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Located at the junction of four tectonic plates, Indonesia is very much in the Ring of Fire. The vast archipelago nation is home to more historically active volcanoes than any other country. Just last year, there were three volcanoes erupting at the same time across Indonesia! While these steaming and bubbling mountains full of lava may terrify some, they provide a fantastic adventure opportunity for others. Volcano treks are a big part of adventure tourism on several of the islands. Here’s a closer look at what it’s like climbing volcanoes in Indonesia.
One of the most popular volcano adventures in Indonesia is a trip to Mt. Bromo. It’s actually just one of several volcanoes in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Here you can cross the Sea of Sand to climb up and gaze down into the steaming crater of Bromo. In the middle of the night, climb up to the viewpoint where you can (hopefully) see the famous sunrise shot that often graces the cover of travel guides. You can read more about our wild DIY Mt. Bromo adventure and check out some of the videos on our YouTube channel. Here’s Part Two, which includes flying across the Sea of Sand on a motorbike.
If you’re headed from Java to Bali or vice versa, you might as well make a detour to see the incredible blue fire of Kawah Ijen. It’s not really blue lava, but is actually a result of the combustion of sulfuric gases. You’ll have to hike down into the crater in the middle of the night to see it. It’s hard work, but not nearly as hard as what the miners do here. Hauling the sulfur up and down the mountain only earns them about $10 a day, and it’s backbreaking work to say the least.
If you’re staying on the Island of the Gods, you’ve got two options for climbing volcanoes. Mt. Agung is the tallest on Bali and is a very difficult hike. Those not up for the challenge should go with Mt. Batur. It’s a relatively easy hike and just about every travel agent on the island runs trips here. A great option is hiking up for sunrise and then soaking in nearby hot springs as a reward.
When it comes to climbing volcanoes in Indonesia, it’s hard to beat a Mt. Rinjani trek. Towering at 3,726 meters (12,224 ft), it’s the 2nd tallest volcano in the country. There are several options for multi-day hikes that include camping, waterfalls, hot springs, and a trip to the summit if you can handle it. Spend a few days doing this then chill out on the Gili Islands for a while to recover. In all my time living and traveling in Indonesia, this has been the best adventure I’ve had.
Compared to the other volcanoes mentioned in this post, a trip to Mt. Kelimutu is a breeze. As it’s one of the most popular things to do on the entire island of Flores, they’ve tried to make it easier and more accessible. You can get driven all the way up to a nice staircase and enjoy a very moderate walk up to take in sunrise over the amazing 3-colored lakes.
If you’re staying in the town of Maumere in Flores and want a good adventure, head out to climb Mt. Egon. It’s possible to sign up to go with a guide, or you can just get dropped off at the trailhead and figure it out yourself. Just be warned that the path isn’t always clear. We lost it a few times on our solo trip there, but still managed to get up and down on our own in about five hours.