- Elevation: 2,086 m (6,848 ft)
- Prominence: 709 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province:Jawa Barat (West Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Tangkuban Perahu
- Eruptions: 1826, 1829, 1842, 1846, 1896, 1910, 1926, 1929, 1952, 1957, 1961, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1983, 2013, 2019
This volcano consisting of numerous active craters is one of the leading tourist attractions in West Java – mainly because it is an easy day-trip from Bandung and there is a road all the way to the Jaya Giri car park at the edge of Kawah Ratu crater at 1,832m!
Stalls line the fences overlooking the craters and the sound of the call to prayer, angkots and ojeks rings in the air. However, it’s an impressive viewpoint, and there is actually some incredibly wild trekking to be done across the mountain massif despite the many masts which crown the long summit ridge.
The three main craters, from east to west, are Kawah Domas, Kawah Ratu (not to be confused with the crater of the same name on Gunung Salak), and Kawah Upas. There are many sulphur vents in Kawah Ratu and some serious eruptive activity in recent years including in 2019. It is thought that several thousand years ago the huge Bandung plain was an immense lake, formed by frequent powerful eruptions in this area. The name itself ‘upturned boat’ comes from a local Sundanese legend and from the city of Bandung the outline of the mountain does indeed resemble an upside-down vessel.
Public transport to the crater is straightforward from Bandung – an angkot to Lembang and another up to the crater – but beware of angkot drivers offering to drive you directly to the top (for a huge sum) or at least make sure you agree on a price beforehand. A taxi should cost no more than Rp150,000 each way but if you want the driver to wait for several hours it’s likely to be Rp 350,00 or Rp 400,000. Sadly, as of March 2019, entrance to the area is an extortionate Rp200,000 for non-Indonesians (Rp300,000 on weekends and public holidays) and this may leave you feeling ripped off especially when you learn that locals pay one tenth of that price.
From the edge of the craters, it takes about 3 and a half hours to make a full circuit of the two summit craters – Kawah Ratu and Kawah Upas – including visiting the highest point which is on the vast, flat forest ridge on the far right-hand side of the further away of the two craters, Kawah Upas. To reach the highest point, an anti-clockwise direction is much shorter, but the best hike with the best views is clockwise, following the wooden fence up the left side of Kawah Ratu and following the occasionally steep and muddy trail up to the first radio mast compound where there is a small warung selling drinks and snacks and sometimes local strawberries.
It’s surprising just how wild this area is once you’ve wandered for just 30 minutes from the car park and stalls. However do note that in 2020 access to the true highest point of the mountain is a grey area, as with many of West Java’s peaks, so you may need to be content simply with doing a circuit of Kawah Ratu and a quick extra wander up to the Kawah Upas viewpoint.
Most hikers take a right turn at the warung to walk down onto the ridge between the two craters and back round to the Jaya Giri car park. This is a great route in clear weather but take care as there can be a lot of sulphur gas in Kawah Ratu, navigating can be difficult in cloudy conditions and there is some mild scrambling to be done. However, to reach the finest viewpoint, you have to continue straight along the flat top of the mountain (there are black electricity cables in the trees above).
You soon reach a lovely viewpoint on the very edge of the crater at the far side of Kawah Upas (2,072m). This is the best place to sit down and admire the views and have a short rest. From here, there is a small trail down to the west (left if you’re doing a clockwise circuit) which leads all the way to a tea plantation and the Situ Lembang lake valley (see below).
From the viewpoint there is a more overgrown trail continuing along the edge of the Kawah Upas crater rim but it is difficult to reach the highest point of the mountain by following this because there is a shallow, overgrown ravine between the rim and the highest part of the mountain. It is better to follow the previously mentioned trail to the left from the viewpoint and follow the vehicle track round and stay to the right to complete a full circuit back to the carpark. You may be lucky and see some interesting wildlife as the forest near the summit is home to a large number of monkeys. Do take care as it’s easy to get lost in this area.
An easier route from the car park to bag the summit is the anti-clockwise direction, simply involving a short up-down hike with limited views. It takes just 2 hours to make the return trip – follow the trail by the stalls until you reach the sign for Kawah Upas and Air Keramat Cikahuripan (Sacred Water, 1,881m). Continue to Air Keramat where there is a cement monument and a couple of huts where you can bathe in the ‘sacred water’. It only takes 30 minutes to reach this place from the Jaya Giri main car park. Behind the huts, a vague trail leads upwards to the right, over a recent landslide area, before joining a narrow but well-defined trail on the main summit ridge. Take a left here and continue along the trail following the crest of the ridge. There are some great views through the trees to both craters, and other West Java peaks in the distance. Before long you will have reached the unmarked highest point of the Tangkuban Parahu massif. It’s probably best to return the same way.
If you still have good weather and a little energy left once you’ve returned to your vehicle, there is another smaller crater – Kawah Domas – about two kilometres back down the crater road which is worth a visit. If you can arrange to be picked up at the Domas entrance gates, you can actually walk down to Kawah Domas (1,582m) from Jaya Giri car park on a nice trail through the forest. It takes about half an hour to descend to the crater, and a further half an hour from Kawah Domas to Domas entrance gates (1,644m) on the main road up the mountain. Kawah Domas is a large area of hot bubbling pools and small sulphur fumaroles. There are about 5 small pools of warm, grey water in which you can sit around in, relax and wash your legs.
For the more adventurous hikers, or those who are keen on trying a new route, Tangkuban Parahu mountain can be climbed from the west from the much older – and now dormant- outer Tangkuban Parahu crater, though neither of the two routes are ‘official’.
The 3km-wide outer crater is actually a popular local tourist attraction in its own right as there is a lovely small lake Situ Lembang in the valley. Unfortunately this area is also used frequently by the military for training purposes so there is a chance it will not be open to the public. The entrance to the valley is known as Pintu Angin but is marked on most maps as Kertawangi. From here you can also climb an outer peak called Gunung Burangrang, a steep and slippy but short hike requiring less than 500 metres elevation gain since the road takes you over 1,500m above sea level. However, this mountain too can be closed on occasion. For the hike to Tangkuban Parahu from this western side, there are two possible options if you have a guide and permission.
It can be done from Situ Lembang Dam (1,598m) via a track which eventually reaches the summit ridge at the most northerly of the telecommunications towers (2,080m).
It can also be done from further south at Sukawana tea plantations (1,510m). It is best to arrange local guides as there are countless trails through the nearby tea plantation and a river crossing near the start can sometimes be impassable. You can actually even visit the tea factory to see the tea-making process in action and try a cup of what would otherwise have been sold as Lipton’s Tea.
Once through the maze of tea plantation tracks, you reach a wide gravel road which leads all the way to the broad, flat summit of the mountain and its many transmitter masts. When you reach a junction with a small boulder next to it, take the right turn leading north-east to the very edge of the Kawah Upas crater and the fine viewpoint mentioned above.
It takes 3-4 leisurely hours to climb to the crater’s edge from the Sukawana / Kertawangi starting point and you can either continue left to ‘bag’ the very highest point (allow an extra hour there and back) before returning the same way or making a traverse by trekking round the edge of both craters and down to the Kawah Ratu tourist car park (Jaya Giri). If you wish to get to the Jaya Giri car park on the edge of Kawah Ratu as quickly as possible (approximately 40 minutes), follow the trail in an anti-clockwise direction to the small warung at the trail junction by the mast compound and straight on down the southern crater edge of Kawah Ratu.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn.
For a high quality PDF version of this and other trail maps, please download from our Trail Maps page.
- Getting there: Take an angkot to Lembang and then onward to the volcano. A taxi or car and driver can be hired in Bandung for the whole day. There is also the option of ojek transport. Assume about one hour from Bandung to the entrance gates by car or motorbike. Don’t necessarily follow Google Maps’ fastest route as it may lead you up to the wrong side of the mountain!
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Tangkuban Parahu information pack can be downloaded here.
- Trip planning assistance: Would you like Gunung Bagging to personally help you in arranging your whole trip? Please contact us here.
- Permits: Pay for a ticket at the entrance gates which apparently open at 8am. Rp200,000 (Rp300,000 weekends) for ‘foreigners’ and Rp 20,000 (Rp30,000 weekends) for Indonesians and KITAS/KITAP holders. Access in 2019 from the west side at Pintu Angin is not clear but it is probably not possible to buy entrance tickets there.
- Water sources: There are many warungs selling drinks at the carpark and one on the summit ridge.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):
Origins and Meaning
‘Upturned boat’ in Sundanese. The mountain gets its name from a local legend which tells of “Dayang Sumbi”, a beauty who lived in West Java. She cast away her son “Sangkuriang” for disobedience, and in her sadness was granted the power of eternal youth by the gods. After many years in exile, Sangkuriang decided to return to his home, long after the two had forgotten and failed to recognize each other. Sangkuriang fell in love with Dayang Sumbi and planned to marry her, only for Dayang Sumbi to recognize his birthmark just as he was about to go hunting. In order to prevent the marriage from taking place, Dayang Sumbi asked Sangkuriang to build a dam on the river Citarum and to build a large boat to cross the river, both before the sunrise. Sangkuriang meditated and summoned mythical ogre-like creatures -buta hejo or green giant(s)- to do his bidding. Dayang Sumbi saw that the tasks were almost completed and called on her workers to spread red silk cloths east of the city, to give the impression of impending sunrise. Sangkuriang was fooled, and upon believing that he had failed, kicked the dam and the unfinished boat, resulting in severe flooding and the creation of Tangkuban Perahu from the hull of the boat. (Wikipedia, 2011)
Links and References
Wikipedia. 2011. Tangkuban Perahu. Accessed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangkuban_Perahu
10 thoughts on “Tangkuban Parahu”
Visited Tangkuban Perahu (or ‘Parahu’ as it is spelt on all the local signs) at the weekend and very pleased to say that the price for foreign residents of Indonesia (KITAS/KITAP) is the local price, so rather than having to pay the preposterous Rp300,000 (weekend admission) it was Rp30,000. This is only fair given that residents pay taxes here, unlike the majority of locals (!) Quite why the entrance for foreigners is ten times the local price is unclear – do they leave ten times as much rubbish as domestic tourists? Unlikely. Double would probably be sufficient.
With it being a weekend, it took us about 90 minutes from Bandung and there was a queue of cars near the crater car park, waiting for spaces at the top, on what is a rather steep road. You certainly want a driver who is confident with the handbrake if you are visiting on a weekend. We had just that – a very nice chap called Pak Toha, booked via Bandung Rent Car on +6285759013971. Much better idea to hire a driver for the day than rely on Grab etc. especially if you have another place or two to visit the same day (we were going to Sumedang afterwards).
I have read reports that a guide is if not obligatory then certainly more actively encouraged than in previous years if you want to go for a proper hike. We were definitely asked at least 5 times in the space of 20 minutes, but I just told them I had already done it several times before. The place was utterly packed, mostly local tourists. I would definitely recommend going as early as possible – it appears that the brand new entrance gates now open at 8am (which is sadly too late to see sunrise) but you might want to double check especially on a weekend or public holiday.
If I was interested in hiking the mountain and not shopping or selfie taking then I would not bother coming up here at all to be honest as it is busier than most kampungs. As for hiking from the other side (Pintu Angin on the west) I have no idea what current policy is.
So why was I here at all? To buy some ‘kayu batik’ vases, local highland fern wood with a beautiful pattern not dissimilar to batik. Some Indonesians call it ‘pakis raja’ or ‘kayu naga’ – it apparently keeps mice and rats away. There is one guy exclusively selling these beautiful vases on the crater rim – I hope the highland fern itself is not endangered. Stunning and brilliant ‘oleh oleh’.
To get from Tangkuban Perahu to Sumedang (our destination as I was going to hike Gn Tampomas the following day) our driver wisely decided to avoid Bandung altogether and headed down to the north, down through tea plantations, and then eastwards through teak plantations. A pleasant drive, and presumably one of West Java’s least densely populated areas.
Hi! Thank you for all this info, planning to head there this weekend. Do you have a GPX file for the clockwise route by any chance?
Note that the price goes up to (sept 2015):
National – 20.000rp
National – 25.000rp
KITAS holder pay local price.
I was good trekking. I started from tempat wisata Jayagiri, 2km from pasar lembang, route to ratu creater around 2 our, thanks
Thank you for the gps track that provided on this site. We manage to reach the summit after disappointing conversation with the site officials (they don’t know that the track is existing & didn’t want to take responsibility if we insisted on continue to hike to the summit). The track is rarely visited, but has beautiful view. There’s possibility to loose some track that lies on top of the landslide site because it’s quite unstable.
I was good trekking. I started from Cimahi (Pintu Anging), take taxi from Cihampelas was only 70k (so if u are 2,still reasonable price).
Trek from Cimahi, military gate for Burangrang was so awesome!cross the waterfall and traversing the tea plantation. We camped near kawah Tangkuban Prahu (not recommended!!) then go to summit of T.Prahu.The trek is not well maintained but lucky we have the trek from Gunungbagging. We took Kawah Domas the Jayagiri car park for coming back to Bandung. Taxi only costs 70k to Cihampelas. It is friendly cost, trek, and access, love it!
You gotta pay extra cuz Indonesian Rupiah sucks, so they thought they could suck in the fortunate Dollar owner
It’s quite hard to get Tangkuban Perahu with public transportation since Lembang direction only take the passengers to Pasar Lembang. You must take public transportation directs to Cikole and get off on Tree Top. From there you can take mini bus directs to Subang. In main gate, you need to rent ojek or car.
The point is, you should take a private car, rent car, or ojek.
Had an enjoyable hike here on Sunday – great clear weather, probably because of rain overnight. Could see Ciremai in the distance. Got an ojek up from Bandung – Rp200,000 for the day.
I hiked up to the unmarked true highest point of the mountain – I doubt if many people come here but the trail is pretty good. My GPS gave a reading of about 2105m – quite a bit more than the published 2084m standard.
Back at the souvenir stalls, I bought one of the lovely ‘batik wood’ pots. They are actually made from the beautiful patterned trunk of a common tree fern – Cyathea species.
Then I headed down to Kawah Domas to soak my feet in the hot pools before meeting my ojek guy to take me back down to Bandung train station.
Not surprising really – once you’re a couple of kms from the car park it’s a very wild and disorientating area. Fingers crossed for their safe return.