When you think of Indonesia, hiking up mountains rarely comes to mind. However, you’ll be surprised to find out that Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other country due to its location within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Before you react negatively to this active volcano attribute Indonesia has, I’m glad to tell you that this precarious location does not come without beauty.
Many of Indonesia’s mountains are situated within a large volcanic lake or inside craters, giving these peaks a very unique and ethereal atmosphere. Here are 15 mountains in Indonesia worth a climb.
1. Mount Agung, Bali
Home to the Mother Temple of Bekasih, Mount Agung is spiritually significant to many Balinese people. The locals say that it was created when the spiritual axis of the universe, Mount Meru, was split by the Hindu god Pashupati. As if that is not enough reason to go explore this fascinating mountain, it is in fact, standing at 3,142 meters (10,249.34 ft) and is Bali’s tallest mountain. It is a seven hour hike up and there are many interesting stops along the way. Be sure to stop by the Pasar Agung Temple and the Besakih Temple during your hike. This is the perfect combination of culture and adventure.
Mount Agung Trekking
Address: Jl. Petitenget, Seminyak 80361, Indonesia
Duration: around 7 hours required.
Website: Mount Agung Trekking
If you want a sunrise view of Bali and its surrounding islands overlooking Lake Batur, climb Mount Batur at the crack of dawn. One of Bali’s most regular climbing spots, the scenic beauty at the peak has the small price of only a two hour hike. A short and fun excursion, and it doesn’t hurt that after your climb you’ll get to boast that you were standing at the top of an active volcano while in Bali!
This active volcano will gift you entirely unparalleled views of the crater and surrounding natural majesty alike! A sensational portfolio of lush wildlife, together with indigenous species only available in your immediate region, are yours for the perusal. One of the finest photo opportunities in all of Indonesia with regard to the sheer scope of the panoramic majesty that constantly surrounds you during your summit, your journey up Mount Batur will undoubtedly prove equal parts rejuvenating and rewarding.
Take note of the fact that Bali does experience a rainy season. During these times, terrain is likely to shift under heavy downpours, and visibility will obviously be limited by cloud coverage. Also, although Mount Batur’s most recent eruption was in 2000, it is still characterized as an active volcano site. Thus, prospective hikers and adventurers alike are encouraged to pay attention to any volcanic activity prior to arriving onsite. Nevertheless, Mount Batur in Bali proves as captivating a landmark as any; in recognition of its natural aesthetic and its geographical and geological importance, UNESCO established Mount Batur as a protected Global Geoparks Network site in 2012, an active recognition and protection of the park’s heritage and rich diversity. Climb Mount Batur, for an awe-inspiring glance at an active Bali volcano, and the reception of some authentic, outdoor Indonesian hospitality!
Mount Batur Sunrise Trek
Address: Jl. Nakula Gg. Baik No.1243, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Opening Hours: 7 am to 11 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Duration: around 4 hours required.
Contact: + 62 81 238 300 909
3. Mount Kerinci, Sumatra
If you’re up for something more challenging in Indonesia, you’ll be glad to hear about Mount Kerinci. This is the tallest volcano in the whole of Indonesia. And it is still very much active! It will be a four day and three night hike to the summit. What’s more about this place is that it is located within the Kerinci Seblat National Park, home to the endangered species of Indonesia: the Sumatran tiger and the Sumatran rhinoceros. If this mountain wasn’t fascinating enough, you’ll be pleased to note that Mount Kerinci has 15 lakes around it and one of them is the highest in Southeast Asia, the Gunung Tujuh Lake (Seven Mountains Lake, because of the seven peaks surrounding this lake). This is a gorgeous climb where you will experience nature like never before, all while on your way up a very active volcano.
Address: Jalan Raya Bromo, Desa Wringinanom Kec. Ponco Kusumo – Malang East Java, Indonesia
Duration: around 4 days required.
Website: Semeru Trekking
Locally known as Kawah Ijen, this is one stunning mountain you simply cannot overlook. Its draw is the kilometre-wide (0.6 mi) crater at its peak. In this crater is a stunning turquoise coloured lake. This is the world’s largest acidic volcanic lake. Visually phenomenal, it’s no wonder this mountain lures many hikers to climb it. And it is all to see this remarkable sight. But that’s not all, the lake emits gases that are visible to the naked eye. The gas is smoky white during the day but at night, hikers deliberately climb Kawah Ijen to witness its blue flames dancing above the water. Astonishing to behold, but care needs to be taken as the fumes are poisonous, so cover your nose and mouth while you gaze at this natural wonder.
Ijen Blue Fire Trekking Tour
Address: Jalan Raya Iijen, Banyuwangi 68454
Opening Hours: 9 am to 11.30 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Duration: around 3 hours required.
Contact: +62 812-3675-7424
5. Mount Kelimutu, Flores
The main attractions at Mount Kelimutu are its three lakes. Emitting beautiful colors of blue, green, and red, the water colour of the three lakes changes according to season and time of the day. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon due to the volcanic substances inside the water; this magical looking lake is definitely worth the 20 kilometre (12.4 mi) hike.
Fifty kilometers east of Ende, the closest capital, Mount Kelimutu is known as much for its status as an active volcano as it is the fact that it remains a go-to haven for local and visiting hikers alike. Rich in natural resources and readily accessible to the passerby, Mount Kelimutu offers a wonderful variety of easy and intermediate hiking opportunities, before allowing you to gaze upon any one of the three volcanic lakes of your choosing. The first of the lakes, Tiwu Ata Bupu, which translated means “Lake of the Old People,” is usually characterized by its solid blue hue, and is of the three lakes the farthest west. The remaining two volcanic lakes, named Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri - Lake of Young Men and Maidens, and Tiwu Ata Polo - Enchanted Lake, respectively, are both prized by locals, and are heralded by visitors as an absolute staple with regard to photo opportunities. Their brightly colored waters are a particular source of interest, given that their alternating colorations occur within the same volcano, resulting from a diversified variety of liquid oxidation reactions.
MBA Bali Tours
Address: Jl. Legian No. 369, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Duration: around 3 days required.
Website: MBA Bali Tours
6. Mount Bromo, Java
One of the world’s most active volcanos, it is a surprise that Mount Bromo, at 2,329 m (7,641 ft), is also one of the most frequently hiked mountains! It makes more sense when I tell you what you actually see at the peak of this majestic mountain after a two day hike. As the sun rises, it reveals with its light acres and acres of gorgeous landscape of valleys and hills that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Mount Bromo more specifically constructs a portion of the Tengger massif, a complex of active volcanos that decorates Indonesian soil. Mount Bromo is itself is renowned as the crown jewel of the massif, though notably not the highest peak among local volcanos. What it lacks in sheer size, it more than recoups in natural beauty: Mount Bromo easily dazzles with its combination of selective cloud coverage, penetrating sunlight, lush wild backdrops, indigenous species, and a flavor of quiet peace only understood onsite.
The name for the mountain itself is derived from the Java pronunciation of Hindu god Brahma, in respect for the glory of the landmark itself. If you’re looking to visit Mount Bromo, your fastest route is through the local village of Cemoro Lawang. Friendly locals can from there direct you to the site of the volcano itself, roughly a forty-five minute walk from your stay. For an even faster delivery to Mount Bromo, you’ll want to look into the variety of jeep tours, many iconic for the speed by which they can deliver you to the most iconic sights and sounds in the immediate region.
Take note of the fact that Mount Bromo still remains one of the world’s more active volcano sites. Thus, the Indonesian Centre for Volcanology and Disaster Hazard Mitigation will selectively suggest hikers refrain from visiting the site, given the fact that it could erupt largely without notice. Mount Bromo’s latest eruption occurred in 2015, after a month of readily recognizable waning signs.
Our Trip First
Address: Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
Duration: around 12 hours required.
Website: Bromo Ijen Crater Tour
7. Mount Semeru, Java
Another active volcano on the list, smoking from its center, Mount Semeru is the tallest mountain in Java. Also known as Mahameru by locals, this translates to the Great Mountain. Climbing to its peak takes about two days of hiking. The biggest challenge for the hike is the last slope up to the summit. After that, you’re free to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty that lies below.
In stark contrast to Mount Bromo, which can be summited in as little as two hours depending on your individual hiking pace, Mount Semeru requires considerable planning and preparation, given its virtual forty-eight hour hiking requirement. Rest assured that the view of the summit is well worth the investment in its entirety.
Mount Semeru proves unique in its definition, given its classification as a stratovolcano: a natural structure characterized by frequent eruptions of intense quality. The structure of Mount Semeru itself reflects its unique status: a steep surface that almost immediate reaches skyward, with assorted crater lakes typifying the surface of its exterior. To date, over fifty-five eruptions decorate the active portfolio of Mount Semeru, and hikers are thus warned to climb at their own risk, although the warning signs pre-eruption are normally more than enough to indicate coming activity.
Those interested in becoming the newest conquerers of Mount Semeru are encouraged to do so from Ranu, a village just to the north of the volcano itself. This starting point provides you with the most direct access to the top, though hikers are encouraged to stay alert for portions of the trail not manicured for travel, or those locations otherwise characterized by a series of dangerous gases. Nonetheless, those dedicated adventurers will discover how easily it is to capitalize on Mount Semeru’s bevy of sights and sounds, together with a view from the summit to which few can accurately attest!
Address: Jalan Raya Bromo, Desa Wringinanom Kec. Ponco Kusumo – Malang East Java, Indonesia
Duration: around 4 days required.
Website: Semeru Trekking
8. Mount Merbabu, Java
You should Mount Merbabu to see a 360 degree view from the top, which is especially stunning to admire while having breakfast. But before you get to enjoy that, it’s a 12 hour hike to the top. There are two peaks to conquer: Syarif (3,119 m / 10,232.94 ft) and Kenteng Songo (3,142 m / 10,308.4 ft). In between them is a U shaped valley, so you can just imagine the beauty.
Another stratovolcano in Java like Mount Semeru, Mount Merbabu proves both safely dormant and entirely climbable! When translated this “mountain of ash” exists as entirely more so in nature; rather, Mount Merbabu makes natural vegetation and beauty come alive, in a unique display of colorful flower life, crisp airs, and virtually endless sight on clear local days!
Despite the aforementioned lengthy hike to the top, it’s never difficult to pass the time with so much to gaze upon! To stay in the area and get an early start on Mount Merbabu, visitors often take advantage of a unique flavor of Indonesian hospitality in local village Selo, before rising early for a trek up the mountain itself. Peak climbing season is between April and August, when mild temperatures combine with clear skies to provide for an entirely unforgettable summit. Remember to show courtesy to your fellow climbers in sometimes narrow climbing spaces, and have your camera at the ready!
Duration: around 4 days required.
Contact: +62 341 7873299
Website: Rani Adventure
9. Mount Rinjani, Lombok
Mount Rinjani is the second tallest volcano in Indonesia at 3,726 metres (1,2224.4 ft) tall. It has a 50 square km (19.3 sq mi) wide caldera with a crescent shaped lake called the Segara Anak. Many pilgrims come here annually to make offerings to the gods. This is one of Indonesia’s greatest hikes, and definitely not an easy one. Although taking three to four days, you will still enjoy passing through the numerous amounts of villages, forest scenery, and waterfalls along the way.
Address: Jalan Cendrawasih No.8 Cakranegara, Nusa Tenggara Barat. Code Pos 83231 Mataram, Lombok island, Indonesia.
Duration: around 3 days required.
Contact: +62 812 37 61387
Website: Trekking Rinjani
10. Puncak Jaya, Papua
We saved the tallest for last! Towering at 4,884 metres (16,023.6 ft) at the Lorentz National Park in Papua, Indonesia, a climb up this giant is extremely technical. It’s for highly skilled and experienced hikers. No surprise there since it’s one of the Seven Summits of the World! Puncak Jaya, or Cartensz Pyramid is the highest island peak in the world, which makes it the only mountain in Indonesia with a glacier at the top. A definite must climb!
Address: Mountain Professionals, LLC PO Box 1468, Boulder CO, 80306
Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm. Closed on public holidays.
Duration: around 12 days required.
Contact: 303 956 9945
Website: Mountain Professionals
11. Mount Merapi, Java
Between Central Java and Yogyakarta lies one of Indonesia’s widely underrated treasures: Mount Merapi. This active volcano routinely amazes both visitors and locals alike, with its sheer combination of clear surrounding skies, lush vegetation, and relatively easily climb to the summit. Prospective climbers are encouraged first to recognize the status of Mount Merapi as an active volcano, in fact the most active volcano in all of Indonesia, having erupted with some regularity since the onset of its volcanic activity in 1548.
Several villages surrounding the mountain itself represent the closest habitable location to the volcanic site itself; some villages will reach just over a mile above sea level. However, you’re much more likely to locate a high-class local stay in Yogyakarta, seventeen miles from Mount Merapi. The name “Merapi” itself is loosely translated to “Mountain of Fire,” a name entirely befitting of its status.
If you’re looking to be the next adventurer to the top of Mount Merapi, ideally during a time of low volcanic activity, keep in mind that it will be a relatively steep 9,551-foot climb to the summit, although the majority of the terrain above the lush vegetation that characterizes the lower regions of the mountain is much easier to climb. Again, keep in mind that Mount Merapi’s status as an active volcano, more active than any other in the immediate or the extended region, means that your chances of scaling it are directly proportional to the issued warning level. Nevertheless, when there aren’t pyroclastic flows erupting from its crater, Mount Merapi proves as worthy a climb as any in Indonesia!
12. Mount Tambora, Sumbawa island
Take advantage of a unique flavor of island hospitality, when you make Mount Tambora your next Indonesian climb! An active stratovolcano, Mount Tambora nevertheless welcomes both visitors and locals alike to climb its exterior, although notably, your access to this particular mountain will depend not only on its relative level of volcanic activity as of late, but also on your capacity to reach an Indonesian island. Its eruption in 1815 ranked the highest level of volcanic eruption since a Lake Taupo eruption in 180 A.D.
Don’t let the eruption stories keep you from visiting one of Indonesia’s most beautiful sites. You’ll find it entirely possible to hike up the actual rim of the volcano itself, after which point it’s a relatively straightforward climb to the summit of Mount Tambora itself. In a testament to the region’s sheer natural beauty, Mount Tambora was officially recognized in April of 2015 as Mount Tambora National Park. Once onsite at Mount Tambora, at any altitude, you’re on the grounds of some authentic world history! In recent years, archeological efforts have uncovered a number of artifacts, perfectly preserved after the 1815 eruption. See what you can find on your trek toward the summit!
Those with particular interest toward reaching the summit should know that the hike proves a two-day adventure. You’ll rest after a productive day of climbing, a little more than a mile above sea level. If, like so many other hikers in the region, you elect to continue your trek around 2 a.m., you will reach the summit in time for a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise. For extra adventure, you can (with assistance) even descend into the crater itself, to venture where few have gone before you!
13. Mount Slamet, Java
Uniquely formed because of the presence of several cinder cones around the structure of the mountain itself, the active stratovolcano that is Mount Slamet proves as unique a climb as any, bolstered by an entirely unique ecosystem of assorted, indigenous species. If you reach the summit, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of four complete craters, each at one point or another active, and together forming two overlapping systems. Interestingly, the summit of Mount Slamet is one of the ideal locations in the region where visitors and locals alike will celebrate the coming of the New Year! Since the 1700s, volcanic activity has been recorded from the craters of Mount Slamet, although the only major recent eruption of notice came in September of 2014.
Welcome to the second-highest volcano in all of Java, a worthy climb unto itself. At roughly 11,250 feet in elevation, depending of course on the most recent volcanic activity, Mount Slamet is no joke of a journey, for those who aspire to reach its very top. The highest peak of Mount Slamet is located on an eastern crater, from which point you can gaze upon other craters, as well as the glorious, panoramic majesty of the extended region. There prove few views as naturally sensational, especially given the work it takes to reach the peak itself.
Take note of the fact that Mount Slamet is best suited for intermediate and advanced climbers. Strong winds around the summit of the peak make standing in some regions difficult, and there have been recorded fatalities among the ranks of those attempting to climb Mount Slamet. You’re also going to want to bring along a healthy supply of water, as there will not be many chances to fill up along the way. Still, when the weather is fine and visibility is clear, Mount Slamet proves an adventure well worth its conclusion on top!
14. Mount Penanjakan, Java
This uniquely-pronounced mountain proves a unique climb in nature, one of the region’s most iconic volcanoes! From its summit, you can take advantage of a viewpoint characterized by a wide variety of surrounding volcanoes, as well as pristine views from select portions of the mountain of the local “Sea of Sand.” Keep in mind the fact that if you’re looking for an easy hike, the trek up the side of Mount Penanjakan is perhaps not the way to go. The renowned viewpoint from this mountain exists at roughly 8,860 feet above sea level, a region characterized by thin air and dense surrounding foliage. Nevertheless, for those advanced climbers looking to test themselves with a series of hikable wildlife and largely untraveled paths, Mount Penanjakan is the adventure for you.
Your view of the surrounding volcanoes becomes even greater if you can reach any one of the local viewpoints before sunrise! There are few sights like that of the sun slowly bathing local volcanoes in all sorts of sunshine, typifying the local topography in bright, warm light. If you’re looking to reach these sites with minimal difficulty, and are willing to shell out more money to get you there, you’ll want to take advantage of some of the local jeep providers, who can allow you not only privileged access to the finest points on Mount Penanjakan, but also with expert advice and knowledge regarding the location itself. What will prove a lifelong memory in both view and hike is well worth an early beginning to a productive day!
15. Mount Kelud, Java
Known for a portfolio of large eruptions since roughly 1000 A.D., together with a large list of reasons why the site itself needs to be your next hike, Mount Kelud is typified by its history and its colorful vegetation, together with the winning views you can make your own at the summit. Mount Kelud’s last major eruption took place in 1990; since then, it has remained relatively peaceful, and has existed much more as a staple tourist site, with regard to the photo opportunities you can make your own along the hike.
Among the wonderful sights you can make your own when you venture across Mount Kelud’s rocky terrain is its crater lake! Bright hues decorate the surface of the lake itself, the perfect place for hikers and adventurers of all types to relax, share a meal, or simply take in a unique shade of Indonesian rejuvenation. Take note of the fact that during the rainy season, you may wish to steer clear of this crater region, given its status as a relatively low point of elevation with comparison to the heights surrounding it; mudslides render the region a less than stellar experience during periods of intense downpour.
Nevertheless, Mount Kelud proves largely a clean, gorgeous experience, upon which a large portion of the local reputation for adventure and natural beauty is based. Eroded soil gives you a clear view of ages past, and loose banks, when avoided and spotted from a safe distance, only add to the portfolio of unforgettable experiences you’ll make your own before, after, or during your climb to the summit!
View Indonesia from her mountain peaks
Hopefully having all these mountains in mind will inspire you to travel to Indonesia and conquer her peaks. Indeed a beautiful country on its own, Indonesia’s mountains are often overlooked. So, skip some of her beaches and opt for some hiking instead. The climb will be well worth it.
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