Gede Pangrango National Park
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The Cibodas gardens are right next to the main entrance to Gede Pangrango National Park, the highlight of which is the climb to the 2958m peak of the volcanically active Gunung Gede. From the top of Gede on a clear day you can see Jakarta and the south coast of Java.
Because it’s close to Jakarta, this is an extremely popular mountain to climb. Numbers are restricted and during peak holiday season there may be a waiting list. At other times you can normally just rock up and trek the next day.
On arrival, register for the climb and obtain your permit (a steep 50,000Rp for foreigners) from the PHKA office just outside the entrance to the gardens. The office has an information centre and pamphlets on the park, which is noted for its alpine forest and bird life, including the rare Javan eagle. Officially, guides to the summit have to be hired here for 350,000Rp for a two-day round trip, though the main trail is easy to follow. Gunung Gede is closed to hikers between January and March, usually August too, and during stormy weather.
From Cibodas, the trail passes Telaga Biru (15 minutes), which is a blue-green lake. Cibeureum Falls (one hour away) lie just off the main trail. Most picnickers only go this far, though some continue on to the hot springs, 2½ hours from the gate. The trail continues to climb another 1½ hours to Kandang Badak, where a hut has been built on the saddle between the peaks of Gunung Gede and Gunung Pangrango (3019m). Take the trail to the right for a hard three-hour climb to Pangrango. Most hikers turn left for the easier, but still steep, 1½-hour climb to Gede, which has more spectacular views. The Gede Crater lies below the summit, and you can continue on to the Suryakencana Meadow.
The 10km hike right to the top of Gunung Gede takes at least 10 hours there and back, so you should start as early as possible and take warm clothes (night temperatures can drop to 5°C), food, water and a torch (flashlight). Most hikers leave by 2am to reach the summit in the early morning before the mists roll in.