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?