Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and the most active in Indonesia located in the centre of the island of Java just 25km north of the major city of Yogyakarta. The name Merapi means Mountain of Fire in the Javanese language.
Smoke can be seen emerging from the crater most of the year. As recent as 2006 and November 2010 the volcano erupted resulting in significant damage and loss of lives.
Due to the continuing activity of Mount Merapi visiting the Park and climbing the mountain is dependent on the local authorities' assessment of the risk. Do not ignore warnings and do not go up alone if you are not allowed to go.
The National Park was established in 2004 and has a size of about 6410 hectares (64 square km) at a height of 600 to 2968 meters above sea level. It is mostly covered by mountain tropical forests. In the park live numerous species of wild life: the Spotted Tiger, Kucing besar, wild pig, deers, eagles and several kinds of snakes.
For the Javanese the mountain is sacred and offerings are made every year at the anniversary of the Sultan of Yogyakarta coronation. Mount Merapi is part of a sacred north-south axis comprising of the peak of Mount Merapi to Tugu monument near the train station, running along Malioboro street to Northern Alun-Alun, crossing the Kraton, to the South Alun-alun, passing Bantul to the Samas and Parangkusumo beaches at the Indian Ocean. The axis connects the spirits of the Merapi with the Sultan of Yogyakarta and the Queen of the Southern Ocean, Nyi Roro Kidul.
Climbing the mountain can be done from the south and north but only from the north can you reach the crater and also those climbs are much harder. Always take a guide if you plan to go up to the crater.
Tours and guides for trekking and climbing for the northern slope can easily be arranged in Yogyakarta. You can also take a bus or car to Kaliurang on the southern slope and find a guide there.