Mount Papandayan is a complex stratovolcano, located in Garut
Regency, West Java, Indonesia. At the summit, there are four
large craters, and it contains active fumarole fields. The
1772 eruption caused the northeast flank to collapse,
producing a catastrophic debris avalanche that destroyed 40
villages and killed nearly 3000 people. It truncated the
volcano into a broad shape with two peaks and a flat 1.1 km
wide of Alun-Alun crater in the middle, making it look like
a twin volcano. One of the peaks is called Papandayan and
the other is Mount Puntang. Since 1772, only small phreatic
eruptions had occurred prior to an explosive eruption that
began in November 2002.
Mount Papandayan is a large
composite volcano. It is constructed of alternating layers
of lava and ash, and other fragmental volcanic rock debris
formed by explosive eruptions over the past several hundred
years. A large horseshoe-shape crater extended to the
northeast resulting in an avalanche deposit consisted of
intermixed volcanic debris and alternated rocks, with
steep-sided crater walls. Numerous small vents within the
crater, known as Kawah Mas, Kawah Baru, Kawah Nangklak,
Kawah Manuk and many other with solfataras emitting smoke
and hot fumes from its inner sides.
The Mount Papandayan area is a popular touristic area.
Tourists can walk across the crater and view phenomena such
as bubbling mud pools, steam vents and sulfur deposits. The
bubbling yellow crater (Kawah Papandayan or "Papandayan
Crater") is a popular sight. Above the crater is the elfin
forest and several meadows with the Javanese edelweiss
A visit to Mt. Papandayan is one of the most spectacular
outings to an active volcano you can make. Golden sulphur
crystals, hissing steam, boiling mud and water, blue and
black creeks, all set in a large crater with a commanding
view over the Garut Plain make this outing an unforgettable
Access to the mountain is easy with any vehicle. Public
buses take you only to within 9 km of the crater, so you
either have to walk the rest of the way or take an ojek
(private motorbike with driver).
Though you can drive directly to the rim of the crater,
keep in mind that your safety is not guaranteed—hot steam
and boiling water and mud can scald you badly, and many of
the sharp-edged rocks are rather loose. Do be careful.
There are two routes to Mt. Papandayan: one from the
Garut area in the east and the other from the west via
Pengalengan. Note that the two routes do not connect—not
even a jeep can drive the 1 km across the crater.
from the east
The eastern approach from Garut is by far the easiest.
Good roads take you right to the lower edge of the crater.
Between Cipanas and Garut is the Tarogong roundabout, 42 km
from the Cileunyi toll road exit. When you come from the
north (Bandung or Cipanas), head toward Garut and Papandayan
at the Tarogong roundabout. Half a kilometer past the
roundabout, turn off to the right to bypass Garut and follow
the Papandayan road sign. Continue on past the turnoffs to
Kamojang (7km) and Darajat (9 km). Some 15 km from Tarogong
the road connects with the main Garut-Cikajang road. After
another 7 km, in Cisurupan, where the main road takes a
sharp turn to the left, you go straight up the hill. From
here it’s 9 km to the crater.
The road winds up the mountain, at times steeply, but is
reasonably well surfaced and should not pose a problem for
any car. At the car park, parking and admission fees are
Approaching Mt. Papandayan across the Garut Plain, you
can see the horseshoe shaped crater with a gaping hole to
the northeast. This open side resulted when, on 11 August
1772, a terrible eruption shook the mountain and the whole
Garut area. What had once been a solid mountain flank
exploded sideways across the Garut Plain.
papandayan-2Geologists estimate that several cubic
kilometers, or several thousand million tons, of rock mass
were blown out that night. If trucks were loaded with that
mass and lined up bumper-to-bumper, they would encircle the
earth three dozen times! Small wonder that more than 3,000
people lost their lives during that eruption.
From the car park it’s a 20-minute walk to the middle of
the crater, and now you see why it is sometimes called the
“Golden Crater’s its central part is a dome of yellow
sulphur. Sulphur vapor hisses out of many small fissures in
the dome to form columns visible from far away.
Shining yellow crystals of crystallized steam are
everywhere, and in one place have collected to form a statue
like figure more than 2 meters high. In earlier times local
people channeled the steam through pipes to control this
crystallization process to be used for commercial purposes.
Be extremely careful not to step on one of these old brittle
pipes, for it is likely to break and release scalding steam.
You may wish to take a few samples of sulphur with you as
souvenirs, but it would be best to wrap them first sulphuric
acid may form and burn holes in fabrics. Apart from sulphur
deposits, boiling springs and streams flow in dark blue and
gray colors. Be sure to avoid the soft patch- es of ground.
Through the open northwestern side of the crater a
fantastic view stretches before you across the whole Garut
Plain and as far as Mt. Ciremai near Cirebon, 80 km away The
Mt. Papandayan crater is truly a visual feast.
from the west
The western route takes you to the upper crater rim
through some memorable scenery. Be forewarned, how- ever,
that long sections of the road are often in poor repair and
only passable with a jeep. Public transportation is
unreliable. You can drive up either the Cisangkuy Valley or
the Citarum Valley to the village of Santosa and then on to
Mt. Papandayan (see the relevant sections in “South of
Bandung”). From Bandung you may need about four hours to
reach the crater on this route.