9 Easy Hiking Trails In Indonesia Besides Mount Bromo Even Non-Fitspos Can Conquer

Easy hiking trails in Indonesia

As much as we love to admire sunrise and sunset spots, foggy cloudscapes, not all of us can tackle tricky mountain trails and steep inclines. But we still want the bragging rights to say “I have climbed a mountain” without going through all the mafan stuff like donning safety harnesses, struggling with tactical climbing gear, and holding on for dear life hundreds of metres above the ground.

Since some of the world’s most scenic hiking trails are in Indonesia, we’ve rounded up the best beginner-friendly trails. From colour-changing lakes to forest clearings, these trails are easy enough for those whose idea of a workout means conquering the list of things to do in MacRitchie Reservoir.

What you need to know before going for a hike in Indonesia

The best and safest time to go hiking is during Indonesia’s dry season, which usually occurs between April and October. The rest of the year is generally wetter, which makes hiking trails muddy and slippery. Those seeking a quieter experience will do well to go on a weekday to avoid crowds.

You don’t have to worry about getting lost in the wilderness mid-hike, as most hiking trails are clearly marked with signs and directions. Just follow them and you’ll be fine.

As always, when visiting any foreign place or landmark, it’s important to show it the respect it deserves. Be mindful of noise levels and don’t litter around especially at holy sites, like temples. On that note, do bring a spare sarong and loose shirt to cover up exposed skin on your legs and shoulders, if you plan on entering a place of worship.

Thanks to unruly behaviour from foreigners at these sites in the past, there was talk of banning foreigners from hiking trails, so it’s best to play it safe.

What should you pack for a hike in Indonesia

Although these trails are beginner-friendly, you shouldn’t turn up in just your singlet and gym shorts. For starters, a comfy pair of walking shoes will do, along with a long sleeved t-shirt, long trousers and a jacket for protection against the elements as you go higher.

Slather on sunscreen and remember to grab a poncho just in case it rains. A trail map of the place is also crucial so you won’t lose your bearings.

Most places require you to pay an entrance fee, so you should bring at least IDR250,000 (~S$20.78) along in cash. Debit and credit cards are accepted at some places too, but we wouldn’t count on it. Most hikers also choose to rent a car as most of these trails aren’t accessible via public transport.

For obvious reasons, your smartphone is an absolute must to have access to Google Maps in case you find yourself going off track. There are plenty of travel eSIMs available that make it convenient to connect to internet data. Stash a couple of tidbits and snacks in your bag to nom on and boost your energy, a ton of water to stay hydrated, and you’re good to go.

Hiking trails & their difficulty

This table breaks down the routes featured, along with how difficult they are. We’ve also included how much you’ll have to pay in admission fees for easy reference.

Mountain Best for Region Trail Distance Hike Time Difficulty Admission Fee
Mount Kelimuntu Colour-changing lakes Flores Island 3.1km ~1 hour Moderate Weekdays IDR150,000 (~S$12.50) | Weekends IDR225,000 (~S$18.70)
Padar Island Panoramic ocean views Komodo National Park 2km ~2 hour Moderate Weekdays IDR150,000 (~S$12.50)| Weekends & PH IDR250,000 (~S$20.78)
Sipiso-Piso Waterfall 120m waterfall North Sumatra 1.2km ~1 hour Moderate IDR7,500
Gunung Ireng Cloudscape & morning fog Yogyakarta 1.5km ~45 minutes Moderate IDR10,000
Gunung Tajam Forest clearings & waterfall Belitung 4km ~2 hours Moderately difficult Free
Selogriyo Temple Rice terrace views Borobudur 4km ~1.5 hours Moderate IDR25,000
Mount Andong Sunrise hike Magelang 3.5km ~2 hours Moderately difficult IDR10,000
Nusa Lembongan Tidal pools & natural infinity pool Bali 2.5km ~2 hours Moderately difficult Free
Gunung Sikunir Has one of Java’s oldest temples Java 2.3km ~40 minutes Moderate IDR10,000

1. Mount Kelimutu, Flores Island

Colour-changing lakes

The lakes might be a different colour each time you visit, ranging from hues of black, green, and red
Image credit: @maydez via Instagram

It’s an easy 30-minute hike through pine trees to the top of Mount Kelimutu, Flores Island. The paths are relatively windy but the slight incline won’t strain your calf muscles – there are stairs so there’s no need to clamber up. Most head to the peak in the early morning to catch the colour-changing lakes during sunrise.

All 3 lakes have unique names: the Lake of Young Men and Maidens (Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai), the Lake of Old People (Tiwu Ata Mbupu), and somewhat ominously, the Lake for Evil Spirits (Tiwu Ata Polo). As the legend goes, it’s where spirits head to in the afterlife causing it to take on different colours over time.

Psst: it’s otherwise recognised as a natural phenomena with scientific rationale behind it – involving chemical reactions from the minerals in the lake.

Image credit: @ulilulya via Instagram

To get to the base of Mount Kelimutu, you’ll have to hire a private driver for approximately IDR400,000 (~S$33.21) for a roundtrip – you’ll most likely be heading from the town of Moni. You can also buy a coffee from the locals once you’ve reached the top.

Address: 86372 Kelimutu National Park, Ende Regency, Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia
Getting there:
Take a quick 1 hour flight from Labuan Bajo airport to Ende. Hire a private hire car from the taxi stand for just IDR400,000 (~S$33.21) to take you to Jalan Moli, Kelimutu.
Entrance fee: 150,000 IDR (~S$12.50) on weekdays | 225,000 IDR (~S$18.70) on weekends
Walking time: ~1 hour return

2. Padar Island, Komodo National Park

Panoramic ocean views

Image credit: @camillou_lfv via Instagram

While many pro scuba divers head to Padar Island, Komodo National Park for its crystal clear waters, there’s plenty going on above sea level too. It’s an easy 90-minute flight from Denpasar, where you can jump on a plane from Labuan Bajo’s Komodo Island’s airport.

Contrary to the park’s name, you won’t necessarily spot a komodo dragon once you land. While there are more than 2,500 or so in Padar Island, these elusive lizards are difficult to spot – especially since you’ll be squinting in the harsh sunlight.

Tip: For spec-wearers to fully appreciate the morning twilight before the sunset, deck out your glasses with Transitions Light Intelligent Lenses for a better glimpse.

Pulau Padar lookout
Image credit: @bebe.hooper via Instagram

It’s not particularly challenging to get to the Pulau Padar lookout: the bottom half of the trail has stairs while the top half is slightly steeper, and you might have to scramble through rocks. If you do get out of breath, the route’s filled with stunning view points along the way – make sure you’ve got your camera ready!

Image credit: @moname_ via Instagram

Pack plenty of sunscreen too – it gets extremely hot at the top, especially if you go during the afternoon. Our advice? Plan for a sunrise or sunset hike to enjoy the cool weather and scenery.

Address: 86754 Padar Island Komodo National Park, Kecamatan Komodo, Kabupaten Manggarai Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia.
Getting there: The only way to get there is via a boat ride from Labuan Bajo. Book a 1.5-hour speed boat ride from Labuan Bajo to reach Padar Island. It’s a full tour so the price will be steeper at S$235.20.
Entrance fee: IDR150,000 (~$12.50) for weekdays, IDR250,000 ($20.78) for weekends & PHs
Walking time: ~2 hours return

3. Sipiso-Piso Waterfall, North Sumatra

120m waterfall

Image credit: @satryaazmi via Instagram

While most don’t expect a stunning waterfall at the end of their hike, the Sipiso-Piso Waterfall, North Sumatra proves that hikes aren’t necessarily all about panoramic sunset views and steep cliffs. This 120m-drop waterfall is a beauty to behold, and if you’re lucky, you might even see a rainbow at the bottom of the gorge.

Image credit: @acouplescalling via Instagram

It’s about 1,000 steps or so to reach the base – not exactly difficult but might prove slightly tricky for some on the way back up. You’ll be taken aback once you near the end, by the sheer power of the waterfall. Make sure you’ve capped your camera lenses and waterproofed your phones since everything is bound to get sprayed by water.

Address: 22173 Desa Tongging, Kecamatan Merek, Kabupaten Karo, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia.
Getting there: Take a bus from the nearest town Berastagi, which is about 45km away to Merek bus stop. Once you’ve gotten off at the correct stop, you can get a becak (cycle rickshaw) or tuk-tuk to travel 2.5km to the falls.
Entrance fee: IDR7,500 (~$0.42)
Walking time: ~1 hour return

4. Gunung Ireng, Yogyakarta

Cloudscape & morning fog

There’s even a hut at the edge of a cliff for you to wait for the sunrise, with a coffee in hand.
Image credit: @pw_panggih via Instagram

It’s a mere 5-minute walk from the carpark to the summit so heading up to Gunung Ireng, Yogyakarta is one of the easier beginner treks out there. Ireng means black in Javanese, a nod to the cluster of black rocks at the top. The lack of leafy foliage is one of the reasons why it gets hot real fast in the afternoons, so it’s best to go in early – you can also catch sight of the morning fog.

Image credit: @dinaaboy_ via Instagram

Get a pair of glasses with UV protection and your eyes will be safely protected from all harmful lightrays! Gunung Ireng is about an hour away from the city of Yogyakarta, where you’ll be able to hire a private driver.

Address: 55862 Ngrancahan, Desa Pengkok, Kecamatan Patuk, Kabupaten Gunungkidul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Getting there:
From Yogyakarta, drive on the Nasional III Street for around 1 hour and 15 minutes to Gunung Kidul Residency for a pit-stop. From there drive for a further 50 minutes to the carpark, which is close to the summit.
Entrance fee: IDR10,000 (~S$0.83)
Walking time: Less than 1 hour return

5. Gunung Tajam, Belitung

Forest clearings & waterfall

Image credit: @enjoybelitung_ via Instagram

While typically known for its pristine beaches, Belitung also has its fair share of rugged terrain. Gunung Tajam’s peak is steep at 510m tall but surprisingly, it’s a mountain that most beginners are capable of tackling. Instead of scrambling in dirt and foliage, there’s a steady incline of cement stairs so there’s no need for atas hiking shoes.

Image credit: @petualangbelitung via Instagram

During the hike up, you’ll find yourself stopping at various points to enjoy the scenery – not exactly eye-level with clouds, but you’ll get a sweeping view of the mountain ridges. Once at the top, you’ll find yourself visiting the tomb of Syekh Abubakar Abdullah, a renowned religious figure widely known in Belitung. After making your way down, go for a dip at nearby Beraye Waterfall to cool off.

Address: 33451 Desa Kacang Butor, Kecamatan Badau, Kabupaten Belitung, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Indonesia.
Getting there: From Tanjung Pandan City, drive for 45 minutes to the TVRI Tower.
Entrance fee: Free
Walking time: ~2 hours roundtrip

6. Selogriyo Temple, Borobudur

Rice terrace views

Image credit: @krist_jose via Instagram

While the Selogriyo Temple is typically the end goal of this hike, there’s plenty to see along the way – think lush greenery and rice terraces. In this case, it’s all about the journey, rather than the destination. Along the way, you’ll be admiring panoramic views of rice terraces and corn plantations.

Image credit: @elchesusss via Instagram

The journey to the temple itself takes an hour or so, including several flights of stairs along with a 20-minute steep walk that might get muddy during rainy weather.

Image credit: @ntuz87_brothers via Instagram

Along the way, you’ll see locals going about their daily routines, hauling wood and processing charcoal. Since it’s slightly tricky to stay on the exact route, you can ask them for directions if needed.

Address:  56152 Desa Kembangkuning, Kecamatan Windusari, Kabupaten Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia.
Getting there: Drive for 1 hour until you reach Borobudur and from there, take a motorbike ride for 28km to Kemba Kuning – the starting point of the walk to the temple.
Entrance fee: IDR25,000 (S$2.08)
Walking time: ~1.5 hours return

7. Mount Andong, Magelang

Sunrise hike

Image credit: @wildanvep via Instagram

Once you reach the top of Mount Andong, Magelang, you’ll find a view that compares to no other – it’s the vantage point to admire all other mountains in the surrounding area, where you can view the tall peaks of Magelang, Ambarawa, and Saltiga. While it takes an hour or two from base camp to reach the top, you’ve got handy stairs to help, made from dirt and bamboo by the locals.

Image credit: @frame_maulana via Instagram

The soft sloping path up makes it perfectly suitable for a beginner trekker. While hiking, take in the views of pine trees and breathe in the fresh air. If it gets too bright, take the chance to get a pair of specs with Transitions lenses – those with 100% UV protection to keep your corneas safe from ultraviolet light. There are also eateries and toilets along the way should you need a pit-stop.

Address: 56196 Desa Ngablak, Kecamatan Grabag, Kabupaten Magelang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia.
Getting there:
Drive along Jalan Raya Krangan for 1 hour and 45 minutes until you reach Jalan Pagergunung and spot the Taruna Jaya Giri Basecamp located a stone’s throw away.
Entrance fee: IDR 10,000 (~S$0.83)
Walking time: ~2 hours return

8. Nusa Lembongan, Bali

Tidal pools & natural infinity pool

Image credit: @joling629 via Instagram

Bali isn’t just about touristy beaches and brunch cafes, they’ve also got nature all around. At Nusa Lembongan, head straight to Devil’s Tears for a breathtaking view. Excuse the ominous name – they’ve got tidal pools and cliffs so you can spend the entire day exploring.

Image credit: @oceaneebrs via Instagram

Start at Dream Beach and continue on the steady incline for about 400m before reaching the rockier bits – make sure not to get too close to the edge! Many tourists have been washed away by the crashing waves. There’s also a stunning sunset spot that faces out to the ocean, along with a natural infinity pool near the entrance.

Address: Kecamatan Nusa Penida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali, Indonesia
Getting there:
As the island has no airport, you have to look at taking the speed boat at a slightly costlier fee, ranging from IDR309,636 (~S$25.70)
Entrance fee: Free
Walking time: ~2 hours

9. Gunung Sikunir

Calm lake neaby

Image credit: @sean.february via Instagram

Gunung Sikunir is another option for those looking to clock steps in before breakfast, with a doable distance of just 3.2km. It will take you just 40 minutes to complete the trail, just in time for sunrise at Sukinir peak, if you start an hour before dawn. There are 2 prayer rooms and a small shelter located just before the summit, if you need to take a breather and rest, before feasting your eyes on the sunrise.

Image credit: @drg_lina_tanubrata via Instagram

Afterwards, trudge on for just 20 minutes longer to be rewarded with a serene backdrop of Cebong lake amidst a small town. Perfect for those #back2nature IG stories. It can get chilly and foggy here, but it usually clears by late morning, if you want clear pics of the lake.

Address: 56354 Desa Sembungan, Kecamatan Kejajar, Kabupaten Wonosobo, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia.
Getting there:
Drive for 30 minutes from Dieng City to Gunung Sikunir car park.
Entrance fee: Free
Walking time: ~40 minutes return

Hiking in Indonesia

You don’t have to be a hiking expert armed with trekking poles and tightly-laced boots to conquer the scenic sights of Indonesia. With mild inclines and stairs at the ready, anyone who’s of moderate fitness can easily tackle these hiking trails. Whether it’s colour-changing lakes or sunset views you’re after, there’s no doubt you’ll enjoy these beginner-friendly trails.

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Buddy up with a friend you go hiking with, so both of you will have your eyes safely protected from the harsh sunlight.

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This post was brought to you by OWNDAYS.
Cover Image adapted from: @oceaneebrs, @pw_panggih & @camillou_lfv via Instagram
Originally published on 19th January 2020. Last updated by Syahiran Sean on 16th June 2024.

Pailin Boonlong

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