Fun Trekking in Papandayan

Saturday, November 09, 2013

One of many excitements I get every time a long weekend comes is the possibility to do traveling. On one long weekend last October, instead of making a trip to historical places, I decided to join Gilang and Ramala, my friends from college to trek in Mount Papandayan, Garut. It didn’t take days to trek in that mountain since it was rather small. Its peak is only 2665 meters above the sea level. Yet, the landscape was spectacular.

Departing from Bandung at late afternoon, we arrived at Papandayan at around nine at night. It was way too dark to start the trekking. So we set up a tent at Camp Davis, a camping ground located close to the parking area. We set the alarm to ring at dawn.

The sky was bright in the following morning. We started the trip at six. Few minutes later, we reached the craters. It was amazing to see the natural phenomenon where the gas of sulfur coming out from earth could be seen from such a close distance. The scenery might have looked great and breathtaking sometimes, but I couldn’t stand the smell of the gas.


At the beginning of the trekking, we didn’t pass any forest. All we saw along the way was either stones or grass before finally found a small river where I stopped to take some pictures.

Two hours after we started the trekking, we reach Pondok Salada, another camping ground located higher than the Camp Davis. To reach that place, we had to walk through a forest. Many people set up their tents in this camping ground. They must have arrived earlier than us.

Since we hadn’t had our breakfast, we decided to have brunch. This time, my friend Ramala would cook for us. She chose to cook inside the forest. Together with her sister, Kanti, she began to peel the onions and chop the red chilies to make sauce.

As for the menu, we had Nasi Liwet, fried fish, and tempe. The taste might be not so great, yet we ate it to the last bite. We were starving after walking up for like two hours.

Walking out of the forest after the brunch, we walked through a narrow path between shrubs at its both sides. We were trying to find a way to reach Tegal Alun, a vast savannah covered with edelweiss flowers. It turned out that the only way to do that was by climbing up several huge rocks.

At first, I tried to deny it by thinking that there must have been some other way to reach Tegal Alun. Well, I was wrong and had to accept the fact that it was really the only way. I felt like climbing up stairs with extremely high risers.

It was a huge relieve when we finally reach the upper ground. We still had to walk through a narrow path inside the jungle after that before finally found the edelweiss field.

I was excited to see edelweiss grow everywhere. I was tempted to pick some of those flowers but then realize that it was prohibited. It really took time for them to grow. That was why they were conserved. We were rather unfortunate then as the mist started to come down.


Passing through another forest, we arrived at Tegal Alun. It was a vaster savannah, mostly covered with yellow grass and edelweiss. 

Hutan Mati (dead forest) was one spot in Mount Papandayan that I looked forward most. It was a forest affected by the eruption in 2002 that had destroyed and killed the vegetations. What remained today were just the trunks and branches. I was not sure how long it was going to take until the forest could revive.

The path we had to walk through after the dead forest was quite challenging. It was fully covered with stones and sands, and it was descending. I fell like twice due to the slippery. On this way back to our camping ground at Camp Davis, we could see the crater closer than before. We kept walking and were unaware that we had returned to the same path we walked through in the morning.


At 14:45 we reached the Camp Davis and took a break at the tent we had erected on the previous night. Since we had lost lots of calories in the trekking, we needed to eat something before dinner. Thanks to Ramala who took the initiative to cook spaghetti for us. And that was the last meal we had in Papandayan before finally heading back to Bandung.

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