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Mount Tambora is the spectacular natural attraction in Sumbawa Island, an island just 75 minutes flying from Bali. It is the second highest volcano in the province of West Nusa Tenggara.

The largest recorded volcanic eruption

On April 10, 1815, Mount Tambora erupted for the first time 10,000 years, with a series of large explosions sending a massive column of volcanic cloud into the air. That event was the most destructive explosion on earth in recorded history and it left behind a crater 7 km in diameter, 1,250 meters deep and a circumference of 37 km, which makes it the second biggest caldera In Indonesia. There’s still volcanic activity inside the caldera until today.

The eruption of Tambora was ten times more powerful than that of Krakatau. The consequences of Mt Tambora eruption for Sumbawa were disastrous, with none of their inhabitants surviving the cataclysm. Eventually 117,000 people in the region died, most of them from disease.  

Pompei of the East 

Our journey to Mount Tambora started right from Bima’s Sultan Muhammad Salahuddin Airport. As we headed far to the west of Bima, we started seeing the debris of 1815’s eruption, which were scattered beautifully around dry rolling hills and deep valley gorges, just like Pompei of the East.

Then the huge bulk of Tambora begins to dominate the horizon. Before the eruption Mt. Tambora was a volcanic cone more than 4,000 meters high and 60 kilometers in diameter at sea level, densely blanketed in forest. It’s now shaped like a turtle’s shell, the 1815’s eruption reduced the mountain’s height by more than 1,200 meters.

Standing majestically in Sumbawa Island, the majestic Tambora not only presents natural charm, it also becomes a source of life for the surrounding communities. Its dense rainforest is the source of several rivers which are pivotal for the agriculture sector in surrounding areas.  The beautiful savannah on the southern slope is home for thousands of cattle and horse farms where they can roam freely.

Tambora classic route – Desa Pancasila

There are several routes to reach the top of Mt Tambora at the 2,851 meter above sea level. One of those routes is the Desa Pancasila route. It is the classic and the most popular route to hike Mt Tambora, which passes the Western slope of the mountain.

Starting from Desa Pancasila, hikers will have to gain about 2,351 meters to meet at the 2,851-meter summit, with hiking distance 21 kilometers through varied terrains, from coffee plantation, tropical rain forests, hills of the savanna, to rocky sand trails until you arrive at the edge of the caldera.

The following morning, we started early aiming to catch the sunrise. After two hours walking in the dark, we cleared the forest and reached the savannah, rocky and sand trail then finally reached the crater rim. We were just lucky enough to be able to see one of the most beautiful sights in the world, a circular volcanic caldera 1.2 km deep with 7 km across. ”. At the center is the small cone of the post- caldera activity, called Doro Api Toi.

It wasn’t as intense as Mt Rinjani nor Mt Semeru, it was a moderate hike.  Yes, the mountain is covered in volcanic scree, but not as massive compared to those two. We had a good time, in fact that that we had to wait for an extra hour in a cold and in the dark near the summit while we waited for dawn

On our way down from the crater rim we were overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of nature. This is the reason why you climb Mt Tambora, I guess.

Two hours later we were sitting nicely in our camping chairs and having a big meal of scramble egg, English breakfast tea and fresh pineapple. The sort of energy that we need to cover 4 hours descends to the base of the mountain.  

Thankfully, this Tambora hasn’t caused any trouble in the best part of centuries and is unlikely to do so again for a very long time, so now would be a good time to go visit this beautiful mountain.

Climb Indonesia organized adventure trips to Mount Tambora, hiking, volcano adventure or simply enjoying the alpine nature of Indonesia volcanic scenes. Lead by our certified mountain guides Climb Indonesia adventure trips guarantee a safe and enjoyable experience. Please contact us through our email: info@climbindonesia.com, or by phone/Whatsapp: +6281219592895.