Jakarta to Bali Road Trip – Jakarta is located on the Northwest coast of Java Island, Indonesia and is the nations capital.
With an estimated population of over 10 million people it’s one of the most heavily populated cities in Southeast Asia, with a vibrant atmosphere.
A few of our Town and Tourist readers asked about whether its possible to travel the route from Jakarta by Road or public transport and is it worth it! So to answer you we sent Sarah who lives in Thailand & is one of our Town & Tourist writers to investigate!
Can you drive between Jakarta and Bali?
YES! You can drive between Jakarta and Bali or get a combination of trains, buses and ferries. Although keep in mind that this can be a very long journey which covers over 1,189km and takes 24 hours if driving non stop which is virtually impossible and not very comfy!
Can you Travel between Jakarta & Bali by Car/Motorcycle?
Yes, you have a couple of options here. You can rent a car (This is what we did!)
With the option to drop off in Bali, although it’s best to confirm with your car rental provider first as some providers have an extra charge. We rented a car with Avis. Reserve well in advance and some providers even drop it of at your hotel!
Check out our: Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!
1. Ask for the “kartu jalan tol”, which enables you to use the automatic payment lane and saves you time. You can charge it at all rest stations. For our route you need around 350.000 IDR on your card.
2. I also recommended renting a small yet powerful car, as the Indonesian streets are narrow and the traffic can be bad. We reversed a Toyota Avanza which was ideal for 2 people and lots of luggage.
3. Purchase a local sim (with data), USB cable and Power bank.
4. Use our Jakarta to Bali road trip map on Google Maps to plan your route.
Jakarta to Bali Road Trip Map:
Dive into our Interactive Map Below!
User Guide: Use the +/- arrows to zoom in an out of the landmarks. Many users choose to share the post on facebook and access the map that way.
Web Masters: If you have your own website feel free to embed our map in it by clicking the button in the top right hand corner. Just be sure to credit us at: www.townandtourist.com/road-trips/jakarta-bali
Can you travel between Jakarta and Bali by Train?
Yes! If you wish for a real off the beaten track adventure, then it’s worth taking the trip by public transport, where you will really get to experience the authentic side of Indonesia which not many people get to see. You also don’t have to worry about Car rental drop off fees etc.
The train is a safe and practical option, head to Gambir train station, Jakarta and buy a FIRST CLASS ticket to Surabaya. Its a very long trip around 12 hours so first class is definitely a good option.
You should take the night train which leaves Jakarta in the evening and arrives in Surabaya (Pasar Turi station) in the morning, so it’s pretty easy to just sleep on the trip.
Purchase a Hidden Money Belt to keep your belonging safe while traveling, as there can be pickpockets which operate even while you sleep!
Can you Buy a Car/Motorcycle for the Java Road Trip?
Yes, you can purchase a cheap car (just make sure it’s serviced) or a Motorcycle and sell it in Bali like many people do in Vietnam. Just really be aware of the quality and know your stuff mechanically with regards to vehicles you don’t want to break down in the middle of known where. Thats why we hired a new rental.
You can also rent a motorcycle which you can potentially ship it back to Jakarta, but do enquire with your local provider first, as everyone has different rules.
Traveling between Jakarta and Bali by Plane?
For speed & comfort we recommended catching a flight which takes just over one hour and is a common route…but not so much adventure!
Jakarta to Bali Road Trip Itinerary:
If you want to see the REAL Indonesia, an off the beaten track road trip is your best option. Here you will get to see the diversity of the country and the daily life of the local Indonesian people.
Day 1-2: Jakarta
Jakarta is not normally first on peoples mind when it comes to tourist cities in Indonesia. But it’s still worth spending at least one to two days here to experience the sights, sounds and famous landmarks such as the largest mosque in South East Asia.
Where to Exchange Currency…and not get scammed!
As with many foreign cities exchange rates for currency can vary massively depending upon which foreign exchange shop you go to. I would suggest heading to one of the foreign exchanges inside one of the modern shopping malls.
This is a convenient & safe way to exchange your currency. The unit of currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
ATMs in Jakarta:
The ATMs in Jakarta offer pretty fair rates which is another benefit of Jakarta not really being a “Tourist” city. This is also a great option if you don’t wish to carry too much cash around. However, i did notice not all of the ATMs i tired worked with my card, so keep this in mind.
Inform you bank before using your card abroad & if the ATM gives you an option of charging your Bank in your local currency or in IDR, choose IDR (“Without Conversion”)! This will ensure you will get a better exchange rate as YOUR local bank will take care of it.
Where to visit in Jakarta?
Menteng is the business center of Jakarta and within walking distance to many popular attractions such as the National Monument, Istiqlal Mosque and Plaza Shopping Mall. Its also just a short taxi from Gambir Station.
Gambir is located just north of Menteng. This is central to the popular attractions of National Monument, Istiqlal Mosque and National Museum. However, this area doesn’t have many commercial areas thus I prefer Menteng to stay. But if you have just one day stay here as it’s close the station.
Kemang is located father south but is a cool hipster area in Jakarta. Here you will find cool boutiques, cafes, bars and gourmet restaurants.
Things to do in Jakarta?
1. The National Monument:
The National Monument or Monas is Jakarta’s most famous structure. It Stands 132 meters (433 ft) in the center of Merdeka Square, and was built between 1961-1975 to commemorate Indonesia’s struggle for independence from the Dutch empire.
How much is it?
Entrance to the park is free, but to enter inside the monument you will need to pay IDR 15,000, ($10). This includes entry to National History Museum and two viewing points included one right at the top.
2. Istiqlal Mosque
Visit Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia! This was built to commemorate Indonesian independence.
When I walked inside i felt a real serene and tranquil energy come over me, the architecture is astonishing also…arguably the most captivating landmark in Jakarta.
3. Jakarta Cathedral
Just next to Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic Cathedral constructed in 1901. The idea of this Cathedral is to show religious equality and diversity, even though Catholics only make up around 3% of the population, majority are Muslim.
4. Kota Tua (Old Town)
The Old town or (Kota Tua) is the original downtown of Jakarta. Here you will discover Dutch colonial buildings which date back to the 17th Century. At this time this area was the Asian HQ for the spice trade.
The area is vibrant and culturally rich with many locals and tourists coming to soak up the atmosphere.
Where to Eat?
After all that sightseeing you must be hungry, head to Martabak Boss . A family friendly chain of restaurants and food vendors which specialise in martabak. Martabak is a style thick stuffed pancake which can be either sweet or savory.
Day 3: Bandung “Paris of Indonesia”
Driving Route: Jakarta to Bandung (150km 2h 30min).
Be sure to calculate in one hour to leave Jakarta as the traffic is very busy! Afterwards take the highway to Bandung, Indonesias third Largest city, the capital of Barat Java/ West Java many people call it the “Paris of Indonesia” due to the historic architecture from the Dutch colonial period.
Things to see in Bandung:
1. Tangkuban Perahu (Active Volcano):
Tangkuban Perahu is an ACTIVE Strato Volcano located 30 km north of the city of Bandung. It last erupted in 2015 and the smoulders can still be seen today. You can actually drive right up to the volcano and peer over the huge crater.
If your feeling brave, park up and take a hike down into it. There is also a forest hike and of course the Panoramic views are breath-taking.
- Be sure to check weather reports before regarding volcano activity, your local tour operator/guide should know more information.
- Visit During Week Days, as the weekends can be very crowded. With traffic jams at the top of the mountain!
- They do seem to charge higher fees for foreign tourists. In 2017 the fee was 300.000 IDR per person and 35.000 IDR per car.
2. Gedung Sate
Gedung Sate is a beautiful public building in Bandung. It has a neoclassical design which fuses native Indonesian elements with Dutch Colonial Architecture. It was designed by Dutch architect J. Gerber t.
3. Braga Street
Braga Street is the Epitome of the “Paris of Java”. Here you will find 1920s colonial Indonesia with a variety of European style cafes, boutiques and restaurants.
4. Farmhouse Susu Lembang
Where to Stay in Bandung?
Day 4: Cirebon and Pekalongan
Driving Route: I recommended visiting the Volcano (Tangkuban) last before driving straight on towards Cirebon. Here you will find some lush tea plantations which are great to check out. Then take the 2 hour drive (151km) to Pekalongan.
Pekalongan city is Central Java’s most important port, popular attractions to see here include:
Which was created to “explore, preserve and develop batik as a cultural heritage of the Indonesian people.”
Address: Jl. Jatayu No.3, Panjang Wetan, Kec. Pekalongan Utara, Kota Pekalongan, Jawa Tengah 51141, Indonesia
2. Pantai Pasir Kencana (Beach)
A public beach which is great place to relax, unwind and catch the stunning sunset.
Address: Jalan Pantai, Wonokerto, Panjang Wetan, Kec. Pekalongan Utara, Kota Pekalongan, Jawa Tengah 51153, Indonesia
3. Slamaran Beach
Slamaran Beach is a peaceful beach, with a few fishermen and I even saw a few people on dates.
Address: Krapyak Lor, North Pekalongan, Pekalongan City, Central Java, Indonesia
4. Wisata Bahari PPN Pekalongan
This is a rustic aquarium and kids adventure park popular with the locals. Its also one of the best places to go fishing in the city and the locals are very friendly.
Address: Jalan W.R. Supratman, Panjang Wetan, Kec. Pekalongan Utara, Kota Pekalongan, Jawa Tengah 51141, Indonesia
Day 5: Borobudur
Driving Route: Take the 3 hour 56 min (186km) drive to Borobudur, there are no highways so be prepared for a long drive.
Things to see in Borobudur:
1. Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple is the WORLDS LARGEST BUDDHIST TEMPLE and is considered one of the seven wonders of the world! It was built in the 9th-century and can be found in the town of Muntilan. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It is a designated UNESCO Heritage site.
Fun Fact: Borobudur is a unique temple located in an area between two twin volcanoes and two rivers.
Address: Jl. Badrawati, Kw. Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Kec. Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
2. Mendut Buddhist Monastery
Mendut is a 9th century Buddhist temple, located in Mendut village. The temple is located about three kilometres east from Borobudur. Mendut, Borobudur and Pawon, all of which are Buddhist temples, are located in one straight line. (Botobudur Temple Compounds)
Address: Jl. Magelang, Sumberrejo, Mendut, Mungkid, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56501, Indonesia
3. Karmawibhangga Museum (Borobudur Museum)
Karmawibhangga Museum is s an archaeology museum located just several hundred meters north of 8th century Borobudur Buddhist monument, within Borobudur.
The best time to visit the Borobudur temple is in the very early morning to watch the sunrise or in the late afternoon to watch the sunset. During the day it can be crowded.
Where to Stay?
In Borobudur I would recommend staying at the unique hillside resort “Villa Borobudur” which is styled as a traditional Indonesian palace and offers views of the valley.
Day 6: Surakata City “Solo”
Driving Route: Take the 2hr 34min (87km) drive to Surakata city.
Surakarta (also known as Solo) is the historic royal capital of Java. Here the 18th-century Keraton Kasunanan was the royal family’s residence and today is a museum of artifacts.
While the Mangkunegaran palace has an extravagant painted pavilion. Surakarta is also a major hub for dyed batik fabric, which is displayed at the Danar Hadi museum.
Things to see in Surakata:
1. Mangkunegaran palace – Must visit!
Constructed in 1757, the Mangkunegaran Palace in the centre of Solo is still a royal residence. Some rooms are dedicated to a delightful palace museum which is devoted to the personal collection of Mangkunegara VII.
On display you can check out the opulent gold-plated dresses for royal dances, a unique mask collection, jewellery and huge Buddhist rings. There is even a stuffed Javanese leopard and tiger!
Insider Tip: The mandatory guides mostly speak English (a tip of 50,000Rp is appreciated).
Address: Jl. Ronggowarsito No.83, Keprabon, Kec. Banjarsari, Kota Surakarta, Jawa Tengah 57131, Indonesia
2. Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace
An opulent blue tinted palace from 1744 with tours & a museum featuring sculptures, weapons & artifacts.
Address: Baluwarti, Pasar Kliwon, Surakarta City, Central Java 57144, Indonesia
3. Balekambang City Park
Day 7: Madiun
Driving Route: Take the 1hr 43min (114km) to Madium from Surakata.
Madium is a city known for its agricultural center. Things to see here include, Alun Alun Kota Madiun a park & garden with street food, a jogging area and central mosque. There is also the SunCity Water & ThemePark Kota Madiun which is popular with local families.
To shade yourself from the sun, head to Taman Trembesi Kota Madiun, a public park with forests covering the area.
Day 8: Surabaya
Driving Route: Take the 2hr 30 min (160km) trip to Surabaya from Madium.
Surabaya is a vibrant port city, which blends modern skyscrapers with historic dutch colonial buildings. The city has a bubbling Chinatown and Arab Quarter.
Things to see in Surabaya:
Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument):
The Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument) honors the independence battles waged in Surabaya’s streets in 1945.
Address: Pahlawan St, Alun-alun Contong, Bubutan, Surabaya City, East Java 60174, Indonesia
Surabaya Submarine Monument:
Address: Jl. Pemuda No.39, Embong Kaliasin, Kec. Genteng, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60277, Indonesia
Drive over the Longest Bridge in Indonesia!
The captivating Suramadu Bridge, ( Surabaya–Madura Bridge) is a 5.4 km bridge which makes it the largest in Indonesia. It connects the island of Java and the town of Bangkalan.
AVOID: Surabaya Zoo! “The zoo of Death”
At Town & Tourist, we are proud supporters of multiple Anti animal cruelty Charities and like to spread the word when it comes to places which are up to standard!
Surbaya Zoo as been at the heart of controversy for many years now with images captured of Malnourished Bears, leopards and elephants, chained up.
. They have spoken of improvement recently, but who knows. We urge you to not go, or go and take some secret images if the facilities are not up to standard, which we will publicise. Send to: Mail(at)townandtourist.com, for more information see: About Us
We also wrote this article: Ethical Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand – Ultimate Guide.
Day 9: Banyuwangi
Driving Route: This is a really long drive, take the 6 hr 39 min (313km) road trip to Banyuwangi from Surabaya. If don’t fancy a big drive, break the trip up by stopping in Probbolingo.
Located to the eastern tip of Java, Banyuwangi is place to explore some of East Java’s unforgettable features.
Highlights include the stunning electric blue flame of Ijen Crater, and the impressive Mount Raungor.
For beaches and water activities you should check out:
- Pulau Merah (Red Island) beach with its red sands. Many people also practice tubing here.
- Grajagan beach offers black sands and traditional fishermen who offer trips.
- Plengkung beach, or G-Land, is famous for its 7 rolls of waves which can reach up to 6 meters high! This is a true challenge for professional surfers.
Day 10: Bali
Driving Route: Take the 20min drive to the ferry and then 30 min ferry ride before you come to Bali! Then take 1-2 hours drive to central.
Bali, Indonesia is the ultimate paradise and the most widely visited tourist destination in Indonesia. From volcanic mountains, lush rice paddies, incredible beaches and coral reefs…Bali has it all!
There is also many temples which you should visit such as the cliffside Uluwatu Temple. Head to the south of Bali, to the beach city of Kuta which has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular vacation resort towns. Bali is also very popular with Yoga Retreats.
Be sure to try one of the Famous: Floating Breakfasts in Bali: 10 Resorts to try it!
Where to Stay in Bali?
Fancy something less crowded but still a paradise head further afield to: Mandalika, Lombok: The New Bali?