Thursday, January 7, 2016

8 Things About Climbing In Indonesia

First of all, ALHAMDULILLAH for a new year and being able to add another year to my age yesterday. At the beginning of 2015, I made an Excel list of mountains to climb in Malaysia. After climbing a few with the toughest climb ever (for a newbie like me) of Mt Korbu; 2183mdpl and Gayong; 2173 mdpl, the 2nd and 4th highest mountain in West Malaysia respectively... I suddenly decided to look upon mountains in Indonesia.

Not having much experience with setting up my own tent and cooking my own meals during any of my hiking trips in Malaysia (as I followed a group of people who did those for me).. I finally tasted my first experience in Mt Talang of Solok West Sumatera. (Talang - Part 1, Talang - Part 2)

Ever since then, I started collecting camping equipment to prepare myself for future climbs. Here is a list of things I've learnt about climbing in Indonesia.

1. Tents : Unlike climbing in Malaysia where the hikers prefer setting up flysheet and ground to house up to 20 people under one roof... in Indonesia, they tend to set up tents! I've seen various high quality tents whilst climbing in Indonesia and impressed at how tough it stands the strong winds at the mountain tops! They even have local brands such as Rei and Eiger that makes pretty good tents.

Picture taken at Mt. Prau. I shot this tent found on top of a hill there, secured against the strong winds.

2. Food : There's this famous saying about hiking in Malaysia... "Pikul macam hamba, makan macam raja" translated into "Carry like a slave, eat like a king". When you join a group to hike any mountain in Malaysia (with exception of Kinabalu), you'll be certain to be carrying a lot of logistic on your back! They actually brought huge cooking pans on their backs so that they can eat well. Imagine eating Nasi Beriyani, Ayam Masak Merah and Spaghetti on the mountains!

Hiking in Malaysia. Picture taken from HACAM Fb page with the caption, "Pikul macam hamba, makan macam raja"/
Whereas in Indonesia.... Indomie, bakso, sosej, instant porridge, rice, instant macaroni and instant hot drinks.. pretty much sums their menu during their hikes. Unless of course you've booked an exclusive package to climb Rinjani of Lombok. There you'll get a private cook who could whip a 4-course meal for you. :P

3. Hiking Modes : There are three modes of hiking when in Indonesia. First, you could either take a personalized package with a local guide where you get to set your own dates and the people who follows it. Or second, you could join an open trip organized by both local or outside guides and lastly, you could just go on your own. 

I tried all modes. I went on my own to Mt Talang, Mt. Ciremai and Mt. Prau without joining any package or open trip. In fact, I had a friend go with me except for Mt. Prau where I went alone. Hiking alone in Indonesia isn't that dangerous. You're bound to meetup and join forces with other hikers. And you're never alone. The treks in Indonesia are pretty straight forward which leads to the next point.

4. Hiking Routes and Maps : I highly recommend you register or report at the Basecamp before starting any climb. You could obtain the hiking route and map from the registration counter where they'll charge you either a per-entry basis or per night basis. Some local hikers tend to avoid payment and registration altogether. Not a smart move if you're not local like me. Hehe. 

5. Equipment and Logistic : If you choose the last mode which is going alone, you just have to bring your own tent, camping equipment and food. Else you can replenish at the many small shops near the base-camp of the mountain and also rent a bag or tent. Very convenient! Unlike mountains in Malaysia, the mountains in Indonesia have an entry point and near it are various eateries and small shops selling hiking essentials and souvenirs. 

Some rentals found near the basecamp of Mt Prau.
6. Transportation : All you need is to do a little bit of research. There are many blogs and websites telling you in details on how to reach a mountain from major cities in Indonesia. And you'll be amazed by the many modes of transportation that can get you there. From airplanes, to trains, to buses, to minibuses, ojek (motorbikes cum taxis), vegetable trucks, angkut (small vehicle) and many more. 
I rode on a back of a motorbike from Padang to Solok for two hours to get to the basecamp of Mt Talang in West Sumatera.
The thing is, hiking has became a major growing trend in Indonesia and during the recent years, they have made transportation to the mountains easier. You could easily ask a motorbike rider to send you to the the basecamp of a mountain by paying a small fee as little as 20,000 rupiah (RM7.00) or better yet, catch a free ride with tea plantations workers on their way to work. :)

7. Name Callings : "Kak Ros!" "Makcik!" It's a bit annoying that being of Malaysian nationality, the locals will start calling you (if you're a female) one of these  names. Maybe due to the still broadcasted animation called Upin Ipin (which in truth I don't watch. Haha). Sometimes I just let it be... with hope that I won't see them after this. 

But then, when I actually do start building long term relationships with these Indonesians I've met during my hiking trips... the name-callings will start to ANNOY me!! Gahh!! I truly hope they start seeing me as a unique individual with MY OWN NAME and not just some character from a famous Malaysian animation. 

For guys, they might start calling you "pakcik". Hehehe. Annoyed much, old man?

8. Acceptance : The Indonesians hikers were nothing but friendly to me. No inequality happened throughout my hikes and I was accepted as one of them. "Serumpun" as they'd most likely say. Even having turns taking pictures with my Malaysian flag albeit me out of the picture. Haha.

Picture of Bumi whom I climbed Mt. Slamet with, holding my dear Malaysian flag.
So do try hiking Indonesian mountains without the hassle of a third party. You'll be rewarded tremendously with fabulous views and new friends. :)


agip Roslan said... [Reply]

haha..upin and ipin memang sgtla berpengaruh kat sana. anyway..well done jard!

anis abdullah said... [Reply]

This are awesome Jard.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ agip.... hehehe. thanks agip

@ anis... glad you liked it. :)

Ahmad Tajuddin said... [Reply]

Jard, thanks for the insight.. this is awesome!

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ ahmad tajuddin... thanks ahmad.. now you should try climbing the mountains in indonesia too. hehehe

umadevi said... [Reply]

mountains in malaysia are equally mind blowing as in indonesia. but i must admit that the handling & logistic in indonesia somehow is more advanced than malaysia. great post! . seems like it is easier to fall in love with mountains than human. hahaha...keep sharing and inspire us yea. :) and happy 2016!


nanadhoi said... [Reply]

nice info. hiking in indonesia is on my wishlist! sooon :D

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ umadevi... awww your words are too kind. hehehe. happy 2016 too!

@ nandhoi... yes... enjoy your future hikings in Indonesia!

Kai said... [Reply]

Hai Kak Ros!


Dah lama teringin nak panjat gunung kat Indo tak lepas2 lagi..

Selalu tengok movie memang teringin sangat sebab nampak lawa.

Paling inspiring movie 5cm! hehe

Anonymous said... [Reply]

suka baca postingan yang satu ini...

intinya selamat datang di Indonesia dengan segala keindahannya...