Explore Indonesia’s ring of fire with a visit to one of the nation’s active volcanoes and favorite tourist spots, Tangkuban Perahu. Located 30km in the outskirts of Bandung city – towards a highland village known as Lembang –Tangkuban Perahu, a large crater shaped like an “overturned boat”, is currently the only active crater in Indonesia that you can drive up to its very rim.

Tangkuban Perahu’s eruption played a crucial role in the formation and fertilities of Bandung’s Parahyangan Highlands, giving the city its scenic natural wonder from large valleys and cliffs to the waterfalls, lake and lush landscape. 

The volcano offers many adventures for visitors to see and explore, from hiking down into the crater, strolling through the forest slopes or simply basking in the surreal panoramic views and cool air, which makes Tangkuban Perahu a perfect stop for a half-day trip.

The volcano compromises of three large craters: Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater), Kawah Domas (Domas Crater) and Kawah Upas (Upas Crater). Kawah Ratu is the main and largest attraction. Beyond its depression, you will find the still active Kawah Upas, the oldest crater in the mountain, which has a steep and sandy terrain but offers superb views and an opportunity to escape the crowd. While visitors can walk through all three craters, Kawah Domas is the only one with access to descend all the way down to the crater’s floor, mainly because the other two often experience frequent reoccurring eruptions, which sometimes results to the accumulation of poisonous gases. Once at the crater’s rim, visitors can enjoy the sight of hot springs, where they can even boil eggs in. 

After a full day of adventures at the mountains and if time permits, visitors can continue their journey to the nearby tea plantations, strawberry farm, floating market and rejuvenate at the Ciater’s Hot Springs.

Photo: Medium.com

How to get there

Tangkuban Perahu is about 90 to 120 minutes’ drive from the city of Bandung, depending on the traffic. Be wary that it could take longer on extremely high seasons, which is usually between the months of June to August or November to January and public holidays.

You can opt for an adventurous ride using a minibus, which is found at the terminal located opposite the city’s train station. Depending on the route, some of the minibusses can bring you directly to the entrance of Tangkuban Perahu. You can also rent a private car inclusive of a driver from travel agents or online bookings. 

For some extra fun, get yourself dropped on the main road’s gate to hike along its 4,5km path or through the side trail that goes via Kamah Domas with the help of a guide. Be cautious that while the trail is easy to follow, it is a very steep one-hour walk through the jungle and is better confronted from the top down. 

There will be admission fees to the park but it is important to take note that Tangkuban Perahu has discriminatory pricing, which means locals pay a much smaller fee than foreigners. Unfortunately, until or unless foreigners are accompanied by a local or understand how to pass themselves off as one, then such discriminatory pricing cannot be avoided.

Tips and Tricks when visiting Tangkuban Perahu

1. It is best to visit the site early in the mornings to avoid the crowd and the mist as both come in around noon. It is also best to start early to be able to cover more adventurous activities before it gets dark.

2. If possible, avoid weekends or public holidays as admission fees increase up to 50% and the journey uphill could take at least two times longer than usual due to traffic.

3. It is advisable to at least have a light jacket packed, as it can be quite cool and windy up there. It is also advisable to keep an umbrella or raincoat handy incase the unpredictable rain hits.

4. Wear comfortable sporty clothes and shoes.

5. You will be confronted with a strong smell of sulfur gases once you reach the site, and since not everyone can withstand its scent, it is recommended to wear a mask.

6. Do not be alarmed with the hordes of persistent locals that try to sell souvenirs. Simply politely and firmly say “no” to navigate yourself out of this mob. But, if you’re looking to shop for a souvenir, be sure to bargain!

By: Divyha Pridhnani-Bhojwani