- Elevation: 3,150 m (10,335 ft)
- Prominence: 1,761 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Tengah (Central Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Sundoro, Sendoro
- Eruptions: 1971, 2011-14
Mount Sindoro is separated from its similarly conical but slightly higher neighbour, Gunung Sumbing, by the Kledung Pass (1,404m). Together, they dominate the Dieng plateau area and can both be climbed from Kledung village where there is a decent hotel. There is another straightforward and slightly shorter ascent from the north at Sigedang (1,790m) and a couple of less popular routes from the west and east respectively.
For its size, Sindoro is an easy hike and would make a great introduction to hiking in Indonesia. From the top there are great views to Sumbing, Merapi, Merbabu, Ungaran, Slamet, Dieng plateau’s high ridge Gunung Prau and the north coast of Java. Sunrise is usually magnificent so it is worth climbing overnight.
Camping at the top is not advised at present (2019) due to poisonous gases near the summit crater (this has been the case since 2011 – and one hiker died camping by the crater in 2013). It is also a very good idea to wait until after 7am to peer into the active crater, and not to spend much time close to the gases.
If it fits in with your plans and you can find a willing guide, it is obviously best in terms of enjoying the different views of other mountains to hike up one route and descend via another. A north-southeast traverse (Sigedang-Kledung) or vice versa is excellent, and so is east-north (Bansari-Sigedang) or vice versa. Finshing in Banaran (west) is ideal for those continuing to Dieng, but this is a less well-known route at the moment so you are advised to take a guide from Banaran for this.
There is no huge time advantage to one trail over another, but Sigedang is the highest trailhead and Bansari the lowest (unless you take an ojek). The small lake at the top only exists during the rainy season, and not all the routes have reliable water sources, so make sure you take plenty with you and assume no availability on the trek itself.
At the summit, there are actually two deep craters next to each other and these have changed rather dramatically over the last decade as volcanic activity has increased considerably. The one on the Kledung side (south) is smaller, swampy-looking, and with several names written using stones by foolish local hikers. Connected to this is a larger, deeper, more northern crater which was partially filled with water back in 2010. Since 2011, the water has almost entirely disappeared aside from a (presumably hot) bubbling pool and there is lots of fumarole activity on both western and eastern edges of the crater in 2019.
If you follow the crater rim further round to the north, it descends to a large, flat sandy area which back in 2010 was grassy. It sometimes has a small lake in it during the rainy season. This would appear to be the remains of a very old, shallow third crater and prior to increased activity since 2011 would have made a great place to camp. Further round, to the western side, is the alun-alun, an even larger flat area with a grave or monument in the middle. Like the occasional lake area, this too is now sandy rather than grassy since 2011. Given the present fumarole activity it is not recommended at present (2019) to camp near the top. Check with guides regarding the situation in future for if/when activity ceases.
Much of the crater rim is of a very similar height. The highest reading on my GPS back in 2010 was on the edge just above the shallow third crater (occasional lake) and in 2019 the GPS gave its highest reading of 3157m on one of the similarly-high twin tops on the eastern side near the Bansari trail. It is possible the highest point has moved since activity has increased and altered the topography a little and some portions of rim may have collapsed. It takes only 15 minutes to circuit the crater rim so baggers don’t need to worry too much about missing the very highest point as long as they’ve had a full wander around the crater edge!
Back in 2010, there was lots of edelweiss, grass, and lots of cantigi bushes (a common vaccinium species on volcano peaks in Java) but after years of activity the area is currently more barren-looking, with less plants, and more sand and rocks, not to mention the active fumaroles.
The view is unarguably one of Java’s finest in clear weather early in the morning. To the south-east are Lawu, Merbabu, Merapi and Sumbing. To the northwest are the Dieng hills including Prau and off in the distance to the west is Gunung Slamet. In clear weather you can also see the north coast of Java.
Route from Kledung (SOUTH-EAST):
This is still the most popular route. From Kledung it takes around 5 – 6 hours to the top or slightly less if you get an ojek for the first section. From the main road at Kledung, take the cobbled road leading north opposite the Kledung Rest Area. It is difficult to miss because it’s the first turning east of the Kledung Pass hotel.
The cobbled road leads gently up the hillside for about one mile and it is recommended you get an ojek (motorcycle taxi) to take you up as far as possible. The end of the road is at 1,654m. The well-defined and occasionally slippery trail leads up through pine woodland past the remains of Pos 1 (1,761m), Pos Payungan (1,857m), across some very small wooden bridges and on to the remains of the shelter at Pos 2 (1,978m).
There are a few good places to admire the views of Sumbing across on the other side of the Kledung Pass but it is not until you are beyond Batu Longko and at the first major camping area (Pos 3 at 2,320m) that the vegetation becomes sparse. If you are going to camp anywhere other than at the summit (which is not advised at present due to volcanic activity), Pos 3 is recommended because the views south and east are spectacular and there is plenty of room for tents. However, there are many places suitable for just one or two tents all the way up.
The trail climbs more steeply and passes scattered rocks, notably ‘batu tatah’ (at 2,843m). There is little shade here so for the light-skinned it is essential to use sun cream during the day. Finally the top is reached and you are on the edge of Sindoro’s crater. If returning by the same route be careful to make note of this point.
Fast hikers can be back down at the Kledung Pass hotel in less than 4 hours. You may even be able to arrange an ojek from a local farmer when you reach the cobbled road.
Note there is another, newer and less popular route up from Anggrunggondok (also known as Alang-Alang Sewu route) which is just a kilometre or so further west from Kledung Pass and main Kledung Basecamp (and not far from the turning for the Garung basecamp for Gunung Sumbing). You might consider combining the two as it is easy to find transport between them. The Anggrunggondok route leads via Pos 1 Lembah Kesunyian (1,755m), Pos 2 Lembah Katresnan (2,062m), Pos 3 Alang-Alang Sewu (2,370m) and Pos 4 Jalu Mulyo / Labirin Stone (2,850m). There is a water source between Pos 1 and 2.
Route from Sigedang / Sikatok (NORTH):
This is an incredibly picturesque route with tea plantations and views to the Dieng Plateau and the hills north of Sindoro. Allow 3.5-4.5 hours up and 2.5-2.5 back down. The basecamp is at an elevation of around 1,700m and the trailhead starts a little higher up at 1,790m. Depending on if you follow the metal signs or not, the trail leads via Pos Bayangan (1,865m), Pos 1 Kebun Teh (1,890m), and Pos 2 Kebun Teh (2,066m). These first Pos are actually tea-weighing shelters.
The end of the tea plantation area is known as Patok Besi (2,168m). From there the trail continues through pleasant woodland via Pos 3 – Watu Tulis (2,423m) which is as the names suggests a large rock supposedly with some writing on it and is soon followed by the Pos 3 camping area (2,519m) which is by far the most favoured spot for spending the night.
Pos 3 camp area has really nice views back over to the minor hills on the other side of the Sigedang valley, including Gunung Sigandul which has a local peak name of Puncak Setlerep (Gunung Telerejo – 2,098m on the Bako map) and further east the un-named 2,142m peak on the Bakosurtanal map. In 2019, these peaks are tourist treks and camping spots in their own right, including a lower side peak called Gunung Buthak.
Next up is Pos 4 Ladang Batu 1 (2,735m) which marks the start of more challenging terrain, with very steep rocky sections, and offers views to Batu Susu (‘milk rock’). The terrain remains steep and slippery until after Ladang Batu 2 (Batu Tangga, 3,025m) and finally you reach Sabana (3,121m) which is just before the summit plateau. Note the cement boundary marker further up which is essential for finding your way back down to Sigedang by the same route.
Route from Ndoro Arum, Banaran, Wonosobo (WEST):
This new route leads via Pos 1 Ngrata which is an area of pine woodland, Pos 2 Kayu Sawa, Pos 3 Watu Putih and Pos 4 Uci-uci.
Route from Bansari (EAST):
You might think that this route takes a little longer as the basecamp is further down at 1,075m but you can almost always get an ojek up the wide stony plantation track to Pos 1 (about 20 minutes and a reasonable Rp20,000 per person in 2019). Allow 4-5 hours up (5-6 without ojek) and 3-4 hours back down (4-5 without ojek).
The trail leads via Pos Bayangan, Pos 1 Sidempul (1,576m) where there is an entrance plus a water source, Pos 2 Turunan (1,871m), and Pos 3 Tunggangan (2,151m) which has a water source down to the right just before the flat camp spots. Next is Pos 4 Bukit Soma (2,300m), and it’s an excellent place to see Sumbing, Merbabu and Lawu framed through tree branches at first light. Soon after is the amusing ‘Pos Ojek’ (2,392m) which is not included in the numbering system and is certainly not a place to find a motorbike taxi!
Once above an elevation of 2,550m, the vegetation becomes much lower and the views correspondingly more impressive. Next is an area popular with campers and not at all surprising given the fabulous panorama in clear weather. In 2019, this spot was marked with a tall bamboo flagpole (2,664m). Pos 5 Mlelan (2,710m) is next and should be reached by most hikersi n around 3 hours from Pos 1.
Pos 6 Centong (3,085m) is reached after a further hour during which the trail steepens and progress slows down a little. From Pos 6, the trail curves round to the left, overlooking a wide gash in the mountainside which may be the remains of an old side crater. After just five minutes from Pos 6 is the Bansari sign (3,132m) – a very important marker that you need to remember if you are returning on the same trail.
Route from Katekan (NORTH-EAST):
Just a few kilometres north of the Bansari basecamp is another trail up from Katekan. According to online maps, it leads via Pos 1 (1,650m), Pos 2 (1,930m), Pos 3 (2,260m), and Pos 4 (2,590m).
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn, 2010 (most recent updates in October 2019)
Gunung Kembang / Kembangan (2,340m)
To the south-west of Gunung Sindoro is a peak called Gunung Kembang (Kembangan on the Bakosurtanal map) which in 2019 is becoming a popular hike in its own right, having been officially opened as a new route in April 2018. It can be clearly seen just to the right of Gunung Sindoro from peaks in the Dieng area and it is no surprise that it is known as ‘Anak Sindoro’ (Child of Sindoro) as it nestles beneath Sindoro’s higher summit. There are two main routes, both starting at similar altitudes and requiring about 3 hours up and a little less back down. Gunung Kembang makes a great half-day out, although many local hikers choose to camp at the top.
It is most commonly hiked from the south at Tambi tea plantation (1,360m) in Blembem near Wonosobo. The Pos enroute include Pos 1 Istana Katak (1,585m), Pos 2 Kandang Celeng / Gerbang (1,710m, at the end of the tea plantation), Pos 3 Liliput (1,870m), Pos 4 Simpang Tiga (1,960m), Pos 5 Akar (2,050m) and Pos 6 Tanjakan Mesra (2,280m) which is just 15 minutes before the top.
The other route leads up from the west at Lengkong (1,385m) and it also takes around 3 hours to reach the top. This trail is much more open than the Blembem route so if you are keen on seeing the views over to the Dieng hills then Lengkong is the one to choose. The first part of the trail follows a wide cement track steeply up to an elevation of around 1,610m. Shortly afterwards is Camp Area Lembah Sirebut which is a grassy spot just after a junction on the right for a paragliding (‘paralayang’) take-off spot (1,690m). There are great views from here across to the whole Dieng range with Gunung Bisma, Gunung Pakuwaja and Gunung Prau from left to right.
The trail continues through pleasant, fairly flat terrain and the next important spot on the trail is Pos 1 – Gerbang Ndeles (1,705m) where you take a right. After this point the trail is steep once again, and quite dusty towards the end of the dry season. The next Pos is Pos Bayangan or Pakes Suri (1,914m) according to the trail map at the basecamp. Pos 2 – Sawa Gede (2,057m) is next followed by Pos 3 – Ndima / Bima Pengkok (2,270m).
The trail then passes through a flatter area of old trees, many of which were damaged in very strong winds in late September 2019. You then find yourself at the summit of Gunung Kembang (2,340m on the Bako map and 2,348m on a GPS device) overlooking an old grassy crater no longer active (known to locals as Bimo / Bima Pengkok) beneath the much taller Gunung Sindoro behind. You can do a quick circuit of this crater in ten minutes or so if you wish. To the right (south-east) you should in clear weather be able to see the huge Gunung Sumbing, and perhaps Gunung Merbabu between the two in the distance. Looking back to the west, the whole Dieng range should clearly visible.
If yu follow the crater rim anti-clockwise (towards Sumbing), you will find a couple of summit signs and meet the trail up from Blembem.
For a Lengkong guide, give Mas Faturahman a call on +6283145554198.
- Getting there: Buses between Purwokerto and Semarang run through Kledung. From Yogyakarta, take a bus to Magelang and a second bus to Wonosobo. Kledung is just under 3 hours from both Yogyakarta or Semarang by car. The Sigedang trailhead is around 2.5 hours from both Pekalongan and Semarang where there are train stations. Weleri, which lies in between the two cities, is only 1.5 hours from the trailheads at both Sigedang and Bansari but currently (2019) very few executive class trains stop here. Also, getting from Weleri to the northern and eastern trailheads usually requires several short bus journeys so despite being the shortest and closest access route it can end up taking the same amount of time as getting to/from Purwokerto.
- Accommodation: The Kledung Pass Hotel is the obvious place to stay if hiking from Kledung. Dieng is fairly close to the Sigedang and Banaran routes and has several simple hotels and homestays.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Sindoro information pack can be downloaded here.
- Permits: Your guide will arrange it for you or you can simply pay at the basecamp – typically around Rp15,000-20,000 per person in 2019 plus Rp5,000-Rp10,000 to leave your motorbike or car there while you hike. Take a photocopy of your passport photo page if climbing without local help. Be sure to check with local people about the volcanic activity near the crater as it may not be safe to climb.
- Water sources: Unreliable on the ascent from Kledung – take sufficient supplies with you. Usually available between Pos 1 and 2 on the Anggrunggondok route. Available at Pos 1 and near Pos 3 during the rainy season on the Bansari route. Usually a limited amount at the top (except during the dry season) but not recommended to use for health concerns.
- 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):
Origins and Meaning
Lordly Mountain. Sindoro probably comes from the Javanese si (a kind of “title” or “person marker”) and ndara (pronounced /ndoro/) or bandara (pronounced /b’n.doro/) meaning “lord, master”. (George Quinn, 2011)