Mount Semeru


Mount Semeru: Climb and Erupting Volcano

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

Q:How do you climb Mount Semeru?
A:Mount Semeru is one of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, and is Java’s highest peak. Climbing it is a challenging 2-day trek. The trail begins at Ranu Pani village, includes an overnight stay in a tent at Kalimati camp followed by spectacular sunrise views the next morning. Basic hiking equipment is required, as well as gear for an overnight stay (if not provided by your tour provider). Bring extra layers for the summit, and wet-weather gear if you're hiking in the monsoon.
Q:How high is Mount Semeru?
A:The summit of Mount Semeru is 3,676m (12,060ft) above sea level. Although, if you're climbing it, expect a vertical gain of 1,600m if starting from Ranu Pane village at 2,109m, but you may have a cumulative vertical gain of around 2,500m over the course of the climb (when you add up all the little ups and downs). Semeru is still regularly erupting, as it has been since 1967, so its height could expect to be changing regularly.

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Mountain Stats

3,676m (12,060ft)
Climbing Height
1,600m (5,249ft)
  • #18 Highest in Indonesia
  • #31 Highest in Southeast Asia
  • #1 Highest in Java
  • 20 minutes: Average time between eruptions
Other names
  • Mahameru

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Natural Form and History

Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Natural history

Mount Semeru came into being around 60 million years ago, and is part of the massive Tengger Volcanic Complex. The stratovolcano comprises mostly of blocky lava. It rises steeply from the coastal plain of Eastern Java, and is capped with a maar.

Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing history

Mount Semeru is the highest peak in Java. The volcano has been active since 1967, with mini-eruptions occurring every 20minutes at times. The climb itself is pretty safe, but there may be risks of inhaling poisonous gases from time to time. One famous incident was when Indonesian politician Soe Hok Gie died in 1969 due to these poisonous gases. Due to the frequent updates, it would be best to check if any changes have been happening recently before you pay a visit.

Natural Mount Semeru Indonesia - Current status

Despite being an active volcano that has taken the lives of many in the past, Mount Semeru is a popular climbing spot for mountaineers from all around the world.

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Climbing Experience

This popular hike is considered rather safe and has been frequently labelled one of Indonesia’s finest hikes. Black puffy clouds of volcanic ash and sand are released from the peak almost on an hourly basis. The only inconvenience you may face is the wind and rocky terrain you’ll encounter before you get to Ranu Kumbolo.

The climbing terrain comprises of 2 sections: the pre-summit section that needs to be covered on Day 1 has mostly vegetable plantations and pine forests. One may need to be careful about the monkeys in this region.The summit section comprises mostly of hardened lava-based rocks with little vegetation. The trail becomes more difficult as it gets steeper and the loose terrain could lead to slips if trekkers aren’t careful.

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Trail options

Number of options

The most popular route to the summit of Mount Semeru is the Eastern trail that starts at Ranu Pani, and is rather simple and direct. Even for amateur climbers, there is hardly any need for a guide. It does however get quite windy and a little rocky on the way to the first milestone, which is Ranu Kumbolo. The route could also get a little confusing at times due to the occasional tree and formation of clouds. While there is an alternate route that takes one through the fields back to the village of Ranu Pani, that is rarely attempted and may require one to hire a guide, especially for first timers.

Time to complete
2 days

The trek takes 2 days in which climbers can camp for a night at the Kalimati camp base. The trip begins at 04:00 as it can take up to 5 hours to get to the trail from Malang / Surabaya.

Number of days
Day 1

You’ll need to wake up early and head out to the village of Ranu Pani with the help of available public transport or a private car from Malang or Surabaya. Remember to pack your breakfast, lunch and drinking water before starting the journey.


Once at Ranu Pani, you will be required to register at the national post office present there. Your passport will be required for the registration, and you may also be asked for a medical / BMI report to verify your fitness levels.


 After finishing the mandatory registration, the hiking journey to Mt. Semeru can be undertaken with or without a local guide. From here, you will be trekking all the way to Lake Kumbolo by taking the Eastern trail through Watu Rejeng. The journey can take up to 4 hours. You can have your lunch at the lake.


From here, you can move towards the Kalimati base camp. The route will take up to 3 hours to cover. On the way, admire the scenic beauty of the peak of Ayek Ayek.


Once you arrive at the Kalimati camp, you can camp at the site for a night and have dinner, before settling in for the night. Some climbers choose to move further up to the Arcopodo camp that saves 1-1.5 hours of journey to the summit on day 2.

Day 2

The trek to Mount Semeru can take 3 to 4 hours in the morning on day 2, for which it is best to wake up around midnight. The trail from the camp now becomes steep so be aware. Having a guide could be helpful for inexperienced climbers for this section.


Sunrise usually occurs around 5-6AM, so it is advisable to get to the summit a little before. After spending some time at the summit, you can start with the trek back down to the camp.


After a short break at the camp, start the trek back down. Aim to get back to Lake Kumbolo by 10:30 to get breakfast there or just enjoy the view.


Arrive back at the village of Ranu Pani and have your lunch. From here, you can get back to your hotel at Malang or Surabaya, or leave for the airport directly.

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Support facilities

Guides and porters

Guides are not required
Porters are not required

Trail facilities

Trail head - Registration kiosk
Trail head - Toilets / Bathrooms

Food & water

Trail head - Food
Trail head - Potable water
Trail - Portable water
Summit base camp - Portable water

Network connectivity

Trail head - Network signal
Summit - Network signal

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Safety & Accessibility


Temperatures are nice and cool during the daytime but can drop below freezing at night. The best time to visit Mount Semeru is in the dry season from April to November.

Climbing safety

Steep surfaces:  The climb to the summit is quite steep once the trekkers leave from Kumbolo. Therefore, it is advisable to climb through the trail at a steady pace, and wear sturdy boots that rise above the ankle.

Slips and falls: The trail is mostly made up of lava rocks, many of which have hardened, but be cautious when climbing to avoid slipping. 

Toxic gases:  As the summit is an active volcano, gas masks are a necessity to stay safe.

Personal safety

Thousands of travelers from all over the world visit Mount Semeru every year and they tend to have a safe experience whether traveling solo or in groups. Basic precautions against theft are always recommended.

Permits, Fees, and Regulations

Permits are necessary. Once you’ve shown your passport, a permit can be obtained from the national post office in Ranu Pani for around $25USD. Remember to bring a health certificate from a nearby hospital or healthcare centre like Puskesmas in Tumpang. This should cost you around $3USD.

Emergency contacts

Police: 110

Fire: 113

Ambulance: 118

Getting there and away

The airport in Surabaya welcomes daily flights from major cities like Jakarta and Bali. There’s a 5-hour drive from the airport to Ranu Pani.

Money Matters

In addition to the $30USD you’ll have to keep for your trek permit and health certificate, the costs are minimal. You’ll have to invest in camping gear beforehand and pack snacks and meals for your two day long summit.

Climbing Mount Semeru Indonesia - Special Tips

Tips for amateur climbers

Amateur or beginner mountaineers may feel challenged by Semeru. But as long as you’re reasonably fit, and you take your time, you should be fine.

Tips for advanced climbers

If the Semeru hike isn’t challenging enough for you, try linking up with some of the other mountains and volcanos in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National park, or even other mountains in East Java.

Tips for women

There are no special challenges facing women on Semeru. Many women embark on this trek annually, mostly in larger groups.

Tips for trail runners

The Bromo Tengger Semeru (BTS) Ultra Race will be taking place in November 2019 at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The run spans across rural back roads, forest path and prairie lands offering participants views of Mount Semeru and Lake Kumbolo.

Tips for nature lovers

The geology of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru national park is the main natural wonder to appreciate. There may be some diverse ecosystems in the lower forests and jungles, but introduced plant species, and cultivation of the lower slopes means that it is not the best place in Indonesia, or even Java, for nature walking.

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