// Semeru


Elevation: 3,676 m (12,060 ft) Prominence: 3,676 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSangat Tinggi Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names: Mahameru
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Eruptions: 1818, 1829-30, 1832, 1836, 1838, 1842, 1844-45, 1848, 1851, 1856-57, 1865, 1887-97, 1899-1901, 1903-05, 1907-13, 1941-42, 1945-47, 1950-64, 1967-2014


SemeruNext »
First light on the summit of Semeru - photographers rush to take a picture of Bromo erupting (Andy Dean, July 2011First light on the summit of Semeru – photographers rush to take a picture of Bromo erupting (Andy Dean, July 2011
First light on the summit of Semeru – photographers rush to take a picture of Bromo erupting (Andy Dean, July 2011
Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011)Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011)
Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011)
Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011
Bromo eruption seen from Semeru (Andy Dean, July 2011
Semeru erupting (Wolfgang Piecha, June 2007)Semeru erupting (Wolfgang Piecha, June 2007)
Semeru erupting (Wolfgang Piecha, June 2007)

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Bagging It!

Semeru is Java’s highest peak and has been active for decades – a cloud of black volcanic ash and sand is frequently released from near the summit – sometimes once an hour, sometimes as often as every ten minutes. There have been numerous fatalities, but it is a popular and safe hike if you treat the mountain with respect and as Java’s highest peak, it is one of the finest hikes in Indonesia.

The trail starts at the village of Ranu Pani (2,109m) where there is basic accommodation available and you will need a minimum of two full days for the hike to the summit and back. There are many trekking agencies in East Java who offer jeep transport across the length and breadth of the National Park including the vast Bromo caldera and to Ranu Pani village itself from the city of Malang via Tumpang. Thankfully it is not yet possible to drive to the summit of Semeru! However, the road from Malang to Ranu Pani offers breathtaking views and reaches an elevation of over 2,400m at its highest point.

From Ranu Pani follow the road towards the lake which gives the village its name and make sure you take a right just before red entrance posts. A left turn up onto a narrow track through forest is just a couple of minutes further along and once you’re on this trail it is quite difficult to lose your way because there are frequent cement markers and green shelters at 2,284m, 2,346m and 2,426m respectively. The path is even paved at this point. Look out for monkeys in the area.

It’s a long 14km to Kalimati basecamp (2,669m) but the route goes via the beautiful Ranu Kumbolo lake (2,382m) which is a good camp spot in its own right. It can be reached in 4 hours from Ranu Pani but is famous for its low temperatures at night – frost is common so remember to take plenty of warm clothing and don’t leave your boots outside. There are a couple of huts on the far side of the lake before which the path ascends a hundred metres or so before descending again into an area which is sometimes covered in beautiful purple flowers. Kalimati – which lies beneath but in view of the rocky cone of Semeru summit itself – is another 3 hours of fantastic, easy hiking across savanna-esque landscapes and is perhaps marginally warmer. There is a somewhat shabby hut here and the flat area surrounding it is a very popular camping area and water is to be found about 15 minutes walk down to the right.

Another 2 km (one hour) is Arcopodo basecamp (2,912m), which is the best place to camp if you intend on reaching the summit at dawn and have the best chance of clear views and more importantly to avoid the worst of the gases. The path descends a little from Kalimati before ascending steeply up the forested base of the cone of Semeru itself. A lot of people choose to spend one night at Ranu Kumbolo and a second up at Arcopodo before making a pre-dawn ascent to the summit. There used to be a pair of statues at Arcopodo but it is presumed they were covered during landslides. There is plenty of flattish space for tents here – at least 10 – despite the generally steep pine forest terrain. It is about 3 hours from Arcopodo camp to the summit and the track is very steep. In some places lower down there are cement posts to guide you but many of them have long since toppled over and are buried in volcanic scree! The treeline ends at 3,110 and there are excellent views particularly to Arjuna. You may also spot some pre-dawn camera flashes from the famous viewpoint Gunung Pananjakan on the northern side of the Bromo caldera. The summit cone is very slippery with small volcanic rocks – definitely a case of two steps forward and one step back.

As you near the top you may literally feel the earth move as Semeru sends another cloud of volcanic sand into the air. There are lots of monuments to people have lost their lives up here but generally speaking the climb is safe – but do not head closer to the crater itself from the summit. The view from the rooftop of Java is as incredible as you might expect – a vast panorama of all of East Java’s major peaks, something to savour before the hike back to Ranu Pani, which can be done in one long day. The first section down the scree is a lot of fun – what takes 3 hours to climb takes just 1 hour to scree-slide down!

On the way back to Ranu Pani, the more adventurous may like to try an alternative route from Ranu Kumbolo back to the village via Gunung Ajekajek. It is a lot steeper – a 300m climb again – but marginally shorter in terms of both distance and time. If you have any energy left it makes an interesting alternative to the fairly bland plod along the normal route. Take a left turn at the lake and follow the path as it leads through lovely grassy flat landscapes before heading right up the hillside once more. After an hour you will be at the top of the pass (2,719m) which offers rarely-seen views of Semeru. Down below you in the opposite direction (north) is Ranu Pani and the Bromo caldera beyond. This now infrequently used trail used to be the main route to Semeru several decades ago.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn.


Getting there Best to arrange transport to Ranupani in advance. Malang is the closest city with an airport.
Accommodation Basic accommodation available in Ranupani.
Permits Available from the homestay in Ranupani – take a photocopy of your passport photo page. You also need to present a health certificate which must include a) blood pressure and b) data for body-mass-index.
Water sources Available at Ranu Kumbolo and near Kalimati.
Recommended Hotel:
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): probolinggo


Origins and Meaning

Also known as Mahameru, meaning ‘The Great Mountain’. The name is derived from the Hindu-Buddhist mythical mountain of Meru or Sumeru, the abode of gods. (Wikipedia, 2011)

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia
Wikipedia. 2011. Semeru. Accessed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semeru

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Trip Reports and Comments

34 entries for “Semeru”

  1. avatar

    I just made the summit to this mountain a few weeks ago.By now semeru is well known all over the world as a world class destination for adventure seekers. It is truley an awe inspiring experience seeing Semeru from different vantage points.Ranu Pani,Kumbolo lake as well as Kali Mati and Arcopogo just below the treeline where the ash meets. For a veteran climber it should take no less than 2 days to get to the summit and one day to get back. If you are abegginner consider the 3 nights 4 days trek as it gives you a wonderful oppurtunity experience the highlands of east Java as well as the jungle.The mountain demands respect, and can stir up some unpredictable conditions.Bring lots of warm clothes. I heard it was the coldest place on Java. The drive there is one of the scariest parts so take your time. Enjoy.It is an incredible trek.

    Posted by Zac Dylan | November 30, 2009, 23:47
  2. avatar

    The first mountain i climbed .. ever!!! It was a very amazing experience. There’s no doubt, when you do the hiking, you won’t get tired coz the views are Great! I certainly would love to get back climbing this amazing mountain!

    I got many memories there, including camping in a -5 Degrees Celcius at Ranu Kumbolo! Superb! hehehe

    Semeru, you will always be in my heart!

    Posted by Firman | December 9, 2009, 10:08
  3. avatar

    Semeru.. lifetime memories..!!
    I’ve climbed it 16 years ago when I was a teenager. 3D/2N climbing. I always missing every moment there..
    Semeru, hope someday I can get back to your lovely places.

    Posted by Yoghest | December 16, 2009, 06:23
  4. avatar

    Update from a friend regarding what you now need in order to climb Semeru…a rather annoying administrative addition…

    “as more trekkers died from heartattacks (three in recent 18 months) than from eruptions, there was introduced a new government requirement for a health certificate for everybody, which must include a) blood pressure and b) data for body-mass-index. I got it quickly and cheap in Tumpang. It has to be presented together with the passport copy.”

    Posted by Dan | June 1, 2011, 10:23
    • avatar

      Can you give me some more info on this health certificate? Will they refuse the permit if the BMI is too high? Bring a certificate from a doctor from home or get one where in Tumpang?
      Thanks for your help.

      Posted by Sarina | June 14, 2011, 12:45
      • avatar

        I talked to many people, including students, and to tour organizers on Semreu and in Tumpang. The health certificate is a must. I don’t think they are too strict on excluding people, as I have seen some people that clearly were overweight. More important than BMI seems to identify people with blood pressure problems. I got my certificate in Tumpang, within five minutes. My tour organizer did not charge me extra.

        Posted by wolfgang piecha | June 15, 2011, 16:47
  5. avatar

    two days ago I went to Semeru ..I met Mr. Wolfgang Piecha and we got the sweaty Mahameru together.
    Hello Mr. Wolfg.. I wait the amazing picture of Mahameru…

    Posted by Eko Santoso | June 1, 2011, 20:30
  6. avatar

    Regarding the health certificate, as far as i know, it’s derived from a good phylosophy of “self respect and responsible trekking” principal. Regardless the issue of BMI, i personally would say that this certificate is more to be a proof that you are able to climb the mountain, and not pushing yourself to climb the summit, based on general health standard (including blood pressure). This certificate can either be optained from a doctor or health center in your neighborhood or in Tumpang. However, if you haven’t had yet until your d-day, you can get it easily in Tumpang, for 10.000 rupiah in cost. It’s easy, and no need to worry :)

    Posted by Rani | June 17, 2011, 18:21
  7. avatar

    Interesting comment from Wolfgang….

    Hi Dan,
    reviewing new and older fotos of Semeru I just wanted to bring to your attention the fact that now – in contrast to earlier years – the trail to the peak of Semeru is very visible from the valley. That is obviously a consequence of the lack of emission of solid particles (dust, sand,stones) in recent months, so that the trail is not blanketed several times a day, as in all the years before.

    Posted by Dan | June 28, 2011, 08:29
  8. avatar

    Some extra detailed info courtesy of Teddy and Juri…

    The description of the trail itself is quite accurate, so here – only some details on the approaching part. Tumpang, the obvious starting point, is connected by angkot from Malang’s bus station Arjosari (18km – 6000 Rp). Ojeks from Tumpang to Ranu Pani cost 70 000 Rp, according to all indonesian hikers. Being with a group creates the option of hiring a jeep for 420-450 000 Rp (in Tumpang), which was shared by 14 persons on the way down in our case. The hard way to do it is to wait for an angkot to fill up (at Tumpang terminal) for the final 12 km to Gubugklakah (5000 Rp), from where there are still 18 km to go (on a very bumpy road, managable only by a robust vehicle with high-clearance). Saturdays and Sundays are perfect for getting a lift from the hordes of locals, on their way to Bromo and there are about 5 km from Bromo junction to Ranu Pani visitor’s centre trailhead. Beware of overcharging at the office – we were cited 30 000 Rp insted of the correct 24 500 Rp per (foreign) person. The area above Arcopodo was officialy closed (cited on 12.06.2011 at the reception), as considered by the crater activity. There were reports of a loud explosion, heard at Ranu Kumbolu previous night, but none of the local hikers seemed to care. Some small explosions of sulphur and ashes started at summit time (05:00) and continued until 08:00 – clearly visible from Kalimati.

    Posted by Dan | July 13, 2011, 07:13
    • avatar

      ## The area above Arcopodo was officialy closed. ##

      But are there any trekker that still try to reach the summit ?

      I will travel there in August, Mt.Semeru’s summit is my reason to travel there.

      So I want to know despite the warning, Some Hikers still go to summit, or nobody?

      Posted by Danny | July 18, 2011, 22:39
      • avatar

        We climbed to the summit only two weeks ago – there were lots of people hiking. There was some concern over the last month that Semeru’s activity could indicate a larger eruption might happen, but Semeru and nearby Bromo are both open. There were numerous minor eruptions from Semeru while we were in the area and ash falls the evening we climbed. When at the summit, do not under any circumstances go near the active crater. It’s a magnificent mountain area – read my blog post at http://www.deangeomatics.com/blog

        Posted by Andy | July 19, 2011, 10:07
  9. avatar

    i’ve climbed semeru on 2-7 september ago spent 3 night there. It was a long trek (17 km from ranu pane to mahameru) with dusty and sun brightly shine over us. For me that rarely doing excercise, it was a hard trekking. But we could saw amazing view, especialy my favorite camp site ranu kumbolo lake. The hardest part when climbed to mahameru. it’s take more than 4 hours to reach the summit, but less than 1 hours back to arcopodo. the track is consist of volcanic sand that steep uphill path. Overall it’s was an amazing & unforgetable journey there.

    Posted by Ricky | September 9, 2011, 18:30
  10. avatar

    Dear Sir,

    Could you help me information detail of Mahameru wether still open this year for trekking, could you recommend good qualification local guide, name and mobile number please,

    My self doing trekking for Bali area
    and interessted to try Mahameru.

    Thank you for your kind help.

    Best Regards,


    Posted by Mudi | April 6, 2012, 11:08
  11. avatar

    Notes from an ascent in August 2012.

    First, some bureaucracy. I paid Rp5,000 for a health certificate from a puskesmas (government health clinic) about 5 minutes walk from the bus terminal in Tumpang. In Ranu Pani I presented a photocopy of this certificate plus a passport photocopy at the park office and paid Rp74,500 for bits of paper, comprising entry ticket, climbing permit, insurance and international camera (that’s foreign owner, not foreign camera!). (Funnily enough, the Rp50,000 camera ticket was not in my stapled envelope of documents until I checked and insisted on receiving the bit of paper I had paid for.) I also bought a Rp6,000 tax stamp for a signed disclaimer, saying I accepted all responsibility for any risks from climbing beyond Kalimati. Although the official notices seem to discourage going up to the summit, guides and porters readily understand that many people want to go all the way to the top. There were about a dozen would-be summiteers on the day I went up, so the summit will probably not be off-limits, as long as the volcano remains relatively quiet.

    It seems very straightforward to find guides and porters on arrival in Ranu Pani. My guide Asmadi was introduced to me by the jeep driver and proved thoroughly professional.

    Unless you especially enjoy cold nights in tents, a two day one night trek is quite sufficient. We took only seven hours, with leisurely stops, for the first day from Ranu Pani to Arcopodo, and much of the trail is flat, so nobody will go significantly slower.

    In contrast, Dan’s “three hours” for the second day ascent of the volcanic cone from Arcopodo to the summit is only for the strong. I took four hours, clambering many stretches on all fours, digging fingers into the gravel (poles could have helped!). Some people were still struggling up the lower part of the cone, and in danger of flouting the “no summit after 10 a.m. rule”, when I was coming down at 7 a.m. Start out at a time that suits your fitness level; it is easy to slow down, but very hard to speed up!

    Pak Tumari’s homestay in Ranu Pani is a fine place to stay before or after the hike, with simple, satisfying meals.

    Posted by John Hargreaves | August 23, 2012, 08:52
  12. avatar

    Ranupani to Ranukumbala (the lake), be really careful when hiking in the night as the path near the ruined shelter (Shelter 4?) confuses you. Easily could lead you to the lake shore. Find the ruined shelter and keep right.

    At Kalimati, get water at the Sumbermani water spring some hundred meters or 10 minutes to the west. The path is along a sandy dry trench with a spooky air. There are 2 springs, 1 small and the other (a little further) pours plenty of water down a wet green cliff.

    Kalimati is nice to camp in because of the shelter but you better camp at Arcapada and save 1 hour of steep ascent.

    Sometimes you come across a deer hunter with his dogs smeared with deer blood. They hunt at the hills and savanna beyond Ranukumbala.

    Posted by Handjono | September 20, 2012, 18:13
  13. avatar

    Regarding the health certificate…would they accept one from another country (i.e. the US)?

    Posted by Phil | December 29, 2012, 11:51
    • avatar

      when i climbed semeru i got a health cert from a doctor in singapore and that was ok.shouldnt be a problem.

      Posted by chris | December 31, 2012, 16:05
      • avatar

        HI. Whcich guide did you take for the climb (any contact details). I plan to climb Semeru in April 2013 in 4 days?

        Posted by Barry | January 30, 2013, 09:22
  14. avatar

    Tari (living in Ranupani) is a good guide but does not really understand english, and he is a relative of the Ranupani office head. His number is 0828 393 7514. Alternatively, an english speaking guide from Malang is Bonny 0816 429 6849. He knows every mountain in Java and other islands.

    Posted by Handjono | February 2, 2013, 15:25
  15. avatar

    I will be flying into Surabaya. My group will have at least 3 persons so we are thinking of hiring a jeep. Anyone know of good jeep drivers that I can hire to drive from Surabaya to Ranupani? How long is the duration?

    Posted by Ning | March 6, 2013, 10:23
  16. avatar

    Normally people ride a city car from Surabaya to Tumpang then a jeep or truck from Tumpang to Ranupani. Riding a jeep from Surabaya takes more time and is less comfortable. Pak Laman in Tumpang can arrange both options, he is at 0813 349 504 54. Otherwise Bonie in Malang (0816 429 6849) can also arrange it. In Surabaya you can rent a good car from Bing (0812 310 7072). You can then continue to Ranupani on pak Laman’s jeep or truck. All of them are trustworthy and reliable. Surabaya to Tumpang is 2 hours and Tumpang to Ranupani 1.5 hours. Tumpang is a good place to buy your logistics.

    Posted by Handjono | March 6, 2013, 21:00
  17. avatar

    Hey all!

    I just climbed to Mahameru in August 2013. This has become a hugely popular destination now, as a movie called “5 cm” came out in December 2012, about 5 Indonesian friends who climb Mahameru. I was there in August 17th, 2013, and there were at least 500 people climbing to the peak. To the point of where there was a queue (a line) to get to the top. So if you don’t want a touristy experience, be aware of when you are going. Avoid any time that Indonesians have a long weekend or a national holiday. Mahameru will likely be very crowded. However, other times of the year it is not that crowed at all. My Indonesian friend said that he’s been there when there were only 6 other tents. The weekend I went, there were hundreds.

    It took me 5 hours from the treeline to the peak. I’m a pretty fit 24 year old and I kept a steady pace. I was only slowed down maybe an hour maximum by waiting in line. So prepare for a long-haul hike to the top.

    It’s freezing, too. Wear layers. Bring water and snacks. Wear gloves to grab onto rocks/sand to help pull you up. Wear warm socks or something that cover the tops of your shoes and pants so that rocks won’t slide into your pants on the way down. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. I’m a Peace Corps volunteer living in East Java until June 2014, so I like to think I’m pretty well-informed about what is going on here!


    Posted by Sarah | September 13, 2013, 12:26
  18. avatar

    Hi All,

    Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences! This is stuff you can’t find in a guidebook!

    I’m doing a solo motorbike trip around Java in December and would like to climb Mt Semeru while I’m in the area.

    I was wondering if the road conditions make possible to ride a motorbike from Malang to Ranu Pani, solo? I’m an experienced rider. I was also wondering if it’s possible to hire camping gear, including an overnight backpack, from Ranu Panu? As I’ll be riding a motorbike for 12 days, I’m not bringing much luggage on this trip.

    I intend to do the climb in 2days/1night. Also, would you advise on getting a guide from Ranu Pani, or should do it alone. I am also a relatively experienced hiker.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!


    Posted by Alan | November 28, 2013, 12:18
  19. avatar

    A motorbike ride to Ranu Pani should be fine. However, climbing alone is not advised. We have the account of the American who was lost on the mountain for 48 hours.http://budihermanto.blogdetik.com/2010/09/12/an-american-mountaineer-was-found-safe-on-semeru/… Semeru is a mysterious mountain, before I climbed it, I had some incredibly powerful and lucid dreams. Hiring a guide is advised. Look up Jarodi Hestu on the equatorindonesia.com website, he climbed it many times and knows the locals and won’t overcharge you. Zac

    Posted by Zac | November 29, 2013, 00:20
  20. avatar

    Can anyone recommend a good guide/porter for Mt Semeru that will charge real locals price. We live in Bali, 2 people

    Posted by Mitch Wilenchik | August 19, 2014, 09:32
  21. avatar

    Tari from Ranupani can be reached at 0821 418 593 74. Two expat friends hiked G Semeru with him, he charged the same as he charged locals.

    Posted by Handjono | August 19, 2014, 20:36
  22. avatar

    wew, semeru is the highest mountain on the island of Java

    Posted by yayi | September 23, 2014, 16:20
  23. avatar

    Mt.Semeru is a beautiful mountain in East-java, Indonesia that it has many beautiful views such as Ranu Kumbolo lake, Oro Oro Ombo the savannah area so we don’t get bored on many times climbed it. And thank you so much to Mr. Parningotan Sinambela who always helps us in the ascent of Mt. Semeru.

    Doha, State of Qatar

    Posted by ony tjahjono | January 12, 2015, 02:23

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