Indonesia is not only the world’s biggest archipelago country, made up of thousands of islands, but also has the most active volcanoes in existence. Krakatoa and Tambora are just two of its most famous volcanoes. Visiting and spending your holidays here would not be complete without hiking to its famous volcanoes. Let’s check it out! Don’t dare to just dream it: visit it!
#1. IJEN CRATER
Kawah Ijen is the world's largest acidic volcanic lake. It is located in Bondowoso city in East Java Province. You will be fascinated by the size of its caldera, 361 metres in radius and 660 feet in depth! The green sulphuric lake is astonishing. Another interesting fact is that the pH of the water in the crater was measured to be 0.5, enough to hurt skin. But the sulphur brings joy to miners, it is the main source of earnings for most villagers around Ijen crater.
#2. BROMO AND SEMERU NATIONAL PARK
Bromo and Semeru are two active volcanoes in East Java famous for their fascinating view. They lie near the 3 cities of East Java: Malang, Probolinggo, and Lumajang. Bromo is famous for its crater and 5.250 hectares sea of sand. At the view point, you can see Bromo crater and its sand sea with the background of Semeru mountain which sometimes blows its pyroclastic clouds.
Semeru is the highest mountain in Java, 3,676 m high. There are 3 favourites spots in Semeru: the Ranu Kumbolo lake, savannah, and the summit. Ranu Kumbolo is the best resting point for hikers. With 5 – 10 m depth, people can drink the water. The summit is one of the hardest mountains in Indonesia to climb as the trekking path is 100% sand and stones. But the summit is worth the climb because you will be the tallest person in Java!
Another interesting fact about this national park, there are about 137 kinds of birds, 22 types of mammals, and 4 species of reptiles who live in this place.
#3. KRAKATOA MOUNTAIN
Krakatoa, one of the most legendary volcanoes in Indonesia after Tambora, the most violent volcanic events in recorded history. It is located in Sunda Straits between Java and Sumatera Island. Its eruption in 1883 caused the climate chaos in the world, the sun’s light turned grey for one year after the eruption. It is noted with an estimated Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6, the eruption was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT (840 PJ) —about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the Little Boy bomb (13 to 16 kt) that devastated Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, and four times the yield of Tsar Bomba (50 Mt), the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated.
#4. RINJANI NATIONAL PARK
Rinjani National Park has a huge area ranging from savannah to tropical forest and rough hiking tracks. There are 2 kinds of treks from Senaru and Sembalun village. Rinjani is a massive volcano which towers over the island of Lombok. A climb to the top is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have in Indonesia. At 3,726 meters tall, Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia. The climb to the top may not be easy but it’s worth it, and is widely regarded as one of the best views in the country. Part of the famous ‘ring of fire’, this mountain also holds spiritual significance for the local people. It’s thought that the name Rinjani comes from an old Javanese term for ‘God’.
Around the slopes of Rinjani there are lush forests sprinkled with waterfalls and surrounded by stunning scenery. Within the mountain is a crescent shaped lake, the breathtaking Segara Anak which is about 6km across at its widest point. This lake of sulfur is located 600 meters below the crater rim. Rising from the waters of this lake is a new volcano, Mt. Baru, which is a result of a series of eruptions during the 1990’s. Segara Anak is a spiritual place. The Balinese come here each year and perform a ceremony called pekelan where jewelry is placed in the lake as an offering to the mountain spirit. The Wetu Telu people also regard the lake as holy and come here to pray on full moon nights.
Mt Rinjani lies within the Gunung Rinjani National Park. The park covers 41,330 hectares and sits inside a major bio-geographical transition zone (Wallacea). This is where the tropical flora and fauna of South East Asia meets that of Australasia. This National Park was established in 1997 and is one of over 40 throughout Indonesia.
#5. Gunung Kerinci
Gunung Kerinci is Sumatra's highest mountain and Indonesia’s tallest volcano at 3805m, and stands near Sumatra's West Coast, in the province of Jambi. It is surrounded by the lush forest of Kerinci Seblat National Park, home to the endangered species of Sumatran tiger and rhinoceros.
Kerinci is currently one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, and frequently plumes of smoke over 1000m high can be seen rising above its peak. Because of the recent increase in volcanic activity, there is a currently 1km exclusion zone around Mount Kerinci preventing hiking any closer, though many people still climb it regardless of the warnings.
Thanks Ami! Anyone considering a trip to Java in the New year should take a look at Ami's tours, including one that takes you right up close to Mt. Bromo and Semaru.