As the world’s largest archipelago, spreading across more than 17,500 islands, Indonesia is sandwiched between a heavily active seismic region, the notorious Pacific Ring of Fire, and the world’s second most active region – the Alpide belt. Being situated between such seismicity has meant the islands experience some of the strongest earthquakes and most powerful volcanic eruptions known on Earth.

“Reaching Medan Sumatra somewhen last year, I bought a classic Honda CB motorbike to roam Indonesians archipelago in an adventerous way. This has allowed me to get as close as possible to some of the 400 picturesque volcanoes which dot the archipelago.”

The volcanoes in Indonesia are among the most active of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, formed due subduction zones of three main active tectonic plates namely the Eurasian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo-Australian Plate. The predominantly rich volcanic soil was carried down by the rivers to the plains and lowlands over several millenia, which has created a landscape as impressive as fertile. The highest peak among the volcanoes in Indonesia is Mount Kerinci in Sumatra, with an elevation of 3,800 meters – whereas the most remarkable crater lakes and calderas can be found either on Kelimuntu, Rinjani, Bromo or Ijen. All the volcanos offer challenging hikes, rewarding their conquerors with splendid views on the large circular hollows that remain when the central part of a volcano falls in after an eruption. However, these natural Indonesian landmarks are of greater spiritual significance to the communities inhabiting the foothills, thus every nearby local has a myth or supernatural tale to be revealed. No mortal is capable of taming a nature’s force, that’s why the spiritual guardians must be regularly worshipped, as the volcano’s business will have impact on all microeconomics on the islets.

 

Bromo (Java) – Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo) in early sunlight. Mount Bromo is an active “live volcano” and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 meters it is by far not the highest peak of the 400 volcanoes doting the Indonesian archipelago, but surly the most well known and quite easy to access. It is also possible to balance a motorbike through the “Sea of Sand” – the volcanic ash of the vast plain.

More images of Bromo

Ijen (Sumatra) – Stratovolcano Kawah Ijen (2.443 meters) on the island of Java has sulfur vents that burn with neon blue flames and the world’s largest highly acidic lake. A dusty path zigzags 3 kilometers up to the crater rim. This doesn’t mean anything challenging, in particular, special sights have to be deserved anyway. The irritating smell of sulfur announces the near of the crater’s existence. Arriving on the crater’s rim the reward for the torture becomes visible. Blue fire darts it’s tongues through the fumes of sulfur dioxide.

More Images of Ijen / Story “The dark side of sulphur”

Kerinci (Sumatra) – At 3,805 meters above sea level, Mount Kerinci (Gunung Kerinci) is the highest volcano in Indonesia. The volcano is situated in Sumatra island and surrounded by the lush forest of Kerinci Seblat National Park, home to endangered species like the Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhinoceros. The soil of the foothills are very fertile, that’s why delicious tea or coffe is produced here, and also many sorts of vegetables and fruits.

More images of Sumatra and Lake Toba

Sinabung (Sumatra) – Mount Sinabung on Sumatra Island is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. The 2,460-metre volcano erupted just lately.

More images of Sumatra and Lake Toba

Lake Toba (Sumatra) – Lake Toba is located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The large natural lake is the site of a massive supervolcanic eruption, now occupying the caldera. Lake Toba is about 100 kilometres long and roughly 30 kilometres wide, which makes it the largest volcanic lake in the world. One may not believe, but the lake is up to 505 metres deep.

More images of Sumatra and Lake Toba

Kelimutu (Flores) – The tricolored volcanic lakes of Kelimutu are located on the island of Flores near the small town of Moni. Besides the unique beauty of the sight, these lakes have a fascinating backstory. There are three different lakes together where locals believe their ancestors’ spirits live on. The westernmost lake is called the Lake of Old People (Tiwu Ata Mbupu). If you live a good life, your spirit will go to this lake after you die. This lake is usually blue. The other two lakes are right next to each other. The Lake of Young Men and Maidens (Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai) is most often an emerald color. The Enchanted Lake (Tiwu Ata Polo) is famously blood red and it’s where bad spirits go.

More images of Kelimutu

Agung (Bali) – Stratovolcano Mount Agung (Gunung Agung) is Bali’s spiritual icon and the highest point on the island. It dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate, especially rainfall patterns. In September 2017, the area experienced 844 volcanic earthquakes, peaking at 300 to 400 earthquakes on 26 September. The frequency and intensity of these quakes caused much alarm among seismologists, as similar volcanoes have historically been known to erupt with even fewer warning signs. In late September the alert level was raised to the highest level, much of the kettle and 122,500 locals were evacuated from their houses around the volcano.

Rinjani (Lombok) – Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani) – an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. It rises to 3,726 metres above sea level, making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia, and probably the toughest one to climb. The caldera is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea), due to the color of its water, as blue as the sea (laut). There are several hot springs inside and nearby the Caldera. The Sasak tribe and Hindu folks assume the lake and the mount are sacred, so they lead a pilgrimage to the lake annually to worship the spirits.

More images of Rinjani