Curug Cimahi is the Sundanese name for a spectacularly tall waterfall 17 km to the north of Bandung, also known by the Indonesian name, Air Terjun Pelangi or simply Rainbow Waterfall due to coloured lights installed to illuminate the falls at night (although we’re not sure these are still in working order).
The almost 90 metre high cascade can easily be seen from the entrance ticket booth, the narrow straight fall broken by a pool one quarter of the way from the top, then continuing into the lush river valley below. While we didn’t see a rainbow of colours, green features predominantly in the tropical jungle landscape. A seemingly endless stairway leads from the roadside entrance switching back and forward to the river 100 metres below where it’s possible to take a dip in the refreshingly cool waters (read icy cold)—while we didn’t count them, the official number is 587 steps. You probably won’t notice so much on the way down, but may huff and puff a little on the way back, but do take care as some steps are rather high and can be very slippery.
A couple of viewing platforms with comfortable seating made from recycled tyres offer the option of a rest stop or a place to wait for your friends for those unable to continue. You’ll probably be joined by curious and cheeky long tail macaques checking out what food you may have carried with you—typical monkey business. While you sit and admire the falls, look over to your right at the interesting rock formations high in the cliff face, like a mini upsidedown Giant’s Causeway. If you make it to the bottom, the view is almost the same as the view from the top, and may have you wondering why you bothered, but here you’ll have the opportunity to get wet, if not by taking a dip in the river, certainly from the water spray. When the sun is shining, you may even catch a rainbow too.
Basic change rooms and toilets are available by the waters edge, and signs warn not to swim in the pool below the fall nor in the river when it’s raining, probably due to the risk of flash floods. If it does start to rain while you are there, we’d try to leave fairly quickly as the Sundanese name of this waterfall translates to “enough water” as even in the dry season it gushes with abundance, into the bargain, landslides are a possibility too.
Disasters aside, this is a beautiful spot to while away an hour and makes a good detour on the way back to Bandung from Gunung Tangkuban Parahu, ten kilometres to the northeast. Bring a change of clothes and a towel if you wish to swim, but in this conservative region shorts and T-shirt are more appropriate swimwear than budgies and bikinis (although men can often get away with just the shorts).
To travel to Curug Cimah by public transport, you first need to get to Lembang: from Bandung catch a Stasiun Hall–Lembang angkot to Lembang, then transfer to a Cisarua bound angkot and ask to stop at Curug Cimahi entrance gate, as it passes directly.
We visited Curug Cimahi on a day tour combining Gunung Tangkuban Parahu and other sights in the north of Bandung and if you’re short on time, this a good value option. Buton Backpackers and Pinisi Backpacker both offer motorbike day trips from Bandung which can include Curug Cimahi (you may have to ask specifically) for 250,000 rupiah excluding entrance fees. Just a warning: traffic can be hellish in this area on weekends and holidays and is best avoided at those times—visit some museums or do a city walk instead.
Buton Backpackers: 14A Jalan Buton, Bandung; T: (0224) 238 958; (0877) 1474 2756; http://butonbackpackerlodge.com
Pinisi Backpacker: 84 Jalan Pasirkaliki, 92/6A Gang Musaen, Bandung; T: (0228) 686 8610; (0817) 502 0123; http://pinisibackpacker.com
Address: 17 kilometres north of Bandung
Coordinates (for GPS): 107º34'33.83" E, 6º47'55.42" S
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Admission: 25,000 rupiah for foreigners and 15,000 rupiah for locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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