I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a sucky traveler when it comes to my hometown.
Like, I could tell you where to get the best midiye dolma in Izmir, but I gotta think hard if you asked me about the best place to go shopping or the best coffee shop in Bandung. And I wouldn’t guarantee that I could eventually find the answer. 😛
The thing is, despite the fact that I’ve spent 20++ years in Bandung, I rarely have time to explore the city for the sake of being local. I mean, you probably know by now that I’m not exactly a cafe-hopper, and more often than not… I always get too lazy to go out as I only imagine the possibilities to face the traffic jam. Especially during the weekend!
I mean, seriously… As a passenger, I just don’t want to spend extra money for cabs. As a driver, I just can’t hold on to my dear life to drive in the bad traffic. And I’ve been living like a spoiled brat long enough in my life to not consider the other options of public transportations.
So on this post, I would like to share a hidden gem in Bandung that I have visited for the first time a few weeks ago. Located in the west part of Bandung, Stone Garden Geo Park could be reached more than 2 hours from Bandung city center by car with traffic jam.
The good thing is that you could also reach this off-beaten spot in Bandung by train. And that’s what I did when I visited the place. 😉
About Stone Garden GeoPark
Stone Garden GeoPark was the ancient seamount that has been around for approximately more than 27 million years. The fact has been supported as some geologists have discovered fossils of ancient coral in Pawon Cave, known as Gua Pawon by the locals. The stone garden itself is located 700 meters above the sea.
The reason why it is a hidden gem is that it wasn’t accessible until they open the site for public 4 years ago. I’ve figured there are only a few articles about this place written in English, so fingers crossed for appearing on the first page of Google! 😛
So anyway, what makes this spot special is not only the fact that it has been there for millions of year, but also because karst topography in the area gives us unique experience to visit. Not only that it’s so Instagrammable (you know, this generation!!! 😛 ) , but you can also enjoy the scenery in its surrounding with the mountainous view and all.
Bonus point if you’re interested in geology. I mean, I went there with zero knowledge of geology and I could only imagine that it might be more fun if I knew what this karst is all about.
Why We Got There
This short getaway was rather random because it all started a couple of months ago when I met Nesa and Novida at a blogger gathering in my hometown. It was the first time we met each other, but then we got clicked right away that we ended up spending our night at the cafe where the event held.
We spent the rest of the night having a chit-chat about some random stuff, and then voila… We got an idea to go to Stone Garden as we had never been there before!
It was just a plan until a week after Eid holiday, Novida told us that she had to relocate to Surabaya due some personal issue and she asked whether we would be available to go to Stone Garden anytime soon. And since it was still holiday period, so off we went! 😀
We arranged the trip, and Novida came with her friend who has eventually become our new friend, Jean.
How We Got There
As we planned before, we took the KRD Bandung Raya train to Padalarang. KRD Bandung Raya train is the commuter line in Bandung whose route started from Cicalengka to Padalarang, and vice versa.
If you’re a traveler planning to stay in the city center, you could go to Bandung station from your accommodation and start your journey from there. As I live around suburb area, my house is actually closer to Padalarang and I chose to take the train from Cimindi instead. You could check the complete schedule of KRD here.
The tariff is flat, only IDR 5,000 (around 0.3 USD) from Cicalengka to Padalarang and the other way around. So rest assured, you’ll spend barely $1 USD for the train.
How to Purchase KRD Ticket
As I mentioned before, this was my first time taking KRD to get around, so my first impression was totally virgin as in I didn’t know what to expect. 😛
I get used to taking the commuter line in Jakarta, and the system to purchase the ticket and everything here is totally different from the one in the capital city. For example, if we use everything with e-money in Jakarta, they still do the transaction manually in Bandung.
Everything is manual that you need to queue in front of the ticket box that will open some time before the train arrives. So yes, there’s a chance it will still be closed even when you arrive early.
I’m not too sure how the situation will be if I take the train from Bandung station, but I hope you could do it easier since when I did it from Cimindi station, it was rather disorganized since the station is so small but quite crowded, and the gate would only be opened when the train already arrived.
My First Impression on KRD
So when I mentioned that it was my first time, it’s not that I didn’t have any expectation at all about the train. At first, I thought the train would be similar like the one I usually used to commute in Jakarta.
But as it turned out, the train is more like the inter-city trains with coaches and everything. Indonesian-wise, I think the train is super comfortable!
No kidding, they provide 2 sockets in every seating row so you can charge your phone or whatever if needed. With the length of distance and the money spent on the train ticket, I think it’s a total bargain. Bonus point because with the train you can avoid the traffic jam. 😉
Looking at the train layout, I assume that the number of tickets sold for KRD Bandung Raya is based on the train seating capacity, as this is not the kind of train that is safe for passengers to stand up like metro or subway.
As I took the train from Cimindi, I only had to pass 2 stations before arriving in Padalarang.
The Power of Grab/Gojek in Bandung
Stone Garden GeoPark is a hidden gem for a reason. Yes, because it takes some extra effort to get there to see its beauty.
And the train is not the only transportation we need to get there, because we still gotta take a taxi or motorbike taxi to get there from our last station Padalarang. What you could do is to download applications like Gojek or Grab to get there from Padalarang station.
Stone Garden itself has located about 9 km from the station, which costed us around IDR 40,000 (around 2.8 USD) to get there from the station. I would suggest you take Grab Car if you go there in a group. Otherwise, I suppose GrabBike will save you a lot of times as well. 🙂
Here’s the thing… Since the location of Stone Garden is quite hidden, you’ll find it easier to get a taxi from the station to get there but not the other way around. If anything, I would suggest you ask the driver to pick you up at some certain time you’re planning to end your adventure at the site.
Usually, the driver wouldn’t mind to do it and offer you an offline fee for around IDR 70,000 (around 4.8 USD). You could try to negotiate, but I don’t think it’s wise to accept their offer if it’s more than that.
If the case is latter, you can also take angkot, the minibus transportation from Stone Garden that would pass the station for IDR 10,000 per pax.
As we got there by car, as it turned out they charged IDR 10,000 for all cars entering Stone Garden area. You could also stop by the entrance street to avoid this fee and walk to the site, which takes around 30 minutes. Depends on how fast you could walk. 😛
For the entrance fee to enter the site, it costs IDR 8,000 (around 0.6 USD) to get to the Stone Garden GeoPark area. There’s also Pawon Caves area that you could visit with some attractions such as hammock etc as the bonus, although for this you’d be charged extra for IDR 100,000 (around 7 USD).
And since we’re as broke as one could get, none of us were interested enough to get on a hammock for extra 7 USD. Hence, we’re quite happy to just enjoy the scenery in the generic site we could go.
As it turned out, when we entered the site… We could actually see the resemblance of the site with some infamous tourist destinations abroad like Machu Picchu, Cappadocia, or even Stonehenge! 😀
What We Did There
When our taxi driver asked us why we wanted to go to Stone Garden, I half-jokingly answered that we wanted to go somewhere that looks far and expensive when really it is nearby and affordable. Well, I wasn’t wrong because that’s exactly how I find Stone Garden.
We barely spent 50 USD in total for 4 people in our group, but wow… Some spots are the resemblance of some infamous natural beauty. It’s like, I couldn’t afford to Stonehenge yet… But damn, I could actually fake it in Stone Garden! 😛
Even better, because I spent even less than 15 USD, and that was with some fine meals in the middle of our journey. I’m just glad that I decided to go to see what’s the hype with this spot.
Bonus point, because I’ve got so many photo options to change my profile picture on all social media accounts that I’ve got. *lol*
I mean, I just can’t help the fact that I DO belong to the generation where picking a proper profile picture on my social media account is mandatory. HAHA.
Breathtaking View Among the Stones
You see, I went there exactly the day after the match on Group D between Croatia and Argentina in World Cup 2018. The good thing was that Croatia won the match, but then I couldn’t resist the fact that I only slept around 2 hours since I took the morning train to get there.
My friend was even joking when I told him that I was about to go to this place called Stone Garden, which he replied with some smartass answer like, “Great, because that’s what you will get. Stoned.”
Surprisingly though, I didn’t even feel exhausted. Not sure if it had something to do with the fact that we defeated Argentina 3 effin’ zero, but I really enjoyed the whole time I was at the site.
When we arrived, it was around 11 AM and so sunny that I usually got pissed since I’m like a vampire… I hate the sun as I’ve always been the night owl. 😛
But it really didn’t stop me to enjoy the day seeing the breathtaking view around the site.
Some Crazy Monkey
Surrounded by natural landscape without human intervention, I really didn’t expect there would be a group of monkeys coming around. Boy, was I wrong!
So yessss… If you happen to visit the site, be aware and cautious because you’ll encounter some wild but tame monkey around there. I’d suggest you not to litter, but honestly, these monkeys are so naughty that they actually take time to dig what’s inside the trash can.
I mean, yes… You could take a picture of them. But apparently in 2018, even monkey has to gain consent before you take a pic of them. Otherwise, they could get aggressive when they’re not pleased. Anyway, I hope you get what I’m saying.
My point is, please be extra careful with these monkeys… I’m lucky that they didn’t do anything crazy towards me. Hmm.
Play Pretend as a Model
If there’s anything that I understand from my generation, it is the fact that so many people out there claim that their profession is as a model when really they just pose for Instagram. 😛
Well, I’m not at that point of confidence to claim myself as a model or an influencer, to begin with, but just like pretty much everyone, I also started posing given the beautiful scenery.
What for? No doubt, I needed a new profile picture as most pictures that I’ve got, they were before I gained some weight after quitting my 9-to-5 job. I need the recent ones so people
on Tinder wouldn’t think that my picture was a scam. *lol*
Although to be fair, I still look stunning no matter how many kgs I weigh. 😛
And I’m so glad that I actually got so many pictures to choose for my profile picture after this short getaway. In fact, now I make sure that all my accounts have the pic from this trip as profile pictures.
The BeauTraveler on Stone Garden GeoPark
If you’re into the off-beaten spot and planning to visit Bandung anytime soon, especially if you love natural attraction rather than the human-made place like Farmhouse, I think you’ll love this place as much as I do! 🙂
What I love is the fact that it’s not so touristy as I went there during holiday season yet I didn’t encounter the discomfort of meeting way too many tourists along the way.
Also, despite there are a lot of monkeys out there, it’s an ethical place you can pay for a visit as we are actually not allowed to feed them but then again… They’re such a sneaky creature, so I think the best thing you could do is to avoid opening any food if you don’t want them to run after you. 😐
Stone Garden GeoPark at A Glance
I can’t speak for the Pawon Cave part, but I think even if you only visit the Stone Garden GeoPark area, it’s worth the affordable ticket and scenery… It’s all great.
Seriously, this is the place you could actually use for a short escape to just sit there and relax. If you’re feeling like it, it’s also a suitable place for you to sit down and think about life.
Maybe you’ll get some kind of epiphany to not take things for granted, seeing all the beautiful scenery around the site.
Yeah, even if you’re not there for taking any picture, you could just be there for the sake of being present on earth.
It’s a bonus that they’ve got several spots that probably make you feel de javu as it looks slightly like Stonehenge, Capadoccia or Machu Picchu. But then again it’s just a bonus…
So yes, if you’re planning to visit Bandung, maybe you want to go to some mainstream spots like Tangkuban Perahu or Kawah Putih, but this one is also something that is worth your time to visit.
Would I Come Back Here?
As much as I love to travel, I’m actually the kind of person who thinks that visiting one place is okay for the sake of knowing the existence of the place. But if I have time (and money), better pursue another place.
So, I suppose I’d better visit some other places in my hometown that I’ve never been before. The list still goes on and on, but I could always check what’s in there to explore.
Are you in for acting like a tourist in your hometown as well? If so, what’s your favorite place in your hometown? Let me know in the comment section and cheerio! 😉
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7 thoughts on “Stone Garden GeoPark: The Merge of Machu Picchu and Capadoccia in Bandung, Indonesia”
The Stone garden Geo Park looks like a fantastic place to explore with the family! I’d love to check it out someday! – Kam
Simply breathtaking! Your pics really make the place come to life. I’d love to visit. I’ve been to Machu Picchu before and this place sure has some resemblance!
<3 Roger Wellington
Machupichu is on my bucket list so I’d love to visit this geo garden as well someday.
That looks like a good reason to head back to Indonesia. Still so much of the country I haven’t seen.
no worries, you’re not alone.. i’m indonesian myself, and i have only been to a small part of the country. we need like a century to actually see everything around here. 😛