Halimun (North)

Facts

Elevation: 1,929 m (6,329 ft) Prominence: 938 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Banten
Google Earth: kml Other names:  
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Photos

Bagging It!

 

Mount Halimun is surrounded by the largest area of unspoilt rainforest in Java and the summit of the range (Halimun Utara) unsurprisingly lies within Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park. The peak is right on the border of West Java and Banten and it is debatable exactly which side the summit lies. There are lots of waterfalls in the area, and the bumpy tracks around the foothills are popular with trail-bikers at weekends.

The mountain range is incredibly extensive, stretching up from not far north of the south coast of Java near Pelabuhan Ratu all the way north to about 10 kilometres south of the main Bogor-Rangkasbitung road running east-west. Since combining forces with the Gunung Salak National Park, the Halimun-Salak area covers around 400 square kilometres, including an 11-km forest corridor stretching between the two peaks of Halimun and Salak. The Halimun area in particular is home to populations of Javan leopards, Javan lutungs and silvery gibbons.

Perhaps not sururpsingly, there are strict rules about access to parts of this huge conservation area. Whereas there are popular hiking routes on Gunung Salak, Gunung Halimun is harder to access unless you are conducting approved scientific research. Halimun remains quite mysterious, and lives up to its name of ‘misty mountain’, with very few (if any) having reported successful ascents to the highest point of the range. However, there are certainly a few minor treks that are possible on the edges of the park area.

From south to north, the main peaks of the range are as follows:

Gunung Talaga –

Gunung Halimun Selatan (South) –

Gunung Kendeng – Accessed from Cikaniki Research Station.

Gunung Botol – 1,800m. Accessed from Pasir Banteng near Nirmala tea plantations.

Gunung Halimun Utara (North) – 1,929m. The obscure highest peak in the Halimun range with unclear access.

Assuming you have permission to hike from Park staff, it would appear that a hike to the true summit of Halimun Utara would be best started at one of the following two places:

    1. At the north of the mountain in the village of Leuwijamang / Lewijamang (at 800m elevation) which lies an hour’s walk from the nearest road at Cisarua. To get there, you have to take the main road which heads west from Bogor towards Rangkasbitung and turn left (south) at Cigudeg or Nanggung. We haven’t been to Leuwijamang, so please leave a comment below if you can add any important information. One source states a return journey from here to the peak takes a minimum of 8 hours.
    2. At the Nirmala tea plantation at Malasari (‘kebun teh Nirmala’) to the east of the peak. There is a bumpy plantation track up as far as around 1,560m above sea level at Pasir Banteng. Use the Nanggung junction on the Bogor-Rangkasbitung road.

Reaching the Nirmala / Malasari area from Jakarta takes around 4 hours in good traffic conditions, mainly because the track into the tea plantation is very bumpy (especially the second half of the 28km from Curugbitung (CRB on road-side signs) to Nirmala) and should really only be negotiated with a trailbike or a 4WD. Vehciles such as these can make it as far as Pasir Banteng, but you could also leave your vehicle at a wide junction (suitable for turning) next to a sign (1,355m) 2km below the huge greenhouses and village at Nirmala and enjoy the 30 minute walk through the tea plantations. Views from here towards Gunung Salak and Gede-Pangrango are supposed to be excellent in clear weather at first light, though it is often misty here.

It is a surreal location – vast tea plantations with seemingly very few people for many kilometres and then suddenly a large village appearing out of the blue. Between Nirmala greenhouses (where there is a warung) and Pasir Banteng (the end of the track leading up into the hills) is a large training centre owned by the Sinarmas group. There is even a usually-deserted restaurant here, but be warned that the prices are extortionate for the few hikers or tourists who pass by this way. 

Finding a local guide here in the morning is not always easy as most are working as tea pickers and will not be free (except, for example, from lunchtime on a Saturday). Even with a local guide, there is seemingly very little local knowledge about Halimun Utara, and although it is only 4 or 5 kilometres away (and less than 400 metres higher) it seems that the only peak that is well-known at Pasir Banteng is Gunung Botol (1,800m). AFter entering scrub and then forest (at 1,600m), Gunung Botol takes just one hour to reach and offers no views at all. From Gunung Botol, a couple of faint trails continue in two directions, but neither of them seem to head in the direction of Halimun Utara. Therefore you would either need to ask Park staff (and obtain permission which is very difficult indeed) or try asking at the alternative starting point of Leuwijamang.

A little further south of the Malasari / Nirmala tea plantations is Citalahab, a group of small villages. Birdwatchers often stay with local families in this area. A little further south again is the Cikaniki Research Station (950m). It is possible to stay here, but you need to book well in advance because there are often students and researchers using the accommodation. You will also have to pay the expensive entrance fee if you are not an Indonesian citizen. 

Next to Cikaniki is Gunung Kendeng. It used to be possible to hike to the top of this peak and see some pitcher plants on the summit ridge and enjoy the views to distant mountains. In 2018, it is unclear whether access to ordinary hikers (as opposed to scientific researchers) is permitted. It is also unclear whether Cikaniki can be reached from the Sukabumi side, or the road running south of Bogor near Parungkuda/Cibadak as this would make the journey a little less difficult given it could be up to 5 hours from Jakarta to Cikaniki via Nanggung and Malasari.

Practicalities

Getting there Take a train or bus to Bogor and then public transport /taxi to Nanggung (on the road west towards Rangkasbitung). Angkots run part of the way up the hill but stop a long way prior to the National Park entrance arch. Ojeks probably required if you don’t have your own vehicle.
Accommodation There is accommodation available in Citalahab near the Cikaniki Research Station .See the official website for more details. You can also stay at simple homestays in the Nirmala tea plantation.
Permits You need a permit to enter the Park. Take a photocopy of your passport photo page. As noted above, it is currently not possible to get a permit to climb to the summit at the moment unless you are doing research!
Water sources Take sufficient supplies with you. There is a warung at Nirmala tea plantations and even a restaurant at the Sinarmas training centre!
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): bogor

Location

Origins and Meaning

Gunung Halimun means ‘mountain of mist’ in Sundanese.

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

4 thoughts on “Halimun (North)

  1. Just back from a roasting hot Java Lava weekend down near Pelabuhan Ratu. First day was a lengthy coastal hike down to Sawarna via some beautiful, remote beaches, second day an ascent of Gunung Talaga on the southern edge of Halimun National Park. The well-defined trail starts at 730m in Pangguyangan and it takes about 2 and a half hours to the top with some extensive views on the way up – both down to the coast and inland over minor peaks and bumps within the National Park. The more commonly-visited first top is 1600m – a second top 15 minutes further is a higher peak (1630m) although it is much more overgrown. Not much in the way of views from either summit, but 5 minutes beyond the true peak there is a spot where in clear weather you should get some great views east towards Salak etc. According to Google Earth the very highest part of the mountain is even further beyond – perhaps another 30 minutes if the trail was clear – but the trail is very overgrown.
    The name Talaga (‘lake’) apparently refers to a (presumably small) lake at the foot of the mountain.

  2. For several weeks, I have been trying to arrange a hike to both Salak2 and Halimun Utara (North) which is the highest Halimun peak. Sadly, I have gotten nowhere. After finally managing to get in touch with a member of National Park staff, I explained that I wanted to climb to these peaks and that I would be willing to pay for a guide to help me do so. I was informed, politely, that because neither route is considered by Park authorities to be an official hiking route that it is actually ILLEGAL (!) to climb them. Very strange considering that Salak2 was commonly climbed in the past and should be considered a traditional hiking route (and therefore remain open). Salak2 is actually closed because the National Park does not have enough resources to keep it open – perhaps the Park should think about reducing the size of the Park boundaries then? Instead of embracing the opportunities of employing more people to take local and foreign tourists on a wider range of routes they decide to simply deny anyone the legal right to visit these areas.
    The only way that you can officially explore these important places is if you are conducting official scientific research.
    This is a real shame for all hikers in Indonesia, especially as Halimun and Salak are two of the nearest peaks to Jakarta.
    I hope that some Indonesians will help to campaign for a change in the law which recognizes that hikers can be responsible for themselves and that National Parks are not supposed to prevent people from entering them. It is the same in East Java at Ijen-Merapi where climbing Merapi is technically illegal. This problem is likely to grow in size unless something is done to change the law and allow hikers greater access to these places which they deserve to have. Otherwise, bribery or paying a fine is the only way to enjoy visiting these mountain peaks. A ridiculous situation!

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