Adventure to the Moonscape of Merapi
Mount Merapi, just north of Yogyakarta in central Java is known as the Mountain of Fire and for a very good reason. This volcano is the most active volcano in Indonesia and located along the Pacific Ring of Fire.
According to Javanese belief, this 1,7000 meter volcano means “fire mountain” and is aligned on a mythical axis running from Merapi in the north, through the kraton, or palace of the sultanate of Yogyakarta, to the sea on the south coast of Java and home of the legendary “Queen of the South.” This axis is essential in keeping the balance between our world and the spirit world. A very difficult task it seems, looking at the high number of earthquakes and eruptions emanating from Mount Merapi throughout history!
The last big eruption was in 2010, which left more than 300 people dead and evacuation of over 350,000 others. The slopes of Merapi and the immediate area were covered with thick layers of volcanic ash and transformed into a barren, dusty moonscape with the remains of several villages dotting the area.
Today, this same area is the perfect site for an exciting jeep adventure! Starting in the cultural center of Yogyakarta, Khiri Travel will take your travelers on an adventure heading north through the verdant green of the Javanese countryside. Passing a local fresh market, we will stop to sniff and try some local produce and chat with the friendly vendors.
Further north, the green rice terraces outlined by little streams give way to a ruined landscape. It is here we need to transfer to a sturdy jeep with four-wheel drive to continue bumping along the winding dirt roads up the slope of the mighty Mountain of Fire!
We provide facemasks so you don’t have to “bite the dust.” During the ride there are several stops to get an impression of what life was like before the most recent eruptions. You will see some of the burned and deserted villages and learn what measures are taken to protect the area from any future volcanic activity.
The main attraction is of course the jeep ride itself. The tradition is the more your travelers scream, the bigger the chances the driver will take the jeep for an extra spin! Luckily, lunch is not until after the bumpy ride. We enjoy a nice meal of Indonesian and western cuisine at a restaurant overlooking the rice fields. It is a perfect spot to dust off a layer of volcanic ash before heading back to Yogyakarta.