Hiking the Ancient Volcano of Nglanggeran, Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is the heart of the Javanese culture. So many people come to Yogyakarta from all over Indonesia, or even from all over the world, to witness its fascinating tradition. Legend of the powerful Queen of the South Sea brings tourists to witness the rolling waves of Parangtritis beach and many more beautiful beaches along the coastline. The legendary Malioboro street is always jam-packed with people purchasing batik, some practicing their bargaining skill. The magnificent Royal Palace and its Water Castle attract people for its interesting architecture and facts on the royal family. It is no wonder that the city is called the Special Region of Yogyakarta, the unique governmental system and the culture invite a never ending curiosity to those unknown to the region and addiction to its regular visitors.

However, Yogyakarta offers so much more than that. For the adventurer at heart, there are plenty of outdoor activities bound to test your adrenaline. The Gunung Kidul region, an hour drive from Yogyakarta’s center, has unspoilt landscape with breathtaking natural view. My eyes widen with excitement as I was told about the ancient volcano of Nglanggeran. This newly discovered place is a perfect place for hiking. The hiking route is known to be easy for beginners and the view from above is like none other. I had to see it for myself.

That morning I put on my trainers ready to hike and made my way to Gunung Kidul. The region is somewhat unknown to my eyes, the city of Yogyakarta is no stranger to me but I tend to forget the other regions surrounding the city which are still part of the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Gunung Kidul is an amazing place with small villages, quiet and peaceful, a contrast to the bustling crowd in Yogyakarta city. A few people went passed me, all heading for this ancient volcano, all wanting to taste a little bit of adventure. I was accompanied by some friends, including blogger Halim, just to make the hike a little more chirpier. I stopped in front of a small hill consisting of rice paddies, green and ripe. It was a stunning and rare view, so different from the lights and advertisements boards I often see in the city. This is the view I have always associated Indonesia with, amazing landscape with green and lush rice paddies that playfully tease my eyes.

At once I was addicted with the whole place. After paying a fee of 3.000IDR to enter the site, I was ready to experience my own adventure. The mountain, shaped like a giant rock, used to be an active volcano thousands of years ago. Its structure is mostly made of fragments of volcanic materials. The idea of hiking what was once an active volcano sent chills to my body.

As I entered the first phase of the hike, I was welcomed by a sign pointing to different activities area and also other mountains located near the area. I followed the written sign “jalur pendakian” (hiking trail). I admire the people who put aside their time to make handwritten signs of the hiking trail as to ease hikers to reach the top. As I started the hike, big trees surrounded me, the sound of birds filled my ears and I could see butterflies roaming freely around me. With such surrounding, I did not bother about the uphill track that would eventually lead me to the top. A few steps later I noticed a handmade wooden stairs that connected the place where I was standing to a higher ground. Soon enough, I had to do several small climbings using a rope to get to a small hill. The equipments were prepared for us and were safe to use which made me feel comfortable to climb. After around 20 minutes of hiking, I could already see a remarkable view. I could see several smaller hills and green patches of rice paddies. I could not wait to reach the top.

The next hour consisted of more hiking and small climbing. At one point I stood in awe as I saw two large rocks sitting next to each other, leaving only a small gap. Only one person could slide through the gap. A group of girls shouted from the other side asking us to stop and let them go through first.

“Thank you! Just a little bit more to reach the top!” said one girl.

Just as she said, the top of the mountain was only a few more steps. There was a huge rock that I had to climb to enjoy the nirvana which awaited for me on the other side. I took the rope and slowly made my way up.

What I saw was beyond believe. I did not expect such beautiful sight coming from this place. I did underestimate a little, which was why I was so blown away by what was in front of me. With the wind blowing on my hair, I took my time to consume the beauty around me. Acres of trees and hills lay before me, I could see small houses sitting peacefully between the rocky hills. The place did not disappoint me, I sat on the rocky surface and stared into the painting-like view freely offered in front of me. It was a blissful moment.

The ancient volcano of Nglanggeran is a newly discovered sight in the region of Yogyakarta. The place is perfect for those seeking to escape the busy city for a quite nature hike. Camping sites are also available for those wanting to enjoy the peaceful surrounding while star gazing at night. This place proves that Yogyakarta can be for everyone, whether you love the vibrant city life or an adventure seeker, Yogyakarta offers all that in one beautiful package.

Have you been to Yogyakarta and climbed this ancient volcano?

29 Comment

  1. What?! Another volcano! Seems like a good climb that offers the beautiful treat at the top of the mountain! Another reason for me to head back to Jogja to explore. I still wanna see mount merapi upclose though! :p

    1. We do have a lot of volcanoes around here Pam, this one is ancient though so it’s not active anymore. It’s great hike up, not too hard and it has amazing views!

    2. Merapi is a bit of a let down. You go on a lava tour but it doesn’t go anywhere near anything active or to the top of the mountain.

      1. Merapi is a very active mountain, as a local myself I have never been on a lava tour. This ancient mountain is far from Merapi though 🙂

  2. A hike AND stunning views? I am so coming to Indonesia and making you take me all over the place, Aggy. You have been warned! Haha :p

    1. I will definitely take you all over when you come here Kavitha! Glad I have convinced you 😉

  3. Gw suka gunung kidul! I used to go take motorcycle trips out there with friends from Jogja all the time. Never made it out to Nglanggeran though but I definitely will next time I come back!

    Oh and hey, speaking of, I have a huge “what to do in Jogja” post that I need to finish and publish. Thinking about adding Nglanggeran in there if you don’t mind if I borrow one of your photos. (And no worries, of course the article will link to this post.) 🙂

    1. Nglanggeran sure is a great place to spend some time hiking. Yes you can take my picture, give me a shout when the article is out. Thanks!

  4. You just want me to come to Indonesia, admit it! 😛 It sounds like a great place and I would love to visit it one day! Your post has also reminded me that I need a holiday away from the city, haha.

    1. Yes of course Vlad I write it all for you to come and visit me…and I’m sure it’s working 😛
      It’s always great to get away from the busy city isn’t it?

  5. Looks like this was a decently challenging hike that was rewarded by some pretty spectacular landscapes. This is a part of the world I have not yet visited, but it seems filled with beauty. Is this a very popular tourist destination throughout the year? Or is there a rainy season

    1. The hike was reasonably easy and you are right Dave, the view is spectacular! This place in particular is still quite new but Yogyakarta in itself is a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists. We do have rainy season too here, just a typical tropical weather 🙂

  6. I loved taking this hike with you — virtually, anyway. I am sadlyy lacking in knowledge of Indonesian places and culture. Yogyakarta would be a wonderful new experience and I would definitely get outside to the villages the the ancient volcano, too.

    1. Love that you said you felt like taking a hike with me virtually! You definitely should make your way around here soon 😉

  7. Stunning views this looks like an amazing hike, truly one of a kind!

    1. I definitely agree with you 😉

  8. Like Cathy, I really don’t know much about Indonesia but I’m learning a lot from your blog! The views from the top of Nglanggeran are gorgeous! Perfect way to escape the city, I agree. Good job!

    1. I am glad that you’re learning a little bit about my country through my blog! This place has got to be one of my favourite places in my hometown, hope you get to see it one day Francesca!

  9. I totally love the scenery, so beautiful!! <3 Wish I could hike there as well!

    1. It is so breathtaking! You definitely should when you come back to Indonesia 😉

  10. What a cool adventure! We love hiking and even more when it has to deal with a volcano! This area looks absolutely gorgeous–I would love to head there and explore all the adventurous activities!

    1. We have a lot of volcanoes around here but this one is inactive which made me a lot more confident to hike!

  11. We always look for beautiful hikes when traveling. My kids would love that that this used to be a volcano. Nice pictures as well!

    1. Thanks Bev! It was really a nice hike and a great view too!

  12. Pingin ngulang ke sini lagi, Gy… Dulu kita belum kesampaian ke embung ( kolam ) di bawah gunung. Yuk ke sana rame-rame 🙂

    1. Ayok kapan kita balik lagi kesini! Aku seneng tempat ini tapi aku wes lali dalan’e mrono hahaha

  13. kota Nglanggeran, Yogyakarta indah banget di lihat dari atas gunung .. beautiful scene..

  14. Hi do you need a guide to hike this?
    I will be hiking this place at around 3pm perhaps to plan for a sunset photo there. Will it be tough to come down after sunset?

    1. Hi Ryan, I didn’t use a guide coming up here. I went with a friend who had hiked before me but it was pretty easy to climb and there were many signs that you could easily follow. Not sure about coming down after sunset, would be dark for sure. I heard some people stay overnight even, to see the stars. You could probably ask the person at the ticket stand.

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