Tangkuban Parahu

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There were no tourists in sight. Only travelers and locals. It takes a wild heart to bring one’s self to be present this close to a living volcano when the world is so big; promising perhaps more extravagant places to wander or to simply get lost in fascination.

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Tangkuban Parahu was nothing quite like that, yet neither was its beauty any lesser; should one allows the self to get immersed in it’s sulfated air or captivated by its extraordinary landscape as seen in a National Geographic site / channel. Once our driver left us at the top of the mountain, we put on our exploring hats and began our journey downhill.

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{at the peak}

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By some default, broken, Indonesian rules, it is compulsory for us foreigners to get a ‘tour guide’.

Cost:
Entrance Fee: 165, 000 rupiah
(Forced Guide): 300, 000 + 200, 000* rupiah
*We got ‘cheated’. Story later.

 

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Happy, we were warmly introduced to our superbly friendly tour guide. But the moment we started our ‘hiking’, four (4) men joined and started persuading us to buy accessories made of volcanic stones; priced at RM100 per piece. i was laughing insanely inside – Are you kidding me?!

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We ignored them for a while, but finally gave our hearts in as they seemed sincerely friendly. This was me tasting a pink leaf from the jungle flora given by the tour guide, confident that i’d still be alive seeing that his friends were yearning desperately for the possibility of my purchasing their proud products.

The leaf tasted bitter and sour.

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If you do decide to take the route down by foot, try spotting this magical tree. It can even house Big Guy! Take some fun pictures with it, why not?

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Done playing Alice in Wonderland make believe, we continued our journey with monkeys. i mean, real monkeys swinging on the trees above our heads.

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{thank heavens for Birkenstock}

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{half-way checkpoint}

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{stole moments to admire nature’s beauty / creation}

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{towards the end of our hike}

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{TA-DAA!!! #destination}

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{pssttt. i told ya, no tourists in sight. only locals}

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{outdoor ‘sauna’}

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{the power of my kiss so powderful}

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*Now the story on how we got cheated by an extra 200, 000 rupiah.

The 300, 000 rupiah fee for a compulsory guide that came with us, was for an hour. When we reached our destination which was the crater, Big Guy noticed it was perfectly timed: 1 hour since we started our hike. That’s all good, but remember the empat sekawan (four uninvited friends)? Now we know why they were tagging along:

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to buy our time.

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Which they did seamlessly well, by providing us a free mud ‘massage’ (basically smearing mud on your arms and legs). i was innocently happy and secretly upset inside when i noticed that Big was starting to look as gloomy as the grey mud on my hands. So i asked him, and then i got gloomier: to learn that we were cheated and ‘guarded’ with no where to hide.

Our remaining journey towards the exit, we were pestered and begged to purchase the 100 bucks souvenirs. The more we refused, the less friendlier they became. Soon enough, our new ‘friends’ decided not to talk to us at all.

At the exit, our tour guide requested for an extra 300, 000 rupiah because we “entered the second hour”. As it was only exactly half an hour more, we insisted on paying them an extra half instead; for the time they made us buy. We left the crater feeling robbed, but really, it’s not about the money.

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A piece of cincere advice:

Tell your guide that their service has ended the moment you reach the crater. Do NOT let them exceed their service, or buy anything from the people who try to sell you things. More and more ‘friendly’ acquaintances of your guide will join your adventure (a reminder from our driver which we didn’t get at first), ignore them. If you ignore this reminder, you’ll get bitten. And of course, NO massages necessary.

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Full post on Bandung, next.

 

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