Central Java, Gunung Prau

Written by on July 16, 2012 in Java Mountains with 0 Comments

Central Java, Gunung Prau

http://www.gunungbagging.com/dieng/

Gunung-Prau

The Dieng Plateau is a huge volcanic complex near the town of Wonosobo. It is quite rightly one of Central Java’s leading tourist attractions and there are so many fascinating sites, both geological and historical, that it definitely makes sense to stay in Dieng village itself and properly explore the place. Colourful lakes, hissing and bubbling craters and numerous temples are dotted all over the landscape. The area was a very important Hindu site and eight ancient Hindu temples remain here today, the main cluster being the Arjuna complex just a couple of hundred metres from Dieng village. These are supposedly the oldest temples in Java, dating from the 7th and 8th centuries and it is thought that there were up to 400 temples here originally.

Most people come to Dieng from the south via Yogya and Wonosobo (from where there are frequent buses) and this is the easiest option. However, if you are feeling particularly adventurous the area can also be reached from the north if you take a bus from Pekalongan to Bawang (2 hours) and then an ojek (motocycle taxi) up into the hills as far south as you can (30 minutes). This northern route from Bawang to Dieng used to be passable but the bridge over the river was swept away many years ago. With due care, descend then cross the river on foot and rejoin the steep farm track at the other side of the river. The track ascends through farm plantation and soon you will be on a proper tarmac road again. There are plenty of villagers and farm workers in this area so you may be able to arrange another ojek to Dieng. If not, in total it is only 2 hours from the river to Dieng village itself and could well save you time if trying to reach the Plateau from the north.

Because Dieng is at an elevation of 2,093m, the area is in general quite damp, chilly and often misty. Good visibility is most likely in the morning. The crops grown here include delicious potatoes and cabbages – make sure you try this local produce. The most popular ‘hike’ is to the top of Gunung Sikunir for sunrise but, despite the great views of other volcanoes in Central Java, this is a very easy stroll and most keen hikers will be left wanting more.

The highest mountain in the Dieng area is called Gunung Prau, presumably because it slightly resembles a boat. It towers directly above Dieng village and can be climbed without the need for additional transport. Because Dieng village is already very high up, it is a short and easy hike to the peak (2,599m). There is another route from Bringinsari village, Sukorejo, to the north-east which takes approximately four hours. This route from Dieng, however, takes just over 2 hours and there are plenty of local guides available.

From Dieng village, behind the Dieng Homestay follow the track up past the school. The track leads up through farmland and into forest where it begins to ascend more steeply. After about one hour you will reach a border marker (2,398m), marking the end of one region (Wonosobo) and the beginning of another (Batang).

Soon, you will reach the radio transmitter mast, compound and more regional marker stones (2,560m). In good weather you should have great views of Slamet, Sindoro, Sumbing and other peaks. Unlike most Indonesian mountains, Gunung Prau makes an excellent ridge walk along a clear path. The highpoint is known as Gunung Patakbanteng and lies about 2 km along the ridge from the radio masts. The first section is a bracken-covered ridge before the trail descends slightly into a daisy-filled meadow area reminiscent of many small European hills. Locals actually refer to this area as Bukit Teletubbies (Teletubbies hill). The meadow area is home to occasional and impressive trees, both lone and in clumps. The highest point is an unmarked area at the top of the highest bump to the right side of the trail which runs in the bowl-like dip of the meadow. From here the views are fantastic – both of nearby and distant volcano peaks and down to the Dieng Plateau itself. You can return the same way via the masts or make a circuit by descending to Patakbanteng village from where it an easy 2km along the road back to Dieng village.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn

Practicalities

Getting there

There are frequent buses to Wonosobo and the Dieng area from Yogyakarta. Accommodation

Plenty of basic accommodation in Dieng village or Wonosobo. Permits

None required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase. Water sources

Ttake enough bottled water with you.

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