Who doesn't know Merapi? Gunung Merapi (Mount Merapi) literally means Fire Mountain. It is one of the volcanoes in Indonesia that is still active until today. It is located approximately 28 km (17 miles) north of Yogyakarta. Moreover, it tends to wake up every four to six years or so, making people cautious. However, it has a charm on its own that attracts people to go to that place. Tourists love visiting the accessible area of Merapi to the point where the low-cost created tour to explore the bottom of the volcano. The journey is called the Merapi Lava Tour. If you're curious about the trip, we have provided a brief explanation of the tour and what you will do during the visit.
What is Merapi Lava Tour?
The Merapi lava tour is where people can visit the accessible area of the volcano. It is called a lava tour because you will see the section where the lava of Merapi used to pass during its previous eruption. It is a way of exploring Merapi's area and its mystery in a day.
Since the road is rocky, a handful of dust, you will use Jeep to explore the area. It is recommended to bring your own bandana or cover so that you will be able to protect your face from dust.
Merapi Lava Tour Itinerary
During the tour, you will visit several places that were affected by the previous eruption. The places are:
Mini Sisa Hartaku Museum
"Mini" means small, "sisa" means leftover or remaining, "hartaku" means my possessions/assets. True to its name, Museum Mini Sisa Hartaku means a small museum of the remaining of my possessions. The museum is actually not a museum but a civilian's house. The house has been destroyed due to the eruption. In this house, objects that experienced the wrath of the volcano are gathered together. Then, they are displayed according to their categories. You will see daily objects such as laptops, televisions, kitchen utilities, and many more. Besides objects, you will also see the skeletons of animals who lost their lives because of the eruption.
If you don't know how the eruption started, you can learn from this museum. There is a room that shows pictures of the volcano and explains Merapi's nature. You would also be able to learn of Merapi's eruption cost and the times when they happened.
Although you don't have to pay for the museum, there is a donation. If you are willing, you can place money of any amount inside it to help the locals.
Rumah Mbah Marijan (Mbah Marijan's Home)
Some Lava Tours do not cover this area. It depends on the route it takes. However, Mbah Marijan was a famous person who was deeply tied to Merapi, so it is always a good idea to visit his house. It's more suitable to say what remains of his home since the eruption destroyed most of it.
At his house, you will see an old Jeep's relief and a sign that marks the location where Mbah Marijan's body was found. Not far from his home, you will also see a mosque that Mbah Marijan regularly visited when he was alive. His tale of dedication to his role and God made him one of the most respected figures around the area, even when he is no longer here physically.
Batu Alien (Alien Stone)
It is not precisely a stone given by the aliens, as the name implies. It is a stone brought down by the lava from the top of the mountain to that area.
Not far from the stone, you can see the scenery of a small mountain divided into two. The gap between the two peaks is where the lava flowed from the top of the hill. The area was filled with fertile soil, but now it's almost empty due to people regularly taking it. Hence, it's not a rare thing to see many trucks going up around to Kaliurang.
After wandering around Batu Alien, The trip will take you to Bunker Kaliadem. The bunker was actually meant for protection in case eruption happens. Unfortunately, it did not work like how it was supposed to be.
When eruption happened, two people used the bunker to protect themselves. Unfortunately, the shelter couldn't handle the heat. Because of that, The two people Ended up passing away because of the heat. Now, the bunker is no longer used. However, it remains open so that people can see the inside and study the shelter to prevent the same mistake from happening again.
Some lava tour does not offer this option (most of them do, though). They will bring you to a place that has bumpy ground and is filled with water. They'll go around the area with high speed, sometimes to the point where you or the cares around you will be splashed with water. If you don't like being wet, you can always ask them not to splash water.
Where to Get Merapi Lava Tour Agent
The itinerary sounds fun, isn't it? Don't get excited first, though. To do all of the things above, you must find a lava tour agent that will provide the best service for you. Lava tour agents can be found mostly around Jalan Kaliurang, starting from Pakem's traditional market. However, if you're booking from another country, you can always use online applications such as Traveloka or PegiPegi.
Whichever option you're taking, make sure you get a proper agent that can ensure your safety and the quality of the Jeep. If it's necessary to ask them questions online, don't hesitate to do so. After all, it's for your safety.
Experiencing Merapi Lava Tour
If you've got your agent, then you're good to go. Don't forget the bandana or face covering. Let's not forget other necessities such as water, wet tissues, or sneakers (don't wear flip-flops!). If you prepare everything correctly, you'll get to experience the feeling of being around the volcano. You're close enough to admire it, but far enough not to feel its wrath and power.