It’s still dark, but hints of red and orange starting to splash lightly across the sky tell you that sunrise is not far away…
Indonesia offers a fantastic variety of volcanic and mountainous hikes that feature other-worldly views from sunrise to sunset, whether you’re looking for a gentle walk or a more challenging trek.
From a privileged position on the peak of Mount Penanjakan in Java, survey the eerie mists that hover over the plain of volcanic sand below. Rising from this surreal landscape is the smoking, cone-shaped crater of Mount Bromo, with the silhouettes of Mount Semeru and Batok moodily emerging in the distance.
As the sun slowly appears slightly to the left of Bromo, it gradually casts a soft hue over the landscape and gives definition to its slopes and the surreal ‘Sea of Sand’ at its feet. The morning sky transforms behind the brooding silhouettes, revealing a kaleidoscope of colours: deep blues, fiery oranges, vivid reds and glowing pinks. With the sun’s warmth making itself felt, head off to trek through this ethereal atmosphere to make your ascent.
Here are some of the best volcanic vistas, geothermal experiences and mountain hikes you can enjoy on your trip to Indonesia:
Trek through the alien sandscapes at the foot of Mount Bromo in Java before making a steep climb to its smoking caldera.
Near Ubud in Bali, hike up the atmospheric slopes of Gunung Batur to watch the dawn break over the thick forest and terraced farmland. When you descend, enjoy a well-earned dip in hot springs overlooking Lake Batur’s serene beauty.
The Ijen Crater in the east of Java offers a challenging ascent that leads you to the smoking caldera and the rewarding sight of the stunning turquoise sulphur lake at its base.
In the highlands of Bali, near the peaceful village of Munduk, stroll through the lush green landscapes, terraced rice fields, and dense forests, pausing for a dip in the gushing waterfalls.
A camping trek of Mount Rinjani on Lombok allows you to take in the surrounding islands as you swim in hot springs by the beautiful crater lake, surrounded by mysterious caves.
Bromo, named after Brahma (the Hindu god of creation) is in east Java. It’s a justifiably popular spot to visit as the sun rises over the lunar surrounds of the smoking, silhouetted volcano. As you make your final ascent, smoke from the crater swirls all around you.
Stay nearby to enjoy the panoramic trails that snake through this beautiful, desolate volcanic landscape. Near the National Park’s mountain villages, watch as nomadic Tenggerese herders go about their work.
Head off before dawn from Ubud or Batur village in central Bali, passing thick forests and peaceful Balinese farmland on the drive to Gunung Batur. Switch on your head torch and enjoy the eerie experience of a gentle trek up the volcano’s slopes in the dark. On reaching the evocative, desolate setting at the top of the caldera, watch the dawn break over nearby Gunung Abang and Agung.
On your trek down, enjoy sweeping views over the countryside and the reward of a picturesque thermal spring to relax in and soak up the views that the tranquil waters of Lake Batur provide.
East Java’s Ijen Crater involves a challenging but rewarding three-hour hike to reach the rim, where sulfuric fumes spill from the crater’s mouth. On the way down you will see the physically demanding work of miners who extract yellow sulphur from the crater's depths, and the sight of the serene (yet highly toxic) turquoise lake that lies at the bottom.
Near Munduk, in the highlands of Bali, many gentle walks meander through verdant farmscapes, forests and terraced rice fields. Dramatic and welcoming waterfalls hide within the forest. On your walk, encounter several traditional Balinese villages and visit farms harvesting coffee, cloves and cocoa.
In the north of Lombok, Mount Rinjani is an active volcano that offers another popular place to admire the rising sun. It’s a physically demanding 3-day trek to reach the top to admire the view over the nearby islands, overnighting in base camp tents en route. You can also take a dip in the warm waters of the hot springs at the crater’s lake and explore the mysterious caves.
As you head back down into the lush forest, spot monkeys, tropical birds, and a diverse range of flora, and learn about the lives and culture of the Sasak people in their traditional villages.
From cruising the jungle waterways of Kalimantan’s rainforest and spotting orangutans, to soaking in the culture in Java to a few days relaxing on Bali and Komodo island - this is a trip full of beautiful contrasts in Java, Kalimantan, Bali and Komodo.