Mount Merbabu (3145m above sea level) is located in the center of Java, facing Mount Merapi, so they are called “twin” volcanoes. Merbabu is a dormant stratovolcano, and is accessible from Semarang, Solo, Magelang or Yogyakarta. it’s up to you.

Phreatic eruption of Merapi view from Merbabu

9 Things You Need to Know Before Climbing Merbabu

Mount Merbabu (Indonesian: Gunung Merbabu) is a dormant stratovolcano in Central Java province on the Indonesian island of Java. The name Merbabu could be loosely translated as ‘Mountain of Ash’ from the Javanese combined words; Meru means “mountain” and awu or abu means “ash”.

The active Mount Merapi volcano is directly adjacent to its south-east side, while the city of Salatiga is located on its northern foothills. At 1,500m high broad saddle islands between Merbabu and Merapi, the site of the village of Selo, Java and highly fertile farming land.

There are two peaks; Syarif (3,119 m) and Kenteng Songo (3,145 m). Three U-shaped radial valleys extend from the Kenteng Songo summit in northwesterly, northeastly and southeastly directions.

How to go to Merbabu?

Merbabu is accessible from the villages of Thekelan, Chuntel, Wekas, Suwanting and Selo, which are also accessible from Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo (Surakarta) and Magelang. Semarang and Yogyakarta have international airports with very good domestic connections. Solo also has a non-international airport. The most favourite route is from Selo.

How to go to Thekelan Village?

Thekelan is a small village in Salatiga. You can use private car for the most simple way to go to this village. This village also accessible from some city in Central Java.F

From Semarang:
  • You must find some bus to go to Salatiga.
  • From Salatiga, search bus to go to Magelang and stop at Kopeng Tourism area.
  • From here, you must continue with ojek to go to Thekelan Village.
From Yogyakarta :
  • From Jombor Bus Station, search bus to go to Magelang.
  • From Magelang, search bus to go to Salatiga and stop at Kopeng Tourism area.
  • From here you must continue with ojek to go to Thekelan Village.
From Solo:
  • From Tirtonadi Bus Station, search bus by route Solo-Semarang
  • Stop at Salatiga Bus Station.
  • From Salatiga, search bus to go to Magelang and stop at Kopeng Tourism area.
  • From here, you must continue with ojek to go to Thekelan Village.

How to go to Selo?

Selo is small village in Boyolali city, located beetwen Merbabu and Merapi. You can use private car for the most simple way to go to this village. This village also accessible from some city in Central Java.

From Semarang:
  • You can go with Semarang – Solo Bus (IDR 20.000)
  • Stop at Sunggingan Bus Station, Boyolali. Then walk to Sunggingan Traditional Market.
  • Continue with small bus to go to Cepogo Traditional Market ( IDR 15.000)
  • Continue with small bus to go to Selo Traditional Market ( IDR 10.000)
  • From here you must continue to the Selo Climbing Office with Ojek (IDR 20.000-25.000)
From Solo :
  • From Tirtonadi Bus Station, go with Solo-Semarang Bus ( IDR 10.000)
  • Stop at Pandanarang Hospital
  • Continue with small bus to go to Cepogo Traditional Market ( IDR 15.000)
  • Continue with small bus to go to Selo Traditional Market ( IDR 10.000)
  • From here you must continue to the Selo Climbing Office with Ojek (IDR 20.000-25.000)
From Yogyakarta :
  • You must using Train to go to Solo Balapan Train Station (Pramex)
  • From Balapan Train Station walk on the bridge to go to Tirtonadi Bus Station
  • Follow the step from Solo.

How to go to Cunthel

This village have same transportation with Thekelan, after that just ask to Ojek driver that you want to go to Cunthel Basecamp.

How to go to Wekas

The first thing you must to do is go to Magelang.

  • Take a Magelang – Salatiga bus and then stop at the gate of Wekas Village
  • Take ojek from the gate of Wekas Village to the Wekas Basecamp.

When to go to Merbabu

Merbabu is usually closed between Januari to Februari and if there is forest burn or Rescue Operation.

Is there an entrance fee and how much?

  • Foreign Tourist IDR 280.000/person
  • Local Tourist IDR 30.000/person

Where to Sleep?

Kopeng as a tourism area have more varian of homestay and hotel, while in Selo you have limited homestay. You can also looking for hotel in Solo or Yogyakarta with many variable of hotel.

Climbing Merbabu, with or without Guide?

Having a guide is not mandatory. However, if you want to climb in peace and in your pace, having a guide is the best option.

Where to find guide and porter service?

To use the services of a porter, you must contact the climbing post of each routes to ask for the availability of a guide and porter. Or you can use travel organizer services to accommodate your needs.

Where to find hiking equipment?

It is almost impossible to rent camping equipment, especially since the hiker very often starts from point A and ends at point B. The best is to bring your own equipment.

4 Mistake you should avoid before climbing Merbabu

  • Not bring enough water, some route have no water source. water source is very limited at Merbabu.
  • Hiking alone and not well informed about the track, especially when you start from Cunthel and Thekelan.
  • Not Bring proper equipment for hiking, sometimes the wind blow very strong at Merbabu.
  • Coming when Merbabu is close for hiking activity.

What to do around Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo and Magelang?

There is many thing to do around Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo, and Magelang. There are many tourism object you can visit like temple, beach, kraton, etc.

Hiking and Climbing Mount Merbabu

View of Merapi from Merbabu

The climb of Mount Merbabu can be done by several route or trails:

Via Selo

Merbabu hiking route through Selo

The Merbabu Via Selo hiking trail is currently a relatively more crowded route than the other lines. Beautiful scenery with savannas that spread wide make the trip more enjoyable. Coupled with this route, the nearby neighboring Merbabu Mountain, Merapi, can be seen clearly.

At the beginning of the climb, climbers will be greeted by a welcome gate from Gunung Merbabu National Park. Entering the forest gate, the atmosphere of the left and right lanes is filled with pine trees and leaks, in the afternoon it will feel cool. The road is still quite gentle for a 15 minute journey. After walking 1-1.5 hours arrived at post 1 (Dok Malang). This post is still in the thick of trees.

After post 1, the track has not felt quite steep, there is one climb that is quite steep and at its peak is a shadow post. Only after walking 20 minutes from the shadow post climbers will arrive at post 2 (Pandean) the distance from 1-2 posts is practically long.

Furthermore, the distance between posts 2 and 3 is not far away. About 45 minutes walk, climbers will arrive at post 3 (Watu Tulis) the scenery here is quite beautiful with Merapi which is quite clearly visible when the weather is not foggy. Coupled with the lush edelweiss trees.

Towards heading 4 (Sabana 1) climbers will be faced with a fairly steep path. lanes with clay dominance easily make your steps slip. You have to be more careful across this section.

Sabana 1 is one of the interesting places for camping, its flat place and beautiful scenery may be the reason for the climbers to choose to set up their tent here. But the wind in this place is quite fast, even more so it is prone to storms.

From savanna 1 to heading to savanna 2 (post 5) it does not take a long time. Only about 40 minutes. The path is in the form of a steep slope, although not as tight as between post 3 to post 4 but the wind is quite strong at night. After reaching the top of the hill we will walk down and arrive at post 5 (savanna 2). Although the wind exposure still feels great but in my opinion this is the best place to set up the tent.

If you want to enjoy the sunrise at the top, you should start waking up at 3 am to prepare breakfast and climb to the top. Travel time to the top is around 1 – 1.5 hours. If you are lazy to wake up in the morning, sunrise can be enjoyed on the east hill of savanna. The advantage of this route is that sunrise can be enjoyed along the hiking trail.

Note: for climbers who start from Selo, water needs must be taken from the bottom/basecamp because all the way to the summit there is no water source.

Via Thekelan

Climbing from Pos Tekelan begins with passing fields and pine forests. From here we can see a very beautiful view towards Mount Telomoyo and Rawa Pening.

At the Pending Post we can find a spring, we will also find a small river (Kali Sowo). Before reaching Pos I, we will pass Pereng Putih and must be careful because the roads are very steep. Then we must pass through the dry river, from here a very beautiful view down to see the city of Salatiga especially at night.

From Pos I we will pass heterogeneous forest towards Pos 2, heading to Post 3 the path starts to open and the road starts to climb steeply. We will cross Mount Pertapan, the blast of strong winds is felt here, especially when in the open area. We can take refuge in Watu Gubug, a hollow stone that 5 people can enter. It is said that it is the gateway to the kingdom of supernatural beings.

If there is a storm we should not continue the trip because it will be very dangerous. Approaching post 4, we have to cross Mount Watu Tulis, the path is rather steep and lots of small sand and gravel that makes the track slippery, strong winds carry dust and sand so we must be ready to close our eyes when there are strong winds. Post 4 is at the top of Mount Watu Tulis with an altitude of 2,896 masl, also called Pos Pemancar because at its peak is a Radio Transmitter.

Heading to Post 5, this post is surrounded by beautiful hills and cliffs. We can go down to Condrodimuko’s crater. Here there are springs, distinguish between drinking water and sulfur water.

The journey continues by passing a very steep incline with ravines on the left and right sides. This path is called the Satan Bridge. Then we will arrive at the intersection, go left towards Syarif Peak (Pregodalem Mountain) and go right to the top of the elongated Kenteng Songo (Kenteng Songo Mountain – Selo Hiking Trail).

From the top of Kenteng songo, we can look at Mount Merapi with its peak that puffs up smoke at any time, looking very close. Westward, Sumbing Mountain and Sindoro Mountain look very clear and beautiful. Closer still looks Mount Telomoyo and Mount Ungaran. From a distance to the east looks Mount Lawu with its elongated peak.

Towards this Kenteng Songo Peak the path is very dangerous, besides being narrow and only 1 meter wide, on the left and right side there are also very steep rocky ravines. A very strong wind is ready to push climbers at any time. At this peak there are hollow mortar stones with 9 numbers according to paranormal vision.

Via Wekas

The wekas route is the shortest route (6-7 hours of climbing to the summit) so there is rarely a flat track stretching. The path to heading to the Post 1 is quite wide with the underlying rocks. Along the way, you will find fields of typical highland people planted with Onions, Cabbage, Carrots, and Tobacco, also can be found rabbits whose feces are used as fertilizer. The route to heading Post 1 is a fairly uphill path with a travel time of 2 hours.

Post 1 is a plain with a flat land as a resting place. Around this area there are still many stalls and houses. After post 1, the trip still passes through the fields, then enters the pine forest. The travel time to heading Post 2 is 2 hours, with a steep uphill lane.

Pos 2 is an open and flat place, which can be used to build many tents. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays Pos 2 is widely used by teenagers to camp. So that in those days many local people came to sell food. In this area there is a water source that is channeled through large pipes that are accommodated in a tub.

From Pos 2 there is a dead end lane that leads to a river that is used as a source of water for the people around Wekas ​​to the surrounding villages. This path follows the flow of water pipes along the edge of a cliff that leads to the river flow below the crater. There are two very steep rivers which form multi-level waterfalls, making it a very extraordinary sight.

After the post 2 lanes began to open until it met the intersection of the Kopeng line which was above post 5 (Watu Tulis), the Kopeng line. From this intersection to the Helipad post it only takes 15 minutes. The journey continues by passing very steep slopes and ravines on the left and right sides. This incline is called the Devil’s Bridge. Then we will arrive at the intersection, go left towards Syarif Peak (Pregodalem Mountain) and go right to the top of Kenteng Songo (Kenteng Songo Mountain).

Via Suwanting

The journey begins with a view of the residents’ fields on the right and left side. Fields in the form of mountain plants. The atmosphere is very cool and the path tends to be flat a bit uphill. The journey from the basecamp to Post 1 is only 30 minutes – 45 minutes. Before going to Post 1 we will meet with pine forests.

After leaving Post 1 and the pine forest then we find a path heavier than before. The path is dominated by lush vegetation and uphill paths. From Post 2 to Post 3 it takes around 90 minutes (1.5 hours).

In Post 2 this is usually used by climbers to set up tents. In this post we can also see the view of Mount Merapi. The journey continues to Post 3 takes about 2 hours. The path will be much more difficult than before. Before arriving at Post 3 we will find a water source called “Sendang Dampo Awang”.

In Post 3 this is also a favorite place to set up tents. From Post 3, the beautiful view of Mount Sindoro-Sumbing, Merapi and several other mountains was faintly visible. The journey to the top of Kenteng Songo or Triangulation we will pass through several hills with lush grass plants. These hills are called “savannas”. From Post 3 to the summit we will pass through savanna 1, savanna 2, and savanna 3. Savanna via the Suwanting path is as beautiful as the Selo path. Only 1.5 hours for the summit attack from Post 3.

Hiking and Climbing Merbabu with Go-Volcano

The highlights of the trip:

  • Beautiful view of Merapi volcano, Sindoro and Sumbing
  • Moderate level of fitness required to make the crossing trip
  • Perfect getaway from Semarang or Yogyakarta

Hiking and Trek of Merbabu by the North in 2 days 1 night

  • Duration : 2 Days
  • Price : Start from IDR 5.000.000
  • Level : 3/5

Detailed Program and Itinerary

Day 1 : Semarang or Yogyakarta – Wekas/Thekelan/Chuntel – Camp post 2/3

You will be greeted by your guide at your hotel in Semarang or Yogyakarta in the morning. It is also possible to pick you up at the airport (Semarang or Yogyakarta) if your flight arrives by 10:00 at the latest. You will then go to Wekas / Thekelan base camp by the highway, the trip will take about 2 hours. Upon arrival at the base camp, you will have a lunch box and you will start hiking to the campsite for about 3 to 4 hours. you will dine and sleep at the campsite.

Accommodation : Tent (1 tent for 2 person)
Meals Included : Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 : Camp 2/3 – Kenteng Songo Peak – Selo – Semarang/Yogyakarta

Wake up at 03:30 with light breakfast and coffee. You will begin the hike / trek at 4:00 am to arrive at the sunrise time at “Puncak Pemancar” with a view of Sindoro and Sumbing volcanoes in the northwest. You will continue the hike to the peak “Kenteng Songo” (true summit of Merbabu) you will have the best point of view on the Merapi volcano. Snack at the top. Then you will descend to Selo with a lunch stop around the Post 3. you will continue the hike to the village of Selo. From there you will be driven to your hotel in Semarang / Yogyakarta. End of service

Accommodation : –
Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch


Included :

  • The services of an experienced English-speaking Go-Volcano guide (Francophone depending on availability) all along the circuit.
  • Experienced local guide and porters for camping gear.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (6 meals). Beverages are NOT included.
  • Private car with air conditioner
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Mineral water, snacks and fruits during the days of hiking
  • Camping equipment (1 tent / 2 persons, sleeping bag, inflatable mattress, inflatable pillow, camping chair, toilet tent)

Excluded :

  • tips & personal expenses (drinks, souvenirs)
  • Flight Ticket
  • Travel Insurance
  • Articles that are not mentioned in “included”

Merbabu Mountain

view of Sindoro Sumbing from Merbabu

Mount Merbabu is a dormant volcano, which offers magnificent views of central Java and the surrounding volcanoes. Merbabu has 3 peaks, namely Kenteng Songo in the middle (3.142 meters), Suwanting on the left (3.142 meters) and Sharif (3.119 meters). The Merapi is visible from Kenteng Songo. Sindoro and Sumbing visible from the others.

Two known moderate eruptions occurred in 1560 and 1797. The 1797 event was rated 2: Explosive, on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. An unconfirmed eruption may have occurred in 1570.

Geologically recent eruptions originated from a northwestern-south southeasterly fissure system that cut across the high-volume and high-volume lava flows from Kopeng and Kajor craters on the northern and southern flanks, respectively.


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