Charms of West Java’s Peak, Mt. Ciremai

Western Crater of Ciremai with around 400 meter radius
Western Crater of Ciremai with around 400 meter-width radius

West Java is blessed with many volcanoes. It accounts not only for 23% Indonesia’s geothermal reserve or around 10 % world share but also a considerable tourism boost. Since it is too complicated talking about geothermal as some people may think that government will “sell” the mountain rather than an attempt to fulfil electricity demand, let’s talk about hiking instead :mrgreen:

Mt. Ciremai is one of the famous mountain. The elevation is 3078 meter above sea level and is the highest point of West Java. Some hikers said that it is not easy to conquer the summit as the trail is quite tough. Sadly, I think it is true. It is pretty much like Rinjani‘s route from Senaru, yet more brutal ascents at some point. I went hiking through Apuy Route in Majalengka that is considered the shortest and the modest one. The two other routes, Linggarjati and Palutungan, are even less-friendly. These trails start from 700 m and 1100 m respectively, while Apuy starts from 1600 m above sea level. hehe.  Which trail would you prefer? 🙂 

Mt. Cikurai and Mt. Papandayan of Garut seen from Mt. Ciremai
Mt. Cikuray and Mt. Papandayan of Garut seen from Mt. Ciremai

How to get There

If you start from Jakarta, the best way is by bus. Grab a bus from Kampung Rambutan Terminal toward Leuwi Panjang that costs you around Rp. 50.000 max ( 6 USD) with around 3 hours journey. Then, take an ELF (not SUper JUnior’s fanatic fans :mrgreen: , it’s a public van 🙂 ) towards Cikijing and stop at Maja Terminal in Majalengka Regency. Don’t be surprised by the way they drive the van as it’s typically brutal. Yet don’t worry they are get used to this. Pretend you are ride a roller coaster. Just enjoy the journey 🙂 . Try to bargain unless it’s gonna be pricey. Mine was around Rp 40.000 (5 USD) each. After that, rent a pickup car to Argapura village which around 1.5 hour journey heading to the Berod base camp. I have no idea how much it cost. It is supposed to be around Rp 200.000 (20 USD ) and can be occupied by around 10 people.

Mt. Slamet, Central java's Peak, Seen from Mt. Ciremai
Mt. Slamet, Central java’s Peak, Seen from Mt. Ciremai

You are advised to get enough exercise prior to hike and be well-prepared. I found two serious cases when I was there, hypothermic and fatigue. It was my first time seeing a girl suffered from severe hypothermic. Her body was shaking so badly and she seemed lost her consciousness. Terrible. Other case was my team member which he was unable to go downhill after get the summit. So, he need a couple people to get him back to the base camp. The point is, hiking, like other outdoor activity, is very risky in spite of all the excitements. Trying some less-challenging mountain like Mt. Papandayan may be a good idea. Yet after all, preparation is the most important thing.

FYI, on dry season, water source along the way to the summit is limited or may be dry. It is important for hikers to bring along sufficient supply of water

Muara Jaya Waterfalls

There is an interesting place near the mountain that should not be missed, Maja Waterfalls. It is about one hour away from Maja Terminal. My team and I went to the waterfall prior to have a camp in Berod Shelter. Pretty nice. There are two waterfalls, the upper one was the highest.

Muara Jaya Waterfalls

After done with waterfalls, We, with the same pickup cars, headed to Berod Shelter to have a camp and regain some energy prior to start trekking. To get the summit, there are 6 shelters you need to pass through. These shelter has their own challenge. I started climbing at 23:30 at Berod Camp and completely conquered the summit by 05:30 in the following day.

Pos I (Berod Camp) – Pos II (Simpang Lima at 1915 m) :

It is around one hours trekking. The place is not really wide, could  only be occupied by around 3 tents.

Pos II – Pos III (Tegal Wasawa at 2,400 m ) :

For me, the trekking was quite tiring as that seemed an extreme ascents. I spent 1.5 hours with some occasional stops. This is the beginning of never ending ascents. Welcome to Ciremai’s trail, buddy 🙂 

Pos III –  Pos IV (Tegal Jamuju at 2.600m) :

Actually, the shelter is not really far but, as my endurance start getting down, I took one hour to get pos IV. Again, the space is limited, only 5-6 tents could occupy.

The Edelweiss is now an endangered species.
The Edelweiss is now an endangered species.

Pos IV – Pos V (Sanghiang Rangkah at 2800 m) :

Sanghyang Rangkah is around 1.5 trekking from pos IV and is quite an open terrain that I can see the city view. It is dominated by shrubs of a volcanic vegetation. I saw a lot of tents set there and I was surprised by so many hikers who make bonfires. I understand that It was nice to have that but If they don’t careful enough, it would arouse bigger fires and burn the forest. The shelter is relatively wide and becomes meeting point between Apuy and Palutungan route. Remember to take the right path when going downhill. I mean, If you start from Apuy, then keep following through Apuy Route by being aware of the information board. The intersection point between Apuy and Palutungan might be confusing for some people. It was not clear that some of my team got lost in their return from summit. They stranded in Kuningan Regency instead of Majalengka 😆 Man, that so far away 🙂 

Pos V – Pos VI (Goa Walet at 2950 m) :

The trek is even tougher here. Goa Walet is a cave, well like caldera but no longer active. There are water source but most likely to be dry in dry season. So, never count on this for your water supply. Get enough water since Berod Camp I would suggest.

Pos VI – Summit at 3078 m 

Well, it was getting challenging yet the view was very entertaining. It is not like Semeru or Rinjani that are mostly a long-sandy trail but more a solid ground. If it is not a peak hiking season, you can reach the summit in only 30 minutes. Mine was in Aug 17 in which, people go hiking to celebrate independence day. It made very long queue that I took almost 50 minutes. Alhamdulillah, I did not miss the beautiful sunrise. The Independence Sunrise 🙂 .

And there it is :

Sunrise is always beautiful 🙂
Proof that I've been there in sunrise time :smile:
Proof that I’ve been there in sunrise time 🙂
Stunning, isn't it?
Stunning, isn’t it?

Independence Day Celebration

Independence day celebration is always fun. Those who enjoy some outdoor activities, mountain is one of the most favourite place. Ciremai has been visited by more than 3000 hikers in Aug 17 this year. If you hate being in an overcrowd, do not hike in such a time particularly some famous mountain. Trust me. 

Well, the amazing thing was the festivity involved a-300 meter long Indonesia’s flag that was unfolded by thousands hikers along the crater rim while singing national anthem. It was nice to witness people singing echoed all around the mountain. So overwhelm. Thanks for whoever people came up with this brilliant idea. 

Independence day in the peak
Independence day ceremony
Independence day ceremony

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