Lost in Dieng

Posted: December 6, 2012 in INDONESIA, JAWA (Java), JAWA TENGAH (Central Java)

Dieng Plateau, 23-25 November 2012

Day 1: 23 November 2012

It was raining hard but I gathered up all the guts to sneak out (uhmm… run away actually). My bestfriend, Winny, took me to Purwokerto bus station at around 1.30 PM. I was a bit confused about which bus to ride because I only had a little information from Lonely Planet and these rebellious nerves. Well, there are always people to ask, so there I was, sitting nicely on Cebong Jaya non-AC economy bus to Wonosobo. I waited for about 20 minutes until the departing schedule. The driver was very nice. He asked me to move to the front seat that I could avoid the wind blow from the wide opened door. Moreover, he drove like Fast and Furious stuntman. Loved it!

5.30 PM Wonosobo

I jumped out the bus and had a rush walk passed the traditional market to catch up the bus to Dieng. Fortunatelly, the last bus was still there, waiting for more passengers. The driver was a bit annoying since he kept asking for additional “evening charge” and didn’t want to depart before we paid more. They usually charge you more in the evening, even twice from the normal cost. After watching some soap opera scenes (the driver argued with some passengers), the bus finally departed at 7 PM. I barely spoke to anyone else because my Kromo Inggil (= polite Javenese native language, for talking to elder people) sucks.

8.15 PM Dieng Plateau

The rain made the weather got colder. I checked in at Losmen Bu Djono. I entered my room and got really happy to see the bed. There are blankets also. My room was on the 2nd floor, near the balcony where I could see grey, green, and blue (what is this? Hahaha.. I mean the roads and buldings, the hills, and the sky). I booked the room by phone 2 days before because it’s weekend.

The staff told me where the shared bathroom was. It has hot water. Though I’ve been on the road for hours and felt dirty, I didn’t have any intention to take a shower. I took the right decision because the next morning, I shivered like crazy in the bathroom until I got back to my room and made love with the blankets (doubled).

I ordered nasi goreng telur (fried rice with sunny side up) and ginger tea for dinner. What a delicious treat for this exhausted traveler! A staff asked if I had plan for tomorrow. I said, “I read a guidebook and maybe I will take public transportation to the furthest spot, and walk back here.” He gave me a map and some directions about the area. He also asked if I wanted to see the sunrise. Two options:

  1. on top of Mt. Sikunir. Starts 4 AM, rides motorbike or car about 30 minutes, walks up around 30-40 minutes. It’s a common thing to do when you visit Dieng.
  2. on top of Perahu hill. Starts 3 AM, rides motorbike or car about 15 minutes, walks up around 2 hours. The view is magnificent. If you have spare energy (and or strong will), come up here.

I skipped the sunrise though. Lazy overslept and sprained leg.

yummy treat with reasonable price @ Bu Jono's

yummy treat with reasonable price @ Bu Djono’s

Pasar Batur

Pasar Batur

Day 2: 24 November 2012

I woke up at 7.30 AM and lazily took a shower. Then I had breakfast: mie rebus (= noodle soup with vegetables, chicken, and mushroom). I took a bus to Pasar Batur. It’s about 16 km from Losmen Bu Djono. The bus passed a champignon cultivation. One of Dieng’s specialty.

There was a bazaar (according to Javanese calendar, it’s Suro month), so many people came here to shop. Like other traditional markets, they sell fresh veggies, fruit, fish, traditional food, clothing, etc. I bought sagon, a traditional cake. It’s made of flour, shredded coconut, sugar, and a little salt; roasted in a small aluminum pan on charcoal. I liked it.

I looked at the map and started to walk. I asked the locals if they had public transportation passing the route I would take. They said MAYBE. Well, I could ride ojek, but I wanted to burn some more fat, so I walked.

The road was pretty wacky with mud in this rainy season (unpaved), but the view was worth to see. There are organic vegetable plantations, especially potatoes and cabbages. The farmers use animal waste as fertilizer. Sometimes I found piles of dung, covered (or not) by tarpaulin. In this cool air, we can also see the fume of the fertilized plowed land. I’ve never seen it before, so it was really interesting for me. I also learned to distinguish odors here 😛 the stench of the dung, the cabbage, the muddy ditch with rotten vegetables… And I found an old Chinese cemetery! The best part of walking in the middle of nowhere is the inventions. Unexpected things may happen, but most of them are serendipity.


Jalatunda well

Jalatunda wellspring

My first destination was Sumur Jalatunda (Jalatunda wellspring). I asked the farmers if I could reach it easily by foot, they said “yeah, sure, you can walk. It’s 1.5 kilometers from here.” But then I walked more or less 3 kilometers to find it. I learned that everytime they mention a distance, I must be ready to go least twice as far. I thought I would break my legs because I got sprain on my upper right thigh. Really painfull for walking, especially to walk on the inclines. I ever read that if you walked backward, you wouldn’t be too tired, so I tried to do it and it did feel so much better. I decided to put aside the shame and walked backward around 400 meters up. The next destination should’ve been Telaga Nila (telaga = lake). I saw a junction and a signpost. You have to turn left if you want to go to some lakes and crater, including Telaga Nila. I rested a bit, put medication patch on my thigh in a mosque’s toilet. I was in doubt to enter the mosque, because I was afraid that I could do something wrong since I don’t know much about the laws. The muslim women can’t pray or fast during their periods because they claimed it as unacceptable for sacred routines. I was in my period that moment, but I think it’s OK because I entered the toilet through the side alley, not the main chamber of the mosque.

Lucky, a sand truck would go up the hill passing Kawah Candradimuka (kawah = crater) and the driver, Mr. Imboh, was very nice, so I hitchhiked for the first time! He told me about Telaga Cemeti as well. We passed Kawah Candradimuka and went straight to the junction where I got off and walked to Telaga Cemeti. You’ll find a Jurassic Park-like jungle there. It was very cloudy and finally raining hard. The driver said I could wait for him if I wanted a ride back down, so I waited.

Mr. Imboh stopped the truck near Kawah Candradimuka and let me go down to take a look while he’s waiting for me there. The heat, the smoke, the stench and the view of boling mud in the crater made me scared, but it was amazing.

hitchhiking, Cemeti lake, raining in the jungle, Candradimuka crater

hitchhiking, Cemeti lake, raining in the jungle, Candradimuka crater

Sileri crater

Sileri crater

My last destination was Kawah Sileri. I thought I must have walked another 7-8 kilometers there, but Mr. Imboh took me to the junction where I could walk around 2 kilometers to Kawah Sileri. Finally I said goodbye to him and thank him for helping me so much. God bless Mr. Imboh! On the way to Kawah Sileri, I met a lot of carica trees. Carica is another specialty of Dieng. It looks like papaya, but smaller.

Kawah Sileri looks like a pond. Very wide. The path was slippery and my muscles got injured, so I didn’t do much there. Only took some pictures, then walked 3 more kilometers to the nearest village to get a bus back to Dieng.

I couldn’t lift my right leg. Seriously. So I went upstairs to my room step by step, sometimes I pulled my right thigh with my hands. That was a sadistic torture. I hate pain.

That’s how I gave up the Perahu hill sunrise.

Telaga Warna

Telaga Warna

Day 3: 25 November 2012

I woke up at 6 AM, but then I went back to sleep until 8.30 AM. Had breakfast and rented a motorbike to visit the nearby sites, I picked Telaga Warna. It’s a peaceful lake with stunning turquoise color. There is a round track where you can go to Telaga Pengilon and few other natural sights. There’s also roasted corn seller. You can ride a horse for Rp 10.000,- if you don’t want to walk.

Proceeded to Kompleks Candi (=Temple Complex?), there are some Hindu temples from the 7th century. I visited Kompleks Candi Arjuna and Candi Setiyaki. You will find Candi Bima easily as well there. Some of the reliefs are still apparent. I went there on the weekend, so I met some unique entertainment for (domestic) tourists, especially the children, like cartoon characters and a group of people in traditional dancer outfit, which you can take pictures with. You must pay them of course.

Arjuna Temple Complex

IMG-20121125-01731I quickly bought keripik jamur and carica in syrup at a store near Losmen Bu Djono before I caught up the 12.30 PM bus to Wonosobo, where there were so many female farmers got on it. I assumed that they were going to Tambi tea plantation. Then I took the bus from Wonosobo to Purwokerto.

One thing I should tell you about Dieng Plateu: eventhough it’s closer to Wonosobo, Dieng Plateu is a part of Banjarnegara regency.



Purwokerto – Wonosobo (economy bus): Rp 20.000,-

Wonosobo – Dieng (bus): Rp 10.000,-

Dieng – Pasar Batur (bus): Rp 5.000,-

A junction near the station of geothermal – Dieng (bus): Rp 2.000,-

Motorbike rental in Dieng: Rp 70.000,- / day (I negotiated with the motorbike owner to get half day rental for Rp 35.000,-)

Dieng – Wonosobo (bus): Rp 6.000,-

Wonosobo – Purwokerto (economy bus): Rp 20.000,-

Purwokerto bus station – home (by ojek): Rp 20.000,- (this is too expensive, but the driver was an elder and it was raining)


Losmen Bu Djono: Rp 75.000,- /night (very basic standard room with 2 single beds and a small cupboard, shared bathroom with hot water); Rp 150.000,- /night for VIP room (with private bathroom)

They have a restaurant too on the first floor. The food is good and the price is reasonable. The staff are so friendly and they can provide you information about the area (+ offer you a tour, with charges of course, but it’s very helpful if you have no idea about what to do)

Contact person: Dwi +6285310791967. www.dwidieng.com

You can find other hostels along the road as well.


Telaga Warna: Rp 6.000,-

Kompleks Candi Arjuna: Rp 10.000,-

Guide to Mt. Sikunir  (sunrise): Rp 35.000,- / person

Should have paid for entering Sumur Jalatunda and Kawah Sileri, but I was lucky there were no ticket clerk on the booths 😀


Keripik jamur: crispy fried champignon (Agaricus bisporus) Rp 20.000,- /pack.

Carica in syrup Rp 6.000,-/ cup or Rp 12.000,-/ bottle.

Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon from above

Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon from above

  1. Rishal says:

    That’s a brilliant write up. I am on my way to Dieng right now backpacking and this is definitely helpful

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