After getting a feeling for Indonesia and traveling from Jakarta to Bandung, it was a good time for a trip to Lembang and from there to the Ciater hot springs. Before getting to the tips and tricks on how to get there, let me give you first an impression on what I had to go through to get to the hot springs: If you’re not an Indonesian looking person, you’re pretty much gonna go through hell and back before you get used to how things run in ciater ( the other cities are no different)! You will be the main center of attention there! People from all corners of the street will be watching every single step you make, people in their cars will stop in the middle of the road just to get to stare at you for a minute, loads of others running towards you trying to make you buy things from them and the worst part is the queue of taxis trying to block your movement in hope you would take a ride for an imaginary price. Even if you say NO with 100% confidence they will feel your rage but still follow you the whole way in the hope that you change your mind. English here is not a language people speak so not matter what you say they will not understand. With that in mind, here’s what you should expect from the Ciater hot springs.
As a tourist, you will have to pay more than ten times what the locals pay to get there if you use public transportation. The best way to avoid that is to hitchhike. Make a sign with Ciater on it and stand in the main road and you’re more likely to get a free ride within 10 minutes. Another alternative is the Mini Bus but you need to bargain, a hell lot!! One local told me that he paid 2.500Rp for the ride, but I still couldn’t get a ride for under 25.000Rp no matter how hard I bargained. the prices you’ll hear at first are about 100.000Rp but that’s plain robbery. If the driver is stubborn, move to next, chances are, another five are waiting for you on the other side of the road.
Interesting Link: Getting Around Indonesia Fast and Cheap: Tips and Tricks!
The Ciater hot springs
The park is an absolute disappointment and looked nothing like it was advertised for. The place is relatively small, not very crowded for its size and the workers (and annoying sellers) outnumber the visitors by the double which was odd. The entire place looks artificial, unclean and has a very sad atmosphere. The water has different temperatures all across the resort and is mostly warm (definitely as hot as one would expect). If you decide to step foot into the water, be prepared for the crowds that will gather around you, half of them are workers trying to grab your feet in hope that you will let them give you a foot massage (you must pay for it after) and the rest are normal visitors, who have just got to witness a foreign for the first time in person, fighting over who gets a picture with you first.
What you need to watch over
The supervisor of the park told us that they are no taxis or buses to get back to our hotel later and for that, we must pay a lot of money to rent a taxi for us for the entire day and that we have to pay for it in advance! Don’t fall for that, buses run the entire day. Take a walk to the main road and stop one. Or my favorite alternative; hitchhike.