Indonesia Trekking Information
Indonesia is one of the most geologically active countries in the world. If you like climbing volcanoes, and I do, head to Indonesia it has more active volcanoes than any other country. While you won't get the spectacular snowscapes of glaciers and rock you get in the Himalayas, there are few hikes which offer such a diverse array of vistas and landscapes in such a short accent as a volcano in the tropics. Typically an ascent of an Indonesian volcano involves hiking through lush tropical jungle and farmland on the lower slopes. The lush green gives way to loose barren volcanic rock on the upper slopes, and the absence of vegetation allows expansive views over the island. Upon reaching the crater rim one is rewarded with a view into the steaming churning volcanic crater in one direction and a manginficent bird's eye view of the island in the other.
Best Season: June through October, many volcanoes are closed to climbers during the peak of the rainy season from December to February
Base Cities: Mataram (Lombok), Malang (East Java), Yogyakarta (Central Java), Padang (East Sumatra), Medan (North Sumatra)
Guide book/Maps: Lonely Planet Indonesia
Trekking Practicalities :
For the most part treks up Indonesia's volcanoes involve relatively little red tape. The exceptions are those in the most touristic areas of Bali and Lombok where local travel agents and guides have lobbied to make it very difficult if not out right illegal for foreigners to climb the volcanoes independently. Peaks which are in National Parks may also have accompanying permits and fees but are usually reasonable (though two tier local/foreigner pricing is routine in Indonesia) and relatively straight forward to pay. Volcanoes can be deadly and many people have died as a result of these impressive monuments to nature's power. It is important to find out the activity status of any volcano before attempting an ascent. In addition to closures due to geologic actively climbing routes are also closed do to weather. The loose nature of the volcanic soil and rock mean that attempting climbs in bad weather can be extremely dangerous due to landslides, flash floods, and poor footing. Even during the dry season weather can be unpredictable on the slopes of high volcanoes so watch weather conditions carefully and be prepared to halt or abandon your ascent if conditions become too treacherous.