Mt. Tangkuban

Mt. Tangkuban Perahu is Bandung's most famous tourist volcano just 28 km north of the city. This volcano offers many places to see and explore. Whether you look into the huge crater or hike down into it, stroll through the forest on its slopes, or simply enjoy the splendid panoramic view, Mt. Tangkuban Perahu is an interesting destination that everyone in the Bandung area is fond of visiting. When seen from Bandung, Mt. Tangkuban Perahu has a distinctive shape, like an upside down boat. Tangkuban Perahu means, in fact, "up-turned boat" This peculiar shape has stimulated the fantasy of the Sundanese people from early times as expressed in the Legend of Sangkuriang.

Geologically, Mt. Tangkuban Perahu has played a significant role in the development of the Parahyangan highlands. Eruptions have contributed immensely to the hills north of Bandung through lava flowing into the valleys and hardening into rock, thus forming big cliffs over which waterfalls leap. Likewise, mud flows have formed a semi-circular cone of gentle gradient (what geologists call "a fan"), which is now a mass that blocked the valley of the ancient Citarum River near present day in Padalarang (some 18 km west of Bandung), this caused a lake to form covering the whole Bandung plain.

Though the mountain appears peaceful, mild eruptions occurred in 1969, when Kawah Ratu spewed ash and barrages 500 m high. As recently as September 1992 it was closed to the public for a few days because unusually high seismic activity lead volcanologists to fear a new eruption. On the mountain's northern flank is an area called Death Valley, so named for its frequent accumulation of poisonous gases. On a reasonably clear day, from Kawah Ratu, the main crater, you can see not only the mountain range to the east, with Mt. Bukittunggul as its highest peak (2,209 m), but also two other in a northeasterly direction. The lower and nearer one is Mt. Tampomas ( 1,684 m) just north of Sumedang some 40 km away. To the right and about 90 km away is Mt. Ciremai close to Cirebon on the north coast. At 3,078 m, Mt. Ciremai is West Java's tallest mountain. At the foot of Mt. Tangkuban Perahu you see the Ciater tea plantation covering the rolling hills. Farther to the left are the northern coastal plains of Java, and on an extremely clear day you may even be able to see the Java Sea beyond.

Kawah Ratu, which means "Queen's Crater", is today just a big gray hole which sometimes has a pool of water at its center. Poisonous gases sometimes accumulate in Kawah Ratu, thus making it somewhat of a risk to descend to the crater floor. Beyond the saddled shaped depression on the far side of Kawah Ratu is the still active Kawah Upas, the oldest crater on the mountain. On the very far western cliff you see a spot where all vegetation has been destroyed by constantly rising sulphurous vapors. On the crater walls, note the various layers of material consisting of rock, sand, and pebbles. Overtime, new craters have formed again and again in a rather consistent shift from west to east. The most well known of these is the Domas crater, but also there are other smaller ones in jungle on the mountain's northeastern flank.

The restaurant nearest to Tangkuban Perahu Crater is Saung Ranggon. Visitors should also note that the Lembang area (around 15 minutes from the crater) is an alternative place to eat, where the fruit market is fill with tropical fruits.

 Saung Ranggon
 Jl. Tangkuban Perahu
 Phone: (022) 286215


Since Bandung and Lembang is not far away from the crater, international and national standards hotels (Stars and non stars) are available in the city.

 Nearest Hotel

 Pondok Mawar
 Jl. Tangkuban Perahu
 Phone: (022) 286131

You can hire a taxi or (a minimum 5 hour use and pay more for each extra hour), or join a tour organized by a travel agent. You can also go by public transportation (but less conveniently). Travel first north to Lembang, then change then to Subang, get off at the Tangkuban Perahu toll gate. A sign at the crossroads in the northern part of Lembang directs you left Subang and Mt. Tangkuban Perahu or straight ahead to the Maribaya hot springs.

The road from Lembang to Mt. Tangkuban Perahu goes past fruit and vegetable fields and stalls, and if you're travelling just after sunrise, the morning mist still shrouds the villages of the Lembang plain, a truly idylic sight. Eventually the road enters a pine forest and 2 km after that, right in the forest, is a marked turn off to the left and you can find a toll gate where you pay an entrance fee.

Visit the top crater first and do the lower one later. Just follow the road until you reach the crater rim at an elevation of 1,830 m. Tangkuban Perahu is Bandung's most popular tourist spot, the immediacy of the crater is overwhelming, despite all the souvenir sellers. As the crater is easily accessible by car and public transport, a great number of people are there every Sunday, and on public holidays; so if you want to avoid the crowds, go on a weekday, or early morning on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hiking Around the Crater

Circling Kawah Ratu to the right (north) is a popular and less dangerous route than to the left because the edge of the cliff is secured with a fence. You can climb up to the top of the rim where a geological station is located, or down to Domas crater where you may stand right on the stoney crater's bed beside boiling sulfur water jetting out of ground. From Domas, you may stroll down through cool woods and reach the main car park beyond Kawah Ratu.

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Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Indonesia.


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