After spending several months in Bandung, I felt like being an “almost local” there. I was always haunting the secret bars in town, checking out off beat hikes and visiting nearby attractions in Bandung.
However, spending all those months in a city meant getting a chance to travel and explore further. So, I decided to make new friends and hop on a bike with strangers (fellow couchsurfers) on a weekend trip to Ciwidey.
I read about it on the local Bandung group of Couchsurfing . After my first Couchsurfing day trip to Gunung Batu, I was confident of doing an overnight adventure with the amazing locals. Indonesians are very warm, friendly and kind – I never felt unsafe in any way during my year’s solo travel in Indonesia.
As soon as I saw the event was a trip to Ciwidey, I quickly contacted the person who was organizing it and signed up for this adventure.
My main goal to visit Ciwidey was obviously to see the famous Kawah Putih aka the White Crater. Apart from that, this town has a few added attractions also and we enjoyed overnight camping along with the hot springs en-route.
As expected, Kawah Putih stood out as the major crowd puller and had some of the most exotic scenery I have ever seen. Needless to say, the white crater turquoise lake was simply epic – minus the smell of sulfur – which was quite unpleasant.
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Kawah Putih – The Striking white volcanic crater of West Java
The adventure begins.
We rented bikes and tents for our overnight camp. We also had to carry all the gear and backpacks on our tiny bikes, as we drove southwest from Bandung. Google and all guide books say its around two hours away, but don’t be fooled – Its bloody hot and traffic is a big problem there, so keep several hours at hand. It is also advisable to start early morning to beat the rush.
As we approached the dusty, but charming, little town of Ciwidey we were greeted by the prominent entrance to Kawah Putih, a striking volcanic crater lake which radiates a pale white colour, that changes eerily with the light of the day. Different hues are all too common and this makes for those perfect travel postcard shots.
Kawah Putih was exactly how I imagined it to be – except for the crowds and the strong stench of sulfur. We had to buy masks at the entrance, which are all too important and we only took them off while taking pictures.
The lake itself is around 5 kms from the entrance so you need to take a shuttle up to the attraction. Tickets are cost effective and can be purchased at the counter along with your entry tickets.
Nestled between tree-clad mountains at an altitude of about 2500 m, the Kawah Putih volcanic crater lake was indeed a sight to behold, especially when the mist started rolling in.
Imagine a milky white lake with a tinge of blue surrounded by mountains and trees plus thousands of people taking selfies – Well, its just one of those popular tourist attractions you simply have to see (Even though you know the cons – too touristy).
Tip – The temperature here can plummet to below 10 degrees Celsius at times, making the place quite chilly. It is advisable to don a sweater or light jacket when visiting Kawah Putih.
Stunning Kawah Putih Picture Postcards
Kawah Putih is perhaps one of the top photo spots in West Java. Idyllic views surround this pretty crater lake making for perfect picture postcards.
We took plenty of pictures amidst the exotic bare-branched trees. After this lovely backdrop, the next stop was the milky white lake. We had to wait a while to get a clean shot in all that crowd. Finally, I found a spot away from the crowds – all to ourselves.
That’s when we got to click a bunch of lovely pictures of Kawah Putih and finally, satisfied with our achievement we headed back to Bandung.
Getting to Kawah Putih from Bandung
The most reliable way of getting to Kawah Putih from Bandung is by using your own mode of travel. If on your own, hiring a motorcycle is the best option. If in a group a private taxi car is the best. Public buses are available at the Leuwi Panjang bus terminal to Ciwidey, from where an angkot can drop you at the entrance gate.
Roads are lovely after you enter Ciwidey but some parts en-route are rough and you might be spending an hour stuck in traffic. It can also get very hot and it wasn’t very smart of us to carry tents and backpacks on a bike – it was surely a back breaking ride!
Once at the entrance of Kawah Putih, all vehicles are parked there for a fee. A fleet of Ontang-Anting are available here to ferry visitors to the top for a nominal fee. These open air vehicles are specially designed to drive up the winding roads to the crater top.
Visiting Kawah Putih from Bandung can easily take up the best part of the day. Even though the smell of sulfur dissuades visitors from staying for a longer period, the trip is very much worth it. Visitors, additionally, have the option of considering a side trip to nearby Situ Patengan and take in the view of some stunning tea estates on the way.
Essential Information for Visiting Kawah Putih Ciwidey
A few handy tips to for visiting Kawah Putih Bandung –
Always carry a rain jacket or umbrella as sudden downpours are very common around the crater lake. For the same reason, carry a waterproof bag for keeping your gadgets dry.
Don’t dip your feet in this acidic sulfur lake – yup, not even for pictures!
Check weather conditions as well as opening hours before planning your visit to avoid disappointment.
Spending a night camping in Ciwidey or at a nearby hotel is advisable so you can get to Kawah Putih as soon as it opens at 0730 hrs to beat the mad rush that follows later.
Kawah Putih Map
Kawah putih is not hard to find if you simply follow the GPS to below location –
Kawah Putih Entrance Fee
Kawah Putih entrance fee 2017 is IDR 20000 for locals and IDR 50000 (Approx $3.7) for foreigners. You will also have to pay around IDR 15000 for a return shuttle to-from the crater.
Pretty decent compared to its expensive counterpart Tangkuban Perahu, I would say!
Have you been to Kawah putih or any volcanic crater lake? I would love to hear about your adventures in comments below and how you felt about the stench of a thousand rotten eggs (aka sulfur)?