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
WHERE TO EAT
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.
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.
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.
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
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.