A sight that must be seen by any traveler who likes to go off the beaten path, even if it is just slightly. Mount Merapi is a true adventure, especially for the ones that dare to climb it, but also just by witnessing the beauty of Mount Merapi and it’s surroundings. Either explore it in a 4×4 jeep or drive up yourself to the various viewpoints available, Mount Merapi is a stunning site from every angle. But be careful, the volcano is still active, and recently erupted still in 2010, killing roughly 350 people over a period of a bit more then a month. Read more info on exploring Mount Merapi (independently) below!
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Where is Mount Merapi?
Mount Merapi is an active volcano located 30km North of the famous city of Yogyakarta. Whilst Yogyakarta is mainly known for the Borobudur temple, the surroundings and nature of Yogyakarta should be on your Yogyakarta itinerary. Mount Merapi is almost 3000m high and can be seen from various points in the city, head North and you will without doubt manage to spot it from a distance! Find a map showing the location of Mount Merapi below as well.
Where to stay in Yogyakarta
For the budget travelers and solo backpackers – Yogyakarta is a well known destination for backpackers and travelers and a large range of hostels is available. We stayed at Sae Sae hostel and loved our stay there. Clean rooms, a large communal outside area and friendly staff. The hostel is conveniently close located to multiple restaurants (including local and western food). Check Sae Sae Hostel out here or find more hostels in Yogyakarta on Hostelworld.com.
For any type of traveler or backpacker – AirBnB has a large and extensive offering of rooms, studio’s and apartments available, suiting any kind of traveler’s needs. Adjust your search based on your personal preferences: gym, swimming pool, breakfast included… from budget rooms for 10$ a night to luxury apartment complexes. We used AirBnB to book our accommodation at Trava House in Yogyakarta. Trava House is conveniently located in a quiet street, serves a delicious breakfast (included) every morning and the staff are some of the kindest people we have ever met.
How to Get To Mount Merapi
While it is not recommended to climb the volcano without a guide, in the end it still is an active volcano, you can admire the volcano from various viewpoints and areas surrounding the volcano. There are multiple ways to go and visit the mountain, find two of the most popular options below.
Option 1 – Rent your own motorbike and explore Mount Merapi’s surrounding independently. This is the option we took. We rented a motorbike for a day and headed North. We decided to head to Klangon Hill, a viewpoint located on the South of Mount Merapi and easily accessible from Yogyakarta. Once you leave the city of Yogyakarta you will be driving through small villages and fields of green filled with crops and rice. Locals will welcome you warmly with their smiles and the drive up there is truly an experience on it’s own. While most of the roads are in good condition the end can get a bit steep and a bit of driving experience on a motorbike is recommended! Find more photo’s and info on Klangon Hill below this section.
Expected costs: between 60.000 and 80.000 per motorbike, don’t forget to fill up your tank before heading out there.
Option 2 – Book a lava tour. This is the most popular option for travellers and tourists who want to explore the surroundings of Mount Merapi. Most of the lava tours consist of a 4×4 Jeep that will take you through the ruggit terrains surrounding Mount Merapi. Jeeps fit up from 2 to 4 people and prices range from 350.000 roughly to 600.000 per jeep. Most of the tours have the same agenda, they will take you to the area that was affected by the Mount Merapi eruption in 2010, a museum and some even include watching the sunrise over the mountain.
Expected costs: depending on the amount of people and tour company chosen.
What to expect at Mount Merapi – Klangon Hill
So if you do have decided to go for option 1, as described above. This is a little bit of what you can expect. If you are planning to go for sunrise be sure all your lights are working as a lot of the parts do not have any street lights. Traffic should be less around this time but still expect the journey to take you at least 1 hour – 1 hour and 30 minutes depending on your location in Yogyakarta.
Once you have exited the city you will be driving through the lushest fields of green with small villages and houses in between. While there are some smaller shops located over here, it is always recommended to bring some water, just to be sure. As you will start driving up the hill further, which is mostly covered by trees, you will notice the temperature dropping slightly as well, and with the wind on the motorbike we would strongly advise you to bring a sweater!
At the last bit, which is roughly 1km left on your journey, it will be a slightly bumpy ride, but still doable. Once you finally get there you will be welcomed by a stunning view of Mount Merapi, with a few built platforms in front of it. At the moment of writing we did not have to pay any fees to enter the site or go on the bamboo platforms (August 2018). Clouds surrounding Mount Merapi came and left with quite the rapid speed. At certain moments we could see the whole volcano, and certain points it was completely covered by clouds. Find some photos of our visit below!
Mount Merapi – Know Before You Go
Weather – Check the weather before you go, weather in a tropical climate can change rapidly and you don’t want to be stuck in the rain on your motorbike. That said, it can also get quite sunny, so be sure to bring some sun screen, you won’t notice that easily when you are burning on a motorbike or when it is cold.
Traffic – The earlier you leave the better, when we head back from the mountain at around 9am the road from the mountain to the city was filled with trucks, and on a small street no way to surpass them. Leaving early means beating the rest of the crowd and the traffic, double bonus.
Layer up – Be sure to layer up, especially if you are planning on leaving in the morning. It can get quite fresh further up in the mountain, especially if you are driving on a motorbike in the shade. Put on a nice warm sweater or jacket to keep you warm!
Entry fees – When we visited in August ’18 there were no entry fees to enter the structures or admire the view. However, most of these natural attractions here seem to have minor entry fees (2000 IDR to 15000 IDR) so if this place would become more popular it might be expected that this will change in the future, so be sure to bring some small change.
Pin it for later!
And that’s it, everything you need to know about exploring Mount Merapi! I hope you enjoyed reading this article, if you have any questions do not hesitate to leave a comment down below. Oh, and don’t forget to pin it for later!