Breaking The Knee to Kawah Ratu Mount Salak Part I

By Niken Andriani - Jun 14, 2021


It's been a tough year for all of us. Especially for someone who likes to go outside and explores around. I talked about my self of course. But now I will tell you a story of my last trip with my little brother, Nibras, the boy I adore so much. My sisters and I called him Ibas since he was born because his name is uncommon, and it is easier to call him Ibas.  

Ibas the explorer

Ibas had been school at home for the half of his high school years. I couldn't imagine he stay at home for one and half year without meeting and playing with his buddies. Even though he is an introvert, I know deep down inside he is lonely and really want to go outside. He told me he bored playing computer games even though it's his hobby. And for the last six months he gives all of his strength studying for state university entrance test. When I invited him to go camping after the test, he was really excited. He even spent his saving for SSD card memory to buy a new windbreaker jacket and trekking shoes.

Our initial destination is Situ Gunung, located in Sukabumi, West Java. But we changed our plan because the government rule of Eid-al-Fitr holidays was extended. So we could not go out of town from Jakarta except some nearest cities in Jabodetabek area (Jakarta - Bogor - Depok - Tangerang - Bekasi). That's why I look for alternatives and found Bogor as our favorite escape city. After getting information from some of my friends, we decided to go camping at Pasir Reungit, a camping ground surrounded by pine trees in Gunung Bunder, Bogor. 

Gunung Bunder located in Taman Nasional Gunung Halimun Salak, shorted as TNGHS, 1 hour away from Bogor City. It is a tourism village area that have so many nature spot to visit. If I'm not mistaken, it has eleven famous waterfalls and many other tourist destination such as camping grounds, outbound area, and climbing spots. Beside camping, we plan to do trekking to Kawah Ratu. This was not a good idea, but we did it anyway. Why? You will find it if you read this story til the end. Hehe.

May 18, 2021

Last night there was a rainstorm, and it's still raining that morning when Bre and I packed and loaded our bags to the car. We picked up Ibas at my mom's home and then started our trip to Bogor at 6 am. We arrived at Pasir Reungit after 2,5 hours. When entered TNGHS gate, we were asked to pay a ticket of 15,000 rupiah per person and 15,000 for a car.  

Kawah Ratu gate

At the parking lot we ate a special breakfast from my mom. Never have a nice meal when take a trip in early morning. At 9 am, we started to take a walk to Kawah Ratu gate. We leave our camping gears at the car and each of us bring a day pack.


It had been a month we didn't do morning exercise throughout Ramadan. So when walking up towards the gate, we were feeling weary. At the gate, some men (not a formal officers, not even wear a uniform) stopped us and asked if one of us ever had taken the road to Kawah Ratu. They suggested us to hire a guide because it was our first time. Or we can go by ourselves by following other experienced group. I asked if they provide a guide, they say no, then a man just talked randomly and said we can hire him for 300,000 rupiah. Of course we go by the second choice, waiting for another group that bring their experienced leader. While waiting we are asked to pay a ticket (again) for Kawah Ratu, 15,000 rupiah per person. I kind of suspicious because there is no ticket paper provided. But I paid it anyway.


The slippery and inconstant rocky road

You will find the sign to Kawah Ratu easily

Another sign

We followed another group for just a short time. Then we walked by ourselves. Bre advised me not to hire a guide because we climbed Mount Semeru by ourselves. So it'll be safe, no need to hire a guide. And you know what, there are so many signs of Kawah Ratu. I admitted the trek to Kawah Ratu is hard compared to other mountains. It is because of the wet forest, inconstant rocky road and rainstrom this morning. You can't walk safely without paying attention to the trail road properly. Also there are no sign of how much further the destination is. 



The good news, the forest is quiet, we only met 3-4 people while hiking. We passed so many streams along the way and listening to the relaxing river sounds. It's also boosting our mood breathing a really fresh mountain air. 


Half hour before reaching the crater, we almost run out of water. At the last water source I filled up the bottle. Bre and Ibas did not want to drink that water but seeing me take a fresh sip of that water they followed me. The nature give us all the human basic needs. There is no polluted water, the man made the water polluted. 

If you find the stream with a little white surface, it means you are near the crater.
You can't drink this water. 
The dead forest means you are near the crater



His expression while controlling his headache. The hill on the left is Ibas's last stop.

We spent almost 4 hours to reach the crater while others only need 2-3 hours. Bre and I were in good shape while Ibas wasn't. For every 15 or 20 minutes of walk, I asked Ibas to rest. He told me he had a headache and already did drank 4 sachets of Tolak Angin. I asked him to stop our journey and go back to camping site, but he did not want to. He gave up when we reached Kawah Mati, 5 minutes before Kawah Ratu! So we left him for a moment, then go back to persuade him. But he still said no. 


Kawah Ratu

The crater area are big but we didn't spend much time there. It's not really different from other crater I've ever visited like Tangkuban Perahu and Kawah Putih in Bandung. It's not so amazing that I didn't take many photos. 

Stretching after 4 hours of walk and rest.

I don't want to go back here. But, ...

We walked down quicker because we didn't feel the urge to reach the destination. Ibas was happy but his legs are trembling. Hahaha, I knew why he didn't want to continue to Kawah Ratu before. He already reached his limit. He kind of regret leaving trekking pole at home. Yes, the trekking pole will help you walk down the inconstant and slippery rocky road easier.

Ibas randomly talked, "It's really tiring, but I feel refreshed. Maybe now I think I don't want to go back here, but I believe when I come home, I will miss this experience." 

We arrived at Kawah Ratu gate near sun down. The camping site is right beside the gate. We had to walk down to the parking lot to get our camping gears. Ibas could not continue, so Bre and I went down alone. It was dark already when we arrived. Our plan was just to bring our bags, but then Bre hesitated, he suggested to drive Pikachu (our car's name) up to Kawah Ratu gate. It was really a bad idea. The slippery rocky road made Pikachu slip. So I went out of the car and helped Bre drove. Then... Pikachu stuck at the cliff. It was a horrible moment. I said stop. Then I went down looking for help. The parking attendant helped us but there was no progress at all for 10-15 minutes. But then, 4-5 people came and helped us. One of them (I assumed he is the experienced one) just gave a slight instruction and Pikachu could get back to the road. 

I asked them if there was another accident happened at that cliff. They said one car fall to the cliff and the other stuck but needed a towing car to move back the car. Bre drove the car back to the parking lot and we just walked bringing two big carriers and a daypack. Why don't we stick to the plan?

At 8 pm we just started put up the tent. It's really a long day. I made a ginger tea for Ibas to warm his body. Bre cooked a special noodle soup with egg. And I just leant back at hammock watching up the stars.

To be continued.

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