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Hiking to Papandayan Mountain, West Bandung

If you are living in Jakarta and love to hike to the mountains, don’t be sad. I know Jakarta is really a town which few things of nature around, but you can always go to Papandayan mountain – located in West of Bandung, 6-7 hours from Jakarta. If you take an evening bus from Kampung Rambutan or Lebak Bulus Bus station, you will arrive in Garut. From Garut, you still need to go with another public car to Cisurupan and I suggest you to hire a car (usually a pick-up one) to go to Camp David, the Volcano foot.


On our way to Camp David

Papandayan mountain is one of several other volcanoes that is still active in Indonesia. Its height is about 2665 mbpl, and because of that the mountain is counted as a huge one. There are some sulfur lakes that are still active even no one try to explore and exploit the sulfur. Before you go to Papandayan, it will be wise to check the status of the volcano first – when I was there, 3 weeks ago, it was still declared as active and was closed for public.

We went on Friday – the trip can be done for a weekend, and you will pay Rp. 50.000,- for a one way bus ticket. Try to bring some help medicine to make you able to sleep on the bus. The journey is quite shaky and bumpy, but it was ok. The Way from Cisurupan to Camp David is also very bumpy, the broken road made it terrible, but the view of nature makes you feel very happy and increases your spirit of adventure.


The hiking started!

Once we arrived in Camp David, we need to wait until the fog disappeared to give us the clear view of the mountain. Our first destination was going to the sulfur lake, there are 2 of those lakes – the new one and the old one. Even Papandayan is considered as a good mountain for beginner hikers but it still is tired enough. We took a rest after we arrived at the lake and enjoyed the lucky view we had, a green beautiful sulfur lake. When it’s rain season the color would probably be brownish muddy.




The Green Sulfur Lake

Continued to the top, we need to walk through the blanket of sulfur smokes. Bring your mask so you do not need to breathe the sulfur in your lungs, it’s not only bad for your health, also the smell is very bad. And of course also make sure your hiking gear is in order.


Full of sulfur smokes

After the long hours of walking and climbing we finally arrived in Guberhood, an area with vast grass and empty grounds suitable for us to rest a moment before do another climb uphill. It is also closer to the camping ground of Pondok Sadalah, a place where we will be able to build our tent. Rain came and we needed to be hurry to build the tent. Here are some great tips on how to waterproof a tent by the way.


Building our tents

To enjoy the night we started to grill the chicken that we brought from below at the mountain. We used limited equipment, but that’s the fun of it. We played and joke all night long. When it started to be colder, we triedo sleep with our jacket in a sleeping bag. The stars above were just so beautiful. The starry night is a precious view that you absolutely can’t get from a pollution city.


Grilled the chicken for our dinner


Trying to make ourselves warm

In the morning, after catching the sunrise in Guberhood and cleaning up our stuff and leave no trash we planned to going down the mountain. This time, we crossed the beautiful Edelweiss flower garden and dead forest. There was a fire in the mountain around 2012. It makes the mountain has one cool area and it reminds me of the Lord of the Ring movie scene.


Sunrise over the Papandayan Mountain


A new day started


Pondok Sadala, the Camping Ground


Edelweiss Flower Garden


The Dead Forest


The Dead Forest

The journey to go down was so steep and slippery. We needed to be extra careful especially because we brought our heavy bags. But once we arrived in Camp David again, the experience was really worth it. Not only because the beautiful Papandayan mountain was so priceless, but also since it was one of my very fun trip with friends. There is a saying ; “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill


Extra careful for going down


Travel creates friendship

Dea Sihotang

/// Written by Dea Sihotang, Indonesia