Mount Merbabu


Mount Merbabu: A Javanese Hike

Mountain Stats
Natural Form and History
Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Support Facilities
Safety & Accessibility
Special Tips
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Quick Answers

Q:How to climb Merbabu
A:There are many trails that can be taken to climb Mount Merbabu, including several from the north, a popular southern trail from Selo and a new western trail from Suwanting.
Q:Merbabu without a guide
A:Mount Merbabu can definitely be climbed without a guide as there’s no requirement as per the Park’s regulations. In fact, a lot of hikers climb Merbabu without a guide.

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Mountain Stats

3,145m (10,318 ft)
Climbing Height
2,432m (7,979 ft)
Other names
  • Gunung Merbabu
  • Ashy Mountain

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Natural Form and History

Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Natural history

Merbabu actually has not one but 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. Two known moderate eruptions occurred in 1560 and 1797. The 1797 event was rated 2: Explosive, on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.

Geologically recent eruptions originated from a North Northwest-South Southeast fissure system that cut across the summit and fed the large-volume lava flows from Kopeng and Kajor craters on the northern and southern flanks, respectively.

An area of 57 km² at the mountain was declared a national park in 2004.

Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing history

Merbabu has always been referred to as Merapi’s lesser known sibling.

Natural Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Current status

Merbabu may not be as popular as Mount Merapi amongst hikers however this makes it a great climb for those who prefer less crowds during a hike.

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Climbing Experience

Despite not being as known amongst the hiking community as Merapi, Merbabu is still one of Central Java’s most popular hikes. Climbing this volcano offers spectacular views from all directions.

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Trail options

Number of options

Merbabu can be climbed from several trails near Kopeng in the north with starting points at Thekelan, Cunthel and Wekas, or from the south at Selo. There is also a trail from the west at Suwanting.

Time to complete
2 days

There are three posts (Lembah Lempong, Shelter Bendera, and Ndampo Awang) and this route offers great views of Merapi. This trail is now getting popular with hikers from Yogyakarta, who opt to then take the southern Selo trail to descend.

Number of days
Day 1

Begin your journey from your accommodation in Yogyakarta to the mountain trailhead at Suwanting Village. You’ll need to register, so remember to take a copy of your passport with you. The entrance fee shouldn’t be more than 30,000 IDR. You will then start the trek at approximately 1,300m above sea level.


After around 7-8 hours of trekking you would have reached the campsite approximately 2,700m above sea level where you will set up tent for the night.

Day 2

Wake up and grab a quick cup of tea/coffee or even a light breakfast before beginning the journey to the summit in time for sunrise views.


Enjoy the spectacular views in all directions as the first light hits.


If you’ve packed your breakfast for the summit climb, now’s a great time to sit down and enjoy it with the sunrise views. Once done, you can begin descending down the southern Selo trail or else you can always revert down the same Suwanting Village trail.

It is a long 8 hours up to the summit and you will need a lot of sun protection as most of the trail is not forested. This has an upside of course – views are breathtaking, particular towards Sindoro and Sumbing.

This trail shouldn’t take more than 5-6hours to complete as the starting point is higher than that from Yogyakarta.

This trail shouldn’t take more than 6-8 hours to complete as the starting point is almost as high as from Wekas, however this is more recommended for descending.

This trail is your fastest option but you’ll have to start at an odd hour like around 02:00-03:00AM in order to reach the summit by sunrise.

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Support facilities

Guides and porters

Guides are not required
Porters are not required

Trail facilities

Trail head - Registration kiosk
Summit base camp - Shelters for overnight rest

Food & water

Trail head - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters
Trail - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters
Summit base camp - Food & potable water only available from guide / porters

Network connectivity

Trail head - Network signal

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility


The best time to climb Merbabu is during the dry season from May to October. The rainy season is generally from December to March.

Climbing safety

Hiking poles are definitely a must for this hike. Rock climbing skills are not necessary, neither are technical climbing skills. However, there are sections that do require some light scrambling.

Personal safety

Climbing Merbabu is a little tough but anyone with good fitness and hiking experience should be able to cope.

Permits, Fees, and Regulations

You need to take a copy of your passport with you for registration purposes and you’ll need to pay a fee no more than 30,000 IDR.

Emergency contacts

Police: 110

Ambulance: 118

Fire: 113

Getting there and away

Adisutjipto International Airport is the closest airport serving the Yogyakarta area on Java.

Money Matters

Other than the entrance fee, your costs should be quite low on this hike, specially since you don’t even need a porter and guides too are not a necessity.

Climbing Mount Merbabu Indonesia - Special Tips

Tips for amateur climbers

The quick trail from Selo may be your favoured option but despite the longer hike, climbing from Suwanting isn’t a bad idea either.

Tips for advanced climbers

Give yourself a bit of a challenge with either the overnight hike from Suwanting or the toughest and steepest 8 hour hike to the top through Wekas.

Tips for women

Women summiting Merbabu should not face any special challenges. Avoid unwanted attention or cultural faux pas by taking your dressing cues from locals (who tend to cover shoulders and legs, even when swimming).

Tips for trail runners

It’s unclear as to whether there are organised races yet, however trail running does take place through the Selo trail.

Tips for nature lovers

Look out for the beautiful ubiquitous Javanese edelweiss (aka the Everlasting Flower) which is endemic to the mountains of Indonesia.

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