Volcano Trekking @ Gunung Ungaran – Central Java

 
  • Written by:  Heinz von Holzen
  • Date Posted:  June 7th, 2012
  • Category:  Java
  • Comments:  No Comments »

The setting:

For some mountains it is great to be on the summit for sunrise, meaning that the ascent is always a race in the dark against the sun. Then there are mountains where it is worth spending the night close to, or on the summit for a super cold night, but a very special daybreak with a sunrise that will be in your memories forever. Other volcanoes or mountains you should approach just like so many mountains in the European Alps, rise early and start your hiking adventure when the first rays of the sun illuminate the surrounding. Gunung Ungaran is definitely a mountain you should hike up during day light hours, as the scenery especially in the lower section is simply breathtaking. The setting says it all… 9 magnificent Hindu temples that are more then 1100 years old and a kaleidoscope of volcanoes as a backdrop making this part of central Java seriously striking. Trekking @ Gunung Ungaran Java

Gedong Songo TempleGedong Songo Temple:

The adventure starts at the entrance to the Gedong Songo Temple complex, a set of ancient Hindu shrines dating back to the ninth century. You are required to purchase a ticket, which is essential as the actual trail turns of the main tourist track a few hundred meters up hill. After entering the gate follow the main path to the first Candi, which will take only a few minutes. Here it is of utmost important to stop and enjoy the astonishing views of the surrounding volcanoes. The twins of Gunung Sumbung and Sindoro a little closer and in the southeast the massive Gunung Merbabu with Gunung Merapi make a dramatic backdrop in the golden early morning sun. Hiking @ Gunung Ungaran Java

Entrance area to the templesThe trail:

With many great images in your camera continue to follow the main path for a couple hundred meters uphill where soon you will reach a set of solidly built wooden Warungs that sell the usual selection of refreshments and lots of   tacky souvenirs. Pass these Warungs straight up for about 100 meters or until the main path turns to the left, slightly down hill. It is here where a small trail leads you into thick forest where a small but relatively well-defined track will lead you into the right direction. Within a few meters you will reach the steepest section of the entire track that winds zig zag up the flank of the mountain and in less then 20 minutes you will gain about 150 meters of altitude. Once this steepest section is behind, the trail then continues to ascend comfortably steeply through picturesque forest that is littered with an array of colorful wild flowers. Trekking @ Gunung Ungaran

The 20-minute interval:

In some ways the 20-minute rhythm continues and before long you will get out of the dense forest and for the next couple of hundred meters you cross a grassed flank that follows the ridge thirty to forty meters high above.

Great camp siteComfortable all the way This short section is not very steep and shortly after you get back into the forest you arrive at a terrific campsite that is embedded and protected by giant old trees. This will end the first hour of a most joyful early morning hike at an altitude of 1750 meters and with it is also the halfway point. Hiking @ Gunung Ungaran

The second hour:

The following 100 meters of altitude are once again rather steep and can be quite tricky on the way down, especially during rainy days when the soil is wet and with it can be rather slippery. However a little extra attention and some additional support from small trees, bushes and roots will assist you greatly, especially on the way down. Then at 1900 meters you will arrive at another ridge with yet another Y-junction. Here you take the left trail which will lead you first down the side of what appears to bean ancient crater of a long extinct volcano that is now densely forested. After about 50 meters the trail flattens and crosses the base for a good 150 meters before once again ascending up the side of the rim. Trekking @ Gunung Ungaran

The overgrown circumnavigation:

From this point it will take another good 30 minutes of solid hiking to reach the summit. Rather large portions of these upper sections are totally overgrown by grass and at times it is a bit of guess – work where the actual bottom of the track is. Simply follow your nose and instinct, slow a little down as it is actually quite easy to work out where to place your foot. Somehow it seems that you circumnavigate the summit and gradually make your way to the top. Along the entire trail you will notice iron signs with the inscription CANDI that will guide you safely up and down from Gunung Ungaran. Miles of tea plantationsOnly the last 50 meters of the actually summit are not forested. These will reward you with absolutely stunning views in every direction. Hiking @ Gunung Ungaran Java

The beauty and the clouds:

Gunung Ungaran definitely deserves a detour from the “Big 3000 meter volcanoes” as you are rewarded with stunning views in every section of the trail. Ancient Candies, beautiful forests, a large variety of flowers and to top it all the mountain offers a great work out.Always a proud moment Despite all these great features make certain to be on the summit well before 10 am as it seems common for the clouds to come in around this time and cover the summit in heavy clouds which seem to burst almost daily into serious down pours. Trekking @ Gunung Ungaran.

Summary Gunung Ungaran:

  • Elevation: 2050 meters
  • Coordinates
  • Summit: -7.183502,110.348396
  • Gedong Songo Temples:-7.209709,110.342131
  • Location: Central Java 100 km north of Yogyakarta or
  • 40 km South of Semerang
  • Difficult Grade: 2. The trail is rather with two relatively steep sections. The first one begins almost immediately once you depart the Gedong Songo temple area. The second steep section begins immediately after the1/2 way camp site.
  • Physical Challenge: 2. Good shoes will greatly help in the upper section where the path is often over grown and after downpours can be rather slipery
  • Hiking time: 4 – 4 ½ hours for round trip
  • Water source: None. 3 liters recommended
  • Guide: Not essential
  • Permit: Not required
  • Transport: Yogyakarta – Magelang – Secang –  Pingit – Jambu – Ambarawa – Bandungan
  • Start of trail: Bandungan – Gedong Songo Temples – 5 km
  • US$ 3.50 on the back of a motorbike
  • Accommodation: Plentiful available for any budget in Bandungan

Direction to Gunung Ungaran:

Hiking @ Indonesian Volcano Trekking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 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
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