A trip to the volcano

Bandung Travel Blog

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Julia and I at Tangkuban Perahu volcano - Kawah Ratu (Queen crater)

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Rafaella (Germany)

Unsure of which hotel to stay in, we spent the first half an hour in Bandung wandering the shabby, dimly lit streets, eventually ending up returning to the first place we had checked out. It was almost 9pm by the time we found a food court that was still open to eat in, and we were totally famished by this point. Rafaella, a German girl, was sat next to us and soon struck up a conversation. We had all just arrived and Bandung at night time is not really an appealing city. She was tempted to get out of there the following day, but after scoffing down some sweet and sour squid, we decided together that we would get out of the city and visit the nearby volcano of Tangkuban Perahu.

Tangkuban Perahu volcano - The Kawah Ratu (Queen crater)


To celebrate our decisive decision making, we went in search of a bar to have a night cap. We ended up in Lonely Planets recommendation, the North Sea Bar, where the music was pumping. I was surprised by the number of women frequenting the establishment, but by their dress it was apparant that we had stumbled across a hooker bar. Surveying our surroundings, the only other people in attendance were old western men, who were looking for a 'piece of the action'. We hastily finished our Bintangs and made a beeline for the exit.

We met with Rafaella on Friday morning around 10am and caught a local bemo out to Tangkuban Perahu Volcano, which literally translates to 'overturned boat'. It was named this according to a legend. Supposedly, God was challenged to build a huge boat in one evening, but when he had nearly completed it, the challenger brought the sun up early, thus sending the creator into a rage and overturning the boat.
Tangkuban Perahu volcano - The second volcanic area
We entered the park with our 'student' cards and thus got to pay the local price instead of 10 times more, which was a bonus. As it was a beautiful day, we opted to walk up the 4.5km road to the summit, which we managed in a little under 2 hours.

The first thing to strike me on the approach to the summit was the stench of sulphur, which reminded me of rotten eggs. Once at the crater rim we had a beautiful view down below into the bubbling grey liquid at the bottom. We ate some noodles in a small warung (eatery) and began walking around the edge of the Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater) until it connected with the crater just behind. From here, we descended into the second crater, which was tranquil, as the 3 of us were the only people present. We sat and listened to the birds singing, whilst trying to read the messages that people had left with stones on the sandy bottom.
Tea plantation
We made our way back around the Queen crater, where Rafaella bought some beautiful handicrafts. They were made from a tree that had strange, but beautiful patterns under the layer of bark. We were accompanied on our descent by a local guy, who led us through some pretty tea plantations until we were back at the main road, from where we caught a bemo back to Bandung. That evening we had dinner, followed by a few drinks with Rafaella back at our room, before saying our goodbyes.

With Julia's birthday fast approaching, we used Saturday as a chance to go shopping again, with Bandung being famous for its denims. The main drag is called 'Jeans Street', where huge models of superheros are displayed at the front of stores, presumably in an effort to entice customers in.
Rambo patrols the streets
Some were reasonably good, others were so bad that we were struggling to guess who they were! Unfortunately, we didn't find anything we liked, so headed to another part of the city, where we successfully bought a pair of trainers each. We spent the evening parading our new footwear and it was a pleasant change to wear something that no longer leaked water!

invizee says:
Hi, am planning to go Bandung soon and the volcano is a must-see! Thanks for this useful entry! Would you recommend walking or taking a car up the summit?
Posted on: Dec 04, 2009
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photo by: yuness