// Salak

Facts

Elevation: 2,211 m (7,254 ft) Prominence: 1,679 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerTinggi Sedang Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names:
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Eruptions: 1698-99, 1780, 1902-03, 1919, 1935, 1938

Photos

SalakNext »
View from a dry and rocky riverbed towards the Salak volcano (Georg Friedrich Johannes Bley, 1920s)View from a dry and rocky riverbed towards the Salak volcano (Georg Friedrich Johannes Bley, 1920s)
View from a dry and rocky riverbed towards the Salak volcano (Georg Friedrich Johannes Bley, 1920s)
Cacti near the starting point for Salak 1 at Cimelati (Daniel Quinn, 2009)Cacti near the starting point for Salak 1 at Cimelati (Daniel Quinn, 2009)
Cacti near the starting point for Salak 1 at Cimelati (Daniel Quinn, 2009)
Salak 1 summit sign (Daniel Quinn, 2009)Salak 1 summit sign (Daniel Quinn, 2009)
Salak 1 summit sign (Daniel Quinn, 2009)
The view from Salak 1 (Daniel Quinn, 2009)The view from Salak 1 (Daniel Quinn, 2009)
The view from Salak 1 (Daniel Quinn, 2009)

View a slideshow in our Picasaweb gallery

Bagging It!

Salak is one of the most accessible volcanoes from Jakarta but has not erupted since 1935. There are various routes on the mountain range and despite being forested and generally lacking in views there is a great deal of variety to be found on its slopes – craters, wildlife, plants and numerous mountain peaks. It is the kind of mountain that cannot be fully explored in a single hike – you need to try various routes to discover the character of the mountain as a whole.

The best starting point for the highest of Salak’s seven summits is from the agriculture station near Cimelati (800m) – there is a signpost where you take the right turn near Cicurug. It takes just over 4 hours to reach the summit, which features a prominent blue sign, a gravestone and a shelter. It is a steep but straightforward hike through forest to Salak 1 (the highest peak), and the forest does thin out a little as you get close to the summit. You may be lucky to spot the elusive Javan Ferret Badger on the upper slopes. Despite being forested on top, you are rewarded with views to Salak’s other lesser summits, the Gede-Pangrango massif, and outlying suburbs of the city of Bogor below.

The second highest, and more northerly peak, Salak II (2,180m) is best approached from Curug Nangka or the Highland Park resort, Ciapus, to the north of the mountain (at approx. 750m and just 40 minutes from the centre of Bogor). This is slightly more challenging than Salak 1 and access is a grey area. It would appear it can be done if you pay for a member of park staff to accompany you on the trek but they are incredibly difficult people to get in touch with. Officially, since 1999, this route was closed to all hikers except if you were conducting scientific research. It was basically because the National Park did not have sufficient resources to enable that the trail was well-maintained and they were worried about people having accidents because they would be responsible. You were not even allowed to sign a waiver to say that you accept full responsibility (which should be expected anyway). Such a restriction represented a sad state of affairs for access to the outdoors in Indonesia and that fact that National Parks often prevent rather than encourage responsible hiking is a serious problem that still needs to be addressed. In September 2011 it was discovered that hiking to Salak 2 from Curug Nangka was possible, but only if you requested permission a minimum of one week in advance from the resort at the base of the mountain near Curug Nangka. Impractical, to say the least, but, if true, it’s a step back in the right direction finally, especially considering that’s it’s the closest significant mountain hike to Jakarta.

The most popular trek on Salak is from the Javana Spa to the active crater Kawah Ratu (Queen’s crater). You can also reach Salak 1 from this approach and – despite being a longer route than from Cimelati – it is increasing in popularity due to the fact there are markers on the trail so it is very hard to get lost. To get there, take a well-signposted right turn for ‘Javana Spa 12km’) off the Bogor-Sukabumi road just beyond Cicurug.

The entrance gates and information centre are 2 kilometres before the end of the road at the Javana Spa and this is where you purchase a National Park ticket. Just before the Javana Spa the road crosses a river and there is a small office building at the start of the trail (1,108m) to Kawah Ratu and Salak summit. This trail is known as the Cangkuang route and if anyone is actually at the office you will be given an excellent information leaflet (in Indonesian) which includes a very helpful map. The trails are dotted with numbered markers shown on the map.

Kawah Ratu is an easy 5km from the office and because there is not much elevation gain fast hikers will be able to get there and back in 3 hours. At a leisurely pace it takes about 2 hours to reach the crater. The first obvious sign on the route (except the frequent markers) is a green sign for Salak summit and Kawah Ratu (1,224m) after which you reach the junction – right for Salak summit, left for the crater. This is a popular camping area and is known as Bajuri (1,364m). On the trail to the crater, the next landmark is a wooden hut with a roof (1,415m) after which the trail descends slightly to a Helipad (1,390m) before descending further to the crater itself (1,372m). Major eruptions occurred here in 1668-1699, 1780, 1902-1903 and February 1935.

The crater area actually consists of three craters – the Queen crater (the largest) plus the Paeh Crater (death crater) and Hurip Crater (life crater). It’s an astounding landscape: a vast hillside of white rocks, steaming sulphur gases, bubbling water and mud pools and rivers of sulphur. In terms of active craters in West Java, it is perhaps second only to Papandayan. The water here is supposed to have cleansing properties but you should not drink it due to the high sulphur content. Indeed, after heavy rainfall the water is thick with sulphur. The forested peak above the crater area is Gunung Sumbul, a subsidiary top in the Salak range.

There are poisonous gases in this area and sadly people have lost their lives, particularly when camping in the area. Therefore, although the trail to the crater makes an adventurous family day out you must be very very careful near the crater. The best thing to do is return the same way to the Javana Spa starting point in 90 minutes or less. However there is another route to the crater from the north at Pasir Reungit and it would probably make a great traverse to start at one side and descend to the other.

Please note: Gunung Salak is part of Mount Halimun Salak National Park which is closed entirely from December to March and August. Oh, and Idul Fitri. Hikers are supposed to register before their hike. Check the National Park website for more information, although rather annoyingly their email mailbox has been full for months and months and the chances of anyone answering the phone are almost zero!

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn and Andy Dean (updated September 2011)

Practicalities

Getting there Take a train or bus from Jakarta to Bogor. For Salak 1, take a bus towards Pelabuhan Ratu (get off at Cimelati or Cicurug) then take an ojek or angkot to your chosen starting point. For Salak 2 from Bogor, take an ojek or angkot (number 03) to Ciapus near Curug Nangka.
Accommodation Lots available in Bogor.
Permits Available at most of the entrance points. At the information centre on the road to the Javana Spa, tickets costs Rp2,500 per person for Indonesians and KITAS holders, but if you’re white they will almost certainly try to charge you the Rp20,000 ‘tourist price’. Serious access issues remain for Salak 2 despite it having been a common hiking route for decades before the trail was closed in 1999.
Water sources Available on the Salak 1 Javana Spa route but take sufficient supplies with you.
Recommended Hotel: Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): bogor

Location

Origins and Meaning

Apparently named after ‘Salaka Domas’, the ancient megalithic monuments which scatter the land surrounding the mountain. (Thanks to Pepep of Bandung, 2012).

Our previous suggestion was: Snakefruit Mountain. Possibly so named because from a distance the mountain has a rough, brown appearance like that of the “scaly-skinned” salak or snakefruit. (George Quinn, 2011)

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

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Trip Reports and Comments

20 entries for “Salak”

  1. avatar

    First of all, it’s Cimelati, not Cimolati. From Cimelati we can reach the peak of Salak 1. Another route to reach Salak 1 is from Cidahu.
    Trip to Salak 2 from Curug Nangka is for experienced hikers only as this route is quite dangerous (steep trail, ravines etc).
    Always register your hike to national park staff.

    Posted by war | November 12, 2009, 09:04
  2. avatar

    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!

    Posted by Dan | September 22, 2010, 02:25
  3. avatar

    If anyone has any recommendations as to how to find a reliable guide up this peak. I am all ears. It is so darn close to Jakarta and it is a shame that it is so difficult to find a guide. If the local authorites only new how many willing ex pats would make the jaunt over there to grab a quick summit and return. They could turn useless administartive barking into commerce for the locals.

    Posted by Zac | November 17, 2010, 07:50
    • avatar

      If you go to Javana Spa on the Sukabumi road you can hike either to the crater or to the summit of Salak 1. You have to buy a ticket at the national park office and they insist that you take a guide. Alternatively, we list a route up Salak 1 from near Cicurug off the same road – the trail is clear and I can share the GPS tracks. The main problem is the traffic, which is mindboggling along the Sukabumi road because of the trucks, bemos and markets. Leave Jakarta very early.

      Posted by Andy | November 17, 2010, 09:37
  4. avatar

    thanks Dan,
    I tried to make it to Salak via the same road you suggest back in 07′ and a torrential downpour thwarted my endeavors. If you have a chance to share the GPS tracks,please feel free to send them to my email rinjani72@gmail.com. I’ve got an itchin’ to bag one more mountain before December hits.

    Posted by Zac | November 20, 2010, 09:38
  5. avatar

    High Dan,
    Good morning from Bali I hope this note finds you well.
    Dan I am invited on the 19th to visit the Equil factory in Cimelati and will spend two nights somewhere in this village.
    Obviously going there and running up Gunung Salak would be a waist of time. Would you have a contact for a guide which could meet me 2 am in the morning and lead me up the mountain.
    We did Tambora two weeks ago and when we reached the top we saw about three meters. Definitely have to go back. I have now a book project in Flores and propably will climb most of the mountains there this year.
    Would be great if you can send me a number and contact for Salak.
    Wishing you a great weekend, thank you for your help and best regards
    Heinz

    Posted by Heinz von Holzn | April 9, 2011, 08:21
    • avatar

      Hello Heinz! We climbed Salak without a guide so I don’t know anyone that I have actually met. But you could try the following person who may be helping me with a hike on Salak later in the year….
      Latif 085695759365

      Posted by Dan | April 11, 2011, 08:41
  6. avatar

    Thankz Mr.Daniel and Mr.Heinz :)
    (latif)

    Posted by teef | April 20, 2011, 22:53
  7. avatar

    Yesterday, 13 of us went up to the Javana Spa, for the hike to Kawah Ratu. This was the David Jardine Memorial Walk. Dave was a great journalist (formerly teacher) who passed away in April. He had always had a fascination for Gunung Salak and spent many happy hours watching the sun set over its slopes from the Salak Sunset Cafe in Bogor. It was his wish that some of his ashes would be scattered on its slopes. A new website has just been set up to publish his writings….. http://davidjardine.net/
    Not everybody made it to the crater, but the weather stayed reasonably fine and it was for the most part an enjoyable day trip out from the urban chaos of Jakarta.
    Unfortunately, there are a few negative things that must be said about what should be quite a simple trip from Jakarta and back!!! Firstly, a new barrier has been erected further down to Javana Spa road, so everyone who wants to use the road up to the Javana Spa must pay an additional Rp2,000. It’s a very small amount of money, granted, but the road is a public road and this sort of highwayman behaviour seems to be becoming quite widespread in West Java, whereby road users are expected to fill the pockets of some local chancers just for using the road through the village! I’ve experienced it in the hill roads north of Bandung and also near Pelabuhan Ratu. Very odd, quasi-official ticketing. Whether the money is spent on improving the road or area is, I think, fairly obvious to anyone with even a basic knowledge of Indonesian society!
    The other issue is at the information centre further up the road where they, quite officially, always try to charge anyone non-Indonesian almost ten times the price for entry. Again, it’s not the actual cost that is the issue here, but the ‘us and ‘them’ racist mentality. There is also another sneaky trick whereby if, for example, you pay for 12 tickets, they try to give you just 8 or 9 so they can personally pocket the difference in ticket price. Pathetic, sad behaviour.
    On the positive side, the security chaps up at the (seemingly always empty) Javana Spa were very friendly and helpful and let us park the minibus next to the security post for a small payment.
    Getting back to Jakarta afterwards could only be described as a nightmarish ordeal!! We used the Jalan Alternatifs to try to avoid the worst of Cicurug and Bogor but even so it was painfully slow going. Then we finally limped onto the toll road to find that it was at best 10km per hour the entire way to Jakarta. It took us about 6 hours to get from the Javana Spa to the outskirts of Jakarta (which seemed deserted by comparison). It was so horrendous that instead of adjourning to Jalan Jaksa for a few drinks in memory of Mr Jardine, some people drifted home to forget the nausea of the journey. Some of us managed to retain enough energy for a quick bite to eat and beer at the excellent Ya Udah Bistro near Jl Wayhid Hasyim (Menteng).
    The Bogor – Sukabumi road must rank among the worst in Indonesia, so be warned! You might be better just flying off somewhere instead of try to do something local!

    Posted by Dan | May 1, 2011, 08:39
  8. avatar

    I used your contact information via Latif and he refered me to a nice young man named ‘Aldi’ who took me to the top of Salak Satu. We stayed a night on the mountain which was really cool considering how so many Indonesians consider Salk to be laden with spirits and otherworldy creatures. I must admit that all the folklore stories added to the ambience of the whole mountain. I’ve passedby this mountain a couple of dozen times since moving here five years ago and it was a real accomplishment to finally bag it. A lot of hard work after all the hard rain. I am not sure if it’s because there is a substantial gain in altitude but coming back down the slippery trail was a real challenge to put it mildy. we took the route via Cimelati and it was a nice climb and we were back in Jakarta by the next evening. Thanks for the contact info, it helped out a lot as a volcano that’s been pointing it’s finger at me for years was finally bagged. thanks.

    Posted by Zac Dylan | June 18, 2011, 11:29
  9. avatar

    4 of us ‘bagged’ Salak 1 on Sept 5th 2011, up from Cimelati.

    Just want to confirm times, 4-4.5hrs up, 3-3.5hrs down for a fairly strong group.

    Nice forest, relatively unspoiled.Quite a bit of bird and primate life.

    We were a bit concerned about not being able to find the right turn, but the turn to Cimelati is well signposted, as you enter cicurug..then head staight up to Petanian Cimelati

    Posted by Philip | September 6, 2011, 08:49
  10. avatar

    Just had a great hike up this weekend with a group starting at around 10pm and arriving on the top around 3.30. We realized that we had started a bit early so we took our time on the way up, with plenty of nice breaks. Conditions quite wet with light drizzle so we were freezing when we got up there with damp clothes! Nice sunrise around 6am and laying around in the sun for a few hours helped to warm us up. Then a 3 hour hike down with plenty of time for photos.

    Guests to Gunung Salak should look into the PORTIBI farms and Ekologika lodge, a cool eco-lodge and organic farm set up by a long-time Jakarta expat. They can provide guides for the mountain and also comfortable lodging for when you get down! Close to Cicurug village. Complete info available on Facebook.

    Posted by Paul L | September 19, 2011, 15:00
  11. avatar

    Myself and a couple of other hikers were supposed to be climbing Salak 2 from Curug Nangka today. It appears that after several years it is now permissable for hikers to climb on this route (a route which really never should have been ‘closed’ in the first place, given that it’s the closest mountain to Jakarta and Bogor).
    Anyway, our guide contacted us late last night to let us know that you have to ask for permission to climb Salak 2 a minimum of ONE WEEK BEFORE you wish to hike. So we had to cancel.
    The mind really does boggle! How can this possibly be a good policy? First of all, it is questionable whether or not a mountain ought to be ‘closed’ at all unless as a result of volcanic activity (which is not the case here). Gede-Pangrango is overcrowded these days and hikers dearly need other options near Jakarta to spread the load a bit.
    The process of getting ‘permission’ to climb is something of a grey area to me but from what I can gather you need to ask at the resort (!) at the base of the mountain near the Curug Nangka waterfall (possibly ‘Highland Park’ resort???). This presumably means two trips there – one to request permission a minimum of a week in advance and then a second trip to climb the bloody thing!
    Nice to see that rational thought is alive and well in West Java!
    I’ll probably give this one a try in October if the ‘paperwork’ can be arranged.

    Posted by Dan | September 24, 2011, 12:06
    • avatar

      For Salak 2: 4 hours up, 3 hours down.
      Start 675mdpl near Highland Park.
      Houses – 750mdpl
      Pine woodland & sign – 750mdpl
      Pos2 – 1122mdpl (last water)
      Pos3 – 1400mdpl
      Pos4 – 1535mdpl
      Pos5 – 1726mdpl (best Pos for camping)
      Monument – 2160mdpl
      Salak2 Summit 2180mdpl (good views of Salak 1 between monument and summit)
      Notes: lots of monkeys between 1000-1500mdpl. nettles on first section. a bit steep and slippery from pos5 to summit. excellent views on summit ridge. nice hike.

      Posted by Anon | October 17, 2011, 09:09
      • avatar

        So ‘Anon’, no comment about Bureaucracy or permissions.Be useful if you can clarify.Did you go up there by yourselves?with nat park guide..if so pay how much
        Is there any sensible path from salak 1 to salak 2 making a traverse possible?

        Posted by Philip | January 10, 2012, 08:44
      • avatar

        We went with a guide, who shall remain nameless, not from the National Park as it seems they will still only take you if you are conducting research and fill in tons of forms (even more if you are non-Indonesian) – or presumably if you hand them a fat brown envelope. The trail is pretty straightforward though. I think Highcamp made a trail across the saddle between 1 and 2 so a traverse can be done but I think it takes a full day.

        Posted by Anon | January 10, 2012, 16:22
  12. avatar

    Anyone know the best and least crowded spot to pitch a tent and camp with little kids somewhere in TN Halimun… so somewhere you can drive to?

    Thanks
    James
    Bogor

    Posted by james | April 5, 2012, 11:28
  13. avatar

    I lived in Djakarta, working at the British Embassy between 1968 and 1971. The embassy, at the time, had two bungalows below the volcano and we often walked to the cratewr rim, sometimes staying overnight at a hut in the forest. It was a slippery but worthwhile climb. There were not too many visitors in those days, but I do recall one Indonesian who carried his bicycle from the base to the rim, and back. This all before the days of national parks and permits

    Posted by tony ford | May 10, 2012, 19:18
  14. avatar

    Salak remains out-of-bounds since the Sukhoi Superjet crash. Apparently the mountainside is still littered with wreckage. It could well remain closed for several more months. Contact Taman Nasional Halimun-Salak to check before going.

    Posted by Dan | September 29, 2012, 13:06

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