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Gunung Tangkuban Parahu

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Gunung Tangkuban Parahu is an active volcano 30 kilometres north of Bandung and makes an ideal visit for travellers not interested in hour upon hour of hiking, as here it’s possible to drive right to the volcano’s edge to peer into the immense steaming crater below.

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The negative side of this easy accessibility is that you won’t be alone—a plethora of souvenir sellers, warungs, guides touting for businesses and hordes of domestic tourists may not be everyone’s cup of molten lava, but you don’t have to venture far along the volcano rim until the crowds thin out (though you still may be shadowed by persistent guides).

A truly drive-in crater. Photo taken in or around Gunung Tangkuban Parahu, Bandung, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

A truly drive-in crater. Photo: Sally Arnold

Two moon-like craters at the summit of Tangkuban Parahu—Kawah Ratu and Kawah Upas—provide a stunning contrast to surrounding wildlife-filled forest. In the foreground, Kawah Ratu is the main attraction and about a kilometre of walking in an anticlockwise direction along an uneven path takes you to the other side of Kawah Ratu, where Kawah Upas becomes visible. A gated rocky track leads down into Kawah Upas and a local guide offered to accompany us there for 100,000 rupiah, but was happy to accept 50,000 rupiah for the less than 30 minute return walk. We’re not sure if this a legitimate access point, but he seemed able to open the gate, and we were blissfully alone to enjoy the striking landscape, although the wafts of sulphur here were a little strong and we regretted not having a mask.

Returning to the main path, and continuing in the same direction, the forest thickens and you’ll soon arrive at a bunker with the inscription “Aug 1937”, an enterprising local charges 3,000 rupiah to enter the short narrow darkened tunnel which leads to the remains of a disbanded building where the path continues around the volcano rim to Kawah Baru, but closed at the time of our visit due to poisonous gasses (do take heed of these signs!). Keep your eyes peeled here for black Javan langur, these shy very long tail monkeys can sometimes be seen nervously leaping around the ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
It is best to visit Gunung Tangkuban Parahu early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the mist which both roll in around late morning. Although it’s generally not too cold, it’s advisable to at least have a jacket packed as it can turn cool when the unpredictable rain arrives.

Avoid weekends if you can, not only to dodge the 50% price increase, but the traffic from Bandung results in you wasting most of your day on the road. Discriminatory pricing here means locals (and foreigners who can pass as locals) pay only a tenth of the admission. Parking fees are additional and depend on the size of your vehicle.

To travel to Gunung Tangkuban Parahu from Bandung by public transport is reasonably straightforward, however if you have limited time, a day tour combining other local sights may be the better bet. From Bandung catch a Stasiun Hall–Lembang angkot to Lembang (10,000 rupiah), then transfer to a Lembang–Cikole angkot and ask to stop at Tangkuban Parahu entrance gate (15,000 rupiah). Shuttles are available to the crater for 7,000 rupiah. Buton Backpackers and Pinisi Backpacker both offer motorbike day trips from Bandung for 250,000 rupiah excluding entrance fees. We found travel agents pricer, but you may wish to shop around.

Gunung Tangkuban Parahu
30 kilometres north of Bandung
Mo–Su: 07:00–17:00
Admission: 200,000 rupiah for foreigners on weekdays, 300,000 rupiah on weekends. 20,000/30,000 rupiah for locals.

Location map for Gunung Tangkuban Parahu

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