Calling all adventurers! Pack your bags and embrace your adventurous side at majestic and mystical Mount Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia.
Mount Merapi, straddling the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. A massive eruption in October 2010 sowed ruin around the mountain, bringing death and destruction to villages clinging to the slopes of Merapi, including the villages of Kaliadem and Kinahrejo.
When Merapi is not rumbling and spitting out ash and rocks, it is the perfect time to explore the mountain. You can get your adrenaline going by taking a Merapi Lava Tour by Jeep and other off-road vehicles. There are several operators providing lava tours and you can show up at Merapi and book a tour.
I took my tour accompanied by Mas Wahyu, our driver and guide. We began with a visit to Museum Sisa Hartaku, which is a ruined house that contains the remnants of furniture and other vestiges of daily life destroyed by Merapi. Soft ash was spread thick through the house, covering everything. Our next destination was the Bunker, about a 20- minute drive from the museum. This Bunker was supposedly a safe place to hide during an explosion, but in 2006, a rescue team founded two dead men inside the bunker. It is now part of the lava tours. Visitors are allowed to go inside, though there is nothing but an empty room and the opportunity to contemplate the fragility of life and the unpredictability of nature.
Done with the short contemplation, we headed to Batu Alien or Alien Rock. After one eruption, locals claimed to see a human face on one side of this huge rock. You need to look close but you can make out a shape, though it is a bit strange, which is how it got the name alien. Alien Rock is also said to have magical powers. Finally, near Kaliurang, is Museum Gunung Merapi, where visitors can learn more about Merapi and its history.
Text and photos by Priscilla Picauly