Offroad in Mount Merapi

Pose with the Jeep
On last weekend April 2013, I had chance to visit Mount Merapi in Province of Jogjakarta. After big eruption on latest November 2010, Mount Merapi become a belle among tourists destination in Jogjakarta. 

Merapi is the most active mount in Indonesia. Merapi stood at 2600 meter above sea level. Based on wikipedia, Mount Merapi is recorded as the dangerous because erupted almost every two-five years.

The eruption in 2010 swept almost 2,271 houses ( with the heaviest damage hit on Umbulharjo (100% damage). Based on BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana), the number of died victims since October 26, 2010 has reached 151 people and total refugees has reached 320.090 person.
It is used to be a settlement for the citizens and it gone.

One of the beautiful Cliff in Kali Bendo

Since it is the biggest eruption ever based on the vulcanic materials count (, peoples are curious how the condition of Mount Merapi after the eruption. Peoples are expecting to see the effect of cold lava, to see the burnt houses, or any abandoned animals skeleton.

Seems like the curiosity is well grabbed by local citizens. Together with community of Jeep owners, they make a special package offered to the tourists whom want to travelling with specific experience, offroad in Mount Merapi.
There are several packages offered based on the itinerary. The cheapest one is the shortest trip start from telogo putri, kali opak, batu alien, kali adem, jam erupsi with duration lenght is 1,5 hours. It is cost IDR 250k. The longest one with the duration almost 3 hours, reached the almost top of the mountain (mbah maridjan tomb) cost almost IDR 450k.

Every Jeep is allowed to vacate maximum 4 passangers and with 40 Jeep is available.
Best Angle to take a photograph
Well, because it is free package from my office, I went with the shortest trip. Actually it is my first experience reading convertible Jeep, and of course the first always feels amazing. 

My trip started from Ullen sentalun museum, then we reached to kali adem ( cold river) . This is the best spot to take picture because the Jeep will cross the river and we can feel the splash of the water. 

If you didn't like with the challanging thing, don't worry though, it is not scary at all altough we use "offroad" title here. It is like riding usual car hike to the mountain. Of course there will be cliffs, valleys and ravine. But the driver is expert enough and they don't mind to slow down if you asked to.

Abandoned Burnt House

Along the trip, I can see some of the abandoned burnt house. The driver told me that along the road, there should be habitation before the eruption, but sadly it is almost vanished. I barely traced the debris at all. Wow, realizing how big the effect of the eruption swept away the permanent housing in there.  There are no more housing in there. Refugees haven't back yet.

What so lovely riding Jeep in Merapi is the breeze and the cold weather. Altough the sun shining brightly, the sky is deep blue but I didn't feel hot at all. 

After visiting the rest of the settlement, the Jeep stopping in Batu alien. Like its name, Batu alien is named because there is a big Stone and if we look more closely will appear like face of person, alien precisely.  While taking picture with the background of alien Stone or top of Merapi, we can taste local cuisine, like boiled banana and hot coffee.

See closely to the stone, there seems like a face

Beautiful Background, unfortunately the top of Merapi is covered by mist
Depart from there, I went to Kali Opak and see how local citizens tried to dredge minerals from riparian with heavy tools. Well, I guess after the eruption, those region is rich with minerals especially sands. Beside sand, there is a hot gas burst out from the deep soil , but it is not like Lapindo. The gas is not dangerous at all, moreover, some people believe that the gas is good from respiration. There are bunch of people sitting near the gas and  meditating. Well, from medical point of view, I have no ability to judge :p
Gas Burst Out from the rock

Back to telaga putri, we found an unique museum along the road. Seems like the museum is the only house survive in there. With the creative idea of the owner, those house is magically transform into museum which keep the rest evident of post-eruption. There is cow skeleton, motorcycle, etc. Plus, beside the museum, there is gift shop selling authentic girft from Mount Merapi.

Museum Sisa Hartaku (Rest of My Property)
Well, my trip is short but I feel so relaxed. There is no creepy at all like it is brand new land developed. There is no much vegetation in there because the volcano is still highly active. The higher we climbed, the less the vegetation, only Java Edelweis is the flower I saw in there.

I guess the business renting Jeep and packaged into one-short-trip is sold well. The tourists buy it whether the scenery or the experience. Nowadays, IDR 250k is not expensive anymore even for local tourists. If we take a look little closer, several places try to sell their tourism by offering unique experience. There are a lot of mountains but only few offering the experience of offroad, there are a lot of creative village sold, but only few offering the experience to make their own batik in there, etc. People didn't looking for the scenery only, but also different feeling.

This kind of new package tourists is sold well no matter how expensive the price. Tendency, people having better income nowadays, and have a new hobby to spend their money on holiday. Price is didn't matter any more, what really matter is different sensation, different experience and of course bad-ass photography angle.

Well, let's go, guys trying to sell our tourism more attractive, unique, and one of the kind. Off road in Mount Merapi is definitely one of those :)

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