Kawah Putih Bandung – White Crater Lake In Ciwidey, Indonesia
Kawah Putih is a unique crater lake in Ciwidey, a small village near Bandung, Indonesia. It’s a stunning volcanic lake that was created by an eruption on Mount Patuha in the 11th century.
The name in Bahasa means ‘White Crater’ but I’d say the color is closer to turquoise, and supposedly it can even change to green, blue, or brown depending on the sulfur content.
In any case, this crater lake is one of the most unique and amazing things you can see in West Java, and it’s easy to visit on a day trip from the Bandung area.
This travel guide will explain how to get to Kawah Putih from Bandung, current entrance fees, and everything else you need to know before you go!
How To Get There
Kawah Putih is located in Ciwidey, a mountain village about 50 km from Bandung in West Java, Indonesia. GPS here.
There are lots of international and domestic flights to the Bandung airport (BDO) since it’s one of Indonesia’s biggest cities. You can even fly there from Bali.
From Bandung to Kawah Putih, it’s normally a 2 hour drive because of traffic and mountain roads. You can drive yourself, or it’s easy to book a tour or hire a private driver to take you there (more info on that later).
Car vs Shuttle vs Hike
When you arrive at Kawah Putih, there’s a shuttle bus to take you the last 5 km of the journey.
The price for the shuttle bus is 27k Rupiah per person roundtrip, and they normally have buses running every few minutes. It’s on a broken road, but still gets you there pretty quick.
If you’d rather take your car all the way to the final parking area, you can still do that but you have to pay an extra 150k Rupiah (~$10 USD) per vehicle. Kind of pricey.
You can also hike, but it’s 5 km of steep walking on a road and you won’t see anything along the way except dull pine trees.
Kawah Putih Bandung – What To Expect
Kawah Putih is a mysterious looking sulfur lake, and it’s easy to see why the locals have always thought it was haunted.
The dirty yellow sand, twisted dead trees, and smoky lake surface all add up to make the place feel completely bizarre and surreal.
This crater was mined for sulfur by the Dutch and later the Japanese (during World War II), and you can still see some of the leftover tunnels around the lake.
It’s actually a very quiet and peaceful lake, and if it wasn’t for the nasty sulfur smell and toxic fumes, we would’ve loved to stay longer.
This place can get pretty crowded with domestic tourists, but it’s easy to walk around the edge of the lake to get some space for photos.
There’s even a pontoon where you can go out on the lake for another 10k Rupiah if you’re feeling brave.
This lake reminded me of the ‘Blue Lagoon’ sulfur lake in Iceland, although unlike that one I don’t think Kawah Putih is safe for swimming since it’s so acidic.
All in all, it’s one of the most spectacular places you can visit in West Java!
There are bamboo ‘skywalk’ viewpoints on each side of the crater where you can get elevated views of the lake, but you have to pay an extra 10k Rupiah to enter these.
The extra viewpoints are not really special (IMO) and the crater rim may be covered in clouds unless you shoot at sunrise, which requires a very early start.
Generally the best views of the lake are up close.
Is It Safe?
Kawah Putih is stable and safe. Even though it’s a volcanic lake, there hasn’t been any significant activity since the 17th century.
They do recommend only staying at the lake for 15-30 minutes because of sulfur fumes, and that’s probably a good rule to follow.
Kawah Putih is not recommended for people with breathing or heart problems, pregnant women, or infants. If you aren’t in one of those categories, don’t sweat it.
A whiff of the air here makes you cough and feel short of breath. There are hawkers selling masks for 10k Rupiah near the entrance, and these help with the fumes a little.
What To Wear
The climate at the lake is a bit chilly since it’s 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level — quite a bit higher than Bandung.
Temperatures can be around 10 C (50 F), so it’s a good idea to bring a jacket and pants, especially if you come for sunrise.
Kawah Putih Entrance Fee
- Foreigners:* 75k IDR (~$5 USD)
- Locals: 25k IDR
*Foreigners with KITAS/KITAP pay the local entrance fee for Kawah Putih as of 2021
When To Visit
Normally the best time to visit Kawah Putih is early in the morning, before the stampede of domestic tourists gets there.
For photography, the lake is nice at any time of day.
Best Kawah Putih Tours
Here’s a top rated Kawah Putih tour package with GetYourGuide starting from Bandung, Indonesia.
This tour visits the Kawah Putih crater and includes hotel pickup/dropoff, entrance fees, parking fees, tolls, etc. As a bonus, it also stops at the Rancabali Tea Plantation and Rancaupas Deer Conservation Center in the same area.
We’ve used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
Book Now: Kawah Putih Tour From Bandung
Where To Stay
More Things To See Nearby
After you get done visiting Kawah Putih Bandung, there are some other good things to see nearby in Ciwidey.
This area has lots of hot springs and tea plantations, and the cool mountain air will make you want to stay longer.