Hiking up Merapi is one of the must-do activities in Yogyakarta. There are many tour operators who will happily arrange your transportation to Selo as well as the guides and porters who charge about 200,000 Rupiah (about RM70) for their services.
The best time to go is between June and September, before the rainy season sets in. The local guide says the trickiest part about the climb is the weather — when it’s the dry season, the track is very dusty and difficult, but then when it’s wet, you struggle with the mud, so take your pick.
Even if you are not a regular hiker but are reasonably fit, you shouldn’t have any problems although you may be in for a bit of a struggle. Being an acrophobic, I was more preoccupied with trying not to tumble! I was on all fours most of the time coming down but going up wasn’t so bad since it was still dark when we started.
When you finally get to Station 3 (where it can get extremely cold), you can either soak in the view while the guide prepares coffee over a hot fire, or you could continue up to the stony-plain peak where a huge rock shaped like the mythical Garuda is perched and there’s a gigantic crater emanating strong plumes of sulphur vapour.
I definitely think that the sunrise on Merapi, surrounded by the peaks of Merbabu, Sindoro, Sumbing and Lawu, is among the most amazing in the world and a sight to behold. So even if you have a fear of heights, you would do well to invest in a good pair of shoes and headlamp and make your way to Merapi.
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Mt Merapi, the climb
Gunung Merapi, Yogyakarta