|Elevation:||970 m (3,182 ft)||Prominence:||702 m|
|Ribu category:||Spesial||Province:||Jawa Barat (West Java)|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:||Bangkok (mistake on some maps)|
The steep and impressive Gunung Bongkok (sometimes mis-spelt ‘Bangkok’) lies just to the south of the equally imposing Gunung Parang. They are both of great interest to rock climbers as there are various vertical rock faces on their slopes. Despite being just a couple of hours from Jakarta, they are not often visited except by local villagers and occasional student hikers. Both peaks are stunning and it must surely only be a matter of time before these mountains become much more well-known.
Both peaks lie to the east of the large Jatiluhur reservoir near Purwakarta. The starting point for Gunung Bongkok is Cisarua, which is best accessed via Plered because the small farm roads from Purwakarta are incredibly bumpy and rocky and it would take at least 20 minutes just to get from Pasangrahan (starting point for Parang) to Cisarua. If in doubt, as for the school (sekolah) in Cisarua. It is best to allow 2 hours for the journey from Purakarta to Cisarua.
In Cisarua, there is a small warung where a couple of vehicles can be left. The local people are very friendly and would be more than willing to guide you to the top for a very modest fee. Cisarua is at an elevation of approximately 450m so it’s just 520 metres of ascent to reach the top, which can easily be done in 2 hours by most fit people. Building work is currently going on and there is a new track leading up from Cisarua towards the mountain itself. From here, in good weather you will be able to spot the huge gilstening andesite boulders which crown the peak of Bongkok.
Soon you will reach the end of where building work is underway and this is where a guide becomes essential. The farm trail leads up the hillside and follows a pleasant grassy strip for some distance. It’s a beautiful area – mango trees, cattle roaming freely and great views back down towards the huge reservoir.
After about 30 minutes of fairly standard upland farm hiking, you will reach the crest of the hill (650m) and this is where you must turn left onto the shoulder of the mountain. The area is full of bamboo trees and occasional large boulders. The trail soon gets much steeper and there are several rather tricky places where you will need to use both hands to ascend/descend large rocks and steep muddy areas. There is not much of a view here because of the trees, but think of this as a blessing because it would be oppressively hot outside the shade.
Soon you will reach the true summit ridge, where you turn left, pass an ancient grave and then finally spot the summit boulders of this superb mountain. Because of the size of the boulders, no trees can grow at the top of the mountain and so the views are absolutely stunning – the vastness of the Jatiluhur reservoir below, the phenomenal shape of neighbouring Gunung Parang, the vertical drops back down to the villages and the holy mountain of Gunung Sanggabuana on the other side of the reservoir. It is truly breathtaking.
The boulders are easily climbed so – unlike the densely vegetated Gn Parang – Bongkok can be bagged very easily. Do take great care however because a fall here would mean falling several hundred metres down the cliff face of the mountain. There is much animal life here – swallows love to swoop round the peak and in sunny conditions you will probably be able to see a few eagles soaring below you. There are also a number of flying ants so make sure to check for them every few minutes.
After enjoying an hour or two in the shade of the huge boulders, simply follow the trail back down to Cisarua. Because of a few steep, difficult sections of the trail it takes a little longer to descend that to climb. Allow 2 hours.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (June 2011).
Origins and Meaning
Hunchback Mountain. Bongkok means “hunched” and is used here describing the shape/appearance of the mountain. (George Quinn, 2011)