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Best Hiking Trails in Indonesia

Overview

Want to hike a volcano? Then Indonesia is the place for you.  This country is made up of 17,000 islands spread out over a large area between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  There are volcanoes and jungles dotting much of these islands, with hiking trails strewn across these beautiful mountainous landscapes.  There is cultural diversity to match – many religions, cultures, languages exist in this wide spread of islands.  Some of the best hiking can be found on the islands of Java, Bali, Lombok and Flores, such as Mount Bromo, Mount Rinjani, Mount Kelimetu, and Mount Batur.  The best months for hiking in Indonesia vary; read on for more information on where and when to go hiking in Indonesia. 

Capital: Jakarta

When To Hike in Indonesia?

February – November: The best months vary according to the island/region.  Filter in the map to see best months for each region.
Varies
Varies: Rainy
Climate: Equatorial in many areas (hot, humid and rainy throughout the year) and tropical in other areas (wet and dry seasons).  Most of the main hiking areas are in the tropical zone. 

Accessibility of Hiking

Easy – Medium: While there are well known and accessible hiking areas, and hikes that you can do on your own, many of these volcanoes/trails are dangerous without a guide and marking may be poor even in well-travelled areas.  The best thing to do is to decide on an area and find a guide with a good reputation to take you where you want to go.

Transportation required: Public transit; hiring a driver

Most popular hikes in Indonesia

The main islands for hiking are Sumatra, Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, and Papua. Highest Mountain: Puncak Jaya (4884 m) in the Maoke Mountains on Papua. 'Gunung' means 'mount' and 'bukit' means 'hill'.

Filter out hiking places of Indonesia by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Kalimantan

  • June – Sept
  • Region of Indonesia that’s on the island of Borneo
  • A lot of inhospitable jungle
  • Cross Borneo Trek – very challenging
  • Muller Mountains
  • Betung Kerihun National Park – very challenging
  • Gunung Palung National Park 
  • Meratus Mountains

Maluku

  • June – Sept
  • Group of islands, including North Maluku, and various others; quite rainy here
  • Pulau Ternate – Gunung Api Gamalama  – can’t hike due to volcanic activity (still true?)
  • Pulau Seram – “wild, mountainous interior” but not sure how accessible; Teluk Sawai 
  • Banda Islands – Gunung Api

Sulawesi

  • Apr – Oct
  • Large island closer to Borneo 
  • Northern part of island could be hiked year round
  • Tana Toraja – a mecca for visitors, lots of hiking
  • Lore Lindu National Park – very tough to get to 
  • Minahasa region – Tomohon is a good base

Western New Guinea

  • June – Aug
  • Western half of New Guinea (eastern half is the country of Papua New Guinea) 
  • Has the biggest mountains in Indonesia; can be a challenge to get around 
  • Equatorial climate so rainy throughout the year
  • Baliem Valley – very well known, and one of the most popular destinations on Papua; hiking through indigenous villages 
    • Lorentz National Park  
    • Home of Puncak Jaya (a very serious trek that only experienced mountaineers take on)
  • Arfak Mountains (near Manokwari) 

Sumba

  • Apr – Nov
  • Hilly and mountainous, not a lot of info on hiking here

West Timor

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of East Nusa Tenggara
  • Some mountains in the western part 
  • Nuaf Nefomas

Alor Islands

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of East Nusa Tenggara
  • Mountainous but not a lot of info on hiking
  • Mount Sirung on Pantar Island

Sumbawa

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of West Nusa Tenggera
  • Gunung Tambora – eruption in 1815 had worldwide effects – multi day trek to climb up and into the crater, very beautiful
  • Olet Sangenges

Lombok

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of West Nusa Tenggera group of islands
  • Gunung Rinjani National Park (home of Mt Rinjani, the volcano to hike on this island) – a beautiful, sacred peak, the second tallest volcano in Indonesia – June to August is best time with minimal rain 
  • There are lots of other trails around Senaru which is a good base for Rinjani
  • Sembulan Valley (on Rinjani)

Komodo & Rinca islands

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of East Nusa Tenggara group of islands
  • Together they form Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site – www.komodo-park.co – hiking isn’t to high peaks but there are good hikes while dragon-hunting (https://komodonationalpark.org/)
  • Padar Island

Flores

  • Apr – Nov
  • Part of East Nusa Tenggara group of islands  
  • Kelimetu National Park (home of Mt Kelimetu and infamous three multi-coloured lakes)
  • Other hikes around Moni (village that can be a base for above)
  • Wae Rebo
  • Gunung Mbeliling
  • Gunung Inerie
  • Gunung Egon

Bali

  • In June 2023, the Bali government banned all tourist activities including hiking its mountains: Bali Ban on Activities
  • Best Hikes in Bali
  • Gunung Agung – Bali’s highest mountain and the main draw for hikers
  • Gunung Batur – another well known hike 
  • Around Munduk – a mountain town from where you can do lots of hiking
  • Gunung Catur
  • Gunung Abang – third highest mountain on Bali
  • Gunung Seraya
  • Bali Bharat (West Bali) National Park – Bali’s only national park, on the western tip – just reaching above 300 m

Karimunjawa Island

  • Apr – Nov
  • Off the coast of Java – has a peak that can be hiked, Gunung Gendero

West Java

  • May – Sept
  • Gunung Haliman National Park – www.halimunsalak.org 
    • Gunung Salak
    • Gunung Haliman
  • Mountains south of Bandung
  • Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park

Central Java

  • Apr – Oct
  • Gunung Muria
  • Gunung Merbabu
  • Dieng plateau (start of Gunung Prau peak)
  • Gunung Slamet
  • Gunung Merapi National Park – Indonesia’s most active volcano; need to practice extreme caution if going up this
  • Wonosobo Region (incl Gunung Sindoro)
  • Gunung Sumbing
  • Gunung Andong

East Java

  • Apr – Nov
  • Ijen Crater – very popular 
  • Gunung Argopuro
  • Bromo Tengerr Semeru National Park – very popular, home of four volcanoes, including Gunung Bromo and Gunung Semeru
  • Gunung Kawi
  • Gunung Arjuna-Lalijiwo Reserve – two volcanoes (Gunung Arujuno and Mount Welirang) 
  • Gunung Penanggungan – lots of Hindu temples on this mountain
  • Gunung Kelud
  • Gunung Liman
  • Gunung Lawu (straddles both East & Central Java)

Sumatra

  • Feb – Aug
  • Indonesia’s largest island, mountains and volcanoes along the west coast
  • Many people come to Sumatra for orangutan treks
  • Gunung Leuser National Park – jungle hiking; accessing from Banda Aceh is much less busy
  • Lereng Gunung Sibuatan – hiking area around this mountain
  • Gunung Sibayak – in the Karo Highlands
  • Mount Talakmau
  • Mount Marapi 
  • Kerinici Seblat National Park
  • Mount Kaba craters
  • Gunung Dempo
  • Off the coast of Sumatra is Krakatau – erupted in 1883 and now a new volcano is growing in its place (the “child of Krakatau”), you can go and hike there if it’s safe to do so
  • Many other places

Long Distance Trails of Indonesia

Many of the treks are multi-day trails

  • Cross Borneo Trek – very challenging

Indonesia's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Indonesia Hiking Books: 

  • Gunung Nusantara: 100 accessible mountain and volcano treks across the Indonesian archipelago, by Daniel Patrick Quinn, 2021, Ebook – https://amzn.to/3vy2bUn
  • Lonely Planet Indonesia, by David Elmer, Ray Bartlett, Loren Bell, 2021, Lonely Planet Publications – pretty good source of hiking info – https://amzn.to/4cwqEtP
  • Lonely Planet Bali, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, by Virginia Maxwell, Mark Johanson, Sofia Levin, 2021, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/3VzqFag
  • Bali: The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, by Alexa West, 2019, Independently published – https://amzn.to/4cvGJ2X – not necessarily a hiking guide but a popular travel guide

 

Indonesia Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Indonesia:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from hiking guidebooks, trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Mount Bromo – Java
  • Mount Rinjani – Lombok
  • Gunung Merapi – Java
  • Mount Batur – Bali
  • Mount Kelimetu – Flores
  • Mount Agung – Bali
  • Mount Semeru – Java
  • Mount Penanjaken – Java
  • Gunung Merbabu – Java
  • Ijen Crater – Java
  • Tumpak Sewu Waterfall – Java

Easy Hiking Trails in Indonesia:

  • Padar Island hike – Komodo Islands
  • Wae Rebo villages

 

Indonesia Hiking Websites: There are many travel blogs related to hiking in Indonesia

 

Indonesia Weather websites:

  • Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Council – BMKG 

 

Indonesia Official Tourism Site:  

 

Indonesia Hiking Apps: 

 

Indonesia Hiking Maps: 

  • Hiking and Walking in the Island of Bali Complete Topographic Map Atlas Bali Indonesia 1:75000 Bali and Nearby Islands Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan: Travel Guide Hiking Trail Maps – by Sergio Mazzito, 2018, CreateSpace Independent Publishing – https://amzn.to/3TzVjxQ
  • Indonesia Travel Map – Periplus – https://amzn.to/3vmhq2K

What Else To Do

  • Temples – example, the Borobudur Temple
  • Beaches
  • Wildlife (including orangutan) 
  • Surfing
  • Food

Other Important Points

  • Many hikes to tops of volcanoes begin at night to get there before sunrise – often for the beauty of a sunrise but also because clouds roll in in the morning 
  • Fascinating history of some of the volcanoes, such as the story of Krakatau
  • Home to the most volcanoes in the world, be aware of which ones are active and which ones aren’t and be aware of guides who might put you in danger by taking you up ones that are active