I was fortunate enough to have discovered such a beautiful place to wander and get lost in all by myself on Mount Papandayan, where I could rebalance and rejuvenate myself. Located around 15km south-west of the city of Garut in West Java, Mount Papandayan reaches 2,622 metres above sea level and is considered one of the most gigantic of volcanoes – and one of the most dangerous. It once claimed a total of 3,000 lives when it erupted in 1772.
Before that, though, let me ask you something: do you have any interest in mountaineering? If you are, and you’re still new to mountain climbing, then Mount Papandayan would be just perfect for you. Its terrain is not too rugged, while the climb is not as steep as its counterparts, and you will still be rewarded in spades with the panoramic, mesmerizing view.
A trek here would start with a rocky sulphuric field for you to traverse across. The scenery here – the rock formations and the lakes – is picturesque, and the weather is just nice: sunny, yet not too hot. You will be required to wear a mask as you make your way here, though, as the miasma from the sulphur can be very unpleasant. If you forgot to bring one, then just cover your nose with a piece of cloth or the top that you’re wearing. After the field, the trek will continue for another hour to Goeber Hut.
Basically a resting area where I didn’t spend much time at, as not far from here lies the camping grounds that is Pondok Saladah.
The camping grounds for Mount Papandayan climbers to set up tents and rest for the night. It’s quite spacious, and you can easily find a non-stop water source that is cold and fresh.
My favourite spot out of all, Dead Forest (or Hutan Mati) is a streaking grey-and-white area that is filled with dead trees – the result of an eruption in 2002. The mood will drastically change once you step foot in the Dead Forest. Gloomy and mystical yet beautiful at the same time, it felt like straight out of the film “Maleficent”. You’ll be able to catch a majestic view of the sun rising from here.
For some, the eye-catchingly beautiful edelweiss – the flower symbolises immortality – field of Tegal Alun is the best thing about Mount Papandayan. The morning fresh air sweeps across the white woolly field full of edelweiss, while a wall of white mist rolls slowly through it. I only needed to close my eyes and breathe in deep to achieve a state of tranquillity when I was there. Unfortunately, it’s saddening to know that the number of edelweiss here is rapidly declining. Due to its popularity among tourists, the locals have resorted to drying the flowers and selling them as souvenirs to make a profit. Travellers would also tend to pick them despite of the rules stating clearly that it’s forbidden to do so.
Overall : Mount Papandayan offers a different view from every spot that you visit. It’s also tailor-made for beginners to mountain climbing.
1. Please treat the environment with respect. In return, it will provide you with moments of wonder and out-of-this-world sceneries to enjoy.
2. You don't need to reach the summit, you will see nothing at the top, trust me on this one :)
How to get there:
From Jakarta take a bus to Kampung Rambutan or Lebak Bulus straight to Garut, West Java - cost you about IDR 35.000, -
From Garut bus station, you need to take public minivan en route to Cikajang, cost you about IDR 8000,-
From there you need to charter a pick up to take you to the starting point, cost you about IDR 10.000,- (depending of the number of passengers).