Top 10 the most interesting hiking trails in Jakarta

Gunung Tangkuban Parahu (West Java)

This volcano consisting of numerous active craters is one of the leading tourist attractions in West Java – mainly because it is an easy day-trip from Bandung and there is a road all the way to the Jaya Giri car park at the edge of Kawah Ratu crater at 1,830m! Stalls line the fences overlooking the craters and the sound of the call to prayer, angkots and ojeks rings in the air. However, it’s an impressive viewpoint, and there is actually some incredibly wild trekking to be done across the mountain massif despite the many masts which crown the long summit ridge. There are many sulphur vents in Kawah Ratu but there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1926.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Reserve a ticket on the Argo Parahyangan train from Gambir to Bandung on Friday afternoon and return by the same method on the Saturday evening or Sunday. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly. You could also take a shuttle bus but be warned that the traffic could be horrendous.


Gunung Papandayan (West Java)

This Ribu is located about one hour’s drive from the town of Garut and actually has a car park at over 2,000 metres above sea level on the edge of the active craters. There is an alternative route to the mountain from Cileuleuy and Pangalengan but the approach from the main crater is by far the easiest and most popular. The scenery is some of the most spectacular and varied in West Java and the active crater attracts a lot of tourists.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Take a Garut-bound Primajasa bus from Ciputat, Lebak Bulus or Cililitan. Tickets are cheap and are normally just bought upon boarding. The earlier you can leave, the better traffic-wise. Consider spending the Friday night at Cipanas near Garut or in Garut itself. Return by the same method on the Sunday.


Gunung Slamet (Central Java)

Gunung Slamet is the highest peak in Central Java and second highest in Java island. Upon seeing Slamet during his first exploration of the world, Sir Francis Drake immediately directed his boat to dock in Cilacap on Java’s south coast. It is an immense mountain and the vast lava field summit is one of the most isolated places you can be in Java. It is also one of the best places to see both the north and south coasts. Slamet is one of Java’s more active volcanoes and there is almost always lots of gas around at the crater.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Depending on your preferred trailhead (Bambangan or Guci) take a train from Jakarta’s Gambir or Pasar Senen stations to Purwokerto (for Bambangan) or Tegal (for Guci) on Friday afternoon/evening. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly. Return by the same method on the Sunday or do a traverse of the mountain, returning by a different route.


Gunung Gede-Pangrango (West Java)

This Ribu is one of the two peaks that form part of the famous Gede-Pangrango National Park. It is only 50 km drive from Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta, and is one of the most popular destinations in “The Puncak”, which is the area between Cisarua and Cibodas. Due to its proximity to Jakarta and Bandung, it sees over 50,000 visitors per year and there is actually a limit to how many climbers are allowed up each day. The most common starting point is at the entrance to the magnificent Cibodas Botanical Gardens where the Gede-Pangrango Park office is located (for permits, guides, porters and basic maps).

How to get there and back from Jakarta: If hiking from Cibodas or Gunung Putri then the only option is by road (via the toll to Bogor and then up to The Puncak area). This is congested at the best of times. If the less popular Selabintana route is open (double check), then you can take a commuterline train to Bogor, walk over the footbridge to Bogor Paledang station and take the Sukabumi-bound Pangrango train. The Pangrango train travels in both directions 3 times a day and you need to book well in advance as seats are limited (especially the more comfortable executive class). Return by the same method or do a traverse of the mountain.


Gunung Merbabu (Central Java)

This Ribu is one of the most popular hikes in Central Java, and has spectacular views to other volcanoes in all directions from the summit area. It has five calderas, Condrodimuko, Kombang, Kendang, Rebab and Sambernyowo but no serious volcanic activity has been reported here for many decades. Merbabu can be climbed from Kopeng (northern slope, near to Semerang) or Selo (southern slope between Merbabu and Merapi and closer to Solo), The best hike is definitely a traverse from Kopeng to Selo, because the climb from Kopeng is a gentler slope and there is a good source of water halfway up. This hike could be completed in a day by very fit people, but an overnight stay on one of the summits is recommended.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Reserve a ticket on a Semarang-bound train from Gambir or Pasar Senen on Friday afternoon and return by the same method on the Sunday afternoon or evening. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly.


Gunung Merapi (Central Java)

This Ribu is the most active volcano in Indonesia. Its name literally means mountain of fire and it is one of the world’s 16 Decade Volcanoes. It can therefore be very dangerous indeed. There was a major eruption in 2006 but nothing on the scale of what happened in October and November 2010 when a series of devastating eruptions killed over 300 people across a radius of almost 20km from the crater. Among the dead was Merapi’s gatekeeper, Mbah Maridjan, and the volcano was on a high level of alert for several months afterwards. Since mid-2011, Merapi has been relatively quiet again and it is possible to climb to the crater rim.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Reserve a ticket on a train from Gambir to Yogyakarta on Friday afternoon and return by the same method on the Saturday evening or Sunday. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly.


Gunung Muria (Central Java)

This mountain is like the younger sibling of Gunung Lawu, as they are both pilgrimage mountains, both have considerable links to Indonesia’s pre-Islamic past, and both have gorengan food stalls on or near the summit! Whereas Lawu is a considerable hike, Gunung Muria is a half-day outing, or better still a sunrise trek.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Reserve a ticket on a Semarang-bound train from Gambir or Pasar Senen on Friday afternoon and return by the same method on the Sunday afternoon or evening. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly.


Gunung Prau and the Dieng Plateau (Central Java)

When Gunung Bagging first visited back in 2010 there were no other hikers up at the top of Gunung Prau. Fast-forward to 2018 and social media has meant that it is now almost impossible to take a photo here without getting a tent ot two in the picture. But it’s a staggering panorama at dawn… the huge volcanic twins of Sindoro and Sumbing plus the fascinating Dieng Plateau down below. One of the very best viewpoints in Java.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Two possible routes… via Pekalongan or Purwokerto. Take a train from Jakarta’s Gambir or Pasar Senen stations to either of these cities on Friday afternoon/evening. Tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly. Return by the same method on the Sunday.


Gunung Parang and the Jatiluhur hills (West Java)

This hill region near Jatiluhur reservoir is perhaps the finest day trip you can make from Jakarta, assuming you are willing to set off very early to beat the traffic. The area is about halfway between Jakarta and Bandung and all three main peaks – Parang, Bongkok and Lembu – are worth climbing in their own right.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Either take a Bandung-bound train and get off at Purwakarta or take a bus from Kampung Rambutan. Train tickets are available 90 days in advance and weekend seats sell out quickly. Return by the same method.


Guung Raksa and Panaitan Island (Banten)

Panaitan island is best known as a remote surfing spot but it also has a small mountain with an ancient statue on top. Not only is the hike enjoyable, but camping near the ocean on an island that sees few visitors is a brilliant way to relax after a week of mayhem in Jakarta.

How to get there and back from Jakarta: Either by private car to Carita or Sumur (or wherever your boat captain is based) or by commuterline to Rangkasbitung and then private car. Ideally you need a group of 6 or 7 to make this trip affordable as hiring a speedboat and crew for the weekend is not cheap.