I will never stop advocating for people to travel outside Bali when they get a chance to visit Indonesia. Not only because I’m Indonesian, but also because I know that there are so many things Indonesia has to offer when it comes to beautiful nature.
But among many, Indonesia is mainly known for its incredible volcanoes. 13% of the world’s active volcanoes are located in Indonesia, and if you only count by number, Indonesia is on the top 3 countries that has the biggest numbers of volcanoes in the world.
Recently when I was traveling to Serbia, I introduced a Serbian friend to the term “Ring of Fire” because half-jokingly, I told him there’s a bigger chance that I die from natural disaster due to the volcanoes that surround me back home.
So in this post, collaborating with other awesome bloggers, I’ve compiled the list of incredible volcanoes you need to visit in Indonesia. Check this out!
10 Must-Visit Volcanoes in Indonesia
Statistically, there are 147 volcanoes in Indonesia, with at least 130 of them are active throughout the country’s territories from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, to Maluku. Kalimantan in Borneo is practically the only island in Indonesia with no volcano.
There are so many volcanoes in Indonesia that you can easily visit as a tourist. But which volcano is worth visiting? Here we go!
1. Mount Kerinci
When we talk about volcanoes in Indonesia among the locals, Mount Kerinci is one of the must-mentioned volcanoes in the topic. Not only is Mount Kerinci the highest active stratovolcano in Indonesia at 3,805 meters above sea level, but it also has some other spots around the summit that you can stop by even if you’re not interested in hiking to the top of the mountain.
Situated on the border between Jambi and West Sumatra province at Bukit Barisan highlands, the easiest way to go to Mount Kerinci is either from Jambi or Padang, the capital city of the West Sumatra province.
If you travel from Jambi, you can find the bus with the route to Kerinci. Alternatively, you can also go to Mount Kerinci via Padang and take a bus to Kresiktuo. Either way, the journey should take around 8 hours from each capital city.
Rest assured, it will be a long journey to get to the Mount Kerinci area. But there are also many reasons why the trip to the volcano is worth it. It is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage in Indonesia, and there are many places that you can visit on top of the volcano itself.
The Kerinci Seblat National Park is also the natural habitat of the Sumatran tigers, the critically endangered species with approximately 160-167 survivors left. Don’t miss the oldest tea plantation Teh Kayu Aro, which is also one of the largest tea plantations in the world!
2. Child of Krakatoa
Krakatau, internationally known as Krakatoa, is mostly known for its enormous blast during its last eruption in 1883. The event is recorded as the loudest sound in the world’s history. The aftermath was believed to be severe enough that even people in Europe could feel the impact at the time.
The land area around Krakatoa is mainly destroyed due to the eruption, splitting it into three separate areas. In 1927, a new island emerged from the caldera, later called “Anak Krakatau”, the Child of Krakatoa.
While the status of the volcano remains active and hiking to the top of the mountain has been forbidden since its last eruption in 2011, you can still trek at the foot of the mountain for up to 200 meters from the entrance.
The easiest way to travel there is by joining some tour that usually starts from Merak, a harbor in Banten province in the western part of Java. While you can arrange your trip independently, it may be quite pricey since the boat charter to get to the Child of Krakatoa has the minimum number of passengers to operate.
3. Mount Tangkuban Perahu
You can’t avoid two things when you travel to Indonesia: superstitious stuff and folklore. And these are some reasons why Tangkuban Perahu has gained popularity among the locals.
Situated around 30 km from Bandung city center, Tangkuban Perahu is the volcano that has significantly contributed to the fertility of the hills in the capital city of West Java. The name itself literally means “overturned boat” in Sundanese, the local language, due to the folklore of Sangkuriang and Dayang Sumbi.
It was believed that the volcano was formed when Sangkuriang fell in love with his mother, Dayang Sumbi. And when she realized that he was her son, Dayang Sumbi asked her to create a lake and a boat overnight when he handed her for marriage. Both of them should be completed before dawn, so Dayang Sumbi made a faux sunrise before Sangkuriang finished his job and gave him the excuse why she couldn’t marry him. Furious, Sangkuriang kicked the half-finished boat and the boat turned into the famous Tangkuban Perahu today.
One may think that it doesn’t make sense, some probably realize how some folklores are actually similar to one and the other since the story of Sangkuriang and Dayang Sumbi kinda rings a bell if you’re familiar with Oedipus’s story from the ancient Greek.
Believe it or not, you can still enjoy the natural beauty that is Tangkuban Perahu easily from Bandung. Whether you rent a scooter or a car to get to the volcano, or you can also choose the budget-friendly option by taking a public minibus called angkot to Lembang and making a stop at the entrance.
From the entrance to the peak of the volcano, you can ride the minibus called “ontang-anting” which usually departs every 15 minutes. From there, you can stroll around the volcano area, including the main crater called “Kawah Ratu”.
4. Mount Galunggung
80 km from Bandung, there is another volcano called Mount Galunggung. Their first eruption was noted in 1822, and the most recent one happened in 1982. Located in Tasikmalaya, an off-the-beaten-path destination for international travelers, Mount Galunggung may not be as popular as other volcanoes in Java.
However, visiting Mount Galunggung is relatively easy from either Bandung or Jakarta. Take a bus to Tasikmalaya, and stop by Indihiang terminal and continue your trip to the volcano by motorbike taxi or angkot.
Whether you want to hike to the summit or decide to enjoy camping overnight, you can easily rent a tent and the necessary camping equipment on the site. On top of that, there are also some other interesting activities to do around Galunggung, including natural hot streams and some waterfalls like Curug Kahuripan and Curug Agung.
5. Mount Merapi
The most active volcano in Indonesia, Mount Merapi has erupted regularly since 1548. While there were several eruptions in the past few years, the biggest one that happened recently was the one in 2010 when it killed the volcano’s famous gatekeeper, Mbah Maridjan.
The best time to visit Gunung Merapi National Park is around June to August to avoid rain during your hike. While Gunung Merapi is not the highest summit in Java, it is considered the most dangerous one with the number of times the volcano erupted in the past few years.
You can easily book an open trip to Mount Merapi from the nearby cities. Some are available from the bigger cities like Yogyakarta or Jakarta. When you join this type of trip, it is relatively more affordable since you don’t have to pay extra for transport, entrance ticket, and other miscellaneous during your travel.
Alternatively, you can also travel independently by renting a car or a scooter from Yogyakarta. You can also join Lava Tour Merapi by jeep and explore the foot of Mount Merapi and trace the erupted section of the volcano, including the remains of Mbah Maridjan’s house.
6. Mount Bromo
Among the many volcanoes in Indonesia, none of them held a candle to Mount Bromo.
Located in Java, Bromo is an active volcano, and it is exactly what you would expect it to be. Conical with a huge crater and it spews out sulfurous smoke constantly. The great thing about the volcano is that it is easily accessible and it does not require great trekking skills to reach the crater. In fact, there is even a staircase that leads right up to the top with railings and everything!
Bromo isn’t completely off-the-beaten-path though. There are numerous tours that combine the volcano with a visit to Ijen. We however chose the backpacking route and never regretted it. It was by far one of the most fun adventures of my life!
From finding my way to the village that overlooked Bromo to actually trekking up to see the sunrise, there were a lot of reasons why we loved the place. Plus, since most of the tours spend very little time in the area, the whole place is very quiet and peaceful.
7. Mount Ijen
Kawah Ijen is definitely one of the most spectacular volcanoes in Indonesia! It is located on the island of Java, and can even be visited via a guided tour from Bali. Especially the hike up to the crater lake is a unique, unforgettable experience.
Kawah Ijen, is considered the largest acid barrel on earth, as sulfur is still mined here by hand. The miners hike up to the volcano several times a day, down to the crater lake and stow the sulfur chunks in their bamboo baskets. These weigh up to 70 kg, so sometimes the baskets are heavier than the body weight of the workers. They have to carry the sulfur back up to the crater and then back down to the valley. On a trip, you should try for yourself how heavy such a basket full of sulfur is!
The excursion as a tourist leads 3 km up to the crater. During the walk, you usually meet many of these sulfur workers, who are always happy to have a little chat and also happy to receive some tips. The climb takes about 90 minutes until you reach the top of the crater.
From the top, you have a breathtaking view of the turquoise crater lake and the imposing rocky landscape. Some walk all the way down to the crater lake. However, this is not recommended, because it is dangerous, and also forbidden.
Interesting is also a night hike up to Ijen, because then you will see the famous Blue Flames. In addition, you will then also have the opportunity to see the sunrise.
8. Mount Batur
Watch as the orange hues of the sun slowly peer over the edge of the caldera from one of Bali’s most famous volcanos, Mount Batur. One of the most popular things to do on your East Bali itinerary, a visit to Mount Batur offers incredible panoramic views of all three Bali volcanoes, an epic hiking opportunity, hot springs, and a bat cave.
Like most volcanoes in Indonesia, trekkers start in the wee hours of the morning to coincide their summit with the sunrise. Many start the journey from towns like Ubud or Southern Bali, but a stay at nearby town Kintamani is also possible.
Most tours offer transportation and a local guide to help you along the two-hour steep summit path. Although it is legally possible to summit Mount Batur independently, locals have been known to harass tourists for not hiring a guide. Differing tours may include scheduled stops at the hot spring, or coffee plantation, or take you on a further trek towards the Lucky Temple, which just nearly didn’t get engulfed in a 1974 eruption.
9. Mount Kelimutu
From all the volcanoes in Indonesia, Kelimutu is, without a doubt, the most magical and enchanting of all of them. With its unique tri-colored changing lakes and the magical local legends surrounding them, a visit to Kelimutu should be a must when visiting these island nations.
Kelimutu means “boiling mount”, as the volcano is still active, its last eruption occurred in 1968. The volcano is situated close to Moni, a village in Central Flores. The summit consists of three changing colors crater lakes, and it situated at 1639 meters altitude, inside a national park.
The coloration of the lakes varies with time due to the composition and chemical reactions of the minerals inside them, from white to shades of green, blue and red.
Kelimutu is also a sacred place for the local Lio people and it is believed that the souls of the departed migrate to one of its lakes, depending on the age of the deceased, and the deeds they did in this life.
Sunrise is the best moment to visit the volcano as observing the hues fluctuation of colors in the lake’s surface with the Sun’s position is a not to be missed experience.
Getting to the summit can be done by organized tour, hiring a driver or renting a scooter in the nearby town of Moni. Swimming in the lakes is strictly forbidden and dangerous: the compounds in the lake are acidic and dangerous for life.
10. Mount Gamalama
One of the off-the-beaten-path volcanoes in the eastern part of Indonesia, Mount Gamalama is situated around 44 km from Ternate, an island in the North Maluku province.
Rent a car from the city center, and enjoy what Ternate has to offer in terms of history and scenery. Ternate was once known as the center forts for price trade during the colonial era under both Portuguese and Dutch, and you can trace back the history by stopping by various forts like Oranje or Kastela Palace, and Ternate Sultanate Palace.
Mount Gamalama has erupted around 60 times in total, with the first eruption noted back in 1538. While there’s no entrance fee to visit Mount Gamalama, getting to the summit is not for the fainted heart. However, you can also go to some other interesting around the volcano like Lake Tolire or Marikurubu village.
On your way to Mount Gamalama, you can see the view of cloves and nutmeg plantations.
If you enjoy a little trivia, Maluku was once a discreet place to plant nutmegs, the spice that was once hunted by Europeans for centuries. The value of nutmegs then was so high that the Dutch agreed to exchange Manhattan Island with Run Island in Maluku, which was then under the British colonial. As a result, the once-known New Amsterdam changed their name to New York, and Maluku was the center of the spice trade for the Dutch East India company.
So, those are the top 10 interesting volcanoes you can visit in Indonesia. Have you been to any of them? How was your experience? Share in the comment and cheerio! 😉
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry, but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017 and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
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