Prau: a Beautiful Hike at the Heart of Java

prau 3x2
From top left clock-wise: The daisies and mighty mountain peaks in the background; Mount Sindoro, Sumbing and a whole bunch of volcanoes’ peaks waiting at the summit; The rewarding vista at the summit; The volcanoes peeking as the sun rose; An early sneak-peek to the peaksalong the trail; Climb up, baby! The typical terrain awaits you on Patak Banteng route.

I have never summitted a mountain. To this day, I have done couple of treks that surely took my breath away, literally and figuratively, but never once in my life that I reached a summit. Last year I committed to change that and tried to do one of the most popular hike in Central Java that is the hike to the summit of Mount Prau.

Standing at 2,565 meters above sea level, Mount Prau is not an active volcano- but it is famous for its breathtaking summit view.  It is located in the volcano complex at the heart of Dieng Plateau in Wonosobo meaning it is surrounded by the mighty peaks of Central Java. As a beginner hiker this is a perfect choice: a short hike with a view- a splendid one even!

I hiked Prau with a group of friends (there are 4 of us) and we decided to hire a guiding company for an ultimate experience. We chose Sunrise Adventure Consultant (SAC) for this trip- they are a very professional company with experienced crews. I would totally recommend the company for hiking trips guiding- they have channels for adventures across Indonesia so pretty sure they can help you with any inquiries.

The journey began in the enchanting city of Yogyakarta. As we landed in the airport the crew from SAC picked us up and before we knew it we were already on the 3 hours drive to Wonosobo- of course after a delicious Gudeg (shredded jackfruit sweet-stew with varieties of side dish) lunch downtown Yogyakarta. It was a refreshing drive for me as I really miss being in the middle of Javanese backcountry- those paddy fields and greeneries, what’s not to love. I spent the three hours sightseeing and fell on occasional naps.

We arrived in Wonosobo feeling excited as the ambience were really different from where we lived. Yea rite… having to live daily in scorching heat of Riau with average day temperature of 32-33deg Celcius- you will definitely knew that you were in the mountain, with the fresh air, mountain mist and all. We were welcomed at the guesthouse by the rest of SAC crews with their introduction and hot drinks. See… it was a perfect choice to hire them for this trip for the ultimate relaxing hiking trip. All you got to do was sit back, relax and ensure you can carry yourself to hike the mountain.

We were having a briefing shortly after we were settled in the guesthouse. We were told that we were about to hike Prau from Pathak Banteng route- it was the shortest and most popular route to reach the summit. Shortest also meant that it would be so steep at some points. The planned departure from the guest house was at 1:30 AM to catch the sunrise just in time. As for me, all that matters was to reach the summit. It would be nice to catch the sunrise but it was way better off to reach the summit safely. My other goal would be capturing those little daisies with the mighty mountain at the background- which I did finally.

I had trouble sleeping that night just because I was so nervous. I never hiked in the dark. I just recovered from a severe menstrual bleeding two weeks earlier. I was being so stressed at work that time of the year. Geez, why would all those anxiety attacked just before I started my hike???? I hated that it made me threw up several times. I was well-fed that night but that did not help me get a better sleep. I set my alarm on 12 AM but I believe I just fell to sleep two hours before that. Bummer.

We gathered at 12:30 AM at the living room and guess what: SAC crews already prepared a supper for us. I vividly remember it was spaghetti bolognaise with some chicken chunks. Eat up and be strong for the hike, they said. As for me a big meal before a hike was not a good choice. I simply could not share the oxygen needed to carry myself and to digest the mighty spaghetti. Too bad I just figured that out an hour after the meal as I threw up after the first ascend.

Long story short- a brief, a quick warm-up and a prayer later we’re on for the hike. I was still nervous but I knew that I was in good hands. Walking with us was two crews from SAC- there are 6 of us on the hike that morning: our group- 2 lads and 2 ladies and the 2 gentlemen from SAC. My pace was way behind my guy friends- finally  the entire hike they were ahead with the group leader from SAC. My lady friend and I were behind with the sweeper. I could say we just took our time. I found it really overwhelming to hike in the dark. I hated it. As the sun came up, I instantly felt a boost of spirit as finally I could see my surrounding and had an idea of where I was going spatially.

Approximately at 5:30 AM in the morning (meaning 4 hours after we started the hike)  I was told that we were 1 hour away from the summit. Sometimes there is indeed a blessing in a disguise. I was so beaten and felt like a giving up but as I turned around at that point, I saw one of the most beautiful view I have ever seen in my entire life.

DIENG

Yes, exactly like that even more beautiful in real life. There it was the vista of Dieng Plateau in all of its morning glory. Holy cow! I was just so ecstatic and it gave me the energy boost I needed to finish the hike- knowing that an even more beautiful view was waiting for me.

And, yes… just an hour later, approximately at 6:30 AM, I reached the summit. It felt soooo darn good! I made it. I know now that that feeling of accomplishment of pushing yourself to the limit was really rewarding- if not the best feeling in the world. I crave for that every time. I was welcomed by the group up there- my friends and the awesome crews of SAC- really I could not have done it without them. Here we were in a group photo shortly after I reached the summit.

PRAU

I took a summit photo of myself right after the hike is over. Look at those tents! Told you, it was a VERY popular hike for being so short and so beautiful.  Also, look at those mighty mountains in the background! I was so giddy- Prau was as beautiful as I was told. We had a proper breakfast at the summit- the SAC crews already prepared a complete course meal up there. Learned my lesson- knowing that I still need to drag myself down the hill, I decided to have only fruits.

Could not lie, my feet were aching and was tired as hell but still, I got to do my photography. No kidding! I mean who would want to miss this gorgeous view! I could say I have my mission accomplished to document the beautiful view of Mount Prau summit and to reach my first ever summit in that matter. It took me another 5.5 hours to descend, not to mention the rain (I tell you now, please reconsider to hike on November unless you’re really into muddy trek) and all the tripping and cramps- but surely this was a hike to remember.

So… if you have plan to visit the island of Java particularly Central Java, a hike to the summit of Mount Prau would be a great choice of activity. If you are into beautiful view you really don’t want to miss this experience. My tip would be, it was better off to hire a guiding company and to hike in dry months. I was lucky to hike in rainy month of November and still be able to enjoy a bright morning at the summit. Anyhow, I shared my experience in this post but surely you have the freedom to choose and browse more options to make this hike a memorable one. The whole point is to enjoy yourself and take your time… the summit won’t go anywhere 🙂

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