once a ‘slum area’ but a group of students took on an assignment to bring the village back to life through colour. Their efforts were incredibly successful in turning this village into a bustling tourist attraction for locals and foreigners alike!

    The village is divided into two sections separated by a river, it costs ONLY IDR 3000 to enter (approximately 0.21 USD) to enter either side. On the other side of the river is the Blue Village (a village completely painted all blue) called Kampung Biru Arema.

    TRAVELIST TIP: Some of the other places not listed in the 1 week East Java Itinerary could possibly be added in during the one week but it would be a push. It would involve literally no rest and this itinerary already is quite packed. I’d strongly suggest rather visiting these other places on your way back from Kawah Ijen to Malang or Surabaya East Java Indonesia. If you are headed to Bali after Kawah Ijen, then you may need to re-think the order of your activities.

    Discuss with a tour guide and driver because the locals know their lands and roads best and will offer you the best solution to make sure you get to see all these attractions in Indonesia’s East Java.

    East Java itinerary FAQ

    Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase; I may earn some money to buy a coffee (woohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.

    ARE YOU INSPIRED BY THIS EAST JAVA TRAVEL GUIDE?

    Excited to visit East Java or have you visited already? I’d love to hear from you. Any places you think should be added to the list? Comment in the section below!

    2 thoughts on “Wonderful 1 Week East Java Itinerary: Temples, Volcanoes and Waterfalls”

    1. Found this very useful! Do you think I can drive to these places myself and do I need a tour guide for each place? If so how do I go about getting one (without pre booking online) is it easy just showing up and getting a local guide? Thanks so much

      Reply
      • Hi Keaton! So glad that you found the article useful 🙂 I’d certainly say for the waterfalls getting a guide on-site is pretty easy (literally can request at the ticket office). For the Mout Bromo and KAwah Ijen, I would probably suggest getting hold of someone in the city the night before (maybe by asking at the local hotel etc.) I think its a bit trickier for those hikes as they happen super early in the morning so best to have someone prepared to meet you either at your hotel or at the entrance. Hope that helps?

        Reply

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