Mystical Stories about Mountains in Java, Indonesia


Indonesia is not only famous for its beautiful beaches, but also its mesmerizing spine of mountains. Some of them are favorites for climbers. They are challenging, not only for their heights and tracks, but also the myths and mystical auras that they ‘radiate’.

Many Indonesians still believe with mystical stories about spiritual creatures, and there are many stories about climbers who encountered apparitions while climbing. Most of them did not disturb the climbers in a bad way, but still, these stories are unbelievably chilling.

We have compiled the list of mystical stories of 4 mountains in Java that are interestingly also favorites hiking trails for climbers.

Mount Salak

Located in Sukabumi and Bogor, West Java, Gunung Salak is probably one of the mountains that have so many unsolved mystic stories about it. One of the most famous stories about Mount Salak is about 13 young hikers in 2007 who encountered spirits in Mount Salak.

When they were climbing, one of the hikers saw a black creature waved its hand to him. He then asked his friends about it, and no one of his friends saw the said creature. Because the weather was not good that day, they decided to build their tent earlier.

When they were resting in the tent, the guy who saw the black creature couldn’t sleep well. He got up and went outside the tent. He saw uniformed soldiers with pale faces surrounding their tents, with a big tiger with shining eyes looking at him. Then, he heard a woman reciting prayers from the hill above him. He then slowly entered his tent, and slept soundly, thanks to the prayers from the unseen woman who dispelled the soldiers.

Mount Semeru

Mount Semeru is located in East Java, within the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is the highest mountain in Java and one of the best hiking spots in Indonesia. However, it also hides thrilling stories; one of them is about five climbers and a dog who once hiked this mountain.

On their way to the summit, they met a female climber who asked to join the team and climbed the mountain together. The female climber was so friendly, and they enjoyed the hiking. After sunset, they decided to stop and built the tents.

They took turn to guard the tents. A male climber guarded the tents with his dog, but around midnight, he saw the female climber went to the woods. He called her but she didn’t answer, and then he tried to search her in the wood to no avail. He went back to the tents to wake up his friends and they searched for the girl together. However, it also failed.

In the morning, they split into two teams and looked for the girl. One of the teams reached the point near the brink of Semeru, and they found her backpack. They then went down the cliff, and what they found there was shocking: a decayed body of that female climber.

They called the Search and Rescue (SAR) team and they said that this girl had been missing since one month earlier. The climbers still couldn’t believe it as they were sure that they climbed together with the girl.

Mount Merbabu

Mount Merbabu is located in Central Java. There is a chilling story about a team of six hikers who climbed the mountain through Kopeng Thekelan route.

When they reached the first post, one of them decided to stop. He told his friends that he would join them later as he wanted to take pictures first. He didn’t realize that he was far behind his friends. He then hurriedly went after his friends.

On his way, he met a girl who climbed alone to the top. They then decided to climb together. However, the bad weather forced them to stop and build the tents. In the next morning, the girl said that she wanted to leave first.

The boy continued to sleep and woke up a few hours later. He was surprised to the fact that he fell asleep on the brink. He then continued the hike, and on the way to the top he found a backpack, which supposedly belonged to the girl. He brought it with him to the top, hoping that he would meet the girl there.

However, when he reached the top, his friends said that nobody went with them to the top. So they assumed that the girl gave up and climbed down the mountain. They decided to bring back the backpack to the address attached to it.

They went to the girl’s home, but they didn’t meet the girl. They met her mother who cried when they said that they wanted to give the backpack to her. She said that her daughter climbed Mount Semeru three years earlier and had been missing since then, and she never found her body.

Mount Merapi

Mount Merapi is one of the active volcanoes in Indonesia. Most people don’t climb to the top of the mountain, but only joining the tour to the villages that have been swept away by the eruptions.

There is one location at the slope of Mount Merapi called Pasar Bubrah. Visitors usually build their tent here before continuing their journey. People around Merapi believe that this spot is haunted. Many of them believe that Pasar Bubrah is the exact location of Keraton Merapi great market, and huge stones around it are the stalls of the market. For your information, Keraton Merapi is a supernatural kingdom in Mount Merapi.

Many visitors experienced chilling ambiances during their stay there. At night, sometimes they can hear the hustle and bustle of the market, and as the wind blows harder, the noise will be louder. Sometimes they also hear the sound of Gamelan (traditional Javanese musical instruments) along with it. Can you imagine it: you’re staying on the slope of the mountain, with the sound of unseen market and magical melody of Gamelan?

You may and may not believe these stories. As long as you are in Indonesia, you will be often to hear these kinds of stories, and it is a part of the culture. However, if you plan to climb Indonesia mountain, be ready to hear a few of taboos that you do not ever do during your hike. And always remember these general ‘rules’ when you’re hiking in Indonesia:

  • Be sure to ask locals about the taboos. If possible, ask them to guide you to the top.
  • Do not litter anywhere. It is not nice for the nature, and (again, you may not to believe it) those spiritual creatures will be angry if you are littering their ‘homes’.
  • Clean your heart and always say to yourself that your only will is to enjoy the nature, not to disturb anyone.
  • Don’t laugh too loud, sing to loud, or do any unpleasant acts during your hike. It may disturb the spirits at the mountain.
  • Be careful of the wild animals that may be wandering around the hiking tracks.
  • Always pray that you will have a safe journey until you go back to your home.