Explore the Amazing Mount Papandayan in West Java – Garut

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I’ve always wanted to visit Mount Papandayan, I heard so much about this places and its beautiful scenery, my fellow traveller invited me to join Mount Papandayan trip, and yes of course I didn’t want to miss this opportunity, 1 week before we already discuss about what we need, such as logistics and items to bring since we will be camping too. Since we will be travelling backpacking style we gather information concerning transportation and how to reach to the area.  We decided to leave at night because the bus trip heading to Garut will take approx 4-5hours. Heading to Garut many bus terminal offer this route and we are taking one from Lebak Bulus terminal station, the last post leave at 10 pm, and we all decided to be there at 9pm. Since I’m still new in camping and mount trekking, I still need to borrow some items from a friend such as mattress, sleeping bag and head lamp. We needed a tent and find it quite hard to find, since its a high season and most tent are out, I finally found one small company that provide tent for rent as cheap as 25,000Rp/day for a tent with 4-5 person capacity.

We left 10 pm sharp from Lebak bulus bus terminal using Primajasa bus, these buses leave every hour so there are many flexible hours for travellers who want to get to Garut by these buses. The bus are comfortable with aircon, it may look pretty empty at first but as the bus starts riding more and more people would enter. The bus arrived earlier than we thought at 2am in the morning, it was hard to sleep in the bus I must say, after arriving in Garut bus terminal, we still need to reach to Cisarupuan by public transport (angkot) most of these public transport you wont find them with signage, they would come to you and ask if you are going to “cisarupuan” or to go to “ Mount Papandayan” the transport looked more like minivan, but could even feel up to 10-15 peoples so you would have to be ready to squeeze yourself inside, after bargaining we manage to get a rate of 15,000Rp/pax to Cisarupuan it normally cost only 10,000Rp/pax but because it was too early in the morning they increased the rate, and we had to no choice but to pay that price. The journey from Garut bus terminal to Cisarupuan is around 1 hour drive. After arriving in Cisarupuan around 4am it was still too early for us to head to Mount papandayan, as we already made schedule to meet around 6am with our local porter. Meanwhile while waiting til sunrise we need to find another transport to head to entrance of Mount Papandayan, and this time we need a pick up car as the road heading are pretty difficult by normal cars/bikes. After meeting our porter and bargaining with the pickup car we finally get a price of 130,000rp/car if it was more than 4 people they normally give a rate of 20,000 rp/pax but since we are only four they have to charge the whole car. The journey up takes around 30 minutes.

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We start our trekking around 7am the entrance fee per person is only 5,000 Rp/ pax and we have to report in to the office. There are many porters there available, I already found porter through an online blog and spoke to him about our trip and we got a good deal of 200,000Rp for the porter, he is a very friendly and great person, although he went up first carrying our logistics and bags, he manage pretty well to carry our bags with his adventurous motorbike lol. Trekking through the Papandayan Mountain is very satisfying the first trek we went through hard rocks with sulphuric rocks and smoke the weather was pretty good and sunny. After a few km, we started entering the green forest where there is mud and cross by small river. The scenery is spectacular as you can see from the pictures. We stopped at our camping area “pondok seladah” here you’ll find many other travellers already set up their tent, the weather is very cold up there maybe around 8-10 degrees celcius, after arriving in Pondok Seladah, we set up our tent and ready to cook for lunch, we spent the whole day resting in Pondok Seladah, there are 2 places where we can go from here the one Is the dead forest and the other one is Tegal alun (edelweiss savannah) we decided to go the next day as we are hoping for a good weather.

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The weather gets cooler at night, I would highly recommend people going there to really bring warm clothes so you could sleep at night. The next morning we woke up at 5 to see the sunrise near the camping area, but we failed to see the sunrise due to heavy clouds and fog. We continues our sleep and woke up in a few hours. After having our breakfast we head to the dead forest, its about 30 min trek not so far from the camping area but the route heading there is filled with mud and lots of water puddle, so our feet was very wet. Dead forest was amazing I was really blown away by the scenery the places looks so epic, all the left over dead trees just standing there, it’s a different kind of scene and panorama that we all enjoy and started taking picture from every angle, we were warned earlier at the entrance gate that we should be careful due to the land slides that occur in the dead forest, I was lucky and brave enough to be there and have chance to take picture of the land slides. We plan to head back to the camp rest and continue to Tegal alun, but after hours of waiting the weathers gets worse heavy fog and rain, the porter told us to head back down instead, since the rain never stopped we continue our long walk down soaking wet and cold. The trekking trail that we went through suddenly become a small river of water flowing, it becomes very slippery and dangerous for us, we had to slowly walk down hold on roots and rocks so we won’t slip down, it was adventure until we stopped at the area where we have to pass through a huge river, I was quite surprise to see the small river where we used to pass by jumping on the little rocks now we cant even see the rocks the water was until our knees, so we hold hands and cross together. The weather started to slowly to get better but it was still cold! Since we are all wet and the weather is cold we quickly try to warm our self in a local shop and had our warm coffee. Overall I loved this trip despite the cold and rainy weather the scenery, the trekking trails the mountains, the crater the forest everything was just beyong my expectations it was simply magical as if im so far away from where I’m from. I would totally head back there!

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