Gunung Gede

Trekking in Gede Pangrango National Park

The thick, jungled slopes of the 2958m Gunung Gede volcano offer one of the most exciting and challenging treks in West Java. The 10km hike right to the summit takes at least 12 hours there and back, so you should start as early as possible and take warm clothes (night temperatures can drop to 5°C), food, water and a torch (flashlight). Most hikers leave by 2am to reach the summit in the early morning before the mists roll in.

On arrival at the Gede Pangrango National Park register for the climb and obtain your permit (a steep 250,000Rp for foreigners) from the PHKA office just outside the entrance to the Kebun Raya Cibodas. The office has an information centre and pamphlets on the park, which is noted for its alpine forest and bird life, including the rare Javan eagle. Officially, guides to the summit have to be hired here for 500,000Rp for a two-day round trip, though the main trail is easy to follow. Gunung Gede is closed to hikers during stormy weather, between January and March, and usually August too.

From Cibodas, the trail passes Telaga Biru (15 minutes), which is a blue-green lake. Cibeureum Falls (one hour away) lie just off the main trail. Most picnickers only go this far, though some continue on to the hot springs, 3½ hours from the gate. Treks to the falls alone are possible for just 150,000Rp plus the entry fee. The trail continues to climb another 1½ hours to Kandang Badak, where a hut has been built on the saddle between the peaks of Gunung Gede and Gunung Pangrango (3019m). Take the trail to the right for a hard three-hour climb to Pangrango. Most hikers turn left for the easier, but still steep, 1½-hour climb to Gede, which has more spectacular views. The Gede Crater lies below the summit, and you can continue on to the Suryakencana Meadow.