With a name that means 'mountain of fire,' it’s no surprise that Mount Merapi is Indonesia’s most active volcano. Its treacherous peaks, impossible views and steeply graded trails have made it a destination for travelers looking to explore the outdoors and taste some high-altitude adventure.
While climbing with a guide isn’t required, experts say it’s highly recommended. Trail markings can be difficult to see, particularly in early and late hours, making navigation particularly difficult. Several shelters exist along the path for hikers who need to wait out storms or take lunch in the shade. The most popular time to start climbing is 1 a.m., since the 5:30 a.m. view of sunrise from the mountain’s peak is said to be spectacular.
Travelers can hire a taxi from Yogyakarta to Selo, a village just outside Merapi. From there, it’s possible to hire a scooter or some other transport to reach Merapi. Almost any vehicle in the villages around Merapi can provide local transportation for a small fee. It’s best to avoid Mount Merapi during rainy season (between October and early April) since cold temperatures and slippery slopes make for less than favorable visits.