Asia, Indonesia

Volcanic Crater of Kawah Putih

Asia Indonesia

I took a day to go to Ciwidey. There is a volcanic crater which is famous and it is named “Kawah Putih.” Kawah Putih (White Crater) is a striking crater lake and tourist spot in a volcanic crater about 50 km of Bandung in West Java or about 162 km of Jakarta – Republic of Indonesia.

From Central Jakarta, I went to the toll of Cikampek, Cipularang, Purbaleunyi and exited at the toll gate of KOPO. Then from the Exit toll, there are directions to Ciwidey. The travel time required to go to the location is about a 3 hour drive. On the weekends, it will take longer due to traffic jams.

I arrived at my location stop at the car park outside the area and continued the journey to the crater with a ride named “Ontang Anting.” Ticket prices are Rp.15.000/person. If you are parking a private car within the area (near the location of white crater) the parking rate is quite expensive (Rp.150.000). If parking near the terminal Ontang Anting, you just pay the parking rates (Rp.10.000.) For admission tickets, the price is Rp.18.000 per person. The opening hours are (07.00 am – 05.00 pm).

It is a 15 minute walking journey (distance ± 5 km), which is traversed by a path up and down and somewhat winding. After that, you will finally arrive to the crater! Kawah Putih lake is one of the two craters which make up Mount Patuha, an andesitic stratovolcano. The smell of sulfur is strong because there is a good amount of steam and sulfurous gas bubbling from the lake. There are trails around the lake and through the nearby forest, including to the peak of Mt.Patuha. As the name implies, the land in this area is white due to the mixing of sulfur elements.

Volcanic Crater “Kawah Putih”

Kawah Putih and the surrounding area (where there are resort facilities such as hot spas) is a popular spot for people from Bandung. On weekends and on holidays, quite large numbers of Indonesian tourists visit Kawah Putih. The site is so far less well-known to international tourists.

The fog that passes over the crater is thick enough so that the view is somewhat obstructed. The smell of sulfur will become increasingly sharp into the nose and disrupt the respiratory system. Under these conditions, visitors should wear a mask to keep breathing stable.

The blue water of the crater, the thickness of the white mist, the mangrove trees that partially dried and the stretch of sand and the boulders of the stones perfect the beauty of the White Crater.

The Sulfur Aroma is Very Strong

The lake is 2,430 meters above sea level so the local climate is often quite chilly (temperatures are frequently around 10 degrees celcius). This makes a brisk change from the humidity of the North Java plain and capital city of Jakarta. Kawah Putih is a sizeable highly acid lake (pH 0,5 – 1,3) which changes colour from bluish to whitish green, or brown, depending on the concentration of sulfur and the temperature or the oxidation state.

The sand and rocks surrounding the lake have been also leached into whitish colours through interaction with the acidic lake waters (with possible mineral precipitation as well).

This is one of the most beautiful volcanic craters in West Java. In addition to the beauty enjoyed by the tourists, Ciwidey White Crater is also often a place for film shooting, painting, pre-wedding and climbing activities. Do not miss the white crater as one part of the bucket list that is recommended if you go to West Java.

Contributed by Riswi Hani