About 30 km north of the city of Bandung, between the district of Lembang and Sagalaherang is where Mount Tangkuban Perahu rests. When seen from a distance, the volcano resembles an upturned boat, which explains its name. ”Tangkuban Perahu” literally translates to “upside-down boat”. Don’t let its quiet facade deceive you, for this volcano is still very much active today with its last activity in 2013. Find its coordinates here.
Open from 7 am to 5 pm, the entrance gate to the volcano is located 5 km below the summit. It’s best to make an early visit to avoid the tourist crowd and to experience the cool climate of the highlands. Visitor have to pay an entrance fee, of which locals pay 25,000 Rp. while foreigners are shockingly charged 10 times the amount at 250,000 Rp. Despite the clear attempt to rip-off foreigners, this volcano is still well worth the trip with its beautiful view. The scenic backdrops will provide you with plenty of good photo-taking opportunities. There is no doubt that you’ll bring home many stunning shots that will wow your family and friends (as well as your followers on Instagram!)
Before You Go
There are 3 main craters at Tangkuban Perahu – Kawah Ratu (Queen’s Crater), Kawah Domas (Domas Crater) and Kawah Upas (Upas Crater). The best way to visit the volcano is by hiring a driver and private car. You can also get here using public transport, which is cost-efficient but honestly not the most convenient. This attraction is suitable for the young and elderly. The largest and main crater of Kawah Ratu requires no hiking. Vehicles can drive all the way up to where this crater is located.
As you step off your vehicle, don’t be surprised if you are approached by a hoard of local touts and sellers. They will try to appeal to you with their overpriced souvenirs. Haggle if you see something you like, but a simple “no, thank you” will suffice. Even the most persistent seller will leave you alone so long as you stand your ground.
And if you think that the sharp rotten egg smell of sulphur gases will bother you, make sure to bring along a face mask. It’s also chilly up here so don’t forget your jacket or sweater.
With smoke billowing from the crater, Kawah Ratu exudes a mystical charm, much like a queen indeed. A wooden fence surrounds it for safety reasons and by circling it you can see the crater from different vantage points. There is also a pool of water at the center of the crater, and rumour has it that anyone who is able to throw a rock from the edge to its center will have all of their desires come true. Why don’t you try it for yourself? (So far, no one has succeeded yet.)
To visit Kawah Domas you will need to embark on a short hike of approximately 30 minutes. Kawah Domas is situated lower than Kawah Ratu and here visitors can see the hot springs up close. You can even buy eggs and boil them in the springs. Note that for safety reasons, visitors have to hire a mandatory guide to visit this crater. You’ll find plenty of them hanging around at the parking area and main crater of Kawah Ratu.
On the other hand, Kawah Upas is located closer to the summit and is harder to reach because of the steep and sandy terrain. However, this means that there are much lesser people here. This crater is smaller and shallower than Kawah Ratu, but it’s the ideal adventure for those looking for a slight challenge and to get away from the crowd.
Getting skittish on your visit or need a drink for your hike? Not to worry as there are plenty of food vendors selling delicious goodies such as jagung bakar (corn on the cob), eggs and other fried snacks. If you want to bring home some souvenirs for your loved ones, there are plenty of vendors and souvenir shops. From musical instruments to puppets and sunglasses, you’ll find something for your whole family and circle of friends. There’s even powdered volcanic sulphur sold in glass bottles!
Other attractions in the vicinity include the Ciater Hot Springs, 30 minutes away from Tangkuban Perahu. This hot spring is known for its healing qualities and abilities to help relieve symptoms of rheumatism and other skin problems. After a trip to the chilly highlands, doesn’t a warm dip sound like a good idea?