One of the many inactive volcanoes in Central Java, Mt. Ciremai stands not far from the sea, overlooking the old city of Cirebon. It can safely be climbed by any adventurous soul, but most tourists come for the plentiful natural attractions dotting its slopes. Predictably, there are quite a few waterfalls and hot springs, but there are also many maars, extinct craters, at the bottom of Mt. Ciremai. As usual, those fill up with water over time, forming curiously round lakes. Steep ridges provide room for viewpoints overlooking the valleys below. Many spots have been adapted for tourism, some to the extent of losing all of their beauty. But plenty of them remain relatively untouched.
There are at least a dozen lakes on the slopes of Mt. Ciremai. Those on the north side are the most accessible, but unfortunately, also the most corrupted. Telaga Biru Cicerem used to be the most spectacular of them, with deep-blue water, banyan trees spreading their roots over the shores, and old logs crisscrossing on the bottom. Alas, now the shores are overloaded with "instagrammable" swings and stars, while swan-shaped boats crawl on the water surface like fat bugs. Nearby, Telaga Nilam is surrounded by a ring of cafes, and the only choice for nature lovers is Telaga Remis, still more or less in its natural state. If you time your visit an hour or two before sunset, you will see beams of sunlight filtering through the jungle and reflecting from the still water, which is a very photogenic scene.
Again, the choice is big, as it is a large conical mountain, and rainwater flows off it on every side. But the prize for the sheer beauty goes to Embun Pelangi waterfall. The cascade is located inside a deep gully, and around noon rays of sunlight reach the bottom, breaking on sharp cliffsides and forming rainbows in the fine spray. The waterfall itself can only be seen by wading upstream, and this is only feasible in the dry season. A different view can be gained by climbing the cliffs on one side, but this is a task for experienced climbers only. Locals come to take selfies in the rainbows, but otherwise the place is pristine.
This is the jewel in Mt. Ciremai's crown. A vast agricultural area on the southern slopes, it looks like a patchwork blanket of vegetable plots bordered in green by rice fields down below. This type of landscape is quite common in Central Java's highlands, but Panyaweuyan is especially spectacular. Essentially unknown to foreign tourists, it has become extremely popular with Indonesian photographers, and for a good reason. A motorable road runs all the way to Panyaweuyan area, and a string of hills in the middle creates a series of perfect viewpoints. A number of waterfalls can also be visited in the vicinity, the nearest being Muara Jaya. More waterfalls and a couple of lakes are accessible from the road between here and Majalengka, the nearest town with proper accommodation. This southern part of Mt. Ciremai is notably more natural, and therefore, it is a bit less comfortable, but a lot more worth exploring.
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