Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 9 May 2012 • Itinerary
Who has a habit of taking nearby places for granted? Me. Who’s proud of that habit? Not me. Similar to what I told you on my Kiluan Bay trip a while ago, I had taken for granted living my college years in Bandung by not taking a short trip to Kawah Putih (White Crater) that’s just a stone’s throw away from the city. But it’s never too late to catch up! Fortunately, Diyan was willing to go with me cos he’s never been there either. Being a Jakarta captive for the week, we could only break out for one whole day, and that was enough for a brief visit to Kawah Putih.
How to get there
Assuming you’re starting from Jakarta by public transportation:
– take a bus to Leuwi Panjang bus terminal, Bandung.
– Take a minivan (Elf or L300) from Leuwi Panjang to Ciwidey, then take the yellow angkot from Ciwidey to Kawah Putih. Or charter an angkot at Leuwi Panjang to go directly to Kawah Putih.
– Walk up from the gate to the crater or get on the shuttle car.
– sight seeing
– photo hunt
– numerous diners on the way to Kawah Putih, especially in the terminal areas
– definitely no eating around the crater
There’s not much to do at Kawah Putih except sight seeing around the crater. Many people go there just to enjoy the gorgeous and heavenly sight of the crater. I mean, just look at it!
While it is a splendid view, it’s not so winning in the odor department. Just like in Tangkuban Perahu and other active craters, Kawah Putih emits that stinky sulfur smell, just like rotten egg smell. It’s like looking at a beautiful woman but when you’re standing close to her you’ll know that she hasn’t taken a shower for six weeks. However, the smell didn’t bother us the whole time. We only smelled it when the wind blew our direction. Which was, probably half the time we were there 😛
Stupid us, we also had a picnic at the side of the crater, not knowing that it could be dangerous for our health. We didn’t read the sign when entering, and we weren’t equipped with enough scientific knowledge on craters. Oh God please don’t let us get radiation. Or poisoned. Or.. well You know what I mean.
Great For Your Profile Pics
In Indonesia, starting in the 90s, there’s a trend called “prewedding pictures”. That is romantic pictures of bride & groom shown in their wedding receptions. Kawah Putih is one of the popular locations for those prewed pictures, especially for weddings in Jakarta and Bandung. Fashion photos a lot of times use this location for photo shoots as well. And us? We took levitation pictures 😀
All in all, the whole journey was quite a fun one. Even though there’s not much to do for us at the crater, we’re glad we did it just to cross off the list of places we’re curious to see. We spent more time getting there than enjoying the crater area, not to mention the all the hassle on the road, but we’re glad we did it 🙂
More than a century ago, Patuha Mountain was believed to be a scary mystical mountain by the people living around it. Birds died when flying above it. Then a skeptical Netherland-born German, Dr. Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, hiked up and proved that it was the hot boiling sulfuric crater lake that caused the ‘murders’, as well as discovered the beautiful nature of the crater lake itself. This, as written on the history board at Kawah Putih gate, happened in 1837.
The Ciwidey people believed that The Patuha Mountain is the oldest mountain there is. That’s where the name Patuha came from, it’s derived from Pak Tua which means “old man”. And locals also call it Sepuh Mountain, where ‘sepuh’ means ‘very old’.
The Patuha Mountain is said to have erupted in the 10th century, followed by another part of it that erupted 2 centuries after, which then created the Kawah Putih crater lake.
Lots of choices of warungs and diners at the Leuwi Panjang terminal, Bandung. That’s where we had lunch as soon as we hopped off the bus. And I think the choices were all Indonesian food. This might be your first time skipping burgers or sandwich for a day 😀
Along the way to Kawah Putih, especially between Leuwi Panjang and Ciwidey we passed by a lot of diners as well, including Dunkin Donuts and KFC. Now you know you’re alright when you see franchise names around, right?
Our recommendation if you’re going by public transportation:
Bus from Jakarta to Bandung, stopping at Leuwi Panjang bus terminal: IDR 50,000 (2,5-3 hours). We chose to leave from Jakarta’s Cawang bus terminal since it was the most convenient from my place. You can also take a bus from other terminals such as Kampung Rambutan and Rawamangun.
Continue the trip by minivan (usually called Elf or L300) from Leuwi Panjang to Ciwidey (1,5 hour trip). From Ciwidey, you can take the yellow angkot to Kawah Putih. Then walk up to the crater or get on a shuttle car from the Gate of Kawah Putih area. Another option: charter an angkot at Leuwi Panjang to go directly to Kawah Putih.
BUT we did something else. We took a bus from Leuwi Panjang, also going to Ciwidey just like the minivan, paying IDR 7,000/pax.
Only 1/2 an hour later we had to hop off becos..nature called. There was no way I could hold my stomach ache until we got to Ciwidey. And no there was no public toilet where we got off, so Diyan acted like he was looking for helmet in a helmet store, while I stormed to the toilet in the back part of the store. Phew!
Then we hopped on a passing angkot to Soreang, IDR 3,000 / pax, and continued with a very crowded Elf (minivan) from Soreang to Ciwidey (because the bus to Ciwidey is rare and most of them are filled up since leaving the terminal).
It was already 3ish PM, we didn’t wanna miss daylight in Kawah Putih, so we we hired an angkot to cut short, costing us IDR 120,000 all the way up to Kawah Putih and back to Ciwidey terminal, plus entrance ticket and waiting fee.
After all that hassle, the angkot broke down. The driver fixing it up took almost half an hour. We were taken aback when we saw him sucking the gasoline from some tank under the seat! He was probably trying to clear up the.. god knows what, which finally worked, but oh my God, things angkot drivers do to keep business going!
Then, rain poured. Cats and dogs. Oh geez, perfect. FORTUNATELY it stopped just 5 minutes after we got to the Kawah Putih parking lot! Yaaay!!
On our way back to Ciwidey, the angkot driver picked up other passengers, which was not in our deal, but he didn’t admit that he promised us the ride was exclusive. I had a bit of an argument with that son of a gun, moreover when he asked for more money than what we agreed upon. Dude, you’re so not getting any!
Do be aware of that kind of scam. Even when you’ve made sure about the deal, people can still try to rip you off. Stay calm (I’m glad Diyan was with me, or else I would go off worse than I did) and stick to your initial deal.
Going back to Jakarta
We got back to Jakarta by CitiTrans shuttle car (called ‘travel’ here). The pool was in Bandung city. It would be so much easier if we took the bus from Leuwi Panjang, which is in the outskirts of Bandung, but it wouldn’t be as cheap since we got free CitiTrans vouchers. Haha, we’re such cheapos! (a regular ‘travel’ car ticket costs IDR 70,000/pax, cheaper if you’re over 65 yr old or show them a student ID).
We arrived home at 1 AM, tired but happy cos we finally saw the legendary Kawah Putih!