Galunggung (Beuticanar)

Facts

Elevation: 2,240 m (7,349 ft) Prominence: 1,262 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerTinggi Sedang Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names:  
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Eruptions: Galunggung 1822, 1894, 1918, 1982-84

Photos

Bagging It!

 

This Ribu is a huge and complex mountain massif consisting of Talaga Bodas lake and Kawah Saat dry crater in the north, Galunggung crater in the south and the highest peak, Gunung Beuticanar, lying inbetween, amongst a long ridge of forested peaks. An enormous eruption in 1822 caused many casualities and the last large eruption was in 1982 when a plane was forced to make an emergency landing after its engines filled with ash. Today, however, Galunggung crater seems relatively calm – certainly compared with nearby lively Papandayan.

Galunggung crater (a mere 1,200m above sea level) is close to the large town of Tasikmalaya and is popular and well signposted. There are two approaches – from Singaparna and from Indihiang (both are south of the volcano). From Singaparna, take the road heading north by a small police station. Once through the main entrance gate, the road divides into two – left is apparently steeper and takes you to leads to Area Parkir 510 – a place to lave your car or motobike before climbing up the 510 cement steps. The slightly less-steep road going straight on from the main entrance gate takes you to a different parking area (Area Parkir 620) beneath what the new signs call the ‘yellow stairs’ (1,070m above sea level) – 620 cement steps up to the edge of the crater. For either staircase (both of which require a vertical ascent of around 130-150 metres) allow 45 minutes to reach the parking areas from Tasikmalaya by car or motorbike, and a minimum of an additional 15-20 minutes to climb the steps to the crater rim.

On the rim there are several warungs (not always open) and numerous monuments. More importantly, there are pleasant views down to the large crater lake below and near vertical cliffs walls beyond. The views back to Tasikmalaya are usually really good at sunrise (5:30am), so leaving your hotel no later than 4am is a good idea! Do watch out for scavenging monkeys on the rim. There are two routes down to the crater lake (on the far left of the rim path and down a third set of cement steps, or on the right down a muddy trail) but in 2017 both of these were officially closed due to landslide issues.

Unfortunately, the steep cliff walls beyond the crater mean that it is impossible to reach the highest point of the mountain from the southern/eastern approach. Indeed, at 2,240m the highest point is over 1,000 metres higher up than the crater. However, despite the unnatural feel of the rim due to the warungs and unnecessary monuments, a sunrise trip to Galunggung crater is very worthwhile for the views and very easy indeed for regular hikers.

The highest point of the mountain range – known as Gunung Beuticanar – is a forested peak that very few people visit. Sometimes local student hiking clubs, such as Napak Rimba from Tasikmalaya, spend a few days hiking across the vast area, but for most ordinary hikers it remains something of an unexplored area. Access to the highest ridges is difficult, requiring either a long hike in from the Tasikmalaya side via the Ci Loseh river or the more recommended, shorter route from Talagabodas (sometimes spelt Telaga Bodas) lake. The Tasik route is rarely used, requires machetes and at least one night camping on the mountain.

The track up to the lake from the eastern side (i.e from Tasikmalaya via Ciawi or Cisayong) is (as far as we known at present) still not passable by motor vehicle and even motorbikes will struggle to make it up the narrow, bumpy, rocky path. The route from the western side (i.e Garut via Wanaraja) is much better because you can drive a motor vehicle up it all the way to the lake entrance.

From Wanaraja, there is actually a sign for Talagabodas (12km) as a ‘obyek wisata’ (tourist attraction) via a village (1,188m, named Panyingkiran on some maps). Beyond there village there are actually some very pleasant views across the valley to Guntur, Papandayan and Cikuray.

Eventually you will reach a track junction (1,583m) with the route from Tasikmalaya (apparently not passable in a vehicle). A sign for Talaga Bodas lies beyond (1,669m) and the hut/entrance to the crater lake (1,768m) is not far beyond. The lake is a delightful place to wander round – very similar to Gunung Patuha and Kawah Putih. There are sulphur gases rising from the rocks (particularly on the far side of the lake) and if you follow the track to the right there are two excellent hot water pools to bathe in. The peak itself is less than 500 metres higher than Talagabodas but it is more difficult than the average forest trail due to how infrequently it is used.

Actually finding the starting point of the overgrown trail to the top of Beuticanar can be difficult without local help – probably the most difficult thing about this hike is finding the correct path! There are various hunting trails but few continue up the ridge itself. If you haven’t already arranged local help you can ask for assistance at the warung at the entrance to the lake itself – indeed you may be able to arrange a guide to the top from the ‘forest conservation’ hut marked “Opalin”. It is climbed only a handful of times per year so the track is overgrown, often unclear but remarkably free of litter as a result.

In June 2010, Gunung Bagging conducted a small expedition to the summit with help from PPA Napak Rimba and their machetes. The trail from Talagabodas to the summit is now marked with small fluorescent yellow tape and blue string. To find the start of the trail, follow the track along the right (west) side of Talagabodas. Beofe you reach a small river/stream, look for a small white rocky area. Just before that, a narrow path leads gently up the densely vegetated hillside beside the small river – you should be able to hear the river near you on your left. In less than an hour you will come out of the forest and vegetation into a sandy, open area directly below the mountain ridge of Gunung Talagabodas and Gunung Canar (‘Gunung Tadar’ 2,211m, on the Bako map). This is Kawah Saat (1,827m) a dry sandy crater southwest of Talagabodas with burnt tree stumps and sparse vegetation. It is a lovely area to have a break and enjoy the sunshine before entering the forest once again.

From the far edge of Kawah Saat, follow the trail on the left back into forest, across a little stream (the last place for water supplies) and then a small rockface where the path leads right, up towards the shoulder of the ridge between Gunung Canar and Gunung Beuticanar (‘Gunung Batujahar’, 2,240m on the Bako map) further to the south. The path here is often faint but try to follow the blue and yellow tags. You reach a minor ‘summit’ at 1,980m before ascending to the saddle between Canar and Beuticanar. The most difficult part of the hike is a steep section where it is necessary to use tree roots as ropes to pull yourself up. Soon the ridge itself is reached (2,085m). It should have taken you approximately 3 hours to reach this point from the lake. From this point onwards, the route is very obvious as you simply follow the trail south (left) along the ridge towards Gunung Beuticanar.

Views are generally quite limited although there are a couple of places along the ridge where you are allowed a glimpse of Kawah Saat and Talagabodas. The path along the ridge drops down slightly a couple of times before rising gradually to the grassy summit area of Gunung Beuticanar itself. It is a lovely area – there is very little litter due to how seldom it is visited and a real sense of pleasant isolation. There is enough room for about 7 tents on the flat, grassy summit itself. A tree at the top is currently adorned with a ‘Gempala’ sign made by a student hiking group from Tasik on a recent visit. In clear weather, there are some nice views across to Gunung Canar to the north, east towards Tasikmalaya and several surrounding valleys. It becomes clear just how complex a mountain area this really is. The Galunggung crater is not visible from here, but there are some white steps faintly visible in the distance on this northern side of the Galunggung crater area plus a peak further south (Gunung Galunggung – known as ‘Gunung Guntur’ on the Bako map) just above the steep Galunggung crater walls. After the 1982 eruption views were much less limited since lots of vegetation was destroyed but since then tall vegetation has grown back and the area remains fairly undisturbed by both humans and volcanic eruptions! A faint trail is visible leading down along the ridge to the southeast towards Tasikmalaya but this is a much more overgrown route than the short trip from Talagabodas.

It takes strong walkers only 3 hours to descend to Talagabodas and enjoy bathing in the hot water pools but the summit is a great place to camp for the night and enjoy the sunrise through the trees in the morning and most guides will recommend it. It is hoped that if enough people use the trail it will stay well-defined, free from excess vegetation and remain passable without the need for machetes. Once you’ve found the correct path it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding hike.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (Galunggung crater information updated in November 2017).

Practicalities

Getting there For Galunggung crater near Tasikmalaya, either take one of the many direct buses from Kampung Rambutan and Lebak Bulus (Budiman Rp85,000, Primajasa Rp60,000 in 2017), or take a train to Tasik from Bandung or stations further east such as Yogyakarta, or fly with Wings from Jakarta Halim.

For Talagabodas and Beuticanar peak, from Jakarta, take the toll road to Bandung and continue beyond to the end of the toll at Cileunyi. Follow signs to Garut and when in the city take a left turn to Wanaraja. From Wanaraja, take a right up an increasingly bumpy road at a sign for Talaga Bodas. The road is not suitable for ordinary cars – a farm vehicle or ojek from Wanaraja would be a better idea. Otherwise it’s a 12km walk-in. Primajasa buses to Garut leave from Jakarta’s Lebak Bulus and Cililitan bus depot frequently during the day.

Accommodation Plenty available at Cipanas near Garut, or in Tasikmalaya.
Permits No special permits required but, as usual, take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase. At Galunggung crater, the entrance fee is Rp5,000 (at the bottom of the steps to the rim – in 2017). You may be asked for extra down at the main entrance but if you go for sunrise it is likely that nobody will be at the booth. For Talagabodas and Beuticanar, Indonesians get in for about Rp7,500 but according to recent reports all foreigners (even those with KITAS/KITAP etc.) are asked to pay Rp100-150,000 per person at the entrance to the lake.
Water sources There are warungs at Galunggung rim but not always open. For Beuticanar, the last place for water is a small stream at 1,827m just beyond Kawah Saat – the water at Talaga Bodas is obviously not safe to drink due to the high sulphur content.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): bandung

Location

Origins and Meaning

The origin of the word ‘Galunggung’ is unknown. ‘Beuticanar’ comes from two local Sundanese words ‘beuti’ meaning ‘tuber’ and ‘canar’ meaning ‘thorn’. As the name implies, the forest is teeming with thorny vines. (Tifa Asrianti, Jakarta Post, 2010)

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia
Tifa Asrianti, The Jakarta Post, 2010. Beuticanar – The Road Less Traveled.
Accessed from http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/07/18/the-road-less-traveled-beuticanar.html

11 thoughts on “Galunggung (Beuticanar)

  1. Just back from a trip to Tasikmalaya and Galunggung crater. I had originally planned to fly direct from Halim to Tasik with Wings (new route) but a hangover and a dreadful forecast of torrential downpours and thunderstorms made me choose the bus ride rather than a turboprop that would probably be delayed anyway. Budiman executive superior from Kampung Rambutan was excellent – not messing around or picking people up every couple of miles on the hard shoulder of the toll road, and we also had good traffic despite the serious rainfall. Rp85,000 well spent.

    Stayed at the Crown Hotel as the last couple of times and sorted out an ojek chap to pick me up at 4am the following morning (this morning). We were at the ‘area parkir 620’ by 4.45am and nobody was in the ticket booths either there or down at the main entrance. I was up at the rim by 5am… 2 other local hikers and no warungs open. Enjoyably serene.

    The rim is now littered with not just normal litter but also with ill-advised monuments of various types. Worst of the lot is a large ‘selfie sign’, just beyond a wooden ‘selfie deck’. The whole point of natural landscapes is that they are (ideally) not cluttered with signs of humankind and beautiful enough as they are. Well, the guardians of the environment / authorities clearly think that to attract tourists they need to build these monstrosities that would, were they erected by anyone non-official, be normally regarded as vandalism. Some tourists might be so self-obsessed that they only hike in order to take a picture of themselves next to huge signs as opposed to the awe-inspiring surroundings but their intelligence is likely to be limited. There are already two horrible selfie spots at Bromo that have provoked an outcry, a new building going up at Kawah Ijen rim, metal railings around Ciremai crater rim, and probably lots of other ‘wild’ places being urbanized too. Leave these monuments in urban areas! What a shame.

    The view itself was lovely between 5 and 6am… from the lights of Tasikmalaya below to swirling mists around paddy fields. Stunning and different every single minute.

    Came back to Jakarta on a Primajasa bus which was cheaper but took a lot longer as it was basically a large, glorified angkot collecting passengers every couple of miles. On the plus side, the tahu sumedang at Cileunyi was as delicious as ever!

  2. Hi Dan, hope you are fine. On the back of a Java Lava walk on Papandayan, 5 of us went to Telagabodas last weekend. A few bits of information:
    (1) the road is paved all way the up to the lake and is in good enough condition for any normal “sedan” to take it – a few potholes, but nothing worse than a regular Jakarta street (without the speed bumps!);
    (2) there is a large parking lot surrounded by food stalls about 500m below the lake, and a huge poster advertising entry prices. Sadly, while it is Rp. 7,500 pp for Indonesians, it is a whopping Rp. 150,500 for foreigners (including KITAS holders!). Not worth the cost by a big margin … but the views on the way up in the early morning were very pleasant.

    Best regards
    Christian

    • Thanks for this information Christian. The pricing situation is getting completely out of hand. I am amazed that KITAS holders have to pay the vastly inflated price. Some great views up there, especially early in the morning as you say.

  3. wait….
    WUT ? it’s interesting to know about this topic .
    i’m from tasikmalaya and of course i know about talaga bodas, beuti canar ( i’ve heard ) .

    when i read about this comment, me shock :O because i read the word about “napak rimba” on this comment.

    obviously,i know about napak rimba ( because, it’s extracurricular from my school ) heheh :).

    well, tomorrow sunday, napak rimba and me (partisipants ) gonna reach talaga bodas ( for the 2nd time ? ahaha 😀 )

    bytheway,thx for the information mr.dan .

  4. Many thanks to Adam and the Napak Rimba team for a successful expedition from Telaga Bodas to the summit of Gunung Beuticanar via Kawah Saat. A great weekend.

  5. I have now failed twice to reach Beuticanar, the highest point of the mountain area. Earlier in the year I had a look from Galunggung crater but there are no trails and it is unrelentingly steep and densely forested. Talaga Bodas in the north seemed liked a much better starting point but on Saturday we were unable to find a trail through the forest and thick foliage onto the high ridge between Talaga Bodas and Galunggung. Perhaps there is a third way………there does appear to be another track leading to the east of the lake on Google Earth – on the track up from Tasik a few hundred metres before the junction with the Garut track. Otherwise, perhaps it’s time to call in an army of machete-wielding locals!

  6. I climbed Galunggung shortly after the 1982 eruption. The approach was through a village in which some houses were almost completely covered with ash.
    Actually, it’s an easy walk except for the last bit. We went down into the crater which was still active – probably not too sensible!

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