My first visit to Tangkuban Parahu, a volcano in Bandung, Indonesia, was in March this year together with the whole family. Noticing how, after sitting near the volcanic steam, all our sinuses cleared up after that trip, we decided to make a second visit to the volcano last weekend. This time around, I went with DH and RoundBoy, plus a few friends and colleagues who drove us from Jakarta.
Tangkuban Parahu has several craters. This is the main crater:-
From the main crater, we drove down to this area where there are lots of shops selling souvenirs, food and drinks. We had our lunch there — a Bandung specialty called ayam brebes which we bought along the way.
That’s steamed rice wrapped in banana leaf, grilled free-range chicken (it’s also available fried), fried tofu, lettuce and sambal (chili paste). Lip-smacking good!
There were lots of souvenirs for sale, including these colourful scarves which were left hanging on a tree, unminded, as its owner went off for lunch.
We didn’t buy any souvenirs so we avoided all eye contact with the vendors. If you show the slightest hint of being interested in their wares, they’d descend on you like a horde of flies. So if you’re not interested in buying anything, don’t even look their way.
But in case you’re interested in any of that stuff — pens, carvings, scarves, toys and other bric-a-brac — make sure you haggle hard before buying. Ask for at least half of the price that they initially quote, then pretend to walk away. That modus operandi works everytime!
Business must have been slow that day, as evidenced by the number of vendors who were simply sitting around, looking bored.
After lunch, we drove down to Kawah Domas (Domas Crater). This sign says: “Boil eggs. 10 minutes“.
Here’s a tip: to get into Kawah Domas, the locals there would insist that you hire a guide for something like Rp150,000-250,000 (USD15-25). They’d go as far as in telling you that it’s required by law. In reality, it’s not. For this trip, our group was small, we could all pass off as locals, and we were with some locals. The guides didn’t even bat an eyelash when we went in. And we saved ourselves at least Rp150,000. But if it’s your first time there and you find yourselves to be the only hikers in the area or if you have small children with you, by all means, do hire a guide, considering that there doesn’t seem to be any emergency alert system in there.
The skies were grey and dreary that day, the kind of day that photographers loathe due to the lackluster quality of light. It was so dark, it looked as though rain would fall any second, hence we walked as fast as we could lest we get caught in a sudden downpour. Thankfully, it didn’t rain.
The trail is a relatively easy walk, easy enough for small children. But be mindful of the clay soil — it’s hard and dusty when dry but very slippery when wet. One of the men who was with us actually slipped and fell because he stepped on a damp spot!
See that tree on the right in the photo above? I zoomed in on the base because it creepily resembles a face. Can you see it??
As you get closer to the crater, the trail gets a bit steeper. You’ll be taking the same trail to go out so you can imagine how much tougher the return hike is because by then, it would be uphill.
Upon reaching the crater, first on our agenda was to boil some eggs. You can buy the eggs from the lone shop there and borrow the long-handled basket for boiling them in.
And yes, that’s my Skechers-clad foot you see in the corner. I can’t blame you if you feel envious towards those shoes given how they’ve already been to Amsterdam, Belgium and Capetown! ;)
While we were boiling the eggs, I saw this photographer with his tripod on top of a hill, just a short climb from the crater. See that tiny figure in black on the left? I would probably have gone up there as well if RoundBoy hadn’t been with me…
And yes, that’s steam you see swirling all around.
After having collected some mineral-rich volcanic mud to be brought back home (you can also buy some, if you’re not up to the task) and having inhaled the steam, the long mostly-uphill return walk starts with these stairs that have been hewn into the mountain…
These steps lead to another trail that will end up near the main crater but I’ve been told it’s a much longer trail than the one that we took.
We saw lots of these mysterious shapes on branches and twigs. They were insect cocoons of some sort. I took the shot because I was intrigued. And also because liked the bokeh effect, i.e. blurry background ;)
And finally, even though pictures may paint a thousand words, there’s nothing like a short video to show you what it’s really like in Kawah Domas.
Sorry if the video’s a bit shaky — this is first video I’ve ever made with my D90. And no, I don’t know that Indonesian woman in purple. She just happened to be there :P