Tired, hot, dusty and smelling like an animal that had been dead for a week I hobbled slowly down the slope to the car park after having climbed Mount Merapi volcano, Indonesia’s most active volcano. Far from feeling like an all-conquering hero, all I wanted were some simple home comforts; a hot shower, a change of clothes and a decent meal. Still, I had done it. For those who want to follow in my footsteps, here’s how.

Book A Tour: I used this helpful local tour operator for my hike up Mt Merapi. They were great. They arranged everything for me.

What to Expect

If you’re fit and consider yourself healthy then the climb to the top of Mount Merapi volcano will take approximately three hours. It doesn’t sounds that long, but the walk is a killer from the start. The angle of the slope is rarely less than 45 degrees and the only time it reduces is when you’re almost at the top. Most people start climbing the volcano at about three; to avoid the heat of the day. It might sound like a lot of time until sunset, but believe me its not. If you don’t want to be climbing in the dark you need to be quick.

While the climb up Mount Merapi volcano is difficult it is nothing compared to the final push to the summit. This is the area most affected by the last eruption. It’s a lunar landscape, with slopes of shale and treacherous solid looking rock that can crumble at the touch. Honestly if you’re not healthy, stick to visiting Borobudur temple.

That’s enough of the bad things. Climbing Mount Merapi volcano is about the view you get at the top and the sense of accomplishment you receive when you get their, Mount Volcano gives you both in abundance.

What You Need

A Motorbike
A Guide
A Sleeping Bag
Warm Clothes
Tent (optional)


The drive to Mount Merapi volcano takes a bit more than an hour from Yogyakarta. In this age of Google map and smart phones it’s actually pretty easy to get to, but even without the gadgets it’s not difficult. My advice would be to hire a scooter from one of the many rental agencies around the city and make your way their by yourself. When you arrive you have to register so that people know that you’re climbing the mountain.

The Guide

I actually arranged a guide through a friend, but that’s not an option available to everyone. Forget about trying to arrange a guide in Yogyakarta unless you want to take the easy option and just book an all-inclusive tour. If you want to save some money and do it yourself then head to the base of Mount Merapi volcano. The locals are more than happy to take tourists to the top of the volcano. If you want to go up and back in a day it will cost you Rp300,000 for a porter, the price jumps to between Rp400,000-500,000 if you’re going to ask them to sleep overnight on the volcano.

The Cave

The first people to reach the top get the option of sleeping in a four-man cave. Not only is this an amazing a warm experience, it might also come with a chance to make a little furry friend.

Book A Tour: You can book the hike through this local tour operator.


P.S  Check out my helpful guide on things to do in Yogyakarta. I promise it’s full of great ideas.