Dieng (Prau)


Elevation: 2,600 m (8,530 ft) Prominence: 938 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Jawa Tengah (Central Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names: Prahu
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Eruptions: Dieng 1375, 1786, 1826, 1847, 1883-84, 1928, 1939, 1943-44, 1953-54, 1956, 1964, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2017 (Kawah Sileri)


Bagging It!


The Dieng Plateau is a huge volcanic complex near the pleasant 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. The most impressive craters are the busy and popular Kawah Sikidang, the atmospheric and ghostly Kawah Sileri (which erupted without warning in July 2017) and the somewhat bizarre bubbling and smoking Kawak Candradimuka.

Most people come to Dieng via Wonosobo from the south from either Yogyakarta or Purwokerto (from where there are frequent buses) and these are the easiest options. 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. The third route in is from Banjarnegara to the southwest but given how windy the roads are and how unreliable the public transport is, this is perhaps for those with extra time or their own vehicle.

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 (,2394m) for sunrise but, despite the great views of other volcanoes in Central Java, this is a very easy stroll of less than 30 minutes each way 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. Dwi, who works at Bu Djono homestay and restaurant, is especially recommended for any hikes in the area.

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 (updated July 2017)


Getting there There are frequent buses to Wonosobo and the Dieng area from Yogyakarta and Purwokerto.
Accommodation Plenty of basic accommodation in Dieng village or a wider range in Wonosobo. Nusa Indah 2 is pleasant and has hot water but it is unfortunately right next to the main Dieng mosque.
Permits None required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.
Water sources Take enough bottled water with you.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): semarang


Origins and Meaning

Dataran Dieng = The Plateau of the Great Gods. Dieng seems to be a modern contraction of the words da – hyang. In Old Javanese da (sometimes ra) is a kind of title in front of the name or title of someone of high rank, and hyang means “a god, goddess, deity”. So dahyang means “the great gods”. Compare this with the place name Parahyangan which is still in use today to denote the mountainous interior of West Java. Parahyangan consists of ra-hyang (the great gods) flanked by the prefix-suffix combination pa-an which signifies a place. So Parahyangan means “the place of the great gods”. (George Quinn, 2011)

Prau means ‘boat’ and refers to the shape of the actual mountain which looks like an upside-down boat (see also Tangkuban Parahu in West Java).

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

9 thoughts on “Dieng (Prau)

  1. Nice and very helpful article! My friends are planning to also hike Mt. Prau this coming month. We will come straight from Jogja and go to Semarang after. Any idea on how to get to Semarang from Dieng?

  2. Just back from a second trip to Dieng. One of the most fascinating and friendly spots in Indonesia. To save time, we caught the train to Purwokerto on Friday evening and then took a bus to Wonsobo the following morning. There are buses running about every 10 or 15 minutes and most of the shoot along at terrifying speed. Cost was Rp25,000 per person and took 3 hours or just under.

    Once in Wonosobo we had trouble finding transport on to Dieng as there may be more than one bus station (‘terminal’) so we ended up getting a taxi up there for Rp125,000. Nusa Indah 2 is a very central place to stay, new and clean but the sound from the mosque is incredibly deafening at 4am so if you have to get up early it’s ideal but if you want a lie in then it’s a terrible place to stay!

    Met a very friendly chap called Dwi at Bu Djono homestay and restaurant (the best place to eat in Dieng) who has a website http://www.dwidieng.com and speaks excellent English and is highly recommended. One of the best guides in Indonesia. His number is 085310791967.

    The afternoon we took ojeks round to the main sites (Rp50,000 for the circuit of the main natural attractions). Bizarrely, there were men dressed as teletubbies at the Arjuna temple complex. Kawah Sileri remains relatively unpopular as it is 3 km or so out of town and that’s great – it’s a brilliant spot to sit in the late afternoon/dusk and watch the smoke swirl above the lake.

    The short hike up Gunung Sikunir was planned for the following morning but early morning rains and too much beer the night before meant this was delayed until 9am. You really need transport to get out to the starting point, Sembungan, which lies on the edge of a lake, Telaga Cebong, and at 2300m is said to be the highest village in Java. It takes about 20 minutes by ojek from Dieng village. There are warungs and a carpark and at weekends the place will be full of mainly domestic tourists.

    From there it’s just 20 minutes to the top of Sikunir (2,394m) on a very popular and well marked path. You don’t need a guide, but at present it’s Rp120,000 per person to do the sunrise hike including transport from Bu Djono homestay. Not bad at all. Sikunir is not the highest peak in this little area – even it’s less-often climbed neighbour Pakuwojo is a little higher at 2411m. However the ‘golden sunrise’ is supposed to be particularly fine. 15 minutes or so after the golden sunrise on Sikunir, there is apparently a ‘silver sunrise’ at the Arjuna temple complex.

    We tried the local herb, Purwaceng, which is for sale everywhere round Dieng, and mixed with coffee and so on, and is apparently good for ‘male stamina’ amongst other things.

    From the top of Sikunir the views were on this occasion limited by the clouds but the view over the lake below and to the Wonosobo road and viewpoint are excellent anyway.

    After that it was back to Bu Djono for more delicious local kentang goreng (friend potatoes). We then decided to try the other route back to Purwokerto (down to Banjarnegara). We got ojeks for 140,000 per person (including calling off at the fascinating kawah Candradimuka on the way) and it was pretty good value consider the distance and scenery (it’s about 58km away). You could theoretically get minivans all the way down but this would involve a lot of waiting around for the vans to fill up. From Banjarnegara you are back on the main road between Purwokerto and Wonosobo so it’s easy to get a bus back west.

    Dwi told us that there are some pitcher plants growing up on Gunung Prau. I never noticed this last time, so I may make another visit to the area sometime before too long.

  3. Most visitors to Dieng Plateau would visit Gunung Sikunir for the sunrise. However when doing research using Google Earth, I found Gunung Prahu to be the tallest mountain in the region, offering a better view as well. Since this mountain is rarely visited, photos and reports are almost unavailable elsewhere on the net except on Gunung Bagging.

    I arranged for a guide at Bu Djono’s Homestay on the second day at Dieng Plateau and started the hike at round 2pm, planning to stay overnight on the mountain. The starting point is just to the east of Dieng village. The hike was a 1.5 hours of ascend trough jungles followed by another 1 hour’s ridge walk (The summit rigion of the mountain is a long ridge). The ascending part was pretty slippery for my case since it rained like mad the previous day, and I can’t really comment on the view since I was shrouded in mist all the time. The ridge walk, though, was an easy and pleasant one through flower beds full of daisies.

    The placed I camped is probably Gunung Patakbanteng as mentioned in Daniel’s trip report on Gunung Bagging. The place is marked with a short cement pillar and is the southern end of the summit ridge, further down southwest is PatakBanteng village. There are plenty of space to camp near the pillar, however the west is obstructed by a taller hill. The top of the hill is covered with tall trees with little space to camp. To get a bird’s eye view of the west, one has to climb up this hill. In terms of weather, it wasn’t as windy as those 3000m peaks in Java, but the relatively higher humidity made up for it.

    The sunset was completely clouded out for my case, and my camp site was constantly shrouded in mist till midnight. It all cleared up after around 2am, and the sky was full of stars. Gunung Sindoro and Sumbing could be seen faintly lit up by starlight. The camp site offered a completely unobstructed view towards the east and south, and the morning view of Central Java peaks is unbelievable. Gunung Lawu, Merapi, Merbabu, Ungaran, as well as nearby Gunung Sumbing and Sindoro make for a surreal and incredibly photogenic sight. Rolling sea of clouds for my case further added to the view. To get a view of the west, I hiked up the small hill to the west mentioned earlier. The view as a pleasant surprise to me as smoking Gunung Slamet and distant Gunung Ciremai came into view, since I didn’t expect to view to be so extensive. The whole Dieng Plateau, numerous villages, craters, and even Arjuna Temple Complex could be seen. Major tourist attractions such as Kawah Sikidang (mud volcano) and Telega Warna (multi-hued lake) are impressive viewed from up above.

    I chose to descend southwest to Patakbanteng village. The trail was similar to the ascending trail, taking less than 2 hours, again pretty slippery for my case. The view west and south was fantastic in open areas. Gunung Sumbing gradually went hidden behind Gunung Sindoro as I descended. There are freuquent buses to Dieng village stopping at Patakbanteng.

    I could say that Gunung Prahu offers one of the best summit views in Java, and it will not dissappoint any hiker on a clear day. The hike is also less demanding with a mild camping condition, campared to those 3000m peaks in Java. I’m really surprised why this one is so rarely hiked. Rating? 10 out of 10.

  4. Thanks very much for the great report Jia.
    When I went, I climbed onto the north-west to south-east ridge that is Gunung Prau/Prahu via the mast above Dieng village at the north-west end. I didn’t descend to Patakbanteng so never got as far as the pillar you camped at at the south-eastern end of the ridge. Using my GPS I found the true summit to be an unmarked spot on the ridge between the pillar you camped at and the telehone mast at the north-western end of the ridge above Dieng village.
    Many thanks for sending your great photos in too, we will be transferring all galleries over to Google’s Picasa in due course.

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