The Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java are defined by fiery volcanoes, dense foliage, bountiful wildlife and Islamic culture. What`s more, they share the horrific story of Krakatoa whose enormous blast in 1883 has been written into the history of mankind.
Today – although only a ‘child’ – Anak Krakatau still fumes angrily, sending a clear message that its crater does not sleep.
KRAKATOA – THE DAY WHEN THE WORLD EXPLODED
It was a calm and quiet morning, on the 10th of August 1883, when a sudden unexpected explosion equivalent to 10.000 Hiroshima atomic bombs rent the island of Krakatoa. The blast was heard as far as Sri Lanka and tremors were detected as far as Alaska. The powerful earthquake followed by a massive tsunami killed almost 40.000 people and buried most of the island.
In 1924, a new island emerged from the crumbled caldera – named the “Child of Krakatau”. With continuous Strombolian eruptions, Anak Krakatoa (790 m) has become one of the major points of interest and tourism in Indonesia.
VISITING ANAK KRAKATAU
Anak Krakatau can be accessed either from Sumatra or Java by booking a boat tour at any local travel agency or guesthouse. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk up to the crater and get closer to the black lava flows and dense clouds of smoke and volcanic ashes.
It takes about 2 hours to reach the crater rim – the devil`s cauldron – and you will need some good shoes as it is a steep hike through an active volcanic surface. Some tours stop at the surrounding islands of Pulau Sertung, Sebuku and Sebesi Islands (for snorkelling and swimming).
REACH ANAK KRAKATAU FROM SUMATRA OR JAVA
The favourite 1-3 day package tours from West Java typically include a speedboat, accommodation, meals, private guide, trekking, swimming, snorkelling and other activities. Prices start at $500+ USD pp, depending on the type of boat and number of days.
Access from Lampung (southern Sumatra) is less popular and rather suitable for independent travellers. You can try to hire a local guide who will take the visitors to Anak Krakatau by a traditional wooden slow boat – this is a cheaper alternative, where the tour price will depend on the number of travellers and your haggling skills. There are also speedboats to rent that offer Krakatau tours and take the travellers around the marine reserve.
There will be bubbling mud pools, black sand, sulfur gases and clouds of ash rising from the earth. Besides, the volcano commonly ejects rocks, and it is very unpredictable. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the instruction of your guide and keep within the safe zone at all times.
1.ACCESS FROM SUMATRA (BANDAR LAMPUNG)
The striking distance of Anak Krakatau along with the surrounding volcanic islands makes Bandar Lampung a place treated with respect. The town itself is a typical Indonesian city with busy streets and vibrant life.
For those who want to stay a day or two, the town offers some good sightseeing, e.g., the Krakatau Monument, Thay Hin Bio Temple, Museum of Lampung, Gita Persada Butterfly Garden and Pesar Seni Art Market.
CANTI VILLAGE – to find a boat and a guide who will take you to Anak Krakatau you will need to search around the Canti Village (take a bus from Rajabasa/Panjang bus terminal in Bandar Lampung to South Lampung (up to 1 hours ride), where you will need to catch a minibus to Canti. Otherwise, ask your guesthouse to arrange a minivan to take you directly to the Canti Village.
At Canti pier, there are various boats you can rent to take you to Anak Krakatau, ranging from public slow boats to Pulau Sabesi (up to 3-hour voyage) to speedboats (approximately a 2-hour trip). Price is always negotiable, albeit it typically starts at $500 USD for the whole boat for a day trip (hiking, snorkelling, meals and water included). Hence it is advisable to hook up with other travellers. We recommend staying in one of the guesthouses in Kalianda for a couple of days to meet other travellers and organize the trip.
2.ACCESS FROM JAVA (BANTEN)
The westernmost part of Java – Banten, is an important region as it is a transit corridor to Sumatra (Cilegon) and the main gateway (Serang and Tangerang) to the capital city of Jakarta – this is where the tourists who are visiting Anak Krakatau from Java will need to start their journey.
1. FROM JAKARTA – tourists who prefer travelling in comfort will want to book an all-inclusive tour directly from Jakarta (Krakatau Tours). There are frequent cruise ships and Jetfoil speedboats from Tanjung Priok Bay but these tend to be quite costly (USD 1000-5000 pp, depending on the type of boat and tour).
2. FROM CARITA – visitors on a mid-range budget who wish to see more of Banten should set out on a trip to Carita. This lovely resort town is the starting point to Krakatau with excellent tourism infrastructure. Speedboats will take you to the volcano in full comfort (around USD 600 pp)
There are no public buses that operate between Jakarta and Carita and you will need to arrange a private minivan to take you there – this is an expensive option.
3. FROM ANYER BEACH OR LABUHAN – this is a popular budget alternative for all backpackers. Ask around for the cheapest option (there are many small guesthouses and private operators that will be interested in negotiating as these two villages are less visited and do not get too many tourists. However, you should still count on paying at least USD 300 pp for the Krakatau tour.
Daily public buses to Labuan leave from Kaliederes or Kebon Nanas (Jakarta). Public buses operate between Cilegon and Anyer Beach but they are unreliable
For more adventure, you should definitely head off to the westernmost tip of Java that is occupied by the remote tropical forest of Ujung Kulon – home to the endangered Javan rhino.
Krakatau Tours are generally ridiculously expensive! Wherever you decide to start the trip from, before you book a tour, take your time and ask around the local travel agencies to find the best option. Bout tours to Anak Krakatau can also be booked at most of the hotels and guesthouses. Always try to negotiate the price!
Remember that Anak Krakatau is an active volcano and there is no access during major eruptions – hence check out current volcanic activity prior to arrival.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The dry season in Sumatra and Java runs from June till September. However, try to avoid the peak tourist season (July-August) as large crowds of tourists come to see the volcano and prices increase.
HOW TO GET THERE
FROM JAVA: fly to Jakarta and catch a shuttle bus to Carita/Labuan/Anyer Beach where you can arrange a boat tour
FROM SUMATRA: fly to Palembang first and get to Bandar Lampung: via train (10 hours), via bus (15 hours), via car/taxi (5 hours), via plane (2 hours)
For all domestic flights check out www.garuda-indonesia.com
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