Places of Interest in Tangkuban Perahu, Java Island

Tangkuban perahu is a volcano, 25 kilometers north of Bandung
direction of Lembang. Its location is in between Sagalaherang village,
Sagalaherang district, Subang regency and Cikole village, Lembang
district, Bandung regency. This is Bandung's most famous tourist volcano
just 28 km north of the city. This volcano offers many places to see
and explore. Whether we look into the huge crater or hike down into it,
stroll through the forest on its slopes, or simply enjoy the splendid
panoramic scenery. Mt. Tangkuban Perahu is an interesting destination
that everyone in the Bandung area is fond of visiting. When seen from
Bandung, Mt. Tangkuban Perahu has a distinctive shape, like an upside
down boat. Tangkuban Perahu means, in fact, "up-turned boat" This
peculiar shape has stimulated the fantasy of the Sundanese people from
early times as expressed in the Legend of Sangkuriang. Geologically, Mt.
Tangkuban Perahu has played a significant role in the development of
Parahyangan highlands. Eruptions have contributed immensely to the hills
north of Bandung through lava flowing into the valleys and hardening
into rock, thus forming big cliffs over which waterfalls leap. Likewise,
mud flows have formed a semi-circular cone of gentle gradient (what
geologists call "a fan"), which is now a mass that blocked the valley of
the ancient Citarum River near present day in Padalarang (some 18 km
west of Bandung), this caused a lake to form covering the whole Bandung
plain.


Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano with three craters into which
areas tourists can walk through. These three craters are: Kawah Ratu
("Queen Crater"), Kawah Domas ("Domas Crater"), and Kawah Upas ("Upas
Crater"). Tourists can go down into the Domas Crater where exist many
hot geysers in which they can boil eggs. Though the mountain appears
peaceful, mild eruptions occurred in 1969, when Kawah Ratu spewed ash
and barrages 500 m high. As recently as September 1992 it was closed to
the public for a few days because unusually high seismic activity leads
volcanologist to fear a new eruption. On the mountain's northern flank
is an area called Death Valley, so named for its frequent accumulation
of poisonous gases. On a reasonably clear day, from Kawah Ratu, the main
crater, we can see not only the mountain range to the east, with Mt.
Bukittunggul as its highest peak (2,209 m), but also two other in a
northeasterly direction. The lower and nearer one is Mt. Tampomas (1,684
m) just north of Sumedang some 40 km away. To the right and about 90 km
away is Mt. Ciremai close to Cirebon on the north coast. At 3,078 m,
Mt. Ciremai is West Java's tallest mountain. At the foot of Mt.
Tangkuban Perahu we see the Ciater tea plantation covering the rolling
hills. Farther to the left are the northern coastal plains of Java, and
on an extremely clear day we may even be able to see the Java Sea
beyond.


Kawah Ratu, which means "Queen's Crater", is today just a big
gray hole, which sometimes has a pool of water at its center. Poisonous
gases sometimes accumulate in Kawah Ratu, thus making it somewhat of a
risk to descend to the crater floor. Beyond the saddled shaped
depression on the far side of Kawah Ratu is the still active Kawah Upas,
the oldest crater on the mountain. On the very far western cliff we see
a spot where all vegetation has been destroyed by constantly rising
sulfurous vapors. On the crater walls, note the various layers of
material consisting of rock, sand, and pebbles. Overtime, new craters
have formed again and again in a rather consistent shift from west to
east. The most well known of these is the Domas crater, but also there
are other smaller ones in jungle on the mountain's northeastern flank.
Facilities in Tangkuban Perahu Crater are comfortable parking area,
souvenir kiosks, and restaurants.

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