- Elevation: 3,027 m (9,931 ft)
- Prominence: 3,027 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Maluku (Moluccas)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Binaia
This increasingly-popular Ribu is the highest peak on the island of Seram and the large range is part of the Manusela National Park.
There is a northern and a southern route, and the southern route is becoming the more popular of the two because the trailhead is a little higher up and a return journey can be done in 5 days and 4 nights which is arguably a little shorter than the route from the north. This trend seems set to continue in 2019, as there is an ongoing disagreement in the northern villages between villagers and local police and National Park staff. This is due to villagers on the northern route being arrested for illegal bird hunting and it means that at the time of writing (October 2019), hikers cannot use the northern route.
Whichever route you use, this is a serious undertaking and heavy rains are common all year round. It is also customary to have a traditional good luck ceremony in the village prior to starting the trek.
The Southern Route:
The route from the south starts at Piliana (approx 430 metres above sea level) and hikers usually spend a night in Piliana village and have a good luck ceremony either the evening before or at breakfast.
Hike Day One: The trail leads through plantations and across several rivers before reaching Pos 1 Yamitala (500m) after around 2-3 hours. Pos 1 is a pleasant spot just beyond a waterfall and has a hut for shelter. It is then a further 3-4 hours, initially with some ups and downs, to Pos 2 Aimoto (1,160m). There are three huts and a water source.
Hike Day Two: The trail continues to Pos 3 Highcamp (4-5 hours). From Pos 3 onwards, water is collected in plastic sheets in the ground as there are no more streams and the terrain begins to increase in difficulty. Pos 4 Isiali (2,140m) is next after 2-3 hours and there are two huts for shelter.
Hike Day Three: Puncak Bintang (2,640m) is next before the trail descends to Pos 5 Nasapeha Camp (2,580m) which is about 3-4 hours from Isiali but has no shelters at present (2019). After further ups and downs, Pos 6 Waifuku (2,970m) is reached. This is a unique landscape of palms or ferns and rock features and is just a short distance below the peak that most hikers intend to reach with the Binaiya summit signs and excellent views in clear weather. There is a pond nearby which can be used as a water source (best boiled first, used with iodine tablets, or mixed with ginger as the locals suggest). If the weather is good before dark then this is the time to take photos from the summit above, otherwise wait until the follow morning at first light.
Hike Day Four: If the weather is clear, the fourth day of hiking should start with sunrise at the top of Puncak Waifuku, which is the peak with all the Binaiya signs on and is the primary target of almost all hikers who come here. GPS readings here vary from 2,997m to 3,020m. It is a wonderful viewpoint, but those who are adamant about reaching the true summit of the Binaiya range and the true highest point of Seram island will see a peak of a very similar height (estimated 10-20m higher than Puncak Waifuku / Binaiya signs peak) nearly 2 kilometres to the north-west.
This true summit is called Gunung or Puncak Siale. Even though Binaiya is one of the ‘Seven Summits of Indonesia’, the true summit peak is usually off-limits to hikers due to National Park conservation regulations. Therefore, very very few of those who claim to have climbed to the top of Binaiya have actually been to the highest peak.
It sounds as if it it takes around 3 hours (each way) from the second-highest peak with all the summit signs and apparently has challenging terrain. Anyone thinking of attempting it is advised to schedule a second night camping at Pos 6 and therefore need a total of 6 hiking days instead of 5. It is hoped that the National Park regulation will be changed soon to encourage responsible access to this mysterious true peak.
At the moment, some sites suggest that the true Siale peak is 3,035m and the normal sign peak known simply as Binaiya or Puncak Waifuku is 3,027m, although based on GPS and SRTM we thing it is likely that Siale is between 3,027m and 3,035m and Binaiya signs peak is between 2,997m and 3,020m.
Assuming you are not spending the best part of a day trying to bag the true peak, this will typically be the first day of two descent days. You can either descend only as far as Pos 4 Isiali and have a few hours of rest time and then proper sleep in a shelter before a 12 hour trek on the final day, or else try to reach Pos 3 Highcamp, hope it doesn’t rain, and have a slightly less extreme final day!
Hike Day Five: Arrive back in Piliana from wherever you started, possibly in the dark, and definitely after several river crossings!
The Northern Route:
Should the situation improve along the northern route, it is as follows: Huahulu Halte – Huahulu Village (126m) – 3 hours to Roho Village (82m) – 7 hours to Kanikeh (595m) – 6 hours to Waihuhu (1298m) – 2-3 hours to Waifuku (Wai Puku) and Biniaya summit ridge.
Bagging information by Mathis Joffrain, edited by Dan Quinn (October 2019)
- Getting there: A considerable journey from Ambon. First take a speedboat from Tulehu harbour to Amahai, Masohi, Seram (90min – 2 hours). The National Park office is 15min away by road.
- Accommodation: Available in local villages at the foot of the mountain.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Binaiya information pack can be downloaded here.
- Permits: Lots of time-consuming and quite unnecessary admin, as is still sadly usual in National Parks in Indonesia. Get a hiking permit from Manusela National Park Office in Masohi town or try to arrange in advance via email to email@example.com Currently (2019) Indonesians pay Rp5,000 PER DAY and non-Indonesians must pay Rp150,000 PER DAY even if they live, work and pay tax locally. This is 30 times the local rate which many may find unacceptably discriminatory. It also remains a grey area as to whether or not you can hike to the true highest peak. Photo fee of Rp250,000 per group. Indonesian health certificates also required for each member of the group.
- Water sources: Available from streams on the lower slopes and holes in the ground near most of the camp spots higher up. Ask your guides for the latest on best sources of drinking water near camps and be sure to take iodine tablets or similar.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):