West Java, Gunung Pangrango

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

West Java, Gunung Pangrango



This Ribu is one of the two peaks that form part of the famous Gede-Pangrango National Park. It is only 50 km drive from Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta, and is one of the most popular destinations in “The Puncak”, which is the area between Cisarua and Cibodas. Due to its proximity to Jakarta and Bandung, it sees over 50,000 visitors per year and there is actually a limit to how many climbers are allowed up each day. The most common starting point is at the entrance to the magnificent Cibodas Botanical Gardens where the Gede-Pangrango Park office is located (for permits, guides, porters and basic maps).

Most hikers’ destination in Gede-Pangrango National Park is actually Gunung Gede, understandably so since the hike to Gede summit around the towering cliffs of its crater is a wonderful hiking experience, and offers extensive views of Pangrango, Salak, the Bandung area and on clear days you can see Gunung Karang in Banten Province, Jakarta, and the coastline of West Java. You can see Sumatra if you’re lucky. Pangrango itself is a dormant volcano with a forested summit, however for fit hikers a trek to both peaks can be done in a weekend with only one night’s camping.

From the National Park Office in Cibodas (1,250m), follow the track by the side of the botanical garden golf course to the gate post where the park staff check you have a permit and a guide or porter. After 30 minutes along the track at 1,500m is Telaga Biru (blue lake) which lies to the left of the path. Another 15 minutes and you will reach a large swamp area which has a wooden and concrete walkway across it. After that is a wooden hut and signposts just before Cibeureum waterfall (which isn’t actually on the main path itself but makes a pleasant minor detour). It is another 90 minutes from here to the fantastic hot stream waterfall (2,100m), which you cross with the use of the rope and poles to hold onto. The water is incredibly hot even though it has travelled quite a long way already out of the crater. Just beyond the hot water is a rather unattractive cement hut and another steaming stream. From the hot springs, it is about 15 minutes to reach the camping area of Kadang Batu, which is an option for camping only for those who are novice hikers. It has a source of water, but really you should hike on another 30 to 45 minutes to Kandang Badak camping site, which is a relatively flat forest area in the col between Pangrango (northwest) and Gede (Southeast). This is the most popular camping area, since it offer the option to climb both peaks and has a good source of water. Total hiking time so far is less 3 hours for fit hikers, but perhaps 4 or 5 hours for those who are less regular hikers.

The recommended option if you want to climb both peaks in one weekend is to pitch your tent here, and then proceed directly to climb Pangrango. You can leave you porter or guide to look after your tent, although there are not likely to be any security concerns. It is approximately a 3 hour round trip to climb Pangrango from Kadang Badak. Just a few minutes on the path above the Kadang Badak campsite, you will reach a T- junction with the trail between Gede and Pangrango and a signpost (right for Pangrango, left for Gede). Take a right and follow the steep forested trail up to the top of Pangrango. The trail is crossed by some large fallen trees and the path becomes rutted and it is easier to zig-zag up the trail with the lesser gradient rather than taking all the short cuts. From the signposts it takes about 2 hours to the top where there is a wooden structure and cement pillar at the top and some reasonable views through the tree branches to the Gede crater. The best place to camp on Pangrango is just below the highest point at a flat area called Alun-alun Mandalawangi, but there is no source of water. The main reason to camp here would be for the relative peace and quiet since most people prefer camping at Kadang Badak or on Gede.

After spending the night at Kadang Badak, you should get up early and complete the much easier climb to the crater time and the summit of Gunung Gede (2,958m). From Kadang Badak, follow the obvious route onto the shoulder of Gede. You shouldn’t have problems if you stay to the trail because it is a very popular hike and there will be many other hikers around. As you start to climb higher in the forest, you reach a point where there are some metal posts with wire strung between them as the trail gets markedly steeper up a rocky outcrop. It’s easy to climb this initial part, but above that the rock slop is very steep and some people may not be comfortable hauling themselves up this steep section. If you don’t want to do this, just as you reach the start of the metal bars and rope, there is a path in a deep gully that curves off to the left of the trail. Take this route since it is an easy and safe alternative route. At very least, look out for this route on your descent.

The smell of sulphur becomes stronger and the trail nears the edge of the crater (on the left of the path). As you emerge from the forest you climb gently up along the crater rim and the views get better and better as you climb. Be careful not cross the roped path because the crater edge cliffs are high and sheer. There is a flag at the top and fantastic views in all directions – Gede is a much better viewpoint than the forested Pangrango peak. Many people camp on and around the summit of Gede, and at least there is no hike for sunrise, but there is also no source of water. From the summit to the south is the wonderful and atmospheric Surya Kencana meadow (less than one hour beyond Gede summit), which is a great place for a second night’s camping if you have time. From there you can then follow the long, significantly eroded trail round to Gunung Putri village (1,550m) and take an ojek (motorbike taxi) back to Cibodas. Allow 4-5 hours to reach Gunung Putri from Surya Kencana. The alternative is to simply return the same way, of course. In reverse, the Gunung Putri route provides excellent access to Gede and Surya Kencana.

Note that there is also access to Gede from the south at Pondok Halimun (1,100m), Selabintana – near Sukabumi. Because it is further away from Jakarta, this is the least popular of the three routes and therefore far fewer people use the trail. It is a long 11km from the National Park offices to Surya Kencana camping area below Gede summit and there are a lot of leeches on the lower part of this trail! It makes a great trip if you don’t mind driving that little bit further round to Sukabumi and also if you enjoy a bit more solitude. Allow approximately 7-8 hours to reach Surya Kencana from the starting point.

Bagging Information by Daniel Quinn and Andy Dean.


Getting there

From Jakarta, there are plenty of buses to Bandung which go via Puncak and Cibodas. Travelling back into Jakarta on a Sunday is not recommended as the traffic is horrendous. You could go back via Cianjur and Padalarang but it’s quite a detour.


There are many hotels around Cibodas, Puncak and Sukabumi (for the Selabintana route from the south).


There are lots of restrictions. You must apply for a permit from the park office in Cibodas between one month and 2 days before your hike, although you can usually get a permit on the day you arrive. You can phone them on 0263-512776. Entry ticket is Rp 50,000 for foreigners and Rp 2,500 for Indonesians. You need a photocopy of your passport too. Unfortunately, the Park is closed for hiking in January, February, March, August, Idul Fitri and at any time when the management think there is going to be bad weather. Guides are mandatory for foreigners according to National Park “policy” and cost Rp 350,000 (2 days and 1 night) in September 2010. Porters cost 400,000 (2 days and 1 night) in November 2011. If you can speak some Indonesian, you can hopefully persuade the Park staff that you do not need a guide and only want a porter – at least the porters do something useful and carry a bag. It is possible to arrange your porter in advance and then proceed to the Park staff already organised with your porter (although you will still pay the Park staff for the porter and not the porter directly). Porters can be arranged at the Warung Edelweiss, which is a small warung (cafe) in the corner of the public carpark just below the Park office and carpark. Ask for Pak Obik, who is arguably the fastest porter in Indonesia.

Water sources

Available at Kandang Badak and Surya Kencana and at approx. 2,370m on the Selabintana trail.

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