Indonesia is an archipelago country and known as the biggest archipelago country in the world. Its strategic location is between two continents, that are Asia and Australia, and two oceans, Pacific and Indies, makes it a suitable economic, industry, and vacation spot. Even though Indonesia is mostly surrounded by water area, that also makes them known by its beautiful coasts and beaches, Indonesia is also one of the countries that are inside Pacific Ring Fire. This fact makes Indonesia also rich of beautiful and exotic mountains. They spread out across the country from west side to east side of Indonesia. (see also: Natural Resources of Indonesia)
Some of them are an active volcano that still erupts from time to time and makes it dangerous to go hiking. But some other are not anymore, and the residue of old eruption makes either beautiful waterfalls or green cover all over the mountains. This makes them look very easy in the eyes and many of them now become vacation spots. You can either go hiking or camping there.
In this article, we are going to give shout out to 10 famous mountains in Indonesia that you can visit. Each of these beautiful mountains in Indonesia has their own uniqueness. So without further ado, here is the list:
1. Bromo Mountain, East Java
This mountain is part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and the name of Bromo was taken from Hindu’s God, Brahma. It is located in four different locations in East Java, those are Malang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo, and Lumajang. Bromo is one the most famous vacation spots in East Java and actually is still an active volcano. Its summit heights 2.392 meters above sea level. (see also: Cycling in Indonesia)
There are many spots in Bromo that you can visit, not just for the sake of the hiking activity, but the scenery and other activities as well. You can enjoy the sunrise from this mountain and the view is very incredible. Thick smog covers the surrounding area while this yellowish half circle coming up on the east side, then slowly turns into red. Its slowness while turning up and getting even redder, along with the smog, create a sense of mystery and wonder that you will never be able to forget. (see also: Rafting in indonesia)
You have to choose the right time to visit Bromo. If you go hiking in summer, of course, the sunrise view can be easily enjoyed without the possibility of raining or even cloudy sky. But the downside is the savanna’s sight won’t be as good since the grass gets dried in the summer and it’s the opposite if you visit them in the rainy season. So it depends on what you prefer to enjoy the most from the trip to Bromo.
2. Semeru Mountain, East Java
Semeru is another famous and, actually, the highest mountain in Java Island. It is located in the area of Bromo Tengger National Park. The summit, called Mahameru, heights 3.676 meters above sea level and it considered as a pride to be able to reach the summit of Semeru Mountain in Indonesia. The temperature at Mahameru can reach 4-10 Celsius degree.
There are many beautiful spots in this mountain that makes famous tourist attractions. Take some examples, three famous spots in Semeru are Ranu Kumbolo Lake, Oro-Oro Ombo, and Kalimati. Many tourists come to Ranu Kumbolo from time to time and make camps to enjoy the beautiful sunrise. (see also: New Years in Indonesia)
Meanwhile, Oro-Oro Ombo is known for its beautiful flower field. Kalimati itself is unique because of its black desert, you can rent a mountain top car or ride a horse in this area. It can get very cold there so make sure you wear a jacket, sweater, hoodie, beanie, or anything to keep you warm while enjoying your surrounding. (see also: Indonesia Wildlife)
3. Merbabu Mountain, Central Java
Merbabu is not an active volcanic, so there is no reason to be worried or specific time if you want to go hiking this mountain. Merbabu has three summits: Trianggulasi, Ketengsongo, and Syarif. Each one of them has an incredible view and not really different from one another. There are three different route you can take in hiking this Merbabu and still it takes around 6-8 hours to reach the summit. (see also: Indonesian Beliefs and Values)
If you summit this mountain, you could see a view like none other, which basically is a sea of mountains. White clouds covering the top of other mountains nearby is like a wave of the ocean and the thread of those mountains are the peak of that wave. Those other mountains are Sindoro, Slamet, and Sumbing, which are some of the highest mountains in Central Java.
4. Papandayan Moutain, West Java
This one is one of the “easiest” mountains to climb in Indonesia. Why do we say that? Because even novice can accomplish the summit. Of course having said that, doesn’t mean you can go hiking without preparations, you still need to arrange a good deal pre-hiking stuff.
Then, you also must prepare the logistic, tent, tools, etc. Novice can practice to built tent, cook with limited sources, ratio hydration, not littering (this is a serious problem in Indonesia), and other conditions related to hiking. (see also: Traditional Music of Indonesia)
Located in Garut, West Java, Papandayan’s height reaches 2.665 meters above sea level. The last time this mountain erupted was on 2002.And because Papandayan is an active volcano, it has some active craters with sulfur gas comes out of them.
The sulfur smoke actually makes a beautiful and exotic view of the mountain. Many photographers love to take pictures of smokey Papandayan. (see also: Javan Leopard Facts)
5. Pusuk Buhit, North Sumatera
North Sumatera has some active volcanoes, but Pusuk Buhit is the most famous one. The beautiful pine forest makes great panorama around this mountain. The green hills that surround Pusuk Buhit are actually residues of Ancient Toba Volcano’s activities. From Pusuk Buhit’s summit, heights 1.972 meters above sea level, you can enjoy both sunset and sunrise.
Meanwhile, you can spend 7-8 hours trying to reach the top of this mountain. So prepare enough hydration is a must here because you won’t find many water resources along the way. Sunscreen and lotion are also essential for there aren’t many things for you to cover from the sunlight if you plan to start hiking in the morning. (see also: Tana Toraja Death Rituals)
Have you actually ever seen that flower from that famous song “Edelweiss?” You are on the right track if you actually plan to go hiking to Pusuk Buhit because you can find this rare flower in Indonesia. Here, said, is the last place Edelweiss grows in North Sumatera. You can also find this flower in Semeru, Central Java, but if you’re in North Sumatera and want to hike, why not?
6. Rinjani Mountain, West Nusa Tenggara
As you travel to West Nusa Tenggara and nearing Lombok Island, you will already be mesmerized by the beauty of Rinjani. Rinjani has spiritual value for locals in Bali and ethnic group Sasak that is Hindus. For Balinese, Rinjani is one of the mountains that is sacred because they believe their Gods (Agung and Semeru) live there. (see also: Indonesian Art Gallery)
It is located in Rinjani Mountain National Park, that is why you will be served by the view of tropical forest, exotic hills and savanna all along the hike. It is so beautiful, it’s almost like being in whole another world rather than in the most crowded country in South East Asia. It could be very quite there so even you could hear the wind blows. (see also: Komodo Dragon Island)
Therefore, if you are lucky, there will be smog around the are and that will make the sunburn a little bit bearable since it can be pretty hot when you reach the savanna, there aren’t many trees there to cover you from the sunlight. Enough water and sunscreen should be an acquaintance when one goes hiking on Rinjani. (see also: Indonesian Cultural Festival)
You can summit this mountain on 3.726 meters above sea level and once you get there, you can see every side of Lombok Island, even as far as Bali (Agung Mountain is in sight) and Sumba (East Nusa Tenggara). Watching the sunrise from this height is the dream of every mountain climber’s. Be careful when trying to climb down since you step on sand if you’re not careful you could slide and end up in the chasm. (see also: Scouting in Indonesia)
7. Tambora Mountain, West Nusa Tenggara
This is one of the most famous mountains in history. In 1815, around 90.000 people died because of the giant eruption of this mountain.
The eruption lasted for 12 days and many said the sound of the eruption could be heard almost over 1.000 kilometers away. This eruption not only changed everything near Sumbawa but also affected global climate. It said to had brought the longest winter in Europe since the thick smoke containing dust and volcanic particles launched to the atmosphere and prevented the sunlight from getting through. Luckily, that was the last eruption of Tambora. (See also: Wildfire in Indonesia)
Before the massive eruption, Tambora was towering to 4.300 meters above sea level, made it one of the highest mountains in Indonesia.
After the eruption, Tambora now reaches one-third of its original height, 2.851 meters. It now becomes an important reference for environmental science, including ecology and the process of volcanic and geology that has happened. (see also: Poverty in Indonesia)
It also becomes one of the most beautiful vacation spots in Indonesia since the eruption site now grows much beautiful and exotic vegetation as well as becomes a habitat for faunas. There is tropical rain forest and on 1.200 meters above sea level dominated by savanna and forest pine. The eruption also made a huge 7-kilometer-wide and 1-kilometer-deep caldera. You can visit this mountain if you want to feel the historical event that did not only change environment but also affected some historical and transportation in Europe.
8. Kelimutu Mountain, East Nusa Tenggara
This mountain is also called Three-Color Lake since the lake can seem to change into three colors, depends on the time of visitation. Locals believe that each color has different meaning and natural power, so they will present some sort of offerings to the spirits of the mountain and the lake when the lake changes color. (see also: Effects of Deforestation in Indonesia)
This lake is actually what people visit this mountain for. It is over 1 kilometer square with over a million meter cubic of water. It’s a massive lake and the line between the lake and the mountain’s stone wall is pretty thin and can easily slide. So you have to be extra careful when you reach this side of the mountain. (see also: Indonesian Heritage)
The track to this lake now is different than to its summit, but since this site gains a lot more attention than the actual summit, it’s worth mention here. The track to the lake is pretty accessible, only 30-minute-long, and anyone that is fit enough can easily do it. It can be pretty cold in Ende (Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara), so make sure you wear extra coat or jacket. If you want to get the view of the sunrise, you should get on with the trip very early in the morning and bring any kind of lightning since it is pretty dark at the site and you don’t want to stumble and hurt yourself because of some rocks and spoil the trip.
Besides of these eight famous mountains, there are thousands of other rather smaller mountains and hills across Indonesia that you can visit. Some of them won’t take a long time to summit, maybe around 2-3 hours. That makes them a perfect short vacation spots when you need to get away from city’s crowd for a little while. Many of them located in West Java and Banten. You can go look for it and visit them while you’re in that area. (see also: Deforestation in Indonesia)
Myths about Hiking in Indonesia
Hiking in Indonesia isn’t fun when not accompanied by some myths and mysterious horror stories that follow the legend of some mountains. And there many of them become some sort of rules when one wants to hike mountains here. For us, it’s what makes hiking in Indonesia rather unique and thrilling. Here are five of the most famous myths about hiking in Indonesia:
1. Don’t whine, curse, or litter
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Even if it is applicable and must be abode in every mountain to climb, here we have other reasons behind this rule. Many climbers feel oddities after doing such stunts and have a theory that the spirits waiting in the mountain feel disturbed if mortals do such things. Aside from being a myth or not, it’s a rather nice rule, isn’t it? Who wants to go hiking and have fun with a whiny person, anyway? (see also: Unique Facts about Indonesia)
2. Don’t disturb any fauna
This also makes total sense. We should not disturb any fauna in any mountain, forest, or any other sets of place. But old people believe that these animals, specifically in the mountains, can guide climbers to the right places when they’re on route. Some believe that these animals are incarnations of some gods that local folks have faith in. Either way, disturbing them is definitely not a good idea. Whatever the reason is.
3. Don’t pluck anything from its root
Even if you find the rarest flower while hiking (or moreover, even then), please don’t do this. Either for aesthetic reason (the flowers may not grow in another year and you’ll deprive other climbers to enjoy such beautiful sights) or for other reason that many believe if you pluck flower or anything in the mountain without anybody’s permission (although we’re not sure, whom do we have to ask permission to?), you can end up in a daze and walking the same route over and over again. Pretty daunting, huh? (see also: Indonesian Cultures)
4. Don’t wear green
There is this one mountain in Java Island called Lawu Moutain and it’s identic with a spiritual, mythical figure called Ratu Pantai Selatan ko(Queen of Southern Sea). This queen is fond of green color and often depicted in paintings wearing anything green from top to toe. Anybody who wants to hike Lawu Mountain is forbidden to wear green clothes and should they violate this unwritten rule, they would have bad luck on their trip as they would offend the queen. (see also: Indonesian Mystical Cultures)
5. Don’t go in odd numbers
Indonesians believe that you don’t go hiking in odd numbers since your numbers would always be round up. How so? Say you’re hiking with two friends of yours, this makes the three of you and it’s an odd number. The myth says that if you hike in this number, there would be the fourth member joining you all along the hiking route. Who is this fourth member? Who knows for sure? Maybe it’s the guide that you hire to accompany your group or, as many myth-lovers love to assume, some spirit from another dimension that occupies the mountain. The latter believes that if you go hiking in odd numbers, there would be one person that gets lost, or as they believe “hidden” by the spirit of the mountains. This rule is applied on any mountain in Indonesia. (see also: Traditional Market in Indonesia)
We hope you enjoy these facts of hiking in Indonesia. We hope these five myths don’t discourage you from going hiking or even planning on hiking in Indonesia. Indonegeolosians love myths, that is also a fact. This beautiful country has many things to offer and you can take advantage of it for your pleasure, as many have done.