Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Travel: Bandung Day #2 Itinerary - Going Up Tangkuban Perahu!

Previous post on Bandung: Massage @ Mariaty's and dinner at Paskal Food Market

(Yep, still chugging away on our Bandung posts, slowly but surely! :D)

Tangkuban Perahu is a popular destination for Bandung visitors. Located some 30km north of Bandung city, this dormant volcano can be reached by car or tourist bus. 

The folk story behind this volcano is the stuff of our Malay literature we studied back in school, like Puteri Gunung Ledang or the sort.

Legend has it that there used to be a beauty named Dayang Sumbi in West Java, who had a son, Sangkuriang. Sangkuriang was disobedient and Dayang Sumbi decided to send him away. In return for her gesture, she was gifted with eternal youth by the gods. Long after, their paths crossed again and not recognizing each other, fell in love. (Yes, son fell in love with his mother :s).

One day before the wedding, Dayang Sumbi recognized Sangkuriang's birthmark and finally came to the realization that he was her son which she had banished years ago. To stop the wedding, she told him she was only marry him if he could build a great lake and a boat for them to sail away in before dawn broke. 

With the help of some spirits, Sangkuriang was almost about to succeed - he had caused landslides on several rivers causing the water to fill up the entire valley like a lake, and had built a boat from a giant tree. Seeing this, Dayang Sumbi quickly summoned some flashes of light across the horizon, and thinking it was dawn, Sangkuriang fell into great despair. In anger, he kicked over the boat he had built. Folklore has it that Mount Tangkuban Perahu is that overturned boat from the Legend of Sangkuriang (Tangkuban meaning upside down and Perahu meaning boat).

Sights on the way up to Tangkuban Perahu - lots of lovely terraced slopes

Our driver, Pak Dodi had forewarned that traffic would be bad, and that we should leave our hotel as early as 8am. The journey took nearly 2 hours to the highlands of Tangkuban Perahu. While the location itself isn't far, the journey time largely depends on traffic (we spent more than 2 hours jamming down!) as there's only one lane up and down respectively. As luck would have it, it was also a long weekend in Indonesia and there was an influx of tourists from neighbouring Jakarta. Massive crowd!

Though we had left early, the parking lot was full and a-buzzing when we got there. Pak Dodi created his own parking spot, #likeaboss, and we unloaded ourselves from the van, ready to sightsee. The skies were very blue when we arrived, and we were so near the clouds! Very breathtaking.

The air was quite crisp and dry, no trees or flowers in bloom. It was really crowded and the atmosphere quite lively, with people trying to sell you scarves and hats, or horse rides!

Of course, the customary "we were here" picture! :D

This is the biggest crater, Kawah Ratu (loosely translated to 'Queen's Crater'). The view is amazing, because it's so large. Really one of those times I wish I had gotten a wider-angle lens. Bigger than a football field, even. Here you'll also get a whiff of the sulphur fumes from the crater which can get quite overpowering.

A closer look at the crater - can you see some a small puff of smoke rising from the crater from the top right picture?

Other tourists attempting the trek.
Walking around the diameter of Kawah Ratu will bring you to the second crater of Kawah Upas after about 20 minutes. We saw a lot of tourists attempt the trail, which looked quite steep in certain parts. There's also a third crater called Kawah Domas which we hear is a better sight than Kawah Ratu. Being lazy, we attempted neither. :p

We were still really amazed at those clouds - they were so large and billow-y and they looked like they could engulf us at any moment. Haha.

Playing with my DigiEye Wide Converter lens add on for this shot - but nothing can beat the real thing.

Looking over the shops and the constant arrival of tourists

You can escape off the trail through these narrow alleys to get to the shops below

The weather was scorching when we first arrived, but after half an hour, it got very cloudy and that's when it got cool and lovely.

There are lots of little stalls selling trinkets, from wooden figurines, snacks, to postcards and even bottles of rocks (apparently hailing from the crater). We made our way down to some huts to take a break and got tempted by some of the food there.

The bakso in particular, turned out to be the best bakso we had! The broth was bursting with flavour, and the addition of the chilli (just a dash!) was a great kick for the cool morning.

We also enjoyed the fritters from a mak cik peddling drinks and fried snacks, these were lightly battered and freshly fried when we ordered. We went back for seconds of the banana fritters (pisang goreng) and vegetable fritters (like cucur bawang, very tasty!). Definitely a good time basking in the cool air and resting our feet while having some hot warm food.

After our meal, we finally decided to look for Pak Dodi and head back down. If we had known it would take us more than 2 hours being stuck in traffic down the hill, I would've taken away more fritters to eat in the van :p If you have small children with you, you might want to consider food and/or games to keep them occupied throughout.

Some more sights on our journey (jamming) down Tangkuban Perahu:
L-R, top:
1. Right to Bandung, and left to Subang?
2. Fields of healthy looking crops
3. Some tourists hitching a horse ride

L-R, bottom:
1. The blue skies were back as we made our journey down! Beautiful scenery
2. What do you suppose Mie Tek-Tek is?
3. You can't really see it due to the reflection from our van window, but it's advertising "Fiber Semen Elephant, lebih kuat dan awet" (Loose translation - Elephant semen fibre, more strong and durable") o_O

Though the journey to Tangkuban Perahu was a pain, I don't suppose you could say you've rightfully visited Bandung without a visit. Kawah Ratu was a rather breathtaking sight and if you're adventurous, you could visit the other two craters.

Other items you could do nearby Tangkuban Perahu: take a visit to nearby Ciater for the hot springs, or have a meal at Kampung Daun Restaurant. Apparently Kampung Daun is lovely at night (from pictures it looks a bit like our Subak Restaurant in Bukit Lanjan).

Up next: Paris van Java and another massage!

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