When one talks of Indonesia, youre essentially conjuring images of more than 17,000 islands stretching all the way from the western shores of the Malayan Peninsula to the northern edges of Australia with each region boasting of many fantastic places to see, amazing cultures to experience, and mouth-watering foods to feast on. But smack in the heart of the archipelago is an attraction that only those in the know and those with a very resistant sense of smell would dare venture. Kawah Putih or white crater is a tourist spot like no other.
This is not your standard travel destination and requires a lot of effort to visit. But those who make the tough journey will be rewarded with something truly unique and unlike any holiday destinations you’d visit at home. Consider this as your simplified guide to this hidden gem in the heart of Indonesia.
Kawah Putih is a very picturesque crater lake, often changing its color from sky blue to whitish green. In some instances, the water can also turn into a brownish hue. The changing color of the water is due in part to the concentration of sulphur sourced from the andesitic volcano that Kawah Putih considers home, Mount Patuha. The temperature of the water or its state of oxidation can also play a role in the changing color of the water. As such, going there today will mean an entirely different experience from the one you had yesterday. There really is no telling what the waters of Kawah Putih will bring in next.
The waters of the crater lake are not the only ones that are frequently painted by nature with its magical brush. Even the rocks and sand that form the perimeter of this geologic feature have also been made as Mother Natures canvas, often painting them with whitish hues. The amount of mineral precipitation gives these geologic features a character that is uniquely beautiful. It may be surreal to some, but these have been the source of inspiration for many local and foreign artists.
Getting to Kawah Putih can be arduous. First, youd have to plane in through Soekarno-Hatta in Tangerang just outside Jakarta, come out alive from the concrete jungle of Jakarta, and head out towards the mountain resort city of Bandung in West Java. From Bandung, its a rather snail-pace crawl towards the Kawah Putih area. On a good day, which is very rare, youd get there in two hours. But during peak season, expect the two hours to double or even triple.
So what do you do in Kawah Putih? Well, aside from spending countless hours exposing your nose to the sulfuric smell of the environment and feasting your eyes on the natural watery canvas that turn from blue to green to white and brown, theres not much really. But youd be amazed at the throngs of tourists letting themselves be transported magically by the scenery.
Kawah Putih is the perfect destination if you love nature and you dont mind the smell of sulfur. Additionally, this is the perfect excuse to sample some of the local delicacies like Sop Buntut Goreng and Nasi Goreng Petai that you can only find in this part of the world. Its not for everyone, but Kawah Putih is a gem for those who can appreciate a diamond still in the rough.