Indonesia’s volcanoes are more than just picturesque – they hold entire civilisations, represent cultural and religious values, and are home to rare natural phenomena.
Indonesia is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, otherwise known as the most active seismic region on the planet. With more than a hundred active volcanoes, these mountains have been both a part of people’s daily lives, and objects of fascination and mythology. Many civilisations built their existence around these mighty natural features, while travellers hike up their towering summits to find glorious panorama. From sublime mountaintop lakes to sacred sites, discover the most beautiful volcanoes in Indonesia.
Mount Kelimutu is best known for the tri-coloured lakes perched on its summit. Located at a height of 1,639m (5,377ft), these mystical, colour-changing lakes boast a sweeping mountaintop vista, which looks especially ethereal when paired with the gleaming sunrise. Each of these lakes has its own colour, turning from calming turquoise to pitch black over the years. The hiking trail to Mount Kelimutu’s peak is a rather convenient stairway – start early and bring your Ende-weave sarong to beat the cold.
Indonesia’s second highest volcano towers over the gorgeous landscape of Lombok Island. The height demands a three to four day journey on a rather challenging trail, but the hike will not be without its rewards. The mountain’s summit will present you with the exquisite Segara Anak crater lake and a sweeping view of the island. If that seems too much, a short hike around the mountain’s base will take you to picturesque hills and waterfalls.
A trip to Bromo usually involves at least two activities: sunrise at Mount Pananjakan with the view of Mount Bromo, followed by a hike to the top of Bromo to see its epic crater. Enjoy an ethereal sunrise, with the backdrop of Bromo’s blown-off top and its surrounding peaks. This mountain has many other cool things in its vicinity. The itinerary can continue with wandering around the ‘Sea of Sand’ on a jeep, stopping by the vast, picturesque Savannah Hill, or discovering mighty waterfalls scattered around the mountain’s base.
Batur’s sunrise is one of the most sought-after experiences in Bali, with the hiking trails often packed with tourists. This mountain owes its breathtaking sunrise to its surrounding sister peaks, which make for a picture-perfect daybreak to witness once you’re on top. Mount Batur also has a stunning ‘double caldera’ and lush jungle, with cool crisp mountain air to enjoy while hiking all the way up. Despite being 1,717m (5,633ft) high, a hike to the summit can be completed in less than three hours – making the experience accessible for virtually everyone.
Aside from being the highest peak in Java and Indonesia’s third-highest, Mount Semeru’s alluring charms include a wide range of natural features. Ranu Kumbolo is a gorgeous mountain lake just four to five hours from the base, a 15ha (37 acres) expansive watery surface surrounded by hills and vegetation. Further upwards, stunning savannah, lush slopes, and flower fields await. The rocky summit has been a holy grail for many adventurers over the years.
Mount Ijen’s irresistible charm lies with the strange, otherworldly blue flames at its caldera. This rare natural phenomenon has summoned adventurers and scientists alike to witness the blue blaze, which is caused by the high concentration of sulphur. This curious occurrence usually happens around 2am and lasts until well before sunrise – concluding your hike on a sweet note with an orange glow as the sun emerges from the darkness.
A relatively lenient track, Mount Prau is a favourite with newbie hikers. It offers travellers a wonderful golden sunrise with the backdrop of surrounding volcano peaks, rolling hills on the sides of the summit, and views of the glorious Dieng highlands. A colourful assortment of tents pitched around the summit is an uplifting sight in itself, set against the clouds in the background.
Aside from being the highest volcano peak in Indonesia, Mount Kerinci is famous for thriving wildlife. Its lush and untouched terrain is a natural habitat for some endangered and native species, like the Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhinoceros. This mountain is part of the Kerinci Seblat National Park, surrounded by beautiful natural features: lakes, tea plantations, jungles and rivers. At the summit, hikers are granted an unrestricted view of surrounding cities and the Indian Ocean.
This volcanic island sandwiched between the islands of Java and Sumatra is a promising destination for hiking and snorkelling. The black volcanic sand and surrounding coral gardens are wonderful, but perhaps the mountain’s most compelling charm is its history. The Krakatoa we know today is actually just a small portion of the original volcano that erupted in 1883 and shook the world as one of the greatest natural calamities in history. The abundance of wildlife that lives in and around this mountain is constantly changing according to the weather and volcanic activity – making this natural reserve a fascinating site for both scientists and travellers.
Hiking isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about adventures in Bali. But Mount Agung is certainly worth visiting. At 3,031m (9,944ft), this mountain is the highest point on the island and also one of its most sacred sites; Bali’s very own Olympus where the deities are believed to dwell. Mount Agung is also home to the island’s largest temple or ‘Mother Temple’, Besakih.