- Garut: The Overview
- Where to Stay in Garut
- Places that We’ve Visited in Garut
- Our Short Getaway
Earlier this week, my cousins and I had a short getaway to Garut, a small town located around 1.5 hours from Bandung, my hometown.
There’s a saying that cousins are the very first friends we make, and they’re the only friends guaranteed to be there for the rest of our lives. Well, in my case, I’ve got Heri, the cousin that is closest to me as we practically grew up together.
Even nowadays when he lives at my parents’ house, I often joke that he will be the second in line when somebody need to dig my graveyard right after my brother. Yeah, my joke is that dark but well…
It was a real bummer that just a day before the day we planned out the trip to Garut, my cat has gone missing. I got mental breakdown but then the show must go on so I still went for the trip anyway.
Garut: The Overview
Garut is located in the eastern of Bandung, West Java. The area is known for its land fertility that causes vast development of their agricultural businesses. Most of their agricultural businesses are primarily plantation-based, followed by farming and animal husbandry as well as forest resources.
It has a cool but tropical climate, and the area is surrounded by a number of volcanoes. To name a few, there’s Mount Karacak, Mount Cikuray, Mount Guntur and Mount Papandayan on the northern side of the town.
Read More: Backpacking Itinerary – Java, Indonesia (14 Days)
Despite the fact that it’s quite close to my hometown, I’ve never really explored the area in my entire life. At least, not that I remember. Chances are, I might have been there some time when I was a kid, but then again it doesn’t count as I forget the whole situation.
When we planned out the short getaway, we were conflicted between Garut and Pangandaran, but since Heri’s sister had to take some days leave from the office, we decided to go to Garut instead as it’s closer.
The first reason why we considered Garut to begin with is because thanks to my alpha personality, I was basically the decision maker of this vacation plan. Yes, even though Heri’s sister is older, I’m still the boss. 😛
And the reason why I wanted to go to Garut was because Heri told me that there’s plenty of guest houses in Garut that offer us personal hot tub with natural hot spring. In the lowest price possible.
Like I’m so sorry that I’m so cheap, but when I heard the possibility of low price and hot spring, it’s so hard to avoid the alternative. So then we left Bandung in the evening, and arrived in Cipanas, the guest houses with hot spring area during dinner time.
How to Reach Garut from Bandung
If I usually get organized when it comes to a trip, especially when I travel solo, this time it’s rather impromptu.
I didn’t have a fixed itinerary until the D-day, because when we left Bandung, we literally discussed about whether going to Pangandaran or Garut when we entered the toll road. So well-prepared… not.
But, but… Since we were in this together, we relied on technology for most of this trip. Heri, who isn’t really familiar with Garut area relied on Google map to reach Cipanas area. For the itinerary the next day, I relied on what I found on Google to explore the surroundings. And boy, such a great teamwork we had! 😛
Where to Stay in Garut
So now that I’ve mentioned the reason why I was interested to visit Garut. Even though Heri already told me that almost all guest houses in Garut provide the hot tubs, I was still amazed by the fact that not only yes almost every bungalow has at least one hot tub, but also because how cheap the rate is for the night.
I got a house for the four of us, only for IDR 400,000 (around $27 USD) with 3 rooms complete with a living room and a dining room as well. It’s nothing fancy, but damn it has everything that we need!
As we didn’t book the accommodation in advance, we just went to Cipanas area to look for one. We did a little survey in some accommodations, but this one was the place that fits our budget and needs.
The accommodation that we stayed in Cipanas didn’t exactly have a brand, but you could find one not so far from Lembur Kuring Hot Spring. You could also contact me for the details if you’re interested to book one, since I have the marketer’s contact if needed.
Since the area is well-known for its hot spring, if you’re not in a hurry, just like us, you could actually do a little survey for some other accommodation options. Especially as we went there during the weekdays, there’s plenty of options that we could choose to stay the night!
We also find one whose building is so modern and cozy, but it’s a bit pricey as they only provide a room with 2 queen-sized bed. The size of hot tub is not so big as well, so we figure there might be a challenge as there’s four of us.
The room is nice and all, but then there might be a challenge when it comes to shower time. Not to mention when the guys want to change clothes or we simply want to do the makeup.
I could imagine the rush that might have happened in the morning, so we skipped that option.
The price range for the accommodation in Cipanas area is around IDR 200,000 up to IDR 800,000 for the night. However, please note that the price might change during the weekend.
Also, the other thing you may want to consider is the toilet since most of the guest house that we checked out provide the squat toilet only. We found one with the sitting toilet, but it’s fair to say that unless it’s the ‘fancy’ one, it might be a challenge to find the sitting toilet.
For us Asians
or Slavs, that should be no problem I guess… But for others, this might be your next consideration to decide where to stay in Garut.
Places that We’ve Visited in Garut
As I said, we’re not really familiar with the area in Garut despite the fact that it’s not so far from my hometown. So, to decide which places that we aimed to visit, we actually relied on Google. We came up with 4 places that we found in some articles on Google: Kebun Mawar Situhapa, Kamojang Ecopark, Kamojang Crater, and the last is Darajat Crater.
In fact, my cousin had to check Google map to get the easiest route from our accommodation. And again, we relied on Google map to reach each place.
Kebun Mawar Situhapa
Kebun Mawar, literally means rose garden in Indonesia, I suppose this kind of tourist spots has gained popularity in Indonesia. The place that is not only beautiful to look around, but also good for the ‘grams.
See, I’ve never been to Keukenhof in Amsterdam, but I think they basically copied the concept. Except that they open the whole year and when it’s not the right time, there’s nothing much to see except for some dry grass. Basically what we saw when we got there.
So, is it even worth your time to check out this rose garden while you’re there?!
How to Get There
From Cipanas to get to Kebun Mawar Situhapa, it takes around 45 minutes by car. Please note that it’ll be a bit hard to find a mini market around the area, so it’s recommended to bring your own snack and water. Especially when it’s sunny during your visit.
If you use Google map, you’ll find one with the name “Kebun Mawar” with Jalan Raya Kamojang in the detailed address.
Just follow the instruction of your GPS, and you should get it right. In front of the area, there will be a big sign written “Kebun Mawar” so it’s easy to identify whether you’re in the right place.
As I went there during the weekdays when there’s only a few cars using the parking spot, I suppose they’ve got parking spot big enough to accommodate the visitors. However, I would imagine that could be different during the weekend.
You know the situation where it’s big enough, but not really? Well, the parking spot is pretty much like that!
Not so far from the parking area, you’d find a small house that is the ticket box and the souvenir shop.
To enter the garden, all visitors have to pay for IDR 17,500 (around $1.2 USD) during the weekday. The ticket price if you visit it during the weekend will be slightly higher to IDR 22,500 (around $1.5 USD).
When I went there, the area was almost empty. Like no one actually checked you out in the entry gate to the point that I thought no one would catch me if I didn’t buy the ticket to begin with. Hmm.
As I went there during the dry season, there’s nothing much to see except for some flowers and other plants. I could guarantee that my mom, who loves gardening, she’d be excited if she came too. But as we didn’t come with her, we just looked around.
There’s also a cafe not so far from the entry gate. As I strolled around the area of this garden, I understand that there are some bungalows that you could rent as an accommodation.
I didn’t get a chance to ask the nightly rate for this bungalow, but I think that would be a cozy place to stay for the night, especially during the rainy season.
Not so far from the bungalows, you could also find a maze where you could challenge yourself to find a way out.
I swear to God it looked so easy, but when I tried, I got lost a few times before I find my way out. And this, my friends, is why you should never underestimate anything. 😛
Apart from some good pics taken in the area, I think this garden is just a modern kind of botanical garden. I mean, it’s worth to visit, but I think it would be much more fun if I could see more flowers blossoming in the garden.
However, I had a good time strolling around the garden. Especially as it’s sunny. I mean, with Garut weather, despite the fact that I hate the sun
being a vampire as I am, I couldn’t imagine when it was raining.
Also, there are some swings you could use if you’re into the idea of chilling for a bit. There’s also some other stuff you could use to wake your inner child.
I didn’t know much about this Kamojang Ecopark, except for the fact that it’s located not so far from Kamojang Crater. As we asked the staff at Kebun Mawar, he told us that it’s not so far from Kebun Mawar, it took only around 10 minutes to get there.
I swear we did a tiny bit of research about the places that we wanted to go this time, that we only found out that Kamojang Ecopark was actually a pine forest where you could do some activities from the guy at Kebun Mawar.
How to Get There
If you follow our route this time, from Kebun Mawar to Kamojang Ecopark, it’d only take around 10 minutes drive.
From Cipanas area, Kebun Mawar is on the right hand side of the road, while Kamojang Ecopark is on the left.
The parking spot there is relatively big, but then again I go there during the weekdays.
Again, the case of tourist spots is that when I tell you that it’s big during the weekdays, the situation might be different when it comes to Saturday or Sunday. Or long weekend, for instance.
If you feel a little adventurous though, you could actually stay overnight in the area as it’s also a campsite if you’re interested.
The entry ticket to Kamojang Ecopark is the same as Kebun Raya Mawar, only this time with the same amount of money, IDR 17,500 (around $1.2 USD) we could get a welcome drink, Teh Botol Sosro! 😀
Pretty much like Kebun Mawar, there are some good spots for the ‘gram at Kamojang Ecopark. Unfortunately, when we came there were some lovebirds who couldn’t get off the spots to the point that we just gave up trying to take some good pics there. But anyway…
There are some activities that you could do in the area, but then you have to pay extra for activities like flying fox, flying bike, and some others.
You see, I was planning to go to Gunung Mulu ever since I read someone’s blog post on the activities around there. But then for some reason I cancelled the plan to Gunung Mulu, and when I found out that I could do the flying bike here, I didn’t hesitate to try and pay for the experience.
For this, I paid IDR 20,000 (around $1.3 USD) for flying bike.
The staff got all the safety equipment needed for the activity, however please be aware that I think the staff wouldn’t force you to use the complete safety equipment. So when it comes to this, you should be proactive for the sake of your safety.
I know you might be a little flexible when it comes to this, but if there’s anything I learned from being once a flight attendant, I suppose safety for me is the number one
and therefore I chose condoms over just some random fun sex. 😛
As I mentioned before, if you’re into camping, you could also stay the night here as there’s some campsite in the area. And you can even rent the tent and all things needed for camping here with relatively low price.
First of all, I have to admit that if there’s any place that was rather disappointing from the places I’ve visited during this trip, that would be this one.
The crater is known as the source for steam-electric power plant. You could see it as you could tell the logo of Pertamina everywhere around the area. For those who are not familiar with Pertamina, it is the Indonesia state-owned oil and gas corporation.
How to Get There
The location is not so far from Kamojang Ecopark, probably around 10 more minutes driving.
To enter Kamojang Crater area, you need to pay for the vehicle you take as well as for each visitor coming. For example, as I went there with a car, the ticket was IDR 10,000 (around $0.67c USD) for one car.
For each visitor, there are 2 things that we need to pay: the entry ticket for IDR 5,000 ($0.4c USD) for the local visitor, and IDR 2,000 ($0.15c) for the insurance.
I forgot to check the price for the international tourists, however if the entry ticket is higher than twice the price for the local tourist, I genuinely wouldn’t recommend you to visit this spot.
Seriously, I doubt that it’d be worth the price to see it for more than IDR 20,000! 😐
On the way to the central of Kamojang crater area, you’d find a couple of big craters. I mean, I thought that since we saw something like that on the way to the central, I really expected something more when I got there.
The thing is, there was nothing much to see in the central area except for some nice gazebo to chill. The craters there are relatively smaller compared to some other craters that I’ve been, I suppose the only thing interesting is the historical background where the Dutch colonial started the plantation back in the 1920s.
Other than that, nothing much. Oh, unless you’re interested to the steam therapy where you can use it like somewhat sauna. I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly looking for that kind of steamy stuff. *grin*
The last is the place that Heri has ever been, but the rest of us have never been: Darajat Crater.
Unlike the other destinations that we visited before, this one was a bit secluded and it took quite awhile to get there from Kamojang area. Other than the crater, there was also a water boom called Darajat Pass around the area.
As for the crater itself, apparently the area is maintained by Chevron. There are three craters in total, in which I could guarantee are more worth to visit than Kamojang crater. 😛
How to Get There
It took a while to get to this crater, approximately 30 minutes from Kamojang area with more challenging route.
I mean, I seriously doubt myself whether I could actually drive the track to get there. But once you reached the area, I honestly think to stay in Darajat area next time I visit Garut.
Darajat Pass looks like a great place to enjoy the natural hot spring. Especially with the infinity pool-like layout. The crater itself is not so far from Darajat Pass, probably just 5 minutes drive.
Not so far from Darajat Pass, you’d find the climb on the left hand side and you should take that route to get to the crater.
Don’t worry about getting lost after you turn left, as you’d find the dead-end not so far from the entry gate of the crater since the area after it is restricted for the corporation.
So, if the previous places that we’ve visited looked much more well-maintained, Darajat Pass was a bit miscellaneous. Why?
Honestly, even until now I’m not so sure whether we got scammed or not.
What happened is that when we got to Darajat Pass, we asked this local how to get to the crater, and he told us that we must go there with a guide for IDR 100,000 (around $6.5 USD) in total. As much as it’s expected, of course the same guy was the guide for the day.
Even if it was a scam, I wouldn’t mind as he explained things clearly about the crater. Like, he looks like he knows the shit if you know what I mean. 😛
Also, as we calculated the budget, I’d pay for IDR 100,000 to get here again rather than to Kamojang crater. *lol*
Not to mention that he took some nice pics of us, as we could only do selfie to get a pic together in the previous places. So yeah, I think even if it’s a scam, the scam has turned into a gem instead.
Basically, what makes each crater is different from one and the others is the heat degree, where Darajat I is 150 degree, Darajat 2 is 200 degree, and Darajat 3 is split into 2 craters, where the first is 100 degree and the other is 300 degree.
In fact, even here you could try to do the same experiment that you might want to do in Kamojang crater: boiling egg. However, our guide told us that it might take awhile to get it boiled even if you try. But then again, it’s doable.
Our Short Getaway
This was actually our first trip to do a short getaway together. I mean, we casually hang out to a cafe for a drink or just to have a dinner out somewhere, but we never went for a vacation together.
Needless to say, after this trip, we kinda got addicted for a short getaway like this that we’re now planning for the next trip after my big trip to Borneo this month.
So, after reading this post, are you interested to visit Garut?! 😉