Weekend Escape – Hiking to Papandayan Mountain (Part 1)

After 4 months ago the conversation about another destination to go had been discussed among us, finally, we made it into a real action. Last weekend, me and my travel partners in crime, went to Papandayan mountain in Garut, West Java.


Papandayan mountain is one of another volcanoes that still so many in Indonesia. Has a height of 2665 mbpl, located in West of Bandung which means around 6-7 hours from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, where I live. Papandayan still counted as an active volcano. Just 3 weeks before we departed to hike this mountain, Papandayan still declared by government as an active volcano and closed for public.

I was a bit sad because I really wanna see Papandayan by my own eyes. It’s all started when I checked my friend’s pictures about Papandayan, and this place caught my eyes by it’s beautiful view. Lucky just came to our way, suddenly it is announced that Papandayan already opened for public and save to hike. Hurraaayyy… my dream comes true. In short preparation, my friend arrange our trip and I tried to share about this idea to other friends so we can share the cost.

Here we are, finally we are able to go to Papandayan mountain and spend our weekend there. Because the area is close enough to Jakarta, we planned to leave on Friday evening and return to Jakarta on Sunday. It’s because we don’t want to take any days off from our work, since we are working and have very limited days off.

Friday around 10 pm, we already gathered together in Kampung Rambutan bus station. We chose Kampung Rambutan, because from this place, the bus option to Garut is many comparing to other bus station. With our bagpack, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, water and some food to bring, we ready to go. Some of us want to eat first before depart with the bus and consider the long hours and time arrival to Garut Station, we just left around 12 am from Kampung Rambutan.

We paid for 50.000 rupiah/person for the bus ticket. It’s an old bus with uncomfortable seats. I tried my best to sleep, but I can’t. The journey just so uncomfortable and I was definitely so tired after my trip from Palembang. Just before we departed to Papandayan, I just arrived from my working trip to South Sumatera. The trip in a row quite made me nervous and difficult to gain some new spirit for another journey. But I was so exciting, as always how I feel when I am ready to go to a trip. Maybe I can slept finally on the bus but it just for short times, before waking up again immediately when I feel the bus too fast or shaking a lot because the crazy driver and bumpy roads. Anyway, we arrived in Garut around 4.30 am, too early to catch any public transportation to reaching Papandayan Mountain.

It needs another 2 transportation from Garut Bus Station to the foot of the volcano (Camp David). After took our simple breakfast, oh, we need to be extra careful how we eat and fill our belly, since there will no toilet on the mountain, right? 😀 – we finished our breakfast and my friend bargained to a car driver. He agreed to bring us to another stop by sharing the cost of the car with another passengers. Don’t ask me, while we came inside the car, it’s already fulled with so many bags and the other 4 person from different hiking group, that tiny car seems too full, but anyway, it still goes away.

Around 30 minutes, we arrived in Cisurupan. Here, while waiting for another car to bring us to the foot of the volcano (Camp David), we made our self fresh and clean up in a Mosque bathroom. Again, I can say, on a trip, to find water and toilet are such a precious and rare things! That’s why I always feel so happy if I can find water and toilet. Finally the car comes. And guess what, it’s a Pick-Up type of car. This journey sounds to be more interesting than I thought!!! After filled up the car with our belongings, we jump to the car and do the best to make ourselves comfort.

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On this trip, we were together with our foreign friends, one from Netherlands and the other one from China. Again, in every country, there’s always a discrimination about price between foreigners and local – which I hate it, but as a traveler who ever go to another country, I forced to accept it. And yes, when the driver saw on our group there is “bule” (bule is a foreigner in Bahasa), he asked more money than usual. Yeah yeah yeah, that’s kind of annoying. He asked for 170.000 rupiah for one way to go up there, which normally around 12.500 rupiah/person. Good for us, we still paid the entry tickets in normal price 😉

For all the hikers who love to hike regularly, it’s already known that mountains in West Java are a bit pricey comparing to mountains in Central Java – what I mean is like the transportation, entry ticket, food and beverages, etc etc. Maybe because it’s still close to Jakarta, the capital city. Anyway, the road from Cisurupan to Papandayan is totally terrible! So many holes which for me personally make me a bit afraid to walk, especially if I think about how this small car, bring so many person on the car and need to drive that broken streets. I feel like a goat, jumping and move from one side to another side because of the shaking tires. After a painful journey for my ass, finally we arrived in Camp David, Papandayan. I can see that huge mountain in front of me!! Oh dear nature, why you are so beautiful to see.

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Jacket started to be used when we feel the air is so cold. Maybe it’s around 10°C – so away from hot Jakarta. The mountain still covered with thick fog which make us decide for better to wait until it becomes more clear and lovely to see. On this trip, we have another friend to meet, Jaya, a crazy biker who drove his cycle from Jakarta to Papandayan. He such a brave and funny guy – already made so many trip around Indonesia with his cycle, crazy crazy crazy! Especially if I remember those steep roads and so many holes on the street! He already arrived since one night before and build his tent while wait for us. Together we hiked to Papandayan.

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PS : He is not Jaya 😛 –

Promptly at 11 pm, we started our walk. Was a good idea to wait until the fog disappear, since we can get another sleep while we wait. And the mountain became so perfect to capture by our camera. Oh well, there was a coincidence that quite cool I had. I saw someone that I met before in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. He is a guy from France that studied in Hongkong – I feel like, “Hey, I know this guy! What’s he doing here, in Papandayan?” I met him before and sat on the same table on the boat to Ha Long Bay. He was with 2 other Canadian friends, I talked a lot with one of them, but actually I forget their names, hehee. But later on, when I greeted him, after a short time, he recognized me. My hair grows a bit after the last time we met. Hihihiii… What a life ya, that’s so coincidence and also so fun. He’s on his vacation in Indonesia – I always feel so special if people come to Indonesia and see my country, just feel so happy, they give themselves a chance to see us 🙂

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Me and Marc, accidentally meet in Camp David, Papandayan!

Continued to our walk, we’re heading to New Crater now. My tired body feels so bad when I need to carry my bag and do the hike. But I’m so in love with nature and every places that I never been before. Plus this trip becomes more special to me, since my best friend joined with us. It felt like a bunch of happiness, hahahaa, I know her so well, so by succees to invite and persuade her to enjoy the hiking and outdoor adventure such a big achievement for me – hihihii – now she can understand why I always eagerly to go to a trip, to blend myself to nature and to see another new places and do new things.

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New Crater seems so far away up there. The road full with stones which make us need to careful and focus with our steps. Not that easy, especially because not so many people who also visited New Crater and across this scree, usually, they chose another route which may lead them directly to the Camping Ground. The view surrounding us was so awesome. It’s so right decision about waiting to the right time in Camp David to climb the mountain. We got so clearly scenery even we have to be aware with some gray clouds and possibility of rain comes.

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Oh it’s all well done! Finally we saw that green crater. The water can be changed depend on the season, one time, it can be so muddy and the color becomes brown. In another time, it can be blue – which I don’t know why, also can be red dirty while the dry season comes. Now we were so lucky with beautiful green view in front of us. The crater not so big as what I saw in Ijen, East Java, but here, I can see very close view of the sulfur and how the smoke comes from some fractures on the mountain. We take a break for a while to ease our sore back and tired legs before continue our journey to the Camping Ground.

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This time, we have to walk through the mid of sulfur smokes. It smells so bad – a mixed between sulfur smell and disgusting air. We have to cover our nose and use mask to avoid any effect of the sulfur for our lungs. While we step on the ground, there’s many of sulfur fractures on the surface and some of hot springs sources on the rock. Actually, sulfur has function to clean face from acne and for relaxation while tired, furthermore also used as raw industry material. But it’s so sting and the smells are too strong for our nose. I can’t breathe well!

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After long hours walking and climbing, finally we arrived in Guberhood, an area with vast grass and empty ground, suitable for us to rest a moment before do another climb to the uphill. Oh I feel so exhausted and need a break. Laying my body on the grass feels like heaven. I don’t want to imagine another roads to walk. Hiking can be so fun but also really tired and when I know the next hill we should climb is more difficult, I feel like wanna throw the bag and just sit down there on the grass a bit longer.

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Courtesy Photo of Andi Prasetyo | I was too tired to reaching my own camera :p

Aware with the weather and another sign of rainy clouds, we have to continued our walk to reaching Pondok Sadala, it’s a camping ground which make me quite surprise. There’s so many people there build their tents. Mountain becomes such a famous place to visit lately because of the “5 cm” movie (an Indonesia movie). I just knew that outdoor activities also can follow the trend or become a seasonal hobby. Exactly after the guys tried to build our tents, rain comes! Fortunately tent for women already built strongly, so me, Ika and Icha just directly come inside the tent while guys still busy try to stand the tent.

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I didn’t do any camping for such a long time, so this camp experience will be so fun for me. To kill the time, we do so many things, first – we cooked the pempek (a traditional fish cake from Palembang, South Sumatera) which amazingly succeed to be cooked, grilled chicken for our dinner and play that silly game “ABC 5 Dasar” with a mix of “Truth or Dare” punishment. That moment was so fun and we laughed a lot. We felt like a family that trying to make ourselves warm from the coldness evening on the mountain by laughing and tease to each other. For me, traveling is not merely about the destination, but about with whom I share the ride, time, food and story. It’s a perfect travel partners, how the way they respect and accept to each other weaknesses just make the trip become so priceless for me. You rock, guys!

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When the time finally reached to 11 pm, another amazing thing happened, the Moon started to rise (weird, huh?!) so sky becomes reddish just like the sunset view. Too bad we didn’t capture it because we are too lazy to move since the weather was so cold. We prefer to stay close to the fire and enjoy the view. Again while I write this article, I still remember how the stars above shine so bright, hundred or maybe thousand of the stars, make the experience becomes more memorable. The stars brought me to a feeling that I am away from a life full of trouble, I am away from a world full with obstacle. It’s just only me and a dark solid clouds with thousand bright stars above. A very rare view comparing to the murky sky of Jakarta I see everyday .

Time to sleep, with cold feet and cold hands, I got into the sleeping bag, try my best to close my eyes and enjoy the moisture attack which soaked our stuff and make it wet. This quote filled my mind ; “I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” – Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy.





    • Hello Derian, thanks for the comment 🙂 Actually you can camp there and should bring your own tent and stuff to cook/food. You also can just follow other trekkers to find right path to walk. Or you can also hire a local guide there 🙂 Cheers, Dea


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