- Elevation: 1,684 m (5,525 ft)
- Prominence: 1,106 m
- Ribu category: Kurang Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Called ‘Tampo Omas’ in the ancient Bujangga Manik script.
Gunung Tampomas is located northeast of Sumedang (480 metres above sea level) – a town famous for its delicious tahu (fried tofu) – and is easily accessible by public transport from Bandung. Whilst no giant in terms of elevation, Tampomas is an easy and enjoyable hike – perfect as the first of the season or as a warm-up for something more challenging – and there are very pleasant views from the top to most of the major peaks in West Java.
Aside from the suggested possible origins of the name of the mountain given below at the bottom of the article, some say that it comes from ‘gunung tanpa emas’ or ‘tampah emas’ which means ‘mountain without gold’. Even if Mount Tampomas is lacking in gold, its lower slopes on the southern side at Cibeureum Kulon are certainly being seriously quarried for rocks of some sort or another.
This is one reason why the Narimbang route (from the north-east) is more pleasant than the Cibeureum route (from the south), but the best thing to do is up one side and down the other, hopefully having arranged transport to collect you at the other side. Both routes require around 3 hours up and 2 hours back down.
Route from Narimbang
The route from Narimbang starts near Conggeang village at Ciputra Wangi Waterfall (600m) which is Pos 1. From the signs, warungs and ticket booth, the trail to the peak leads to the left and snakes up the hillside. There is an open, flat section of wide trail (945m) before reaching the pleasant warung at Pos 2 (Pasir Seleh, 1,030m). It should have taken you just over 1 hour to reach this point. If conditions are clear, this is a great spot for a coffee and a snack and you may even be able to see the occasional plane coming in to land at the new West Java International Airport a short distance away near Majalengka. The couple who live here grow bananas, onion, chili and papaya up here.
Further up the trail you get a glimpse through the trees on the right side of the trail of the flattish top of Tampomas – still a fair distance away. In rainy conditions you may meet one or two leeches in this part of the mountain, but they are not especially common. Pos 3 (1,210m) is the next landmark and is named Batu Kukus, presumably because the largest of the cluster of rocks vaguely resembles a rice steamer. In inclement weather, this rock would certainly provide some shelter from the rain. In March 2019, 3 teenage hikers from the Indramayu area sadly died in this area in bad weather – a tragedy that was easily preventable, especially given how short both trails up the mountain are.
Pos 4 (1,490m) is Awi Kereteg and being the junction between the Narimbang and Cibeureum trails is a very important point. There is also a reasonable amount of space here for those choosing to camp below the peak itself. It should have taken you around 2 or 2 and a half hours to reach this point, not including any time you spent at the warung back at Pos 2. Whilst navigating is pretty easy, it is important to mentally check the two trails here so you do not end up on the wrong one on your descent.
The path gets steeper and rockier from this point on, and there are a few places where you need to take care on steep and sometimes slippery rock. This rock is clearly volcanic in origin. The next landmark is a minor rockface at Sangyheang Lawang (1,550m) – also called Watu Gede (‘large rock’). There used to be a simple hut here but it was gone in 2019. If you look back down the trail, you may well see Gunung Ciremai – West Java’s tallest peak – in the distance. Shortly beyond this is Sangyheang Tikoro (1,605m), a minor point on the trail as you edge closer to the top. The summit area of Tampomas, known as Sangyheang Taraje (or Pasarean), is less than 10 minutes further and from Pos 4 to the peak should take no more than 45 minutes in total. Just before the peak there is a deep dark crevice to the right of the trail, which is apparently the remnants of an ancient crater.
The views from the boulder-studded peak are wide open and very pleasant – westwards to Bukittunggul and surrounding hills and south towards the many peaks near Garut – Gunung Guntur, Cikuray, Papandayan. There is enough space for at least eight tents in this area, and if you spend a Saturday night here you are unlikely to be alone. The highest point of the mountain appears to be the large boulder just north of the man-made pillar.
Approximately 100 metres to the north of the highest point are two ancient grave areas, known as Pasarean, which are certainly worth a visit. These are apparently tombs from the ancient Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran (which existed until around 500 years ago and was Hindu). This minor top is only seemingly a metre or two below the viewpoint summit, so keen baggers are advised to visit both just incase!
Back down to either Ciputra Wangi or Cibeureum should take around 2 hours, not including breaks.
Route from Cibeureum near Sumedang
Follow the road from Sumedang towards Cirebon for about 6km, past the village of Cimalaka and to an area known as Desa Cibeureum Kulon. Take a left up a narrow road opposite Masjid Al-Bashir and next to a Bank Mandiri ATM (previously at a sign with “Lokasi TPA”). Follow the bumpy, rocky road to the sand quarry. There will probably be a large number of yellow quarry trucks coming the other way.
Head straight up the hillside, ignoring a left turn and then a right turn. After approximately 3km you will reach a sharp bend – park your car before this point. Just one minute beyond the sharp bend, take the path on the left heading up through farmland (795m). Five minutes later, take a left on a farm track and into pine woodland. Soon after this you reach a wooden hut (860m). It should have taken you no more than 15 minutes to reach this place (or one hour if you have walked all the way up from the main road).
Just beyond the hut is the junction (870m) for a minor top called Gunung Karang. This is of course not the mountain in Banten but another Gunung Karang (with an elevation of 1,011m) known locally as Anak Gunung Tampomas (‘the child of Gunung Tampomas’). It is not very far from the junction with the main Cibeureum trail and has a rocky outcrop at the top.
Don’t take a right here for Gunung Karang – continue straight ahead on the wide track through the pine woodland.
From this point on there are plenty of signs which should hopefully confirm that you are on the right track! The path leads you up through more pine woodland – most trees have small coconut shells attached to their trunks to collect the resin/sap. An important junction is next at an elevation of around 980m. Turn left here, off the wide woodland track and into the proper forest. You might call this spot ‘pintu rimba’ or ‘forest entrance’.
From here, the trail is easy to follow as it leads up the mountainside and via 3 Pos, none of which are ideal for camping but could be used if absolutely necessary. Pos 1 is at 1,180m, Pos 2 at 1,310m and Pos 3 at 1,405m.
The path begins to get steeper and the vegetation becomes more natural forest-like. According the the local forestry department, Tampomas forest is home to kancil (mouse deer), lutung (monkeys) and babi hutan (wild pigs). After a total of around 2 hours (or 3 hours if you walked all the way up from the main road) you should have reached Pos 4 (Awi Kereteg, 1,490m) where the path joins up with the other hiking route from Narimbang. This spot offers enough space for 5 or more tents.
It is less than one hour from here to the peak and fit hikers ight manage it in just over 30 minutes – see the route description above.
Returning the same way from the peak to the tarmac road and quarry at Cibeureum takes less than two hours. You may be able to hitch a ride on the back of a quarry truck down to the main road and get an angkot back to Sumedang. Best allow an extra hour just incase you cannot find a ride – there are no villages in this area and only occasional motorbikes. If you descend via the Narimbang trail, allow about two hours back down too, but best arrange pick-up at Ciputra Wangi waterfall in advance if possible, or allow an extra 30 minutes to walk to the main road and search for public transport.
Back in Sumedang, there are a couple of hill-related tourist spots worth visiting if you have extra time. First of all, Bukit Toga (approximately 700m above sea level), which is a decent viewpoint over the town and towards Tampomas. Secondly, Gunung Kunci (‘key mountain’, originally spelt Koentji), an old Dutch fortress and prison built in 1914. Gunung Kunci (514m) is just to the east of Gunung Palasari (643m) which is pine woodland with a telecommunications tower at or near the top.
In north Sumedang is an attractive peak called Gunung Kecapi (656m). It slightly resembles Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland, but it is unclear if there is a path to the rocky top.
Bagging information provided by Daniel Quinn (updated June 2019).
- Getting there: There are plenty of buses running between Bandung’s Cicaheum terminal and Sumedang. There are also Primajasa buses from Jakarta’s Kampung Rambutan to Sumedang but the slow pace can be frustrating. From Sumedang to both starting points is about 30-40 minutes by motorbike or car. The closest airport by far is the brand new West Java International Airport near Majalengka but at the time of writing (2019) this remains a fairly quiet airport. The closest train stations are Rancaekek, Bandung or Hargeulis (in Indramayu regency). Despite being a very small station, Hargeulis serves several executive class trains and it is just 2 hours from Gambir or Pasar Senen. Unfortunately it currently takes over 2 hours to reach Hargeulis from Sumedang due to poor quality or indirect roads. Still, this can sometimes make more sense than heading back to Bandung on what is a frequently jammed main road (typically 2 hours to cover just 60km). A new toll road from Bandung to Sumedang (and presumably onwards to the new West Java Airport) is under construction at the moment.
- Accommodation: There are several hotels in Sumedang. The best one is probably Hotel Asri in Plaza Asia.
- Permits: Tickets at Curug Ciputra Wangi, Narimbang Rp5,000 per person. Not required on the Cibeureum route at present (2019).
- Water sources: Available at the warung at Pos 2 on the Narimbang route. None seen near the trail on the Cibeureum route.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
(unclear) There could be two possibilities. (i) In Old Javanese the word tampo means “rain, mist” so tampo mas might mean “golden rain”. “Golden rain” (usually udan mas or hujan emas) is a popular poetic term that might respectfully or affectionately be applied to a mountain. (ii) In Sundanese tampeu means “overlooking something” so tampo mas might mean something like “the golden mountain that looms over us”. (George Quinn, 2011)