As a kid, I have always been fascinated by volcanoes. Remember those science exhibitions where you had to create dummy volcanoes oozing lava? I guess, that’s what made volcanoes so ‘awe-inspiring’ for me.
As an adult, I was amazed by how many volcanoes Indonesia had. So during my 11 months in Bandung, I made sure to visit the most popular active volcano in the area – Mount Tangkuban Perahu, not once, but TWICE.
First time I went with my friends and second time, I took my folks when they came to visit me in Bandung. On both occasions, everyone had a blast.
I felt it was still not enough.. This place is simply stunning!!!
Tangkuban Perahu volcano is located in Lembang, around 28 kms from Bandung city in West Java. This makes for the perfect day trip from Bandung and can easier be covered in half a day. If you wish to explore hiking options around Tangkuban Perahu or Lembang, start early and keep the full day for adventure.
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Why Visit Tangkuban Perahu Bandung?
A visit to any active volcano in Indonesia mostly culminates in an interesting tale to relate at the end, especially for Tangkuban Perahu (locally known as Gunung Tangkuban Parahu). Mostly because of the important part it has played in the development of the surrounding Parahyangan Highlands and also because of the surreal views it offers.
Eruptions and lava flows over extended periods of time have created some unique geological wonders that have converted the hills around Bandung, the nearest city, into a scenic wonder (And one of my favorite cities to live in).
Day trip to Tangkuban Perahu, in particular, affords an ideal getaway for the entire family or a fun day out with your buddies. Food vendors, souvenir shops and even powdered sulphur glass bottles are available for sale, keeping your shopping spirits high.
Tangkuban Perahu – “The Overturned Boat”
The peculiar shape of Tangkuban Perahu, depicting an inverted boat, has been visualized with fantasy and awe by the Sudanese since ancient times. The three main craters, which form a part of the volcano are Kawah Ratu, Kawah Domas and Kawah Upas. While the Kawah Domas is accessible and open to visitors, the other two craters are not, primarily because of the frequent eruptions which occur in them and the resulting poisonous gases which emancipate from there.
As you alight from your vehicle, and even before the smell of the rotten eggs emitted by the sulphur gases reaches you, you will be confronted by the hordes of local touts trying to dispose off their over priced souvenirs to you. However, once you have steered out of this mob, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the constant smoke billowing out of the crater of Kawah Ratu.
This makes for perfect photo opportunities. You will want to take selfies with the volcano – trust me, this is Indonesia and selfies are totally a thing here. Be prepared and keep your selfie stick handy.
The second principal crater Kawah Domas, is a short 30 minute downhill hike from Kawah Ratu. Visitors here can see the hot springs which abound in this area, and even try and boil eggs in them. Using the services of a guide (readily available) is mandatory, however, for visiting Kawah Domas.
The third crater, Kawah Upas, though not easily accessible, has its fair share of admirers. In spite of the steep and sandy terrain, the crater of Kawah Upas, though much smaller and shallow than the others, offers excellent views and ample opportunities to get away from the tourist hordes of the other two craters.
We skipped the craters during our visit and enjoyed taking pictures and devouring hot cup o noodles and eggs at one of the many food stalls surrounding this popular tourist attraction of Lembang.
Tips for Visiting Mount Tangkuban Perahu
Not everyone can withstand the smell of sulphur, so handkerchiefs to cover the face or masks are suggested.
Carry a light sweater or jacket as it can get a tad chilly and windy up there. A rainjacket can come in handy due to unexpected weather conditions around the volcano.
Ensure that you reach the crater early in the morning, in order to avoid the mist which tends to come in during early afternoon…along with hoards of tourists.
Firmly and politely say ‘No’ to the hordes of persistent touts who will make every effort to take your money off you. Unless you are on the lookout to buy, feel free to wander up in the shopping alleys which make for interesting souvenirs but you need to haggle for a good price.
Tangkuban Perahu Entrance Fees
Admittedly, Tangkuban Perahu is a bit expensive compared to other attractions in and around Bandung…and yes its true that foreigners have to pay 10 times more than the locals. This is a norm in most attractions there and you learn to live with it.
IDR 300,000 (USD 22) per person is the entrance fees for Tangkuban Perahu, for foreigners. Last I checked, locals still had to pay just IDR 20,000.
In all honestly, if you are with a bunch of local friends and speak a bit of Bahasa, you will not be questioned and end up paying local ticket, but to support tourism and economy, I would suggest paying the full foreigner price to enter. As a local/ expat, it seems a lot but to a foreigner, its still a bargain.
How to Reach Tangkuban Perahu
Visiting Tangkuban Perahu, involves an entire day of touring from Bandung, located approx 30 km away. The best way to do this is to hire a private car or bike, depart early morning at 8 am, past the lovely floating market of Lembang and the strawberry and tea plantations en-route.
With personal transport, one can drive right up to not only the entrance gate, but the rim itself, of this legendary volcano, where the main crater is located, which would not be otherwise possible with a public vehicle.
Tangkuban Perahu Map
Further Reading –
So have you visited Tankuban Perahu or any active volcanoes around the world? Share your experience in comments below.