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10 Mighty Indonesian Volcanos to Hike: Ready for the Challenge?

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Indonesia is a country known for many things such as its pristine beaches and delicious food. What many people don't realize is that Indonesia actually has more volcanoes than anywhere else in the world! Home to the "Ring of Fire", an area in the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur, there are thought to be 150 volcanoes in Indonesia alone.

Some volcanoes in Indonesia are active while others are not, the latter being perfect for hiking or trekking. To find out which ones are most worth visiting, we've put together this list for you, in no particular order.

Indonesia volcanos map
An overview map of the 10 highest volcanos in Indonesia

1. Mount Agung

You must have heard of Mount Agung (pictured above), particularly due to its recent eruption that caused some travel delays and complications on the popular tourist island of Bali. Mount Agung is the tallest point on Bali and is considered the most sacred mountain on the island. It is also a very popular hiking trail in Bali for more experienced hikers and can be scaled in about 6 or 7 hours with the help of a guide. A highlight of this volcano is the stunning Besakih Temple, or the Mother Temple, Bali's largest temple on the volcano's southern slopes.

  • Location: Eastern Bali
  • Height: 3142 m
  • Last erupted**: 13 February 2018
  • Status: Active

Highlights

  • Seeing the beautiful sunrise from the top of the mountain
  • Visiting the stunning Mother Temple of Besakih
  • Far less crowds than other sunrise hikes, including Mount Batur

Lowlights

  • The temple in Pura Pasar Agung is sometimes closed for ceremonies, so check in advance if you wish to visit
  • This is a strenuous, tough climb and is mostly done in the dark (though worth it at the end!)
  • You must get up very early if you wish to see the sunrise, leaving the starting point around midnight
Mount Agung Hike Facts 
Hike duration: 4–5 hours from Pura Pasar Agung, 6–7 hours from Besakih
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Strenuous. High level of fitness required, recommended for experienced hikers only.
Remoteness: Somewhat remote. 2–3 hours drive from Besakih, 20 km north of Klunkung
Best season: Dry season (April to October) though the routes are often closed in April for religious ceremonies
Start and end locations: From the Pasar Agung Temple in Puru Pasar Agung (in the South) to the Crater Rim; or a slightly longer trek from Besakih (in the west) to the summit
Permits required: Anywhere from IDR 400,000* (USD 30) to IDR 1,000,000* (USD 74) for your guide, including your hiking permit
What to bring: Flashlight, walking shoes with good grip, a walking stick, warm layers of clothing (including gloves), sunscreen, water and some breakfast

 If you want to explore Mount Agung and Mount Rinjani, another volcano featured on this list, then check out the Bali & Lombok hike, bike & raft tour.  

2. Mount Batur

Mount Batur hike has relatively easy trails
Mount Batur hike is suitable for all hikers as the trails are relatively easy but the hike will start with a very, very early wake up call.

Mount Batur is probably one of Indonesia's most popular volcanoes due to its difficult but rewarding hike. Most people chose to do the two-to-three-hour hike of Mount Batur at dawn so they can see the incredible sunrise from the top. It is one of the most popular activities on the island of Bali for those looking for a bit of adventure. This Indonesian volcano is located in a beautiful sprawling caldera and is twinned by Mount Abang on the other side. 

  • Location: North Eastern Bali, not far from Ubud
  • Height: 1717 m
  • Last erupted**: 25 March 2011
  • Status: No activity since its last eruption

Please read our guide to hiking Mount Batur for more detailed information.

If this has caught your attention then check out this really affordable sunrise tour of Mount Batur of 12 hours.

3. Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is an Indonesian volcano with a view
Steam rises from Mount Bromo's crater (in the foreground). It is one the most active volcanoes in the world. Mount Semeru stands tall at the background.

If you're looking for an Indonesian volcano with a view, Mount Bromo is the one for you. Located within the Tenger Caldera, one of the most scenic locations in all of Indonesia, Mount Bromo offers incredible views of the sunrise with nearby Mount Semeru (featured below on this list) standing in the background. You don't even have to hike the volcano in order to see the view — you can also drive part way up the mountain and then ride a horse up to the top. There is a small set of stairs that you then must climb to reach the crater. 

  • Location: East Java
  • Height: 2329 m
  • Last erupted**: 11 November 2016
  • Status: Minor activity since the last eruption

Highlights

  • Gorgeous sunrise views with other volcanoes in the background
  • Not a very difficult hike

Lowlights

  • Waking up early to see the sunrise (usually around 3:30 am)
  • Dealing with very cold temperatures in the dark
  • Checkpoint 2 on the hike is accessible by car, so you may have to share it with crowds
Mount Bromo Hike Facts
Hike duration: About 1–2 hours
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Easy. Fit for all hikers.
Remoteness:

Fairly remote, closest town is Probolinggo, 27 miles away (about 3 hours away from Surabaya) accessible by public transport, but arranging private transport is recommended

Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: From Cemoro Lawang village to the rim
Permits required: Park entrance fee of IDR 217,500* (USD 16) on weekdays and IDR 320,000* (USD 24) on weekends
What to bring: Flashlight, water, warm clothing

 Check out this tour that brings out the explorer in you — from rainforests, ancient temples to climbing Mount Bromo. If conquering both Mount Bromo and Mount Batur sounds like you, thren check out the Java & Bali Explorer tour.

4. Mount Ijen

Mount Ijen is an Indonesian volcano with a lake in its crater
Fumes rise over the sulphuric lake in Mount Ijen. This is the world's largest acidic lake.

Mount Ijen is most well-known for its impressive crater, Kawah Ijen, where visitors get to experience a turquoise-coloured sulphuric lake inside. At night, the volcano gives off some pretty impressive blue sulphur flames — well worth the night-time hike to see. This is the largest acidic volcanic lake in the world, and sulphur collectors come to Mount Ijen every day to collect the mineral while being exposed to some pretty harmful fumes.

  • Location: East Java
  • Height: 2799 m
  • Last erupted**: 4 June 2016
  • Status: No activity since the last eruption

Highlights

  • Seeing the beautiful turquoise-coloured lake at the top
  • Watching the blue flames leap up from the crater at night
  • One of the most spectacular sunrises in all of Indonesia

Lowlights

  • Hiking in the dark and the cold
  • Having to wake up early (around 2:30 am) if you want to see the flame
  • Strong sulphur smell at the top (you’ll want to wear a gas mask) 
Mount Ijen Hike Facts 
Hike duration: About 1–2 hours
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Challenging, particularly near the crater. Not recommended for those with breathing issues due to sulphur.
Remoteness: Somewhat remote, about 1 hour 15 minutes from Banyuwangi
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Entrance at the mountain’s base camp (opens at 2:30am) to the caldera rim. This is a linear trail.
Permits required: 150,000 IDR* (USD 11.25)
What to bring: Gas mask (ask your guide if it’s provided), flashlight, shoes with good grip, warm clothes, water, walking stick

Check out this 15 day tour that will give you a chance to visit both Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen.

5. Mount Kerinci

Mount Kerinci is the highest Indonesian volcano
At 3805 m, Mount Kerinci is the highest volcano in Indonesia – and you can hike it!

Well, this is the big one! Mount Kerinci is the highest Indonesian volcano, towering over the island of Sumatra at 3805 m. It lies in the Kerinci Seblat National Park. On a clear day, you can see all the surrounding cities and even the Indian Ocean from its summit. At the summit, you will also find a large crater filled with green-coloured water and Bento Lake.  

Mount Kerinci is also home to a wild abundance of wildlife, including the endangered Sumatran rhino and the Sumatran tiger. Due to the recent high levels of volcanic activity at Mount Kerinci, there is a 1 km wide exclusion zone around it but it should not be a worry as long as you stick to the trail.   

  • Location: West Sumatra
  • Height: 3805 m
  • Last erupted**: 13 August 2017
  • Status: Minor activity
  • Entrance fee: IDR 15000* (USD 1.1) for entering the Kerinci Seblat National Park

Highlights

  • Spectacular views of the surrounding area from the summit
  • Diverse landscapes and wildlife, all the way up to the top
  • Climbing the highest active volcano in Southeast Asia

Lowlights

  • Camping on the mountains where nights can be cold with an early start each day (although some may argue that this makes for a more authentic hiking/trekking experience)
  • You may not always be permitted to reach the summit, as the volcano is still active (your guide will typically advise as you get closer)
Mount Kerinci Hike Facts
Hike duration: 2 – 3 days
Hike difficulty / Physical fitness: Challenging. This hike is for people who wish to challenge their stamina.
Remoteness: Very remote. The nearest town is Kersik Tuo. Most travel from Padang (West Sumatra), some 8–10 hours away by car
Best season: Dry season (April to October). Mount Kerinci is in a rainforest, so be prepared for some rain and slippery trails.
Start and end locations: Kersik Tua tea plantations to the summit
Permits required: IDR 150,000* (USD 11.25)
What to bring: Waterproof hiking shoes, warm clothing that covers most of your body, a headlamp or flashlight, a waterproof jacket, sunscreen, camping gear (should be provided by your guide)

6. Mount Krakatau / Anak Krakatau

Anak Krakatau is a Indonesian volcano that can be hiked
Anak Krakatau is more hiker friendly than its parent, Mount Krakatau

If you ask most people to name a volcano, they will probably name Mount Krakatua (or Krakatau). This may very well be the most famous volcano in the entire world, thanks to its massive explosion in 1883. The eruption was so powerful it was felt all the way in Sydney, Australia (some 4,000+ km away) and it even caused the volcano to break apart, so that it now grows in size every year and has even created other smaller volcanos. While you cannot hike this dangerous volcano, you can visit one of those 'baby' volcanos: Anak Krakatau, which can be reached in about an hour by speedboat from Cerita Beach (two hours from Jakarta).

  • Location: Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra
  • Height: 813 m
  • Last erupted**: 22 February 2017
  • Status: Minor activity
  • Hiking Mount Krakatau: No

Highlights

  • Spend the night on the beach at the base of the volcano
  • Seeing the other fragments of the Krakatau volcano around you
  • Look out for marine life (like dolphins) on your boat ride over to Anak Krakatau

Lowlights

  • You cannot reach the summit, only a viewpoint about halfway up the volcano (if you go higher it is too hot)
  • Must take a boat in order to reach the volcano
Anak Krakatau Hike Facts
Hike duration: 30 minutes
Hike difficulty: Easy
Remoteness: Somewhat remote — 1 hour by speedboat from Cerita Beach
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Cerita Beach at the island volcano’s base to the viewpoint (200 m above sea level)  
Permits required: None
What to bring: Good walking shoes 

7. Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi is a famous Indonesian volcano
On a clear day, you can see as many as 5 volcanos from Mount Merapi's summit. 'Merapi' means 'the one making fire' in old Javanese language.

Mount Merapi, or "the mountain of fire" in the local language, is one of the most active Indonesian volcanoes; however, it has quieted down in recent years and can now sometimes be hiked when activity is low. Sometimes you can even arrange a nighttime flight over the volcano so that you can see the lava flowing down its eastern side. If you visit Mount Merapi, you can also see some of the ruins that were formed following the volcano's last large eruption in 2010. 

  • Location: Central Java
  • Height: 2968 m
  • Last erupted**: 30 January 2018
  • Status: Minor activity 

 Highlights

  • Walking through the volcanic ash and seeing the ruins from the volcano’s most recent large eruption
  • Seeing no less than 5 volcanoes from the summit on a clear day: Merapi, Merbabu, Sumbing, Sindoro and Telomoyo

 Lowlights

  • There are many obstacles on the path up and down the mountain, so you must be very careful not to injure yourself
  • This is still a fairly dangerous volcano to hike, and you often won’t be able to get too close to the crater
Mount Merapi Hike Facts
Hike duration: 4 – 6 hours
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Challenging at times, average level of fitness required
Remoteness: Not very remote, not far from the village of Selo, or just 45 minutes from Yogyakarta
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Selo village to the summit (as close as you can get), the alternative route from Kaliurang is currently closed
Permits required: Yes. IDR 150,000* (USD 11.25) during the week and IDR 225,000* (USD 16.61) on the weekend
What to bring: Water, shoes with good grip, a flashlight and warm clothing if you hike at night

8. Mount Rinjani

Mount Rinjani is the only Indonesian volcano in Lombok
Segara Anak, the crater lake of Mount Rinjani is a pilgrimage site for many

Mount Rinjani is the only volcano on the island of Lombok and is also the second highest volcano in Indonesia. Every year, there are many pilgrims who make the climb to the lush crater lake Segara Anak to make offerings to the gods. While it is certainly hike-able, the demanding trek takes about two days (though the views from the top are absolutely worth it). You can also take some shorter hikes among the hills on the mountain's slopes. As Lombok becomes a popular alternative island to Bali, more and more people are visiting Mount Rinjani. 

Please read our guide on trekking Mount Rinjani for more detailed information. 

  • Location: North Eastern Lombok
  • Height: 3726 m
  • Last erupted**: 26 September 2017
  • Status: Dormant

 Highlights

  • Magnificent views from the top — the best in all of Lombok
  • Seeing some spectacular landscapes, including a lush floral valley near the top
  • Looking down into the crater to see turquoise Lake Segara Anak

Lowlights

  • One of the most challenging hikes in Indonesia with a very slow pace due to its steepness
  • Very cold weather, particularly at night
Mount Rinjani Hike Facts
Hike duration: 2–6 days (depending on your tour/guide)
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Challenging — hikers should have stamina
Remoteness: Not remote, many villages nearby
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Sembalun village to the crater (recommended), or Senaru village to the crater
Permits required: 150,000 IDR* (USD 11.65) per day
What to bring: Warm clothing (including hats and gloves), good hiking shoes, sunscreen, water, food (check with your guide to see what is included), camping gear (if not provided), headlamps or flashlights, a walking stick

If you are interested to hike Mount Bromo, Mount Rinjani and Mount Merbabu, another volcano adjacent to Mount Merapi, then the Indonesia Volcano Trek is for you.

9. Mount Semeru

You would be hard-pressed to find a volcano more diverse than Mount Semeru, the highest volcano on the island of Java, situated next to Mount Bromo. It is often called 'Mahameru' by the locals, which means 'the great mountain' and lets out a huge cloud of steam or smoke every 20 minutes or so. This stratovolcano is covered in a sprawling savanna and even features a freshwater lake and a field of Brazilian verbena (delicate purple flower) near the top. Hiking Mount Semeru is relatively easy, except for a slightly challenging slope near the summit, however, it would take you about two days to climb it in full. 

  • Location: East Java
  • Height: 3676 m
  • Last erupted**: Continuous eruption since 1967 
  • Status: Active

Highlights

  • Seeing many different landscapes as you ascend
  • Watching the volcano emit a belch of smoke every 20 minutes
  • Spending the night at the campsite on Lake Ranukumbolo

Lowlights

  • Strong sulphur air near the crater
  • Can be very rocky and difficult in some areas
Mount Semeru Hike Facts
Hike duration: 2 days
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Not too challenging, but average level of fitness and stamina required due to duration
Remoteness: Not very remote. Ranupane (the starting point) can be easily reached from nearby villages, such as Malang or Tumpang
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Ranupane village to the summit
Permits required: 20,000 IDR* (USD 2.10)
What to bring: A copy of your passport (required by the park rangers), good hiking shoes, camping gear, water, food, hiking stick, headlamp or flashlight, waterproof clothing

10. Mount Tambora

While the eruption of Mount Krakatoa may be quite famous around the world, it was, in fact, the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora that was one of the deadliest in the world — the largest volcanic explosion ever recorded. It was the cause of the "Year without Summer" in 1816 — a series of climate abnormalities that caused temperatures to drop and led to major food shortages around the world. The eruption was believed to kill about 71,000 people and was heard over 2,000 km away. Today, the volcano is calm and safe to hike.

  • Location: Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara
  • Height: 2850 m
  • Last erupted**: 29 May 2016
  • Status: Dormant

 Highlights

  • Uncrowded trail due to few hikers
  • Discovering the archaeological sites at Tambora village, which was totally wiped out in the 1815 eruption

 Lowlights

  • Trying to find the volcano, as it is very remote
  • Having to walk through a virgin jungle with many paths overgrown
  • Dealing with the heavy rain (which is common in this area)
Mount Tambora Hike Facts
Hike duration: 2–3 days (with an additional 3 if you wish to reach the summit)
Hike difficulty / physical fitness: Challenging, high level of fitness required
Remoteness: Very remote
Best season: Dry season (April to October)
Start and end locations: Pancasila village (can take more than a day to reach from Sumbawa Besar) to the summit; alternative route available from Doro Peti (near Dompu), but often overgrown. A local guide is highly recommended.
Permits required: IDR 150,000* (USD 11.25)
What to bring: Warm waterproof clothing, good hiking shoes, headlamp or flashlight, rainproof jacket

 It’s no wonder that with about 13% of the world’s volcanos, there are so many Indonesian volcanoes that you can explore. Conquering any of these mighty giants is an ode to one’s endurance and determination. These mountains call to some of the most adventurous spirits, are you up for the challenge?

*Please note that the prices listed are as of February 2018 

**The last eruption dates were updated on February 2018

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