Bandung, the capital of West Java, is a beautiful city sought as a refreshing getaway from the typical hot and humid weather. It boasts of a cool climate all year- round which makes it a popular tourist destination, especially for neighbors in the tropical region. Ciwidey lies within the southern portion of the city which is one of the coldest places in Bandung. Tourists know Ciwidey for being a host to a plethora of activities ranging from adrenaline-pumping adventures like river boarding to more laid back ones such as strawberry-picking.
However, the natural resources and plantations in Ciwidey are truly the highlights of the small town which you must definitely see if you find yourself in the highlands of Indonesia.
Bandung, the capital city of West Java province, is more or less a 4-hour drive from Jakarta. Our starting point in this Bandung travel was Tangerang City, a neighboring city of Jakarta which is about a 45 minutes ride. We’re using a private car and began to travel at 4:00AM to avoid the usual traffic jam around Jakarta. A good decision, because we arrived in Bandung at 7:30AM. Yep, much faster than the usual travel time especially if you get caught in the 7:00AM-8:00AM traffic jam.
Our first day in Bandung was spent for work in Cimahi area. We finished the day looking for a sim loading station and a restaurant for dinner. We decided to wake up early, 5:00AM, on DAY 2 to take a sidetrip in Ciwidey’s famous destinations. We had to see the tea plantations and the famous Kawah Putih.
From our hotel in Bandung, Ciwidey is more or less an hour drive if there’s no traffic. Going to Ciwidey from Bandung, we travelled through the expressway then travelled the not so wide Bandung- Ciwidey road. The advantage of traveling early in the morning is (again) you get to avoid heavy traffic. We arrived in Kawa Putih’s admission entrance very early, at around 6:15AM I think. Sadly, the admission was still closed. The opening hour is 7:00AM. So we decided to drive a little farther to have our breakfast and visit first the tea farms. From Kawah Putih admission area, the Ciwidey tea farm is just a 5-minute drive. The view here is amazing!
With an extra time before 7:00AM, we decided to drive a little bit farther to look for a restaurant. Then a sign “Situ Patenggang“ caught our attention and we decided to make a short stop over. We paid the entrance fee and car parking fee at the gate (IDR 65000) then entered the lake zone. While going to the lake area we passed by a beautiful tea farm covered with morning fog. What a beautiful morning sight!
The surprises never end! I flew my drone and discovered that the view of the lake from the sky is totally mesmerizing! As much as we want to stay long in Lake Patenggang, we have no choice but to leave after 15 minutes.
We arrived at 7:05AM in the Kawah Putih admission area. We’re the first visitors! We paid the entrance fee – IDR 75000 for foreign and IDR 25000 for local plus the car admission fee of IDR 150,000. We then drove for less than 5 minutes from the admission area going to the Kawah Putih jump off point/area. By the way, there are coaster rides from admission area going to the jump off point for IDR 45000 (back and forth) if you don’t want to pay the IDR 150,000 car admission fee.
Situ (Lake) Patenggang
Situ Patenggang is a popular destination particularly for lovers because of an old legend stating that the lake was founded to commemorate the reunion between a goddess and her true love. It is even said that couples who visit the lake together will have their union blessed. Aside from the romantic legend behind Situ Patenggang, it’s also a great place for boating. You can either rent a normal wooden banana boat or a pedal boat to take you around the lake. You can also visit the island in the center of the lake called the Pulau Sasaka which translates to “Love Island” or “Amour Island”. Picnics and camping are among the popular activities to do within the vicinity.
|Bird's eye view of Situ Patenggang (drone shot)|
|The mesmerizing sunset view of the tea plantations above Situ Patenggang|
|The northern part of Situ Patenggang (drone shot)|
|Calm and blue Situ Patenggang|
|Morning in Situ Patenggang|
The cool climate and fertile soil of Ciwidey makes it a perfect place for tea plantations and it just so happens that the Lake Patenggang is surrounded by them. All around are tea plantations forming hedges upon hedges of greenery that seem to go on as far as the eye can see. Visitors are allowed to walk through the cut paths for pictures and you can even purchase some tea bags and leaves from the locals which are freshly hand-picked from the beautiful plantations. You can bring home the tea leaves to drink or bring home as souvenirs for friends and family.
|Bird's eye view of Ciwidey Tea Farms|
|The tea farms as viewed from the sky (drone shot)|
Kawah Putih, when translated in English, stands for “White Crater” which quite accurately describe Kawah Putih. The place is a beautiful mixture of light jade green blending into the white sand at the shore of the volcanic lake that sits atop Mt. Patuha. History states that birds and other creatures would usually avoid flying over this lake, and those that did would be found dead. Later on, it was discovered that this occurrence was due to the high sulfur levels in the body of water and because of this, visitors are not allowed to play or swim inside the lake. However, the stunning lake radiating a turquoise color is a sight to behold and makes the visit worth it.
|Calm and beautiful Kawah Putih (drone shot)|
|The famous instagrammable rock in Kawah Putih crater|
|Western side of Kawah Putih|
I wish we have more time to explore Ciwidey. No worries, we’ll definitely come back here. By the way, there are more interesting spots and things to do in this part of Java Island. Aside from the highlights listed above, here are some other fun activities to do in Ciwidey: strawberry picking; camping or “glam” camping; river boarding and rafting at the Ciwidey River; and try some local snacks like “dodol strawberry” and “berondong jagung”.
- Kawah Putih is open from 7:00AM to 5:00PM while Patenggang Lake is open 24 hours. The Ciwidey Tea Plantations is just along the highway from Kawah Putih to Patenggang Lake.
- It is recommended to wear a face mask when visiting Kawah Putih as the stench of sulfur can be quite strong and foul.
- Vulcanic fumes maybe hazardous to health that’s why tourists with breathing problems, pregnant women, and infants are advised not to get close to the crater area.
- For health reasons, visitors are advised to stay not more than 15 minutes in the crater area.
- There are entrance fees to Lake Patenggang and the Kawah Putih, which can vary depending on the season and economic factors.
- Lake Patenggang and Ciwidey Tea Farms are best to visit early in the morning – the fog and the sunrise is just perfect to create stunning views.
- Camping is allowed in Lake Patenggang.
- The best view of the tea farms of Ciwidey is from a simple parking area along the national highway.
- The mobile phone signal in Ciwidey is stable.
- Bring along a camera - the views are amazing!
- Flying a camera drone is allowed in these three beautiful spots in Ciwidey.
- It is advised to bring cash when going around as some of the best stalls and services in the area are cash-based and does not accept debit/credit card.
- The weather in Ciwidey is cold specially in Lake Patenggang, so bring warm clothes.
HOW TO GET THERE
Option 1. There are direct flights from Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bali Island going to Bandung. Alternately, you can take a train ride from Yogyakarta or Jakarta going to Bandung. There are also vans and buses servicing Yogyakarta and Jakarta to Bandung route.
- From the city center of Bandung, you can take the public transportation going to Ciwidey – travel time is more or less one and half hours. Grab (fixed rate or rental) is also a good option to avoid the waiting time and the hassle of public transportation.
Option 2. If you’re in a private car, Google Maps is a great help. From Jakarta to Bandung, take the Cipularang Toll Road (exit in Pasteur Toll gate) travel time is more or less 3 hours.
Option 3. There are lots of tour packages offered online (web/app) – for less hassle and relaxed Bandung getaway.