- Elevation: 3,078 m (10,098 ft)
- Prominence: 2,792 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Ciremay, Ceremai, Cereme, Careme
- Eruptions: 1698, 1772, 1775, 1805, 1937-38, 1951
A solitary giant, this Ribu is the highest peak in West Java province and one of the most popular hikes in Indonesia. The starting points for the hike are 2 to 3 hours by car or public bus to the south of Cirebon, which itself is easily accessible from Jakarta by train. There are three starting points and it is easy to ascend by one route and descend the other. The Apuy route is the best as it starts at a higher elevation (approx 1,200 m). The crater is both deep and impressive, and a full circuit of the rim can be done in about one and a half hours.
- Apuy: take a bus or car to Maja, and from there continue by car or motorbike via Argapura to the beautiful village of Apuy. A neighbouring village is called Cibuluh – which may be better known. The road climbs steeply and is a little rough as you get to the lower part of Apuy village, and it may be necessary to hire a local motorbike taxi (ojek) to for the last 3 to 4 kilometres because car access might be impossible. There are official National Park porters and guides available in Apuy, if you ask. The trail from Apuy is in good condition and is steep, but shorter and easier than from Linggarjati which starts only a few hundred metres above sea level. The ascent should take 5 to 7 hours. After following a cement track which snakes up the hillside between fields of onions and potatoes you will reach the entrance to Ciremai National Park which is a cement shelter (1,442m) next to a small pond. There are five posts and it takes approximately one hour between each of them: Pos I (1,638m) a stone shelter beyond crop fields and just prior to entering the forest, Pos II Perempatan Lima (1,910m), Pos III Tegal Mawasa (2,156m), Pos IV Tegal Jamuju (2,321m) and Pos V (Sanghiang Rangkah, 2,561m). At 2,832m the Apuy route joins with the Palutungan route. Pos VI (2,948m) is a the best spot to camp, being just above a small extinct side crater called Goa Walet (Swallows’ Cave) and just 20 minutes from the crater rim. You may find a small amount of water inside the Swallows’ Cave. There are one or two places to camp on – or just below – the rim itself but it is pretty exposed. The rim itself is reached at an elevation of around 3,050m.
- Linggarjati (Cibunar): closer and easily accessible from Cirebon by the bus to Kuningan but over 2,000 metres of elevation gain required. A long, tough climb (or descent). Get off the bus at Linggarjati and then take a motorbike taxi (ojek) or mini-bus to the starting point at Cibunar. This ascent is very popular, but can be very dusty before entering the forest and the trail is heavily eroded in many places. The ascent should take 7 or 8 hours; there are porters and guides available in Linggarjati. Given the accessibility of Linggarjati it is a good option to descend this route after ascending from Apuy, though it’s a long way down.
- Palutungan: From Cirebon, take a mini-bus to Cisanatana, and then an ojek (motorbike taxi) to Palutungan. This route meets the Apuy route at around 2,830m.
Assuming you reach the crater rim from the Apuy/Palutungan route there is a cement pillar on the rim just a hundred metres to the left (north) and if you follow the rim clockwise you will reach the highest point of Ciremai (and West Java) in just over 20 minutes. Some sections of the rim are too bushy or too narrow (or both) for hikers to be able to follow the absolute top so you have to drop down on the small, overgrown trail from time to time. The highest part of the rim is marked with a cluster of red bricks and further along with the remains of some kind of sensor equipment. A full circuit of the rim can be made in about one hour and a half, but not many people do this and it is better to do it the other way around (reaching the summit close to the end of the circuit). Several sections of the trail do not offer much in the way of panoramas but for – the most part – the views to Slamet, the north Java coast and the many hills of West Java are spectacular.
If doing a full circuit, we would recommend doing it anti-clockwise, as the first half of the trail is frequently used because you must pass this way to get from the Apuy/Palutungan route to the Linggarjati route. Key points (in anti-clockwise order) are as follows. Puncak Sunan Mataram (3,058m according to the sign) which is a flattish, exposed area with space for 5 or 6 tents on the rim itself and with great views down to Waduk Darma (Darma Reservoir), another ten minutes and you’ll be at a mini-top with great views over the crater. After this, the trail gets bushier and passes under the highest parts of the rim and past a couple of spots suitable for a tent or two and with great views of Gunung Slamet in the distance. Another ten minutes and you will be at Puncak Panglongokan (3,027, according to the sign) which is close to the area where you descend on the Linggarjati route and features a cement pillar. Further along the rim the trail gets rougher and you will need to clamber over a few dead branches and under low bushes. The views here of Ciremai crater are particularly good. After a minor drop to a superb viewpoint over the edge of the rim there is a very narrow section which you must be very careful on. Following this, the overgrown trail leads fairly gently up onto the highest section of rim. This section has two or three spots of equal height, the first being where the broken equipment lies and the final being where the red bricks are. The latter is a far, far better viewpoint, particularly of the other peaks of West Java notably the pyramid-shaped Cikuray, steaming Papandayan and the great mass of tops north of the Bandung plain. Another couple of minor ups and downs and you will be at the cement pillar just north of where the Apuy and Palutungan routes reach the rim.
Bagging information provided by Andy Dean (2009), updated thanks to John Hargreaves (September 2011), and Dan Quinn (April 2013).
- Getting there: To get to Cirebon from Jakarta, the best option is an executive class train from Gambir station. The journey takes 3 hours. To reach Majalengka (the nearest town to Apuy) from Jakarta by car takes about 5 or 6 hours.
- Accommodation: There are some hotels in Cirebon, but not a huge selection. For the Apuy route, try Hotel Sederhana Baru or Putra Jaya in Majalengka. In Linggarjati, try Sangkan Indah.
- Permits: You are required to register at the starting points. At Apuy it costs Rp 8,500 per person (September 2011). The mountain is often closed during Ramadan.
- Water sources: None on any of the routes except sometimes a small amount in Swallows’ Cave. Take plenty with you.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
The name Cereme or Ciremai is derived from the Sundanese word for Otaheite gooseberry or Malay gooseberry. (Wikipedia, 2011)