Bandung is a beautiful colonial town in central Java and a must visit if you travel through Indonesia. It’s called the Paris of Java due to its beautiful colonial heritage and pleasant climate. In colonial time, it was used as an escape from the heat because the surrounding mountains and the elevation kept the heat away. Now, it’s also great to escape Bandung to the north and do a Tangkuban Perahu volcano crater tour, visit a tea plantation, hot springs, and go for nice local lunch and dinner. It’s a day trip I did when I travelled Java & Bali for two weeks with my daughter. I show you the must-do’s and must-see’s north of Bandung.
Tangkuban Perahu volcano crater tour
I was lucky that I stayed at the Intercontinental Bandung which is in the northern part of Bandung. Getting out of the city in the morning with all the traffic isn’t a fun thing. I was on my way at about 8 AM to do a Tangkuban Perahu volcano crater tour. The drive up the breathtaking highlands is very scenic and offers beautiful views over the countryside. Although the drive to the Tangkuban Perahu volcano is just 40 kilometers it still took over an hour by private car. I drove all the way up paying also the fee for the car. Yes, also at the Tangkuban Perahu volcano foreign people pay an entrance fee ten times as high as locals. Foreigners do pay anyway so they don’t care; even for western standards it was expensive.
The Tangkuban Perahu volcano crater is a must-see as you can walk up to the ridge and have a beautiful birds eye view in the crater. The volcano is located near Lembang city at an elevation of about 2000 meters. It’s an active volcano which last erupted in 1983. The day of my visit the weather wasn’t that nice with low clouds hanging around the ridge. This, at the other hand, gave the place also a nice atmosphere. I think I saw blue sky peeping through the clouds for just 5 minutes.
After I walked the ridge I learned that you can walk down through the forest and visit the hot springs located on the hillside of the volcano. This, however, involved another fee as for some reason it wasn’t allowed to walk this path alone. Ok, I do know the reason: the locals want money and be your guide but it’s nothing more as showing you the way.
It’s a beautiful walk down the crater hill through lush green forest. The hot springs are accessible and you can bathe in them if you want. Not totally my thing but it was worth to do the hike and see those hot springs, not the money though. The “guide” showed us some Sulphur crystals and told us we could take those home which I did to have some value for money. It was around 12 AM when I finished the Tangkuban Perahu crater tour and continued to the Perkebunan Nusantara VIII tea plantation nearby.
Tea Plantation: Perkebunan Nusantara VIII
Perkebunan Nusantara VIII dates to the Dutch colonial times of Indonesia. It was a state-owned company for a long time before it got privatized. Its headquarters are in Bandung but they own various plantations throughout Java including famous tea plantations. Near Lembang city is one of their tea plantations which can be visited on a guided tour. I don’t know if you normally must pay a fee but I was allowed free entrance being press. As I arrived at an unusual time for a tour I got a private tour through the factory.
The guide explained about the tea growing, harvesting, processing of the leaves and sorting & packing the tea. It’s hard work for the employees, or maybe not as you can see in the following picture. A visit to a tea plantation is highly recommended so that you know what happens to all the tea plantations you see when driving through the country side. The tour lasted for an hour including tasting of the local produced tea. The tour gave me a good understanding of the local economy and what kind of jobs the local people have.
How to fill the rest of the day north of Bandung
It’s probably around 2PM when you finish the tour of the tea plantation and time for lunch. I suggest two options of which one is to have lunch at the Sari Ater Hotel & Resort and relax in their hot springs until it’s time for dinner. The other option is to have lunch at the Floating Market Lembang and make a hike at the Curug Cimahi Waterfall after. Don’t make the mistake as I did by visiting everything; it’s to much! Whichever you choose I do suggest having dinner at Kampung Daun where local tradition meets local food.
Lunch at the hot springs of the Sari Ater Hotel & Resort
The Sari Ater Hotel & Resort is huge with many hot springs and pools filled with hot natural water from the Tangkuban Perahu volcano. You could also overnight here and experience more of the many activities the resort offers. I only had lunch there and walked around the property. I’m not so much into hot springs myself but my daughter (see photo below) wanted to relax a bit for an hour at the hot springs. After she was finished it was time to continue to have a quick look at the Floating Market Lembang and the Curug Cimahi Waterfall.
Lunch at the Floating Market Lembang
The Floating Market Lembang is a great place to taste local food. Various vendors sell their local produce from boats next to the dock. The Floating Market Lembang is also a place for entertainment. There are paddle boats, from which you can buy the food too, small expositions, witness local traditions and more. Especially with kids it’s a great place to have lunch and do some of the activities.
Curug Cimahi Waterfall trekking
The Curug Cimahi waterfall is an 85-meter-high narrow waterfall. It’s located in the village of Cisarua and is a great spot on a north Bandung day trip. It takes about an hour to walk down to the waterfall and up again. In the evening, it’s lit up in various colors. I only watched it from a distance as I simply didn’t have time anymore this day to walk all the way down. That’s the reason you should either visit the hot springs OR the floating market and not both as I did.
Dinner at Kampung Daun
Kampung Daun is a restaurant that serves delicious local food in an outstanding setting. Kampung Daun restaurant is like a village with small traditional houses in which you’ll have your dinner. These houses are surrounded by lush green jungle and combined with dimly lit lights give the place a great atmosphere. A unique dining experience which I can recommend everyone to do at the end of a north Bandung day trip.
It was already late evening when I arrived back at the Intercontinental Bandung. My daughter went to bed immediately but I went for a great treatment at the spa. I wanted to relax as the next day we would fly to Yogyakarta and go to the Borobudur where the sunset would be the highlight. It was just halfway the two weeks I spend with my daughter in Indonesia. Although we almost died on the Ijen volcano we did end our trip on Bali in one piece.Stay tuned for more stories and subscribe to the newsletter or follow CTB on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram including Instagram stories; on all social media you can find CTB @christravelblog) to get updated information.
Did you visit Bandung and the Tangkuban Perahu volcano crater too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!