Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Highly volatile 2,923-metre (9,550ft) Mount Merapi is a powerful presence in Central Java, considered sacred and emblematic of the Yogyakarta court. Efforts to relocate communities living on its slopes have failed, partly because of spiritual beliefs, and partly because of the rich volcanic soils that support local agriculture. During a devastating eruption in 2010 several hundred locals were killed, including Mbah Maridjan, the mountain’s mystic guardian, appointed by the sultan.

Climbing Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, attracting climbers and adventurers from all around the globe. It's an awe-inspiring destination that offers not only breathtaking views but also a challenging climb that will test your physical and mental endurance.

Make sure to read these tips when you want to climb Merapi.

Overview of the trek

Trekking to the summit of Mount Merapi is a popular activity for adventurous travelers who are looking for a challenging and rewarding experience. The trek usually starts from the village of Selo, which is located at the base of the mountain.

As an active volano, Mount Merapi has and does erupt from time to time. This last happened in 2018, so approach your climb with caution. The summit is often closed off dure to minor eruptions or on the advice of volcanologists.

Trekking routes and duration

Climbing Mount Merapi usually takes around four to six hours. Most hikers set off from New Selo around 1am to reach the summit for sunrise. The trek is physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness but most people are able to complete it.

As you ascend towards the summit, the terrain becomes more challenging, with steep inclines, loose rocks, and the risk of exposure to volcanic gas and ash. However, the views from the top are truly spectacular, with panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape, including other volcanoes such as Mount Merbabu and Mount Meranti.

It is also possible to climb Mount Merapi from Kaliurang, however you cannot reach the summit from here. That route has been closed since an eruption in 1994.

Mount Merapi trekking difficulty

Mount Merapi is a moderate to difficult climb thanks to loose volcanic cinder and steep inclines closer to the summit. It is possible to hike alone but guides are recommended.

RoughGuides tip: looking for other volcanoes to climb in Indonesia? Check Mount Rinjani

Mount Merapi, Indonesia © Pixabay

Mount Merapi, Indonesia © Pixabay

How to book the best tour

The best licensed guides are located in Selo. Check that they will carry both food and two-way radios. The guide-to-climber ratio is usually one guide to three hikers.

Looking for inspiration for your trip? Talk to our Indonesia travel experts.

How to get to here

Joining a guided tour is a popular option for travelers who want to have a hassle-free and organized trekking experience.

Many tour companies in Yogyakarta offer guided tours to Mount Merapi, which usually include transportation, equipment rental, and a local guide.

By bus

Mount Merapi can be reached from Yogyakarta by bus (generally changing at Kartosuro), however it can be a bit of a hassle.

By taxi

The most convenient option is either by taxi or private minivan. This is quick and relatively affordable.

Find out the best ways to get to Indonesia.

Best time to climb Mount Merapi

The best time to climb Mount Merapi is during the dry season (April to September). With much of the route well worn, the path can become muddy and slippy in the wetter months.

Find out the best time to visit Indonesia.

Mount Merapi, Indonesia © Pixabay

Mount Merapi, Indonesia © Pixabay

Where to stay when climbing Mount Merapi

Most people will stay in Yogyakarta and either organise a trek up Mount Merapi with a single overnight in Selo before setting off at 1am.


Popular Yogyakarta has a huge selection of places to stay, including luxury hotels, high-rise hostels, plus scores of bungalows and guesthouses.


Close to the trailhead, there are a few guesthouses and homestays available in Selo.


Similar to Selo, Kaliurang has a small number of basic places to stay.

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updated 30.03.2023

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