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Written by Beverley Lennon

Is there anything more beautiful than a sky full of stars? Yes, possibly one with a sea of clouds.

Trust us, the highlands of Yogyakarta and Magelang are truly awe-inspiring natural wonders that need to move to the very top of your travel bucket list! And most of these scenic viewpoints can be reached by simply driving up, or just a small trek!

What you get to see are mellow blues and pinks blurring together in a silver mist to create another gorgeous scene, as sunlight slowly fills the sky and birdsong echoes through the land.

These are the most celebrated places that will convince you to switch from being an ultimate sunset person to an energetic early riser. After all, we all need more sunrises in our lives!

Getting around

Getting around Yogyakarta and its surrounding highlands is very convenient with a car rental (be it with a driver or self-drive).

As there were 5 of us, we opted for a family car from TRAC and never regretted it! We felt comfortable and secure even when travelling up the mountains (those with reasonable roads, of course). All of our luggage fitted in perfectly too!

Car rental rates start from Rp. 550,000 per day for a Toyota Avanza (approximately USD$40), not including fuel cost.

TRAC – Astra Rent a Car

Contact: +62 218 778 7787 (24/7 reservation call center available)
Rental Price: Rp. 550,000 per day for a Toyota Avanza (approximately USD$40), exclude fuel cost

NOTE: We recommend making a call for a faster reply and better reservation experience.

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It is important to apply for an international driving license (in the country where your driving license was issued) prior to your road trip in Indonesia. Procedures are usually simple and just require some paperwork and a few processing days (depending on your country).

1. Hike up to the sky and sit among the clouds – Gunung Andong

Do you love to hike for the view or do you simply love the journey itself? Mount Andong is suitable for both types of hikers.

The hike was a little tough for us (or perhaps we are a group of unfit wanderers!), with rocky terrains and you might have to climb on your hands and feet at some point, so be sure everyone from your group is fit enough to do so!

Although there are three rest areas before reaching the peak, we were exhausted when we reached the summit, but the climb was completely worth it – we were greeted with spectacular views of sea of clouds, vast rice paddy fields, and at least 5 nearby mountain ranges!

Photo via pendakilawas

We took more than one-hour to reach the top, which was packed with campers who had come to spend the night and catch the sunrise the next day. If you wish to catch the sunrise at the summit, we recommend an overnight stay too, as it’s too dangerous to climb in the dark.

Photo via roh_kyt

And what can be more comforting than a cup of hot coffee as you enjoy the views at the chilly summit after a tiring hike? Yes, there’s a little warung right at the top  – don’t ask us how they got there! ;))

Photo by TripCanvas, mufarrikah_22

Gunung Andong

Address: Kudusan, Tirto, Grabag, Magelang, Central Java 56196 (Coordinates here)
Entrance Fee: Rp. 5,000 (Approximately USD$0.36)

2. Majestic mountain views surrounded by cotton clouds – Puncak Suwanting

Endless hills of untouched beauty – this is how we would describe Puncak Suwanting as it looks just like the ones from Teletubbies!

Only that unlike Teletubbies Hill in Bali, here, you get to bask in a marvellous view of a sea of clouds from up high!

Photo via erika.mayasari

The challenging trail brings you through muddy slippery paths surrounded by lush greenery, and though the trails are particularly treacherous during the rainy season, the views more than make up for it once you reach the expansive terrains of the well-manicured lawn!

Photo via dwi_gueideporter_merbabu

Do pack warm and waterproof clothes, and cross your fingers for good visibility to take in the classical ballet show of the clouds; gently sliding through, dressed all-white and elegant!

Photo via kijanglawu

Puncak Suwanting

 Address: Jl. Suwanting, Suwanting, Banyuroto, Sawangan, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56481, Indonesia (Coordinates here)
Entrance Fee: Rp. 15,000 during non-holidays for locals (Approximately USD$1.05); Rp. 17,500 during holidays for locals (Approximately USD$ 1.23); Rp. 150,000 for foreigners (Approximately USD $10.54)


3. Watch Mother Nature’s award-winning show – Mount Telomoyo

You don’t need to hike up the mountain to catch this awe-inspiring sunrise view from above. We experienced the beauty of Central Java in half-light by driving up Mount Telomoyo.

Photo via Tripcanvas

It was a magical moment as there was no one else but us as we watched the sky turn into an eruption of bloody red and firebomb orange, staining the horizon before fading to muted colours, brushed by a sea of clouds…

Photo via Tripcanvas

But we have to confess – the drive up to this view was challenging due to the road conditions.  We had to get down from the car a few times, but we made it right in time for sunrise. It takes around an hour to get to the summit, depending on your driving capabilities.

Photo via dimas.hy_ 
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Make sure you choose the right type of car if you are planning to drive up Mount Telomoyo (roads can be pretty bad) and remember to pack sweaters as it gets quite cold on the peak!

Mount Telomoyo

Address: Karangbawang, Nogosaren, Getasan, Semarang, Central Java (Coordinates here)

4. Be on top of the world clouds – Punthuk Mongkrong

The experience at Punthuk Mongkrong is out-of-this-world – you’ll find it hard to convince yourself that this is not heaven as you marvel at a grand ocean of clouds below you!

The ever-changing coloured sky complements this phenomenon, as you sit and feel like angels in the fluffy clouds, guarded by the surrounding mountain range.

Photo by abibagas21 

Punthuk Mongkrong is slowly gaining attention among visitors so who knows, soon you might even need to camp there to secure a good spot!

Photo by habib_farindra

So even if watching the sunrise and sea of clouds require an early morning wake up call, remind yourself that it is totally worth it – those purples, pinks and yellows piercing through the clouds while the sun aligns!

Photo by sndhl_

Ah, we wish the sun rose multiple times a day just so we can witness it anytime!

Punthuk Mongkrong

Address: Desa Giritengah, Kec. Borobudur, Olgung, Giripurno, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56553 (Coordinates here)

5. Tea or coffee and sunrise over a cloud-filled river – Kebun Buah Mangunan

The crisp morning air, your breakfast packed and you are ready to witness a beautiful natural phenomenon in Yogyakarta! Set on the highlands of Imogiri, come early to bask in a river of floating clouds.

Photo by dilan_transportjogja

This magical phenomenon only occurs in the morning while the temperature is still cool – the clouds appear to be flowing in the form of a river while they move in the direction of the wind.

Photo via Tripcanvas
Photo via jogja_trip_travel
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Avoid visiting during the weekend or on public holidays – we had to fight our way through the crowd to get a front-row view of the sensational scenery.

Kebun Buah Mangunan

Address: Mangunan, Kecamatan Dlingo, Kabupaten Bantul, Yogyakarta (Coordinates here)
Contact: +62 274 646 0182
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4.30am-6pm
Entrance fee: Rp.5,000 (Approximately USD$0.36)

6. Walk over the horizon on a sea of cotton – Bukit Panguk Kediwung Dlingo

Start your day at Bukit Panguk sunrise point with a spectacular view.

Though it might be pretty crowded at times, sunrise at Bukit Panguk is a relatively calmer and quieter time to take in the beauty of the dense clouds in the horizon.

Photo via jogjamobil

With sunrise as a grand affair here, step onto these photogenic platforms to relish in the surrounding green hills, reflecting light in hues of purples, blues, yellows and pinks…

Photo via dwiriyantoo

Wouldn’t you love to soak in a tub of clouds with the hues as your colourful bath bombs?

Photo by maspeot

Bukit Panguk Kediwung Dlingo

Address: Kediwung, Mangunan, Dlingo, Mangunan, Dlingo, Bantul, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55783 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 5am-6pm
Parking Fee: Rp.2000- 5000(Approximately USD$0.14-0.36)


7. Retire here among the clouds – Gunung Ireng

A destination to add to your Instagram checklist or simply to your ultimate retirement goals!

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this view every morning? It’s worth missing the comfort of your hotel room, worth missing the hotel breakfast buffet and definitely worth an early alarm ring.

Photo via apipjunot

Explore Gunung Ireng, but first, you have to spot the little hut (also known as the “likes” winner on social media!). The area is rocky; with barely any trees, and while the trek is known to be relatively easy, don’t forget that this is no walk in the park so get that stamina ready!

Photo via norel08 

The sunrise view from the top is what you are here for, but you will also be rewarded with a vast ocean of clouds! Backflip anyone? (Just joking, do not attempt!)

Photo by niko_pawinta

Gunung Ireng

Address: Ngrancahan, Pengkok, Patuk, Gunung Kidul Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta 55862 (Coordinates here)
Entrance Fee: Rp.5000 per person (Approximately USD$0.36)

8. Sunrise and clouds among strawberry fields – Gardu Pandang Silancur

Set among beautiful gardens of flowers and fields of young strawberries, this scenic viewpoint in Magelang offers a beautiful panorama of Mount Sumbing, outlined by the city from afar.

Photo by nanang_d_vigilante

Enjoy unobstructed views of the sun rising and clouds dancing from the tower platform – an initiative built by the local villagers! From atop, you can even catch a glimpse of Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu. And with layers of clouds surrounding the majestic mountains, you might almost think that the mountains are islands above the open ocean!

Photo via silancur

Reaching the viewpoint doesn’t require a trek but rather a smooth short walk; stairs are also provided if you wish to get to the platform (highly recommended for better views and pictures!).

Photo by silancur
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Dress in warm clothes!

Gardu Pandang Silancur

Address: Dadapan, Mangli, Kaliangkrik, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56153 (Coordinates here)
Entrance Fee: Rp.15,000 per person (Approximately USD$1.05)
Parking Fee: Rp.2,000 (Approximately USD$0.14)

9. Get blown out with a Nirwana sunrise – Punthuk Setumbu

A ball of fire; this is what we enjoyed at Punthuk Setumbu and it does not require any hiking! Go up a few flights of stairs and you’ll reach the viewpoint.

Photo via Tripcanvas

The sky turned from pitch dark to a purple glow, followed by a burst of orange; it was simply magical!

Photo via Tripcanvas

As the sun rose, the morning rays hit the surrounding forest, streaming through the trees with the majestic mountains in the backdrop and a sight of Borobudur Temple, among a sea of clouds. Isn’t this just magnificent?

Photo via Tripcanvas

P.S. Be prepared to fight your way (and your camera) through the crowd as this is a very popular sunrise spot!

Punthuk Setumbu

Address: Jl.Borobudur Ngadiharjo KM3, Kurahan, Karangrejo, Borobudur, Kurahan, Karangrejo, Borobudur, Magelang, Jawa Tengah 56553 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4am-5.30pm
Entrance Fee: Rp.15,000 (Approximately USD$1)

10. Watch sunrise and sea of clouds from atop a tree – Sukmojoyo Hill

If you too, are on a mission to catch sunrises and seas of clouds around Indonesia, you need to drop by Sukmojoyo Hill. So set that 4am alarm clock and get out of bed!

There are two parking areas once at the hill, but we recommend choosing the second one, so as to walk for a shorter distance! There are a few platforms on the hill, but go for the highest one (with better views!) or simply stick to where it is less crowded!

What you’ll witness from the top will be nothing short of breathtaking.

Photo by hendry_budy, pusparennie_

You’ll be mesmerized as the Indonesian sky changes from an abyss of black and midnight blue to a bright mix of amethyst and tangerine orange, and as the sun begins to rise, spears of light pierce through the dense clouds as they slowly transform into a magical troop of cotton balls heading towards the same direction, probably escaping the rays of heat from the sun…

Photo by azis_javanica
Photo by apriyanto_photo

Sukmojoyo Hill

Address: Gintung, Giritengah, Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java 56553 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4.30am-6pm
Entrance Fee: Rp.20,000 (Approximately USD$1.40)

11. Dive into a sea of clouds – Gunung Giyanti

What is Indonesia without its mountains and volcanoes, and what is a trip there if you don’t spend some time hiking?

Explore Gunung Giyanti, a lesser-known hill located at the foot of Mount Sumbing. Along the way, you will find several signages to guide you to Gunung Giyanti, so don’t worry!

Photo via davidddewangga

A one-hour hike is required before you can reach the top of Gunung Giyanti, and you can even spot toddlers taking up the challenge! You are recommended to wear comfortable sport shoes as the track gets slippery!

Photo via rohmat7505-

The view from the top is simple magical; be there early at sunrise and get transported to heaven, as though you are floating on the clouds! What a reward for the early alarm clock!

Photo via anak_dusun_

Gunung Giyanti

 Address:Hutan, Windusari, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia (Coordinates here)
Entrance Fee: Rp. 5,000-10,000 (Approximately USD$0.35- USD$0.70)

Now you’re set to be the sunrise connoisseur! But don’t forget to mention that you prefer them with a little bit of magic, like adding a touch of sea of clouds!

Who’s someone you want to wake up at 4am with to catch this gorgeous view? Tag them below and tell us why!

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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