» Indonesia: No It Did Not Burn Down I – Java: Mt Muria – The Holy Mountain
Indonesia: No It Did Not Burn Down I – Java: Mt Muria – The Holy Mountain
We start our month long trip across Indonesia in its capital city of Jakarta (Java island). We did our best to leave it as soon as possible. Our first stop was on Muria peninsula, central Java (it runs into the Java Sea in the north).
Two mountains are located on the peninsula – Mt. Genuk is in the north, spreads over most of the peninsula and is a dominant sight. The ridge consists of several summits under the name Mt. Muria (1 602 meters above sea level). This was the place where we were heading to.
We were told by some locals that one can climb the volcano even when going from south or north. They recommended us the south foothill (you have to go there from Colo village). They claimed that only there we will learn about beautiful nature around and culture. We rented a motor scooter in Jepara (a city in the southwest part of the island) (about 5 dollars a day). This marked our first trip on overcrowded Indonesian roads and I can sincerely say it was the worst traffic ever. No rules, passing at the left side or right side, driving on pavements, through no entries… And everywhere the traffic was beyond believe (Java is the most populated island in the world).
1.5 hours later we reached our destination - Colo village. Surprisingly we found it with easy. Large villages or important sites are pretty well marked unfortunately you don’t quite know when a village starts or ends, therefore, if you have reached the place you want or not. The area of Muria is a sacred area. Right above Colo village there is the tomb of one of Islam’s nine saints. The tomb of another saint is near Kudus.
Right away when we found ourselves in the area we realized it is not your typical tourist area. I really felt weird wearing shorts and an undershirt. Even a scarf covering my shoulders wasn’t very helpful. Steep stairs go up to the tomb lined with countless stalls selling all kinds of products. All who come here want to pray at the Sunan Muria’s tomb. There was nobody who wouldn’t notice us, some Muslim families even took pictures with us. Everybody greeted us: “Hey Mr.” , “Hey Miss”. It was really interesting feeling being in the center of attention of so many different people yet we got tired of it soon. When we were taking pictures with one group it caused a chain reaction and it was difficult to get back on our road. To give access also to old people who want to pray at the tomb there are taxi motorbikes (they give a lift to those who don’t want to walk or cannot). This was the most beautiful, the cheapest, and the most innovative marketplace we have seen.
We were getting tired of the crowds therefore it was wonderful to finally reach the tomb and split and make our way up to the hills. Locals really don’t go there because they are not used to do much walking in general. Noises were finally fading away and sound of nature finally calmed us down. We walked mostly in coffee plantations with rainforests covering asymmetrical hills in the distance, which consist of massive old trees, palms, tropic flowers and lianas. Mountains around are diverse and covered by trees and pathways. One even doesn’t know what to listen to first. It was rewarding for our ears this trip as Indonesian don’t mind noise n general.
Should you be in the area be sure to pay visit to this beautiful mountain.
GPS: (Colo village) 6°40'01.2"S 110°53'58.8"E
Text and photo: Martina Brožková
Bali is a small Indonesian island located between the islands of Java to the West and Lombok to the East, with capital of Denpasar. It is also the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands and represents the biggest tourist destination for the entire Indonesia, famous for its traditional dance, music, painting, sculptures as well as applies arts.
It is almost impossible to go to Indonesia and avoid the masses of tourists today. Most tourists end up on the islands of Bali or Gili, some of them continue to the island of Lombok, Java or Sumatra. Would you like to avoid these places? Are you looking for a bigger adventure? Then go even further and discover the natural beauty of Flores Island and its Komodo National Park.
This time we are heading to the Sumatran jungle. Along the way we stop for lunch, the food is great in Indonesia.
Today you will visit the town of Berastagi and climb the Sibayak volcano. Buses called Murni Expres leave from Medan.
We start our journey through western Malaysia a bit unusually, by going for three nights to the Indonesian city of Medan in North Sumatra. From the airport located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur several times a day, the low-cost airline Air Asia flies, and in less than an hour you can reach Medan (specifically Kualanamu Airport). It is the largest Sumatran city, the fifth most populous city in Indonesia.
After several hours of trekking in the damp jungle, you will hear a rust, raise your head, and there is an orange furry creature swinging from the liana to the liana. The feeling of pure excitement when you see the orangutan in your natural environment. Orangutan? Yes, orangutan. You do not have to go to the zoo anymore, just connect your visit to the famous Bali with the little village of Ketambe in the middle of the dense forest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The huge crater lake, the largest in the world, is created by a massive volcanic eruption that occurred more than 100,000 years ago. The volcano subsequently collapsed, and over the next few years, the crater filled with water, creating the world's largest volcanic lake, Lake Toba. In the middle of the lake rises the green island of Samosir, whose shores are surrounded by mountain peaks and forests.
In our last article you learned more about Mt Muria, the holy mountain. We got there accidentally as we had different reasons why we traveled to Muria peninsula. There is a ferry on the northwestern coast (it departs from Jepara town) and it transports passengers to Karimunjawa National Park. We set aside two days because the ferry can cancel its trip due to huge waves. However, even two days extra were not enough.
We are still on our day-long trip on Bali. We leave Singaraja town in the island’s north. Our next goal is the area surrounding Batur volcano.
Early climb up the summit is done, successfully. We are on our second day in Rinjani territory. Even though we were sick and tired of walking we had to leave Sembalun Crater Rim and continue further on. The night at Anak lake was upon us.
Welcome back! We continue in our trip across Indonesia. Now we are below the summit of Rinjani (we are at about 2350 meters). Rinjani is Indonesia’s second highest mountain. The night is upon us as well as the very climb to the summit (3726 m).
The trip to Rinjani is already arranged for us. Next part of our Indonesian adventure can therefore being! There is one main route (if not the only one) for getting up and back down. This trail goes from Senar to Sembalun. The trip’s length could be either 2,3 or 4 days long.
Rinjani volcano is the dominant sight on the Lombok peninsula. This second highest mountain in Indonesia is located at the altitude of 3726 meters. This one is a too much of temptation for any mountaineer.
We left Java for Bali. It is very different from other 17 thousand Indonesian islands. Many holidaymakers chose it as the place for vacation. Nature on the island is diverse and there are many contrasts. The atmosphere is wonderful and extraordinary. But to get such impressions we had to travel across the island first. We intended to travel through and through the central highlands. This would allow us to learn about the terrain and decide on which volcano to climb. Our route ran from the south to the north and back to the south in the tot al length of 200 kilometers (13 hours of ride on a scooter).
It is night. We are on the edge of Ijen volcano which is famous for its blue flames. To see everything from up close we descended down the crater. Then we saw the first bearer. It was a slim man having a bamboo bar on his shoulder. On both ends there were two baskets filled up with sulfur rocks. We got out of his way. And he passed buy us. While we were descending, the smell of sulfur was increasing in its intensity.
We had seen many places on Java. Ijen volcano is, however, something entirely different. Sulfur miners work in harsh conditions here. Tourists pay entrance fee to see this unique thing. Blue flames, another symbol of the volcano, flicker behind the miners. This is the last spot on Java we saw before departing for Bali on the east.
We almost freezed on Penanjakan platform. We enjoyed the view over volcanic terrain and were on our way in jeep back to Tengger’s crater flat bedrock. Then we go afoot (under great volcanic conditions) to Bromo’s edge. The volcano is still active.
Trip to Bromo volcano in Bromo Tengger Semer National Park is probable one of the best travel experiences in Indonesia. The trip is highly organized and most touristic. Despite it is very expensive you will long remember it as a wonderful experience.
We stand on the edge of a caldera in Lombok’s north. We are in Crater Rim Senar camp. Ahead is a strenuous descend to Senaru village. It is not steep yet long (21 kilometers) and it goes through living breathing rain forest.
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