Kaliadem Lava Tour

A. Overview
The people of Yogyakarta and Central Java must have been familiar with the beauty and the fierceness of Mount Merapi. As one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Merapi still has the potential to erupt. Since a long time ago, geologists have proposed various theories on the devastating Merapi eruption. One of the well-known hypotheses comes from a Dutch geologist, Reinout Willem van Bemmelen, which thought that Mount Merapi fiercely erupted in 1006. This eruption is then interpreted by archaeologists as the cause for Ancient Mataram big cities’ collapse and migration from Central Java to East Java (Kartikaningtyas in http://purbakala.jawatengah.go.id).
In the second millennium, Merapi erupted several times with the most notable eruptions took place in 1672, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930. The pyroclastic and lava flows of the 1672 eruption killed around 300 people while the 1930 eruption claimed more casualties, i.e. around 1.369 people. The following eruptions in 1954, 1961, 1969, and 1972-1973 caused the death of tens of people each (http://www.balipost.co.id). Another blast took place in 1994, killing tens of people. The 1998 eruption, however, did not cause death as the blast went upwards (http://id.wikipedia.org).
In the third millennium, Merapi remains a fierce natural power. An eruption broke out on June 14th 2006, when the lava and pyroclastic flows ruined the Southern barrier wall called Geger Boyo (Javanese for cocodile’s back) so that the superheated materials covered the Kaliadem Camping Ground. This eruption burst out two weeks before the devastating earthquake in Yogyakarta and Central Java and killed two voluntary staff of the Merapi evacuation work, Sudarwanto and Suwarjono. They were caught in a safety bunker when the lava as high as 3 meters covered the land surface (http://hidupbersamabencana.wordpress.com).
Kaliadem was the farthest point reached by the lava and pyroclastic flows (by the local people is called wedhus gembel) of the 2006 eruption. Fortunately, villages around Kaliadem, such as Kinahrejo (where Mbah Maridjan, the custodian of Merapi, stays), were safe from the disaster. Thousands of cubic of sand-stones covered Kaliadem area and turned the Camping Ground into a vast barren land. The lava-covered area was then made into a tourism object named Kaliadem Lava Tour. Either domestic or foreign tourists can visit the place to see the materials that came out from the mountain in 2006 and the safety bunker in which the two volunteers were found dead.
B. Feature
Kaliadem area is a highland south of Mount Merapi. From here, visitors can see the mountain peak from 2 km sight distance. The beauty of the mountain, whose altitude is 2.965 m above the sea level, is even more apparent with the solfatara that never stops venting gases, showing that the mountain activity keeps going on all the time.
Aside from enjoying the breathtaking scenery of Merapi peak, tourists can also come in daytime to see geological evidence of the 2006 eruption, the sand stone plain formed by the volcanic materials and the former safety bunker. The dry area, in which only shrubs and bushes can grow, looks contrasting to the green vegetation in the surrounding hills. Before the eruption, Kaliadem used to be a camping ground with many facilities such as small mosque, public convenience, permanent stalls, watching tower, and Merapi hike basecamp. Today, all of those are covered with volcanic materials, leaving only the upper part of the ruined buildings on the surface.
Merapi’s ferociousness is evident in the bunker. At start, the bunker was believed to be strong enough to protect evacuation volunteers in case the mountain flows out its superheated gas. But according to Christian Awuy, a Merapi trekking guide, the eruption did not only spew out pyroclastic gas, but also volcanic materials that destroyed Geger Boyo (the hill south of Merapi peak) and finally covered Kaliadem. Materials as thick as 3 m high with over 1.000 degrees Celcius heat submerged the bunker. Despite being made of 25 cm thick concrete and with an iron door, the bunker could not save the two voluntary workers from the unbearable heat of the volcanic materials. Christian Awuy said that one of the volunteers found dead in the bathtub while the other was found in front of the iron door.
Tourists can see the interior of the bunker which is 2 m below the ground. It has been cleaned up from sand and painted white. In front of the door, there is a stone inscription that explains in brief the history of the bunker. Entering the bunker, tourists will feel it damp and stuffy in there as if there is some kind of mystical activity going on. However, according to Christian Awuy, it is recommended for visitors not to go alone into the bunker to avoid bad things caused by the mystical aura.
Aside from daytime tour, night tour is just as interesting. At night, tourists can see the glowing lava coming out slowly from the crater. The burning red-hot materials look so beautiful with the dark background of the night. If visiting the place at night, visitors should put on warm clothes because it is usually freezing there.
C. Location
The tourism object of Kaliadem Lava Tour is situated in Kepuharjo Village, Cangkringan District, Sleman Regency, Special Province of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
D. Access
Kaliadem lies about 35 kilometers north of Yogyakarta downtown. Until today, there is no public transportation that can take people from Yogyakarta straight to Kaliadem. There are only buses or cars that operate from Yogyakarta to Kaliurang. Therefore, for those who want to visit Kaliadem or other tourism objects in the slope of Mount Merapi, it is recommended to use either private transport or rental car. This way, it is possible for tourists to visit not only Kaliadem, but also the surrounding tourism objects.
E. Ticket
To visit Kaliadem Lava Tour, tourists are charged Rp 5.000,00 each for ticket. If taking private vehicle, there is an additional charge for parking, i.e. Rp 5.000,00 for car and Rp 3.000,00 for motorcycle (http://www.menkokesra.org.id).
F. Accommodations and Other Facilities
In Kaliadem area, there are stalls selling food and drink for visitors. Not only that, if visitors do not get to see the glowing lava at night, those stalls also sell photos and VCDs of the 2006 eruption and the evacuation process of the victims who were buried under in the bunker. Each photo is sold for Rp 15.000,00 to Rp 20.000,00. As for the VCD, each is Rp 30.000,00 to Rp 50.000,00 (http://www2.kompas.com).
To stay over in the slope area, tourists can reserve a room in one of the inns in Kaliurang, west of Kaliadem. There are many hotels and inns which are not only used for short-time staying but also for workshop, meeting, and family gathering. Here, there are many stalls selling the special food of Kaliurang, jadah (glutinous rice cake) and tempe bacem (boiled soybean cake) or the deliciously piquant rabbit satay. There are also other tourism objects, such as Tlogo Putri, Taman Kaliurang (Kaliurang Park), and Gardu Pandang Merapi (Merapi Volcano Observation Post).

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