// Lawu

Facts

Elevation: 3,265 m (10,712 ft) Prominence: 3,118 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSangat Tinggi Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Eruptions: 1885

Photos

LawuNext »
Gunung Liman from the slopes of Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)Gunung Liman from the slopes of Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Gunung Liman from the slopes of Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Looking south back down the trail up Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)Looking south back down the trail up Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Looking south back down the trail up Lawu (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Approaching Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)Approaching Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Approaching Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Merapi and Merbabu from Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)Merapi and Merbabu from Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)
Merapi and Merbabu from Lawu summit (Daniel Quinn, June 2009)

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Bagging It!

This Ribu has two excellent paths to the top from the south, with the two trailheads just 800 metres apart. It is perhaps Java’s easiest 3,000m peak, especially since the paths starts at an elevation of 1,800m. It’s a great hike for those new to hiking in Indonesia. The closest town to the starting point is Tawangmanggu, about an hour’s bus ride from the city of Solo. Tawangmanggu has plenty of accommodation which is probably worth making use of so that you can get an early start the next morning. Many of the roadside warungs at the trailhead will also let trekkers bed down for the night for a modest fee.

The trailhead for the “main” route is about 10 kilometres east from Tawangmanggu at Cemoro Sewu, just over the East Java border. You are requested to register here. It is a very popular hike with Indonesian students and there is even a warung (shop) and well (for holy water), Sendang Drajad, near the top. It is possible to climb and descend in one day (or to climb through the night, setting out at around 10pm to be sure of reaching the top for sunrise), but unless you are both incredibly fit and in a hurry, you will probably need to camp one night on the mountain.

The mountain lies on the border of Central and East Java and sunsets over Merapi and Merbabu are nothing less than spectacular. Apparently, the last king of Majapahit Empire in the 15th century, King Brawijaya V, retreated here – there is a prominent cave, Sumur Jolotundo, on the way up – and accordingly the mountain has significant traditional and spiritual significance for the Javanese.

There Cemoro Sewu trail, which cuts up Lawu’s eastern flank, is roughly paved with stones the whole way up, with cut steps and handrails in places. This makes it an attractive route during the wet season, as it does not get slippy. The route is steep, however, and the rocky surface is not the most pleasant to walk on. There are 5 posts (pos) on the way up, and it takes approximately one hour between each: Taman Sari Bawah (‘lower garden’), Taman Sari Atas (‘upper garden’), Pos Penggik (near the spring Sendang Panguripan) and Cokro Suryo which is a superb viewpoint. Beyond Cokro Suryo are some small cottages, Pesanggrahan Argo Dalem, and the warung where it is possible to spend the night, and a fifteen minute walk above the cottages is the peak, which is known as Argo Dumilah. There is a large cement column and spectacular views in all directions. The best places to camp are just below the cement pillar on the peak or lower down towards the cottages where porters usually to spend the night. It gets very cold near the top and unprepared climbers have died on Lawu so take extra layers of clothing with you.

After admiring the sunrise over the peaks of East Java, you can descend the same way in approximately 4 hours.

The second route starts at Cemoro Kandang, a short stroll west along the road from Cemoro Sewu, just across the bridge that marks the provincial border. There is also an entry post here where you are required to register.

The Cemoro Kandang route is longer than the Cemoro Sewu trail, about 12 kilometres as opposed to 8 kilometres. However, it is in many ways a more attractive route – the climb is less steep, thanks to a large number of switchbacks; it passes through pleasant forest, and offers more views in its middle sections. It is also a “real” trail, rather than a paved path.

From the check-post the trail rises relatively gently through the forest to Post 1, where there is a hut. Beyond here conditions remain similar until Post 2, another hut where there is also space to camp. It takes between one and two hours to reach Post 2 from the road. In this first section the trail is very well defined, although it is quite badly eroded in places, and muddy during the wet season.

Beyond Post 2 the trail cuts west, and begins to wind its way around the steep western flank of the mountain, passing another unnumbered post with a shelter. Although the forest is quite thick here there are views through the trees down to Tawangmanggu, and, on a clear day, to Solo and Gunung Merapi and Merbabu.

The trail rises up the mountain in a long series of switchbacks, which makes the going easy. Post 3 lies about halfway up the main climb, and beyond here the forest thins and the views become more expansive. The trail is well defined all the way up, though there are places to cut corners on the switchbacks if you’re in a hurry.

The ground levels out at Post 4, and the trail begins to cut around to the northern side of the mountain, remaining level, and actually descending in places. Around 45 minutes from Post 4 a metal sign marks a junction – straight ahead the trail continues to meet the Cemoro Sewu route at Pesanggrahan Argo Dalem, while to the right a short, rough path leads to the summit in around 10 minutes.

Despite being longer, the gentler climbs mean that the Cemoro Kandang route takes about the same time as the main Cemoro Sewu trail. It is possible to reach the summit in under six hours if moving relatively quickly. However, this route is less practical in wet weather (in early 2012 there were a lot of broken branches and fallen trees along the trail, the result of recent high winds, though they did not impede progress).

Given that the two trailheads are so close together, ascending by one route and descending by the other is an attractive option. This would also allow you to make a full circuit of the peak. Alternatively, if you’re feeling very adventurous, head northwest to visit the ancient Candi Ceto temple and then take an ojek or angkot back round to Tawangmanggu (30 minutes). If doing the latter, make sure you have a guide who knows the way as it is much less used than the ascent route from Cemoro Sewu. The Ceto trail strikes north from near Pesanggrahan Argo Dalem and is around 16 kilometres in length.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn, updated by Tim Hannigan (February 2012).

Practicalities

Getting there There are regular flights and train services from Jakarta to Solo (Surakarta). From there, take public transport to Tawangmanggu (approximately 90 minutes).
Accommodation Tawangmanggu offers a small selection of places to stay.
Permits Register at Cemoro Sewu.
Water sources Available near the summit – both at the holy well and at the warung (small shop).
Recommended Hotel:
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): solo

Location

Origins and Meaning

Ashy Mountain. Lawu comes from the Javanese awu meaning “ash”. Probably in the distant past the mountain was called Merawu (mer + awu) “the ashy one” but in the course of time the /r/ changed to an /l/ (see also Gunung Muria) and the initial syllable weakened and disappeared, leaving Lawu. (George Quinn, 2011)

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

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Trip Reports and Comments

26 entries for “Lawu”

  1. avatar

    I felt tired when climbing this mountain, because the road is long and far. But you should try it, hehehe..

    Posted by yokie_decrete | December 9, 2009, 04:12
  2. avatar

    Was on Ceto’s route heading up to Lawu on the 13th March 2010. Were making good progress and arrived at Post 3 late in the afternoon only to find a 5 days old corpse. Went back down to report and SAR brought a female corpse down. Apparently there’s foul play suspected so the plan to bury her up on Post 3 was cancelled. Oh well, see you next time Lawu. :)

    Posted by Adi | April 1, 2010, 11:45
  3. avatar

    Lawu is an amazing hike.The road to the National Park will take you out of Solo and into Tawangmangu which is gorgous tapestry of mountainous jungle and classical Javanese terraced rice fields, no doubt ancient in their own right. Twangmanggu is worth exploration itself.
    From Tawangmanggu you go to the park’s entrance at Cemoro Sewu. Once you enter the part you immediately start ascending and steadily gaining altitude. As usual the Volcano is used for farming uintil transforming into its own exotic wonderland.The higher you go the more breathtaking the views; and if you stay overnight.
    You will be greeted to an amazing sunrise standing nearly 10,000 feet at POS 3 which is just a bunch of ample flat spots to camp at.
    Once you arrive at the summit you will be treated to a vast arrays of volcanic ranges and Stratovolcano “Hall of Famers” such as Semeru,Arjuna,Merapi and Merbabu to name a few. Enjoy. The best part is that the road to Cemero Sewu is world class for Indonesian standards and their are manmade ande natural steps almost all the way to the top. You may also meet some cheerful locals making a spiritual trek to the summit!

    Posted by Zac | July 16, 2010, 10:59
  4. avatar

    Before the hike I had quite a low expection on this mountain, since the owner of one homestay in Solo told me there’s nothing to see there. The guy also told me the hike is a easy one with well mantained stone path all the way to the summit, not requiring a guide. Upon seeing the clear weather the following morning, I decided to try my luck on this 3000m peak.

    The starting point Cemoro Sewu couldn’t be reached from Solo directly by public transport. I took a 1.5-hour bus ride to Tawangmangu first, but couldn’t find a cheap way to get to Cemoro Sewu. The only transport I could find was some minibuses, all asking for Rp.50,000, five times the cost from Solo to Tawangmangu! A bit pissed off, I reached Cemoro Sewu at around 9:30am, only to find most of the warungs closed and very few people around. With very limited Bahasa proficiency, I simply gave up the idea of finding a guide. After packing two packs of Nasi Goreng for lunch and dinner, I set off.

    The first stretch of the trail was along some jungle and farmlands. There are some nice cole flower plantations along the way, as well as some other vegetable plantations, all added to a scenic gentle ascend. However, the trail started to get steeper after the farmlands ended. I was alone for the first 3 hours of the hike, probably because it was a weekday. Up to this point the trail was not very scenic in terms of mountain views, what I saw most of the time was simply a sea of clouds. With the 15kg backpack and loneliness, it started to get tiring. Then, I met a group of 8 Indonesian hikers. With a few simple greetings in Bahasa and body languages, they friendly invited me to join them. With this group of cheerful hikers, it became more fun and less tiring.

    After hitting 3100m, the trail became gentle and unpaved. But the view became very extensive towards the east. However, with thick haze below, no distant peaks could be seen. The are a few cottages, a warung and a drinking water source before the last stretch of the trail. I was stupid enough to carry two packs of cold food with me. The group of Indonesian hiker decided to spend the night the cottages, while I decided to spend the night camping on the summit.

    The summit was reached after another 20 minutes’ walk. The cement pillar marking the summit had been rebuilt into much taller one. However, the summit area had pretty little space to set up a tent, and it was VERY windy. A few steps down there is a small cottage and an Indonesian guard who was about to leave. He showed me a bushy and less windy place near the cottage where I set up my tent.

    About half an hour before sunset, low clouds began to clear up, allowing me to see Gunung Merapi and Merbabu to the west. At the same time, the huge shadow of the mountain started to stretch to the east. I got busy shooting in all directions with my camera. I was lucky enough to have the sun setting on a cloud free horizon, and saw the mountain shadow stretching infinitely to the pinkish eastern horizon. Western horizon started to show magical colours after sunset, soaking inside the silhouettes of Gunung Merapi and Gunung Merababu. city lights from Solo started to peek through the dissappearing haze, shining like stars. Echoing from up above, four of the major planets, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Mars lined up in the row above the horizon. The view was beyond heavenly. It will remain in my memory forever. The only regret is probably that I couldn’t share the view with anyone, the group of Indonesian hikers didn’t went up to the summit for sunset.

    It was constantly windy on the summit throughout the night. It was already quite bad at my camp site. Couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if I camped on the actual summit. Tired, alone, and cold, it was a real pain to wake up at 4:30 to catch the sunrise. Should’ve brought up some cooking gear to get some hot drinks. However, after all the struggle, the view didn’t let me down. The ground down below as well as the sky above were breathtakingly starry. Numerous East Java peaks, including 3000m peaks Gunung Welirang, Arjuno, and Semeru, could be seen against brigtening eastern horizon. Gunung Welirang was smoking in the distance. Gunung Semeru, however, was quiet. As the sun rised, the shadow of the mountained appeared again on western horizon. Central and West Java peaks such as Gunung Merapi, Merbabu, Sumbing, Sindoro, (Dieng)Prahu, Ungaran, and Slamet could be seen nicely lit up by the golden sunlight. The view at this moment was incredibly extensive, I could see peaks 200km away to the east (Gunung Semeru) as well as the west (Gunung Slamet). SEVEN 3000m peaks excluding Gunung Lawu itself could be seen, including Gunung Slamet, Sumbing, Sindoro, Merbabu, Welirang, Arjuno and Semeru. WOW!

    The howling wind and excitment made my hands so shaky, thus blurred out so many of my photos. The new cement pillar on the summit is almost 3 meter tall, I couldn’t place the camera on it for long exposures like what I did on Gunung (Dieng) Prahu. Only at this moment did I realize I haven’t taken any photos of myself, and there were nobody around! Then, thank God, three of the Indonesian hikers came as rescue. We help each other take photos and celebrated such magical moments on the summit.

    I was really reluctant to leave the summit, so I stayed for some more time while my Indonesian friends went downhill first. As low clouds started forming to block distant mountains, I gotta pack up and hurry back to Cemoro Sewu by 4pm to catch the bus back to Solo. It was a dry and pleasant descend without worries of slipping. I made it back to Cemoro Sewu in less than 4 hours. I noticed quite a variety of birds on the way down. Bird watchers might want to come here for some bird watch.

    This mountain can be amazing on a clear day, offering an uncomparable extensive mountain view. However, if weather condition is not favarouble, it might turn out dissapointing since even the nearest peaks are standing over 50km away. Besides, it might be a crowded hike filled with locals on weekends; if you hate it, try to visit on a weekday if possible. Decent camping gear and wind protective cloths are a must if one decides to camp near the summit. Clear skies to all those visiting this beautiful in future.

    Posted by Jia Hao | August 14, 2010, 21:27
  5. avatar

    Does anyone know if there are permit regulations for Gunung Lawu. I’m thinking of climbing sometime in February (pending decent weather reports). Will there be potential isues with closed national parks due to the rainy season, a la Gede/Pangrango or Rinjani? Thanks…

    Posted by Paul L | January 25, 2011, 13:14
  6. avatar

    Paul,

    Lawu is open most times providing you hike from one of the Cemoro’s gate (either Cemoro Kandang or Cemoro Sewu) It’s a pilgrim’s mountain, following Javanese spiritual tradition. There are also people living on the summit most times of the year. They’re the ones who provides food and basic accommodation up there.
    If you’re planning to enter via Cetho and other less traveled route then there’s a bigger possibility that you won’t be permitted to travel by the locals if the weather is unfriendly.
    Hope that helps.

    Posted by Adi | January 26, 2011, 16:11
  7. avatar

    Thanks all for the info. Just did this hike over the long weekend from Cemero Kandang. Apparently it is a longer but less vertically steep hike than Cemero Sewu. From the gate to the summit area it took us about 6.5 hours going at decent pace, stopping not more than 15 minutes at each of the 4 posts – about 1.5 hours between each one – along the way.

    We weren’t so lucky with the weather on the top the following morning; clouds from the east and unclear skies deprived us of the awesome views described in previous posts. We saw several peaks to the East but none to the West unfortunately. No matter as I’d love to climb back again on the Sewu route.

    One note though: from either the Sewu or Kandang routes you can opt to stay at a warung that is at the summit area! The local nature lover’s group members I was hiking with jokingly called it the ‘tallest warung in Java’ (“warung tertinggi di Java…”) – awesome. Many of the cottages and the warung at the summit area are financed by the royal court of Solo, as the Sultan does a once yearly pilgrimage to the summit for religious ceremonies and brings a big entourage along. So the basic infrastructure is to accommodate these large groups as well as the hiker commuunity. We stayed the night on the large, covered open floor of the warung (Warung Mbok Yem) before walking 10 minutes to the summit the following morning.

    All in all Lawu was a great long weekend trip out of Jakarta. Definitely worth it. Hope future hikers have clearer views than we did though!

    Posted by Paul L | February 15, 2011, 19:00
  8. avatar

    If you’re kicking around Cemoro Sewu before or after your trek it’s worth hunting down Mbah Harsono – he’s sort of Lawu’s more down-to-earth answer to the late Mbah Maridjan of Merapi, a general fount of mountain knowledge, an expert in the mystical aspects of the peak, with top-notch knowledge of the dozens of sacred places scattered around the slopes, and a pretty good guide too, by all accounts. He’s bagged a good few other gunungs in his time too…
    We talked of many mountain matters, and I was pleased to note that like me he’s a beleiver in minimal rest stops when climbing a mountain, and also of the practice of “resting while walking”, slowing the pace until you catch your breath, but not actually stopping…
    He’s definitely good for a chat over your post-trek coffee and nasi goreng anyway…

    Posted by Tim Hannigan | February 8, 2012, 20:37
  9. avatar

    Was at the summit of Lawu, staying at the Warung for 2 nights last week. We had wanted to ascent from Cemoro Kandang but had to settle from Cemoro Sewu as we were advised by our guide that of the following rules:-
    1. all who climb Lawu must start from Cemoro Sewu in their first climb;
    2. no ligh green clothing as it appears to be the colour of the spirits of Lawu;
    3. no lamentation of tiredness or that the distance to go is still far way during the climb(? or the spirit would be upset).

    There is warung at the summit whereby you can buy food, Aqua water, drinks and also to rent a floor space within the wooden building for the night – it is clean and safe. The warung owner who is a woman has been living continuous at the summit for the past 22 years!!

    We came down towards the Candi Ceto temple which lies in central Java and is located at the foot the mountain(end of the hike)in which warungs and road network are in place there.

    Very cold at the summit with good views. Took my son along for his first mountain bagging!!

    Posted by Anthony Tan | April 13, 2012, 12:09
    • avatar

      Hi Anthony,
      Thanks for sharing your exprience.

      Hope you don’t mind some questions that I have…

      1. Did you stay at Tawangmanggu before starting the hike ?
      2. Where did you hire the guide ? Do you mind sharing his contacts ?
      3. You mentioned that you stayed 2 nights at the summit. Did you take food supplies along with and cooked your meals OR you could get food at the warung there.
      4. I am guessing that you must have started off from Solo. Did you pre-arrange transport from/to Solo ?

      It would help if you can share the expenses incurred at a high level. Planning to climb Gunung Lawu in the next 2-3 months, so I could certainly use that as reference.

      Thanks so much.

      Cheers
      Sam

      Posted by Sam | April 26, 2012, 14:54
      • avatar

        Hi Sam,
        I am really sorry that I missed reading your comment and questions to me. Let’s me try to answer your questions:-
        1. We didn’t stay at Tawangmanggu but instead we stay at Sarangan which is a local tourist small town next a a lake. Sarangan is very much nearer to the entrance of Gunung Lawu than Tawangmanggu. There a number of small hotels you could stay in Sarangan.
        2. Yes, we did hire guides and porters. I don’t have their contacts but my Indonesian wife does (if you need it, just email to me at anthonytansh@yahoo.com.sg and I will find out from her.
        3. We did bring enough food for the whole hike but at the summit (or just before the summit, the warung provides all the meals we needed – foods, kopi, tea, eggs, bottled water.
        4 We arranged for our usual driver from Jakarta who picked us at Yogyakarta and then travelled to Solo and then to Sarangan. Our driver has a brother providing transport, etc for tourist and possibly he could be the person you could contact for him to arrange everything for you,i.e transport, guide, porter(if you need).
        5. For expenses, we actually spend a lot even though we pay at local level (sort of). Sorry I didn’t really didn’t keep track of it but it would be necessary to spend what i did.

        Again, sorry for not being able to answer your questions earlier and especially if you had already gone for your Lawu climb – cold and beautiful. Just got back from hiking, with my wife, Gunung Diak at Pulau Lingga (Riau Islands).

        Enjoy your mountains and best wishes.
        Cheers
        Anthony

        Posted by Anthony Tan | September 19, 2012, 20:55
    • avatar

      hi anthony i just read that you had finished climbing gunung daik in lingga.having lived 7 years in singapore and numerous times flown over this island and seeing the impressive finger looking peak i would love to hear of your experiences there.any info on this area would be valuable as their isnt much out there.
      cheers
      chris

      Posted by chris | September 20, 2012, 13:20
  10. avatar

    I’ve climbed this mountain via cemoro sewu but I Really want to try hike this mount via Cetho Temple route (the true face of mt lawu nature).

    Posted by Ricky | May 8, 2012, 10:25
  11. avatar

    Hi guys,all of the experience in Lawu must be really great, but i realy suggest you all to try the route from Cetho Temple. the atmosphere of the forest still natural and heavy, also you all will through such a vast prairie.
    this route is absolutely serve an amazing view, :)
    wanna some pfoof? just google it, :)

    Posted by ramadanti | May 11, 2012, 11:37
  12. avatar

    just got back from climbing lawu this morning. went solo and pretty light and fast, started from sarangan about midnight and reached trailhead about 1:30am. summited 5:30 just in time for sunrise.

    despite the easy to follow path climbing this mountain at night is pretty spooky but experience was amazingly rewarding. now i need to sleep :)

    Posted by tom wilson | July 26, 2012, 12:40
  13. avatar

    Sorry Dan. Tamansari Bawah, Tamansari Atas, Penggik and Cakrasurya are the posts along Cemarakandang route. Not Cemarasewu.

    Candi Ceta route is definitely worth trekked. Candi Ceta itself is a beautiful temple, also the higher altitude Candi Ketek (Monkey Temple). The savanna near the summit is beautiful and mystical. Also the famous Pasar Setan (Ghost Market) 500 meters before the Hargadalem summit complex.

    But be careful with the bees in the dry season. They are the masters of the trek between Pos 2 and Pos 4. The sting is very very very painful. Your own urine would help although it does not totally cure. Make sure you do not get one on your head otherwise you could faint. But strangely the sting makes you stronger afterwards. You would not easily feel tired for several days.

    Posted by Handjono | August 17, 2012, 22:12
  14. avatar

    If you come from the East Java side you approach Lawu via the attractive lakeside resort of Sarangan. First get to Madiun, which is served by several trains between Jakarta-Malang and Jakarta-Surabaya. From Madiun it’s an hour or so (Rp10000) by bus to Magetan, then 45 minutes (Rp10,000) by minibus to Sarangan, where you can check into one of the many hotels or take the 20-minute ojek ride (Rp20000-Rp50000) up to the “warung village” by the road at Cemoro Sewu or Cemoro Kandang.

    I hiked from Cemoro Sewu and came down to Cemoro Kandang.

    A 10 p.m. start on the Cemoro Sewu ascent is probably too early for most. Regular hikers will need only 4 to 5 hours to reach the summit by this route.

    I took 6 hours, but that’s because I went the wrong way at Pos 5 and spent a fruitless hour exploring a maze of paths on the plateau and cliff area south of the summit.

    In the hope that nobody repeats my mistake, here’s a more detailed description of the summit area.

    As you reach Pos 5, ascending from Cemoro Sewu, you need to veer right, where the paved track continues around the east flank of the mountain. (Don’t go straight on like I did!) After about ten more minutes, undulating at about 3150m, you will reach the Sendang Drajad warung, with the stone well and a bamboo shack beside it. About 200m after this, where the main trail bends around to the right, you can strike out directly for the summit by keeping straight on up the hillside. It’s better though to stay another few hundred metres on the main track, past a shrine-like gazebo and a wooden cottage belonging to the Kiky stationery company, until you see the Hargo Dalem warung. The best path to the summit, marked with a metal sign, goes up to the left about 50 metres before you reach the warung.

    The Hargo Dalem real estate complex, situated at the northeast corner of the mountain, comprises the warung, a shrine fronted by shacks, and a large wooden cottage belonging to the Solo kraton. The Ceto descent begins directly from the northeast corner. For the descent to Cemoro Kandang, keep contouring round to the north side of the mountain. After five minutes you pass another summit path marked by a metal sign and after a further kilometer of flat going, you reach Pos 4 (that’s Cemoro Kandang Pos 4!) and begin descending around the west side of the mountain. My descent took 4 hours.

    Posted by John Hargreaves | August 23, 2012, 08:40
  15. avatar

    just finished hike from cetho temple route. it really worth to trek with fascinating scenery after pos cemoro lawang. The vegetation quite dense and U will rarelly see garbage along the route. Although this route is not popular as cemoro sewu / lawang, i think this route is the best.

    how to get there is easy :
    1. from Solo, take bus that leading to tawang mangu, and down at karang pandan terminal
    2. take bus to terminal kemuning (from karang pandan)
    3. take ojek to cetho temple

    Posted by Ricky | August 29, 2012, 20:44
  16. avatar

    i just completed the cemoro sewo route 2 days ago.i couldnt be bothered with the whole bus experience from solo so i just forked out the 200,000 for a taxi to take me to cemoro.as it turned out i got a dud taxi driver that wanted to drop me off at tawamangu even though he had agreed to take me to cemoro.when i said to keep going he demanded a extra 50,000. then he got lost which is no mean feat since theres only one road up there.then when we got to semoro i gave him 300,000 because i had no small notes on me and he wouldnt give me change.
    NOTE TO ALL TRAVELLERS. make sure you always have small change on you because it seems that if you dont have the correct amount then it is your fault.i wasnt in the greatest of moods starting the hike. i signed in at the hut and decided that i wouldnt bother looking for a guide.the cobbled road looked decent. normally i would always reccommend you take a guide especially when its your first time.but for this one theres no need.. the path is very defined all the way and you will probably come across other people on the way.i wasnt all that impressed with the walk at the start considering i was wondering why i just didnt ojek it all the way up.but this mountain comes alive when you near 3000 meters. the views are amazingin all directions and the lady in the warung makes the meanest coffee and noodles with egg. fried tahu is good as well. after a feed continue around the bend until you reach a hut that has bedding for free.its not the ritz but it sure beats messing around pitching a tent.and i think because its 100 height meters lower and sheltered it makes a warmer alternative to camping on the summit.the only downside is it can get a bit rowdy in there so you might not catch much sleep.
    i didnt get the great views of all the summits but still decent enough.on the way back down i met up with the java lava crew.in hindsight i wished id done the trip with them.after spending a week alone using my 20 word bhasa vocabluary i enjoyed chatting to christian and drew.
    so after my 1 week of climbing sindoro ,merapi and lawu my conclusion is that travelling alone sucks.the hiking is great. hanging around inbetween not so great. maybe its a sign im getting to old since i seem to prefer comfort and familiarity over exotic and unpredictable.
    inbetween getting ripped off i met some very nice people. just beware of the merapi cowboys.

    Posted by chris | October 15, 2012, 15:16
    • avatar

      Hi Chris,

      It was great to meet you on the mountain. We had a very cold and rainy night at the summit, but had great views until (almost) sunset. We’ll make sure we keep you updated about our upcoming trips.

      The problem with taxi drivers refusing to give change is pretty universal in Indonesia – happens to me every day in Jakarta …

      Best regards
      Christian

      Posted by Christian vS | October 19, 2012, 10:49
  17. avatar

    I summited Gunung Lawu 3 weeks ago (Oct. 25-26). Had to stay in Solo for 3 nights for that purpose.

    I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of public transportation so I just got a taxi to take me directly to the trail head for a little more than 160,000 IDR (meter) and asked the driver to come pick me up the next day at 10 am. He didn’t know where the trail head was so we had to ask locals for directions after Tawangmanggu.

    I originally intended to ascend via Cemoro Sewu and descend via Cemoro Kamang, but since Cemoro Kamang was the first trail head that comes up on the main mountain road from Solo/Tawangmanggu, I got off and registered there. I only found out that it was actually Cemoro Kamang when the caretaker told me. Oh well, I thought, I guess I’m doing this trail. I started at the relatively late hour of 11 am.

    Dan’s description above is spot on. The trail from the gate to just after pos 2 is badly eroded so it was prudent to walk above it on the embankment. The appellation of “dormant volcano” is probably a relative term since you’ll hear and smell the sulfur vents near pos 2. The switchbacks Dan mentions above are between pos 2 and pos 4. The views between these two camps are stupendous. I met only one group of three young guys on my way up, otherwise I was completely alone.

    The point after pos 4 when the trail meanders around the northern flank of the mountain, and even descending at some points, was also awesome. By this time you’ll see the several peaks surrounding Lawu’s summit. At the junction (summit to the right, warung straight ahead) I decided to go directly to the warung. It was about 5 pm by that time and I wanted to be settled indoors by sundown.

    I was the the only climber in Argo Dalem that night. I brought my own sleeping pad and sleeping bag so I was ready for the cold. However, it was a sleepless night because mice were scurrying around me. I left my dinner (bought from the warung lady) uneaten beside me and this attracted the resident rodents. I quickly returned my dinner plate to the kitchen but the mice just won’t go away. I had nightmares of mice nibbling on my ears. Don’t judge me, I hate mice! :-)

    Woke up early at around 430-5 am because of two girls from Singapore knocking on the door. We summited together that morning.

    I descended via the Cemoro Sewu trail. In retrospect, given my endurance level and climbing abilities, I picked the right combination of trails (up via Kamang, down via Sewu). It was a straightforward trail on Sewu but it’s extremely steep. The bit between pos 2 and pos 4 was the most challenging I think. I was glad I was doing it in the opposite direction (going down).

    It took me about 5.5 hours to climb via Kamang, and around 3.5 hours to descend via Sewu.

    I walked on the main mountain road from Sewu back to Kamang, crossing the border of Central and East Java on the bridge. My taxi driver failed to show up but the caretaker at Kamang, Budi, called his friend who drove me back to Solo for 200,000 IDR.

    Budi is a font of knowledge for Lawu. He speaks good English. His contact details are:

    budilawu@yahoo.com
    +62 (815) 7589-9797 or
    (853) 2933-5077

    Posted by Marcus Malabad | November 16, 2012, 13:53
  18. avatar

    Just came back from Lawu in one day, from 5 am to 3 pm.

    I think your comment “but unless you are both incredibly fit and in a hurry” is a bit misleading, because it might stop people without gear from trying it as a one-day trip. We are 64 years of age, reasonably trained with some alpine experience, but definitively far from “incredibly fit”, and clearly prefer the one-day solution to staying overnight in the cold and having to carry heavy backpacks.

    For all those who like us arrived at 4.30, but the guard where you have to register gone: just go ahead, don’t register. I saw a group of Indonesian guys turn around because they feared there would be problems without the red tape. Anyway, this mountain is free, both for Baraters and locals.

    Posted by Dieter Menne | October 10, 2013, 16:56
  19. avatar

    Lawu mountain is a nice mountain that when you arrived in Hargo Dumilah the peak of Lawu mountain on 3265 M above sea level, you can be seen Merapi and Merbabu mountain on west-side, also Welirang, arjuna and Semeru mountain on East-Side. And in Hargo Dalem not only can be seen Brawijaya V the last King of Majapahit retired, you also possible to take break fast with menu ” nasi pecel + telor ceplok ” in mbok YEM the traditional restaurant on Lawu mountain.
    Regards.
    ONY TJAHJONO
    Doha, State of Qatar

    Posted by ony tjahjono | June 9, 2014, 17:04
  20. avatar

    Hi. What’s the weather condition like in the vicinity of Lawu the past few days? It’s pouring here almost everyday in Jogja.

    I am planning a hike this weekend but not sure if it’s possible due to wet conditions.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Suggestions?

    Posted by Ed | November 18, 2014, 17:54
  21. avatar

    Hi, indeed Gunung Lawu is very popular destination for Indonesian hiker, especially for the new one to this activity. I suggest you should try less popular route to climb Lawu, which is via Cetho Temple. The route is very quite and less people dare to try this route. Before you climb, you can also visit ancient Hindu Temple of Cetho, built since 15th century. The scenery is breathtaking and it is said that the route is the gate to the hidden paradise of Lawu. I wrote my past experience when climbing Lawu via Cetho Temple. You can visit my blog, http://inspiring-aya.blogspot.com/2014/11/five-interesting-facts-about-climbing.html

    Posted by Erry Satya | November 20, 2014, 10:18
  22. avatar

    The treks of G Lawu are not difficult even under the rain. Make sure you take a raincoat and dry clothes. At the freezing summit you won’t have to erect a tent, there are some good shelters over there. Better to start very early or midnight when the weather is normally better. Candi Ceta route is less obvious half way up, so better trek it with a guide.

    Posted by Handjono | November 21, 2014, 07:21

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