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It was so beautiful, I couldn’t breathe. And I mean it literally.

Our vehicle breezed through the forested slope of the crater rim, and I was reminded of how beautiful things are earned. I remember how I reached the last crater lake I set foot on: hours of trek, tens of scratches all over my limbs, a little bit of blood, and a million swearwords thrown into the air. But this is not like the last time. The road was paved, the ride short, and I comfortably seated like a boss. Not that I’m complaining.

Still, beauty is better appreciated when you move mountains to witness it. A trophy looks shinier when you make it past hurdles before hitting the finish line. We reached the entrance to the site in a matter of minutes. This is it, easy. No climbing, no sweat, no human suffering. (Human suffering talaga?!!?) There won’t be any hurdle this time, I thought.

Just when I was just about to strut my way to the shore, I found the hurdles in the form of a nasty stench. Yes, the stench. It had been a long time since I had come face to face with a volcano, and I had forgotten their repugnant reek that reminded me of a friend a thousand rotten eggs. The tour organizers distributed facial masks, and I was first to grab one as I climbed down the stairs leading to the crater lake.

On the way to Kawah Putih
On the way to Kawah Putih. That’s Aleah of Solitary Wanderer.
Comfy and excited!
Comfy and excited!

One of the two craters of Mt. Patuha, Kawah Putih is situated just 50 kilometers south of Bandung, near a little town called Ciwidey. Its name literally means White Crater, a salute to the color of its lake, which curiously radiates a turquoise hue. From afar, it appears like a giant puddle of milk — thanks to its turbidity — which makes a visit to the site quite a surreal experience.

“The lake is said to have been first documented in 1837 by Dr Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, a German botanist,” Indonesia’s official tourism site narrates. “At the time, there were various local stories about the history of the area. Birds were said to avoid flying near the region and some were even found dead after flying above the lake…. These stories prompted Dr Junghuhn to investigate, and so discovered Kawah Putih. He concluded that the birds flying over the Crater Lake died due to its high concentration of sulfur.”

Turquoise crater lake of Kawah Putih
Turquoise crater lake of Kawah Putih
Kawah Putih
Kawah Putih
Time to remove the mask for an emo second.
Time to remove the mask for an emo second.

Sulfur. That suffocating thing that makes every stay at Kawah Putih short-lived. It was early morning and there were dozens of tourists flocking at various vantage points by the lakeshore, but almost all of them had a mask on. The stench was powerful, but we seemed to not mind. The site was just too irresistible, we had to capture every angle of it. Selfie here, group pic there. Hey look, that looks like a good viewpoint! The closer to the water, the better.

The wide, barren area by the shore is where most tourists stay. It has plenty of space for excited souls to move around in, but a paved walkway leads to a less crowded nook. I followed the path and found myself having a closer look at a small sandbar that emerges from the steam that rises from the milky surface. A few snaps and I headed back to where the rest of the gang was.

Rachel, Dawn and Steph, bloggers from different parts of Asia.
Rachel, Dawn and Steph, bloggers from different parts of Asia.
That's me. Hello.
That’s me. Hello.

Other than sightseeing, there’s not much to do at Kawah Putih. You can’t fish, you can’t swim, and you can’t even dip a toe in it. But its visual allure is enough for me, to be honest. They say that during the Dutch era, a sulfur power plant — Zwavel Ontginning Kawah Putih — was built at the site. It no longer stands, but remnants of it existence are still visible.

In many ways, Kawah Putih is like your typical ex-lover. It’s remote but still accessible if you choose to make an effort. It is such a joy to look at, but you just can’t stay with him any longer. It looks dormant — and it is — but you just can’t be too sure. He still has that almost irresistible appeal, but you can’t dive in lest you be burnt again. If you taste its water, it probably is extra bitter. And of course, there’s just some air around him that stinks.

But hey, it’s pretty. Still darn sexy. And many times, it still leaves you breathless.

Kawah Putih, Ciwidey, West Java
Entrance Fee: IDR 30,000 (USD2) for foreigners, IDR 15,000 for locals

Where to stay. Patuha Resort Kawah Putih offers spacious cabin-type rooms just a couple of kilometers from the White Crater.

Check rates and availability here

How to get there: By public transport, from Leuwi Panjang Bus Terminal, take the Ciwidey bus (IDR 6000) and then an angkot (minibus) to the entrance to Kawah Putih (IDR 7500). You may also choose to just rent a motorbike (IDR 50,000 per day).

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Yosh Dimen
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This is just beautiful. I can almost smell how lush it is from looking at the photos!

Sushma Arora

Really cool places about Indonesia. Please provide more information about Kawah Putih.


What a funny and smart comparison! I love your writing.

Sacha |BeautifulTravelHangover

It looks beautiful! But yes, the smell is not great XD It overwhelms me every time I go to a hotspring in Japan

Luke Mitchell

there’s a place in Africa with pink water called Lake Retba, people do swim in it though it’s not recommended, and sometimes just getting to visit a site that you can look at where you can’t find like it anywhere else is enough. This place seems to be one of them.

Bhaskar Deka

Your blogs are amazing reads. I enjoyed reading each one of them; they are very much informative as well. Also, I would like to invite you to read mine on It would be a pleasure to know your opinion on the same. Thanks!

Halley Brietzke

You mentioned how things are more beautiful when they’re earned. I had that exact same realization a few weeks ago when I took my first solo hike 40 miles through the Smokey Mountains on the Appalachian Trail. I’ve driven through the mountains several times before but no view is better than the one that you earn! It makes all of the sweat, exhaustion, and blisters worth it to gaze at the natural world in its finest forms of beauty!

Mima Isono

How I miss Kawah Putih,,,it’s so beautiful especially on a clear water. I’m on board with you beautiful things are earned. I recently hiked 3,000 meters height above sea level to see Tiger Nest in Paro, Bhutan. An epic hike it was as the trek is so steep. The sweat and shaking knees finally paid off when we reached top of the hill, Tiger Nest is right in front of us and the surrounding view really is a breathtaking.

Tokyo Blogger the Explorer

3 Days Masai Mara

This is a great adventure I’d like to see. The smell of a thousand bad eggs must be overwhelming but the white color of the water is just pristine and looks like milk. Kawah Putih is a real gem but a pity you cant even dip a toe or stay a little longer at the shores.

Robert of 3 Days Masai Mara Safari

Aleah |

I love your shots ;)


Wnt to go to Indonesia so bad – most meautiful place! Cant wait!!! Thank you for this Post!