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Kawah Putih

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Travelling south from Bandung, capital city of West Java you will find yourself surrounded by mountains with magnificent sceneries, a rolling evergreen landscape of neatly cropped tea bushes, clumps of tropical forests, and misty hilltops. Amidst this fascinating setting, a surreal beauty radiates from an enchanting crater lake known as Kawah Putih or literary translated means the White Crafter.


Kawah Putih is located near the charming little market town of Ciwidey, approximately 50 Kilometers south of Bandung. The Crater Lake is one of two craters of  Mount Patuha, with the dry Kawah Patuha or the Patuha Crater located 600 meters to its northwest, being the other.


Stepping into Kawah Putih is like entering a different realm. As the name suggests, the Crater Lake and its surroundings are dominated by a pale white color which radiates a rather hypnotizing ambience. The vast dormant volcanic crater is filled with surreal turquoise-colored water. On sunny days, the color of the lake is stark and bright, while  on cloudy days, the entire crater can be shrouded in mist,  which presents its own mystical beauty. The tree-clad cliffs surrounding the crater reach around 2,500 meters above sea level and make for a stunning backdrop, especially when the clouds start to roll in. The altitude here brings with it chilly temperatures, which in a way, will add to the magical splendor of Kawah Putih.


The lake is said to have been first documented in 1837 by Dr Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, a German botanist who carried out a considerable amount of research in Indonesia until his death in 1864 in Lembang, located just north of Bandung.


At the time, there were various local stories about the history of the area. Birds were said to avoid flying near the region and some were even found dead after flying above the lake. Villagers in the area tended to regard the forest around the lake as eerie and somewhat mysterious. These stories prompted Dr Junghuhn to investigate, and so discovered Kawah Putih. He concluded that the birds flying over the Crater Lake died due to its high concentration of sulfur.  


Upon this discovery, a sulfur plant known as the Zwavel Ontginning Kawah Putih was established by the lake during Dutch rule on Java.  In  World War II the plant was taken over by the Japanese military and was operated under the name Kawah Putih Kenzanka Yokoya Ciwidey. Today the plant no longer exists , however, entry points to its  tunnels,  remnants of these mining activities can still be seen at several points around the current site.


First opened for visitors in 1987, nowadays Kawah Putih is a favorite destination for tourists and day trippers who are simply stunned by its mesmerizing ambience. On weekends and on holidays, quite large numbers of visitors frequently visit the area just to immerse themselves in the mystical beauty of nature.


Kawah Putih is open to the  public daily from 07.00 to 17.00 West Indonesia time. The facilities available are adequate with a parking lot, transportation, information center and food stalls. The entry ticket for domestic tourist is IDR15,000, while for international tourists this  is IDR30,000. {AAM}


To Buy, To Stay, To Do

There are many  hotels, villas, and inns available near Kawah Putih and Ciwidey. Here are some of them:D’Riam Riverside ResortJl. Soreang - Ciwidey Km 25, BandungPhone: +62 22 85921210, +62 22 859212182Email: reservation@driamresort.comWebsite: http://www.driamresort.com/ Kampung Pa’goJl. Raya Soreang Ciwidey Km 25Phone: +62 22 859 20696, +62 22 926 30 996Fax: +62 22 592 8062Email: info@kampungpago.com Website: http://www.kampungpago.com/ Hotel Sindang ReretJl.Propinsi Ciwidey Km22Phone: +62 22 5928205Fax: +62 225 928 204Patuha ResortJl.Ciwidey-Patenggang Km30Phone: +62 22 5928062Rancabali Cottage CiwideyJl.Rancawalini CiwideyPhone: +62 85320371165, +62 22 2534517, +62 22 2501635

Getting There and Around

Get There

Kawah Putih is located approximately 44 Kilometers south from the center of Bandung City. Depending on the traffic in and around Bandung, the trip will take a little over two hours. The main road is the busy road south from Bandung through the town of Soreang, capital of the Bandung Regency, continuing down to the town of Ciwidey.


The turn from the main road to Kawah Putih is hard to miss: there is a large signboard to the left of the main road and a prominent entry gate.


If you wish to use public transportation you must first find your way to the Leuwipanjang Bus Station and then take the bus in the direction of Ciwidey. From Ciwidey, you can take the angkot mini bus to the entrance of Kawah Putih.


Once at the Kawah Putih entrance, it is a long trek uphill to the crater but  you won’t see many attempting to walk this. The usual arrangement is for visitors to leave their vehicles in the main carpark at the entrygate  to the site and catch one of the regular mini shuttle buses (leaving every five minutes or so) for the 5 km up to the crater. The return trip of the shuttle buses costs  IDR10.000 per person.

Those who prefer to drive their own vehicles up to the crater are charged an additional IDR150,000 per car.