|Elevation:||2,600 m (8,530 ft)||Prominence:||938 m|
|Ribu category:||Spesial||Province:||Jawa Tengah (Central Java)|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:||Prahu|
|Eruptions:||Dieng 1375, 1786, 1826, 1847, 1883-84, 1928, 1939, 1943-44, 1953-54, 1956, 1964, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2011|
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 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 October 2013)
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).