Sarangan Things to Do
Hike to the top of Mount Lawu
Mount Lawu is the most popular mountain to climb in Central Java. Hundreds of Indonesians yearly make the trip. So you seldom walk the trail alone.
It is a fairly long walk, but the main trail (see picture of map) is relatively easy. Above 2500 m it has become badly eroded because so many people use it.
Actually mount Lawu is on the border of Central and East Java. The main trail is just inside Central Java.
In olden days people used to stay a week or more on the top to meditate. This was possible because there is a water hole on 3100 m, only about 150 below the top (Sendangdrajat, see photo's).
Nowadays there even live people at this height, who all depend on that water hole. You can have a hot coffee and mi rebus at a warung (photo 5).
Hire a guide in Sarangan, who may also take you on his motorbike the few km uphill to the start of the trail in Cemorosewu. Never go alone, and register at the office, which is at the gate to the trail.
Best is to climb in the dry season with a full moon. Start at midnight, and you see the sun rise when you reach the meadows below the top. Take a torchlight, a bottle of water and a warm jacket.
Although there are now other paths, the old trail is still the easiest and most rewarding. Take your time exploring around the top. But beware of the path going down on the East Java side. You'll be clambering down rocks most of the way.
When going down the main trail, do not miss the turn left half way down, otherwise you end up on the main road some 3 km from where you started. If you have energy left, you can climb down into the crater, which is more like a rift in the side of the mountain.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Prepare for cocooning
Nightlife in Sarangan?
By nightfall mist creeps up and it gets quite chilly. The roads soon are deserted.
Prepare for cocooning by the fireside. Bring your own wine and what goes with it.
If you are male travelling alone, the hotel staff likely will offer you female company 'to keep warm at night'. They offered it even to a friend of mine staying there with wife and kids.
Take the bus from Solo
Sarangan is actually in East Java province, but usually approached from Solo (Surakarta). The road passing over the southern slope of Lawu mountain used to be narrow, steep and cobble-stoned, but it has been upgraded to become an alternative route between Solo and Madiun.
From Solo you can take a bus for the 40 km to Tawangmangu, which is a resort on the western side of Lawu mountain. Between Tawangmangu and Sarangan (18 km) go minibuses (colts).
If you have time, drop off the bus before reaching Tawangmangu and pay a visit to Candi Sukuh (temple), featuring erotic sculpture.
Sarangan Tourist Traps
Avoid the busy days
Avoid going to Sarangan with Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Lebaran (end of fasting month). The place is crowded with local sightsee-ers. See the holiday calender on my Indonesia page.
During weekends there are a lot of visitors too, but on working days you have Sarangan virtually for yourself.
Sarangan Off The Beaten Path
My favourite hike to a triple waterfall
Hidden in the outer ridges of Lawu mountain is Curug Iwok, a creek with three consecutive waterfalls.
To get there from Sarangan walk to the other side of the lake keeping it on your left hand and turn right where you see a deep valley. Just follow the irrigation canal through the village, when in doubt ask the villagers 'ke curug?'.
Once past the cultivated fields you find the path up along the creek (photo 1). Just follow it until you get below the third waterfall. Here they built a bridge where you cross to the other side (photo 4). There starts a trail back through the forest. This brings you to the village Plaosan below Sarangan, you have to walk up to Sarangan along the main road or take a steep short cut through the fields (ask the villagers).
The complete walk takes about 4 hours.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking