Tangkuban perahu is an active volcano, situated 30 km north of the city of Bandung in the direction of Lembang. It is the only crater in Indonesia that you can drive up to its very rim. Mount Tangkuban Perahu has a distinctive shape, and looks like an “overturned boat”. The huge crater is an astonishing view and you can walk around and explore this for around two hours. Here you will be greeted by sulfur fumes which the crater continues to emit although the volcano is not active.
Like so many of Java’s unusual geographical features, there is an interesting legend behind this fascinating mountain as expressed in the local legend of Sangkuriang. Sangkuriang was a strong young man, who had been separated from his mother, Dayang Sumbi since childhood. Yet, through God’s he came to meet her again. On the way home, he stopped by a small village where he met and fell in love with a beautiful girl, without realizing that the girl he loved was in fact his own mother, Dayang Sumbi, who had remained youthful through the years.
When Dayang Sumbi discovered the terrible truth of her lover’s real identity, she was horrified and knew that she could never marry her own son. She, therefore, challenged him to build a dam and a huge boat during one single night before she would agree to marry him. Seeing that her son was about to complete this impossible wish, she called on God to bring up the sun early. With a wave of her magic shawl, Dayang Sumbi lit up the eastern horizon with flashes of light. Deceived by what looked like dawn, the cocks crowed and farmers rose for a new day.
When Sangkuriang realized that his endeavor was lost, in his rage he kicked the boat that he had built turning it upside down, which was transformed into Mount Tangkuban Perahu, the name that in the local Sundanese language translates roughly to "overturned boat".
Tangkuban Perahu has definitely a significant role especially in the development of the surrounding Parahyangan (land of God) Highlands. Its eruption contributed immensely to the formation and fertility of the hills north of Bandung when through its flow of lava carrying large boulders into the valleys, these formed huge cliffs over which waterfalls leapt to form the lake that today covers the Bandung plain.