LAVA TOUR MERAPI - JOGJAKARTA

I brought a lot of stories that I am dying to share to you from my latest trip to Jogjakarta. I have emphasized it so many times and I am repeating it again: I FREAKING LOVE JOGJAKARTA! There is just something about Jogja that makes you feel like you're welcome home, the people are one of the friendliest human beings and they constantly give me this warm vibe that warms up my heart. If Bangkok is known the land of smiles, Jogjakarta sure is too!

4 days is simply not enough for me to explore Jogja throughoutly because they have so much going on in that relatively small area of a city. The food scene here is amazing and I must admit that I did not extensively explored the F&B scene as intense as I normally do on my travels, most of my time was spent exploring the local spots, strolling around Malioboro and things that I haven't done before, just like the main topic of this entry.
On my second last day in Jogjakarta, I planned a trip out of town and stayed overnight at Kaliadem, which can be described sort of like the Ubud of Bali where everything is greener and calmer (and distance wise to from areas like Kuta or Seminyak). The previous night I stayed at Indies Heritage Prawirotaman and we departed quite early from the hotel around 7 AM, we had quite some time to stop by at some dining places and coffee shops before actually arriving to the tour basecamp at 4 PM by appointment. I am so going to make a single post for a complete Jogjakarta travel guide, but now I want to highlight one of the most impressive places along the way that day, which is the pretty well-known KOPI KLOTOK.
From outside it might look like this really simple dining place (I don't even think that the word "restaurant" fits them well), and it was honestly not much going on inside too, it was just super duper humble but it was super packed with people queueing for their best selling menu: the legendary Nasi Megono, which is nasi uduk (rice cooked in seasoned coconut milk) mixed with vegetables and salted fish, to accompany the nasi megono you can choose some vegetable toppings as well such as tahu and tempe bacem (marinated beancurd), fried egg, lodeh tempe, lodeh terong and lodeh kluwih. If you fancy a kick of heat to your meal, then their homemade spicy chili is MANDATORY.
You are free to refill your plate as much as you want while still paying the same price, and a good news to the beautiful pregnant beauties out there: YOU CAN EAT HERE FOR FREE & AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! People are raving about their banana fritter but I honestly didn't find this anything special.
What's a visit to Kopi Klotok without actually having their kopi klotok, technically it's the local's version of Americano, only without the filtered coffee powder and defaultly sweetened.
Fast forward it was finally 4 PM and we went to meet Mr. Atno to proceed with the trip. I would be more than happy to recommend him to you guys and I will attach his mobile number below for reference. So normally to take the tour, all you need to do is book a jeep, a jeep for four should cost you around IDR 350k and if you come in a group of six, a bigger jeep should cost you around IDR 450k, everything is included in the price and you shouldn't be paying anything else, even the tip, but for kindness sake, a little tip for the kind driver won't hurt nobody.
Before I proceed with my story further, I have to personally thank two of the nicest people I met during this trip. They say social medias connect people in ways you never expected before if you know how to use it right, and I met kindhearted couple Surya and Herlin who both were such angels and helped me a lot during my visit to Jogjakarta. I couldn't thank you guys enough!!! If you guys are reading this I am sending hugs and kisses from Jakarta.

The distance from the base camp to the Merapi area was around 10 kms, but they have arranged two stops before, the first one was the Omahku Memoriku museum (they call it museum but it was actually more like a house with whatever was left inside during the eruption) and the other one was the Alien stone stop where visitors can see and took pictures with this ginormous stone with its curves and arch that formed this face-like shape. Anyway, riding jeep in a quite fast track was such a weirdly satisfying experience and because Jogjakarta was continuously raining since the first day I arrived there, the wind carried this heavy and cold breeze they almost washed all the shit and bad luck away from me, and I didn't even mind getting all wet!
...the rain suddenly got harder and harder so for comfort and safety reasons, they need to rise the jeep cover but that did not mean they cover the fun too!
The track was not all smooth but it was certainly way better than the crappy Tebing Keraton road and we managed to make it to the first stop safe and sound, which was the Omahku Memoriku museum. The museum was actually a local citizen's house along with its broken pieces and the not-so-much survived architecture post eruption that is being exhibited for visitors, almost like a tourist attraction nowadays, but with a history that clearly was not that attractive. I had this picture in my head about the house if only the eruption never occured, it must be beautiful, gorgeous and quite a comfortable home to the unfortunate owner.
Exterior look of the house
Side view
The house was literally transformed to this mini museum as well as legit witness of the eruption that occured 6 years ago and widely impacted not only the house, but the whole village. Inside the house you'll find furnitures, kitchen and daily utensils that melted or at least half broken, burnt books to a whole cow skull that's being constantly sprayed with pilox to prevent it from hollowing.
The figure was so huge that "cow" was not my first instinct, I even heard one visitor said "wow the elephant's skull is huge".
Kitchen utensils from metals, plastic, irons and plastic. Look at the front left to see how the plastic based utensil melt and deformed.
What seemed like a bathroom
A visitor snapping shots of the room scene
The actual wall-mounted clock showing the exact time the eruption hit the house.
It's awesome that the certain part of the architecture managed to stand strong.

The photos on the wall were not originally placed there, the pictures were documented by various magazine and newspaper photographers, they printed out some for the "museum".
Another house that managed to survive better (judging from the architecture), however the roof was renovated for the sake of covering the items inside the house from the rain at certain times.
If you briefly look at the event, it was clearly an unfortunate event that did not only cost lost fortune and souls, but might cause an unforgettable trauma to the people who unfortunately need to deal with this, but I am a classic "everything happens for a reason" guy and they will be on my prayer. The experience was a bit overwhelming for me, especially when I linked what I saw to the sorrow the people had to deal with :(.

I literally watched the videos on YouTube and it was just heartbreaking to see that not too long after the explosion and eruption, the whole village was in a sudden covered with white ash from the volcano, I even saw visuals of dead animals and citizens. You can just google everything it's spread all over the internet but I am not embedding anything to this post.
After done taking pictures of the first stop, we quickly moved to the second stop which was the Alien Stone where everyone was free to take pictures with. Everyone needs to remember that even though they allow you to take pictures with the stone, that doesn't mean you all need to go extreme and climb the stone, talk about ethical manner. Anyway can everyone take a look at the picture of the stone below? It literally looks like a face, in a way reminds me of The Stone character at Fantastic Four, but too bad the facial expression is showing the frowning face, maybe stones have feelings afterall, yet another witness of the tragedy :(.
Mount Merapi was visible from this spot, another 7 KM to go before reaching the area.
It was a quick 15 minutes ride, and 7 KM later we finally made it to the final stop of the Merapi Tour: THE MERAPI FOOT, it's not one of those tours where they're taking you to top of Merapi mountain and I don't think there's a tour that would allow access to an active mountain. Merapi's explosion normally happens 5-6 years once in average, the last one was 2010 so statistically speaking it should be this year but so far there has been no sign about it (which is good).

Around the area, there was this "Bunker Kaliadem", so what exactly is that? It's a basement room completed with kitchen and toilets where villagers can come down for rescue, unfortunately the 2006 explosion was unexpectedly overwhelming as there was this miss-prediction and the bunker turned out to be a human oven conducting 600 degree celcius heat and two people died inside the bunker. I hate it that I have to give you guys some sad stories inside this blog post where I actually wanted to recommend you guys to book the tour and experience yourself, but it's the history that created the Lava Tour and I think everyone deserves to know the fact behind everything that I visited.

We all man up and went inside the super dark bunker I swear I felt like I was in one of those "Dunia Lain" type of show while continuously saying "permisi" or "excuse me" in my heart. I definitely couldn't take any picture inside as it was dark dark but what I can tell you is that the bunker wasn't exactly spacious, but the architecture was still pretty much perfect and strong with this huge Oxygen tank in the center.
The scene taken around 6 PM Jogjakarta time it started to get dark real quick and here were the only good snaps that I managed to take, and not to mention since it just finished raining by the time we reached the last stop, the fog covered the peak of the volcano, normally if it doesn't rain, people can experience such gorgeous sunset from this area too, yeah you can't predict nature, can you? Not everyday's Sunday. If you really want the clear and good shots of the volcano (and if you're lucky that it doesn't rain because they usually stop the tour when it rains hard), you can take the morning of afternoon tour, I'll talk more about the tour below.
My pictures can't do the justice, it was 100 times more beautiful with your own eyes. How I wish my eyes can take pictures.
After the fog was gone, finally a decent and clearer picture of the volcano.

THE TOUR
After a quick research and from asking my Jogja friends, basically whatever tour you're planning to book offers pretty much the same packages: Short Tour, Medium Tour, Long Tour, and Merapi Sunrise. Mine was the short tour so it was just a delightful 1,5 hour tour with three stops. The Medium Tour (2 hour - IDR 400k) features an additional stop to Mbah Marijan's cemetery* while the Long Tour (3 hour - IDR 500k) features three more stops: Mbah Marijan's cemetery, Dusun Ngrangkah, and Semi Lake.

*Mbah Marijan is the key person (or in Indonesia: juru kunci) of the Merapi volcano, and what is actually a key person job desc? It's a person believed to have the spiritual energy to sort of postpone or reduce the aggressiveness of the volcano, and in 2010 after a battle with the beliefs and the volcano, he did not succeed to tone it down and was refused to being executed from the eruption, he gracefully chose to die and his body was found a few days after.

Here's the phone number if you want to book the tour from Mr. Atno -> 0813 2964 0208. Payment is being done at the base camp and price may vary by time.

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It was a quick tour but sure left me overwhelmed at some points of my perspective. My heart belongs to all the victims, departed and remaining, it's also this mirror for me to always be grateful with my life. The point of this post is not to bring back the bad memories, unfortunately it happened and remains a bad history, and if you take it that way then I don't mean it at all. I hope this post enlighten you at certain ways.

This post is dedicated to the lost souls and Mbah Marijan. Rest in peace.

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