Volcano Trekking @ Gunung Prau – Central Java

 
  • Written by:  Heinz von Holzen
  • Date Posted:  May 22nd, 2012
  • Category:  Java
  • Comments:  No Comments »

Dieng Plateau:View over village

Most travelers visiting the Dieng Plateau will make their journey to this high altitude plateau for several main reasons. One to escape from the tropical heat of densely populated cities of central Java. Two to visit the ancient, well  over 1000 years old temple ruins, and three for the scenic beauty of this volcanic wonderland. While in the area and if you enjoy hiking, why not to add a fourth reason and venture up to the rim of the caldera, which will offer superb views in various locations? ”Provided the weather is on your side”. Trekking @ Gunung Prau

Arjuna Temples

Ancient Dieng:

The lofty Dieng Plateau is home to the oldest Hindu temples in Java that were built between the 7th and the 9th century. The name Dieng comes from Di-Hyang (Adobe of the Gods) and it is believe that this was once a flourishing temple-city. Over 400 temples were built and covered the highland plain, of which only eight small temples still remain. They are often shrouded in mist and also known as the nation’s main potato growing area. The temples are simple in detail but it is the extraordinary beauty of the surroundings and the close proximity to volcanic activity with bright colored sulfur springs, lakes and bubbling mud holes that are an immense tourist attraction.Bubbling mud holes Especially during weekends, locals from Semarang and Yogyakarta overrun the place as they escape from the humid heat of the tropics. The landscape is simply stunning, steep mountainsides terraced with vegetable plots enclose the huge volcanically active plateau, a marshy caldera of a collapsed volcano. Many great walks can be made around the village of Dieng, or a walk or a 7 km bike ride to Java’s highest village, Sembungan should be a must. Hiking @ Gunung Prau

Java's highest villageSunrise in the mist of Gunung Sikunir:

One should not stop at the village Sembungan but continue the ride or hike passed the village, following the only road through the village. About 1 km after the village passing the crater lake and more vegetable plantations you will get to a car park which during high season (May- October) houses  a small Warung serving simple refreshments and of course some delicious hot coffee, that always comes in handy in the very cool early morning hours. Easy early morning hikeRemember you are well over 2000 meter over sea level where the temperature often drops into the low tens in the early morning hours. This again means that a warm jacket is absolutely essential.  In this area look out for a very special type papaya tree, with fruits that hang tightly clustered from the top of the stem. Trekking @ Gunung Prau Central Java

Good steep path

Breakfast glory:

From the car park follow the large well-defined path for a good 30 minutes. The first 400 meters ascends slightly passed more terraced vegetable and potato fields and more interesting, unusual fruit plants. Then, just  as you get towards the first ridge the path turns to the right and winds steeply up the mountainside.Glorious sunrise Here the trail is steep but offers little challenges and within 15 minutes you will reach the first main look out that offers some of Indonesia’s best scenic views.  Stunning stepped plantationsRight in front of you towers the well over 3000 meter high Gunung Sindoro, to the south East Gunung Merbabu with one of Indonesia’s most active volcanos, Gunung Merapi on its side. Breathtaking is also the steep drop down into the valley with countless vegetable terrasses carved in to the hillside, and several villages nestled along the river on the foot hills. Trekking @ Gunung Prau

A little extra for paradise:

Do not stop at this point for too long and make your way a little further up the hillside. Then just as you leave this view point on the way back, a small trail will lead you to the left up to yet another and much better vantage point. Due to the fact that this section is rarely used the trail can be rather overgrown as it was in our case. Java's highest villageDespite this fact you will have little challenge working out the direction of the path. Within 20 minutes and climbing a few more altitude meters you will get out of the woods and the scenery in every direction is simply stunning. From the highest point you will have endless views to the west, with the village of Sembungan and its own small crater lake deep below. This would also be a terrific area to set up camp for the night, as it offers plenty of firewood and many small hilltops that protect you from the often-torrential cold winds. Hiking @ Gunung Prau

Home stay with cemetery top left cornerGunung Prau:

Unfortunately when we arrived in Dieng the weather was not exactly on our side with rain and heavy clouds covering the mountaintops. But then within an hour after our arrival the skies cleared and without thinking too much we decided to immediately pack our raincoats, get a bottle of water, and as always a change of t-shirt and immediately embark for the summit of the caldera.Cemetery As we stayed in the center of Dieng in Bu Djono’s home stay, the trail started virtually behind the home stay which is next to the main turn off to Wonosobo. We departed for our short hike just after 3.30 pm in the afternoon.  Right behind the home stay the trail first leads for a hundred meters passed a few more rows of houses before a set of stairs will lead you steeply up towards the town’s cemetery, which you will reach within less then 10 minutes. Surrounded and protected by large trees, this last burial ground can clearly be seen from the village. A short stroll around this last resting place is well worth a stop. Trekking @ Gunung Prau Central Java

The trail:

The farm trail now flattens and leads for about 1 km passed mainly potato, spring onion and cabbage plantations. Then at an elevation of 2123 meters you will leave the plantations behind you and enter the forest, which will stay with you right to the summit. As you enter the forest the trail will ascend more steeply on a well-defined good trail that offers plenty of good grip. Vegetable plantationsSimply follow a power line that will lead you up the mountain into the right direction. Within 20 minutes you will reach a border marker of Wonosobo,(2390 meters) which is located right on the ridge of the caldera. Here the path flattens for a few meters and then gets rather steep, winding up the mountainside. 50 meters higher the trek gets even steeper and the last 150 meters of altitude will challenge your fitness  slightly, your heart beat rises quickly and as normal within a few minutes you will bathe in your own sweat. Unfortunately this work out will only last a good 20 minutes before you reach the slowly collapsing TV-Tower.  Be careful on the way down, as this section in wet conditions, as it was in our case can be very slippery. Trekking @ Gunung Prau

Grey windy, rainy summit sender

The grey summit:

For a change we remember the summit of Gunung Prahu not for the incredible views from this point, but for the absolute horrible weather conditions. Here we stood, almost on top of another mountain and the wind was howling and cold. Thick mist covered the entire mountaintop in a dark grey blanket that barely allowed us to see our hands in front of our face. Protected by our high quality rain jacket and warmed by thermal Merino wool jumper we actually enjoyed the bad weather tremendously. Hiking @ Gunung Prau

Glorious sunshineBad weather conclusion:

Yes it is very special to be on top of a mountain after an exhausting climb and enjoy the views in perfect weather conditions. But lets face it, weather on most mountains is unpredictable and why should one be stopped by a “little” (in our case it was pouring), rain, wind and other circumstances to stay at home? However it is of utmost importance when venturing into alpine regions to bring only the very best gear that money can buy. Then only the very best will keep you dry and warm and with it will bring you safely back from where you started.

Summery Gunung Prau:

Elevation: 2599 meters
Coordinates: -7.189889,109.926109
Location: Central Java 120 north west of Yogyakarta
Difficult Grade: 2 Easy comfortable hike and good trail
Physical Challenge: 2 Easy
Hiking time: 3 hours for round trip
Water source: 1 ½ liter recommended                                            
Guide: Not essential
Permit: Not required
Transport: Yogyakarta – Dieng 120 km 4 hours, Plenty of public transports available
Yogyakarta – Magelang – Secang – Parakan Kauman – Parakan – Kledung – Kertek – Wonosobo – Dieng
Accommodations: Plentiful available in Dieng. Ranging from cheap to very cheap, and very very basic

 

Trekking @ Indonesian Volcano Adventures

 

 

Leave a Reply

  • Welcome to Trekking and Volcano Adventures in Indonesia

    Unfortunately Indonesia is far too often for the wrong reasons in the lime light of the world press. Terror, tsunamis, earthquakes, destructions of rain forest and corruption seem to be the favorite subject of the media. To my great disappointment far too few people talk about the incredible cultural diversity of the nation, the enormous size, and totally forget to focus on the unbelievable beauty of this great nation.
Beside the incredible beauty of Indonesia, a nation is only as good as its inhabitants. I cannot think of another place on earth where you would find so many incredible kind people that will be delighted to look after you in a way normally only kings and royalty are treated.
 Hopefully these colorful stories will encourage many readers to pack a good pair of quality hiking boots and a backpack big enough to store the impressions of the countless memorable discoveries awaiting one throughout Indonesia. Selamat Jalan and happy trekking Heinz von Holzen Trekking @ Indonesian Trekking Adventure
  • bumbu bali logo

    rumah bali logo

  • Recent Comments

    • No Comments Yet
  •  

IndoVolcano is proudly powered by WordPress 3.4.1 Entries (RSS) Comments (RSS).