The ill-famed volcano-island of Krakatoa might have caused a tragic disaster in 1883, but today it is the premier tourist destination in Java.  Anak Krakatau (800 m) can be accessed either from South Sumatra or Banten, by booking a boat tour at any local travel agency or guesthouse in Labuhan, Carita or Anyer Beach.

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 by the surrounding islands of the Greater & Lesser Krakatau and Pulau Sertung.

Anak Krakatau has had frequent eruptions since 1927


There are 1-3 day package tours from Jakarta, which typically include a speedboat, accommodation, meals, private guide, trekking, swimming, snorkelling and other activities. Prices range between $100 and $300USD, depending on the type of boat and number of days.


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.

Tours to Anak Krakatau operate from Java and Sumatra, and the visitors can climb to the crater rim


Another magnificent volcanic area in West Java is the Gunung Halimun Salak National Park. The territory comprises of tow volcanoes – Mount Salak and Mount Halimun, and the highlight is the crater of Kawah Ratu.

Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, Kawah Ratu crater

While Gunung Halimun (1,929 m), is an unofficial one day climb rather known among the locals Gunung Salak (2,211 m) makes a popular trip as the track includes hot springs, waterfalls and undisturbed nature, and it is easily accessible.


It is a 2-day hike (depending on your endurance and level of fitness), and you will need to get to Cidahu (via Bogor) to start the trek. You can either hire a trekking guide/porter in the town or carry your own gear. Buy an entry permit at the Cidahu information centre at the entrance gates to the national Gunung Halimun Salak National Park.

Gunung Salak (2,211 m) offers a thrilling volcanic hike


The countryside in Bandung is typical of steaming crater, sulphur lakes, and wonderful hikes. The star of the show is Tangkuban Perahu (2, 084 m) and its ‘Queen`s Crater’ – best to admire from the Kawah Upas viewing point. It only takes 3 hours to reach the crater, and it is an easy trek.  ‎

NOTE Avoid visiting on the weekend – it is a popular hike for hundreds of locals, too. Also, avoid being overcharged for being a Western visitor. The entry pass price is 30 000 IRD per person. It is advisable to take a local person with you not to overpay.

Tangkuban Perahu & the ‘Queen`s Crater’


Stop by at the Kawah Domas crater and enjoy the Sari Ater hot springs with a lovely restaurant. Rent a scooter in Bandung and drive 50 km south to the spectacular Kawah Putih (White Crater). There are awesome mud pools, fumaroles and hot springs around the acid lake.

Kawah Putih, Ciwidey


Dieng Plateau is a staggering volcanic complex in Central Java that features multicoloured sulphurous lakes, ancient caves, remote traditional villages and some of the oldest Hindu temples in Java.

But the major attraction is the sunrise hike to Gunung Prau (2,565 m). The hike is doable in one day, but most of the adventurers prefer overnight camping – the setting truly is splendid.

Camping and hiking in Dieng Plateau (sunrise at the Mount Prau – 2,565 m)


Wonoboso is the starting point to the Dieng village where the actual hiking track starts. You will need to register at the Base Camp Gunung Prau to begin the climb. There is a number of different routes of various lengths to choose from. The shortest hike only takes 2 hours. There are longer routes that include overnight camping, as well.


Remember to visit the famous lakes of Telaga Warna, Telaga Nila, Telaga Dringo, Gua Semar Cave and Arjuna Temple, Candi Srikandi, Candi Gatutkaca and Candi Bima temples.

Telaga Warna is a splendid colour-changing lake with a holy meditation cave (Dieng)

5.GUNUNG SLAMET (CENTRAL JAVA)Another volcanic treasure in Central Java is Mount Slamet (3,428 m). The second highest peak in Java represents an attractive 2 day/1 night climb that starts in Purwokerto.

There are several routes to the summit, but the most popular starts in Guci. The trail is well-marked and frequently trodden, and there are huts available for overnight stays along the way. You will need to register at the tourist office at arrival.


Gunung Slamet is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia, and the hikers need to be careful at all times; there are poisonous gases around the crater, and often strong winds make them moving around very fast.

Mt Slamet (3,428 m)


Merapi – the ‘King of the Volcanoes’, is a magnet for all climber.  Mount Merapi 2,930 m is Indonesia`s most volatile volcano and a real challenge for those who decide to conquer its summit.

The trek starts in Selo Village where you can get in about 2 hours from Yogyakarta by public transport. You can either arrange a guided trip or hike independently (entrance fees apply).

Gunung Merapi is the most volatile volcano in Indonesia (2,930 m)


It only takes about 3-4 hours to reach Mount Merapi Although the path is evident and easy to follow it is recommended to hire a guide/porter as in the extreme heat and no water on the way you might struggle. Many hikers start the journey at night to make it to the top before the sunrise.


The locals are aware of the popularity of Mount Merapi, and the Western climbers get tremendously overcharged. It is virtually unavoidable to pay 150. 000 IRD per person to be able to climb the volcano independently. Otherwise, you can join a group expedition from Yogyakarta which is slightly cheaper.

Mount Merapi (2930 m) sunrise hike is the favourite


East Java is a province filled with natural wealth, wilderness and impressive volcano craters.  Most importantly, it is home to the most remarkable volcano in IndonesiaKawah Ijen.

The Ijen Volcano (2,799 m) attracts thousands of visitors every year with its one-kilometre-wide turquoise crater lake with a blue fire burning inside (best visible at night time).

This is an amazing creation of Mother Earth the world`s largest acid lake with pH of 0.5 (sunrise tour is the best for the electric blue flame radiating out of the crater lake –  visible only by night).

Electric blue flame radiates from the Kawah Ijen crater lake by night (daily sunrise tours available)


Kawah Ijen crater can be reached from either Banyuwangi (take a night tour all-inclusive, easy access, short and comfortable trip) or Bondowoso (you will need to hire a guide with 4WD to reach Wonosari/Jampit. From there it is 1-2 hr hike up to the crater. This is usually an overnight trip with camping, longer route but more scenic – waterfall & coffee plantations on the way).

NOTE you can also hire a scooter at the Banyuwangi ferry terminal and travel independently (if arriving from Bali). The entrance fee is 150. 000 IRD for the Western visitors.

Kawah Ijen is the world`s largest acid lake (with pH of 0.5)


Located in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, at the heart of East Java, the largest volcanic region in the province is Tengger Caldera.

There are 4 volcanoes standing next to each other and creating a majestic image: Mt Bromo (2329 m), Mt Batok (2440 m), Mt Penanjakan (2770 m) and Mt Semeru (3676 m) the highest peak of Java, and one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Mt Bromo (2329 m), Mt Batok (2440 m), Mt Penanjakan (2770 m) and Mt Semeru in the background (3676 m)

However, it is Mount Bromo (2329 m) that attracts crowds of tourists, hikers and photographers. Rising from the Sea of Sands, Gunung Bromo offers the legendary pre-dawn trek to view the stunning play of sun over the vast volcanic valley, its fuming domes and sacred temple.

The sunrise trek can be easily done independently, and it only takes about an hour to reach the Viewpoint 1 at Mt Penanjakan (2770 m).

Climbing Mount Batok and Mount Semeru however, is way more challenging and less touristy but a guide is recommended, and a permit is required.

Reaching the crater of Bromo at sunrise is definitely worth the 249 stairs to climb


The gateway to Gunung Bromo is Probolinggo (with the starting point in Cemoro Lawang village) or Pasuran (with the starting point in Wonokitri village). You can reach both towns via Surabaya, Malang or Banyuwangi (if travelling overland from Bali).


There are 3 options to climb Mount Bromo: organised 3-day tour from Bali or Jakarta (all-inclusive, 45 min hike to the crater), self-guided hike via Cemoro Lawang (1 hr hike) or an independent hike from Wonokitri (3 hr hike). It is not a big journey – only 249 stairs need to be climbed to reach Bromo`s crater rim.

A view from atop of Mount Bromo


This volcanic giant is the highest peak of all in the massive Arjuno-Welirang range. Although the Gunung Arjuno (3,339 m) is a dormant volcano the hike itself pretty treacherous.

The expedition starts in Prigen (a town with good accommodation), and it takes 3 days/2 nights to complete the journey. There are nice campgrounds along the way, but the trail is poorly marked as it is generally the path less trodden.


Since heavy rains often hit the area and the track is not marked well hiring a guide/porter in Tretes is necessary for all routes (especially the foreign hikers). You will need to gain a permit at the tourist office in Tretes to climb Gunung Arjuno.

Mount Arjuno (3,339 m) is a dormant volcano but the hike itself is treacherous


Mount Argopuro (3088 m) makes the most isolated and the longest hike in Java. It traverses over 40 kilometres of volcanic territory, and it takes 3-6 days to complete. The trek cuts through various landscapes (plantations, bushland, dense vegetation, and rocky land) and passes by interesting things to see, including ancient temples, pristine lakes.

It is essential to have a local guide/porter on the expedition albeit there is plenty of springs and drinking water sources on the way as well as shelters where to stay overnight. Also, never undergo this trip on your own – the possibility of getting lost is fairly high on this trail.

Mount Argopuro can be reached via the longest trek in Java (circa 40 km)


A good base for the trek (where to arrange guides/porters and get more information) is Baderan. You can reach the town via Besuki from Surabaya. There is good accommodation in Baderan. Register and get a permit to begin the trek at the Baderan Forestry Office.


The foreigners will be charged as much as 400 000 IRD per each day of the trekas usually, the Western faces are shamelessly overcharged.

Mount Argopuro (3088 m), East Java

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Eva Bodova

Monday 20 August 2018

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