In colonial times, Garut was known as 'the Switzerland of Java'. The city is surrounded by various mountains, including the Mount Galunggung volcano in the east, Mount Guntur volcano in the west, and Mount Cikurai volcano (over 2,800 metres high) in the south.
Garut is the capital of Garut regency, which stretches from near Sumedang in the north to the Indian Ocean coast in the south.
Garut is about halfway between the cities of Bandung and Tasikmalaya. To get to Garut from Bandung, you will need to take the road over the Nagreg mountain pass. The journey takes about 2 hours if traffic conditions are good. However, serious traffic congestion is common on the mountain pass road.
On the northern side of the city, Garut's 1 Guntur bus terminal serves a wide range of local, regional, and intercity buses. There are frequent buses from several bus terminals in Jakarta. For example, there are Primajasa buses from Lebak Bulus terminal in South Jakarta from 5:00-21:00 every half hour (Rp52,000). The journey from Jakarta usually takes about 5 hours, but this heavily depends on traffic conditions.
Regular buses also depart from Cicaheum terminal in East Bandung. In addition, to travel from Bandung to Garut, you may opt to wait at the bus stop near the toll gate in Cileunyi (east of Bandung), because all buses from Jakarta and several other destinations pass here on the way to Garut.
The railway and railway station of Garut are no longer operational. The nearest operational railway station is 2 Cibatu railway station, about 20 km north of the city. Cibatu station serves a few economy class trains per day to the west (to Bandung) and a few to the east (to Central or East Java).
Most places in the city of Garut and surrounding areas can be reached by angkot (public minivan). Another option is a traditional andong (horse carriage). To get to more remote places, you will need to hire an ojek (motorcycle taxi).
Most of the touristic attractions of Garut are not in the city, but in the surrounding area.
- 1 Candi Cangkuang (Cangkuang temple), Leles (16 km north of Garut city). A small 8th-century Hindu temple. One of the few Hindu temples ever discovered in West Java.
- 2 Mount Papandayan, Cisurupan district (25 km southwest of Garut city). Active volcano that is a popular tourist destination. Tourists can walk across the crater and view bubbling mud pools, steam vents, and sulfur deposits. The bubbling yellow crater is a popular sight. The most recent eruption was in 2002, and more serious volcanic activity took place in 2011.
- 3 Mount Guntur, Tarogong Kaler (10 km northwest of Garut city). Active volcano with a height of 2,249 m, that is the source of the Cipanas hot springs. The volcano used to erupt very frequently, with 20 eruptions recorded in the first half of the 19th century, but recently there have been no eruptions. The volcano can be climbed from the side of Cipanas.
The most famous type of food from Garut is the dodol snack, a sticky sweet made of coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour. There are various types of dodol Garut, such as dodol with sesame seeds or nuts, or with fruit such as pineapple, jackfruit, or durian. Dodol is sold by streetvendors throughout Garut (both the city and the wider regency).
- 1 Picnic Dodol Garut, Jl. Pasundan No. 102, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Sat-Thu 8:30-14:30, Fri closed. One of the most famous sellers of dodol Garut. You can buy many types of dodol. It is also possible to visit the factory, but then it is advisable to send an email beforehand.
- 2 Toko Fatima, Jl. Jend. A. Yani No.77. Dodol shop in the city centre.
Another thing that is quite famous from Garut is leather products. You can find shoes, jackets, wallets, etc. made of leather in several shops in Sukaregang street.
- 3 Sukaregang Leather Centre, Jl. Jend. A. Yani No. 302 (at the corner of Sukaregang street), ☎ . Daily 10:00-22:00.
Sundanese cuisine is ubiquitous, in restaurants and hotels, as well as in roadside stalls. Examples of popular roadside snacks include nanas goreng (fried pineapples), fried cassava, boiled salted peanuts, bakwan sayur (vegetable fritters), etc. Apart from that, dodol Garut (as mentioned above in the 'Buy' section) can be found in many places.
- 1 Rumah Makan Cibiuk, Jl. Cikuray No. 23, ☎ . Daily 9:00-21:00. Traditional Sundanese restaurant.
- 1 Hotel Augusta, Jalan Raya Cipanas No. 57, ☎ . Double rooms from Rp225,000 per night.
- 2 Hotel Ramayana Garut, Jl. Pataruman, ☎ . Double rooms from Rp300,000 per night.
- 3 favehotel Cimanuk Garut, Jl. Cimanuk No.338, ☎ . Modern budget chain hotel. Double rooms from Rp333,000 per night.
- 4 Sabda Alam Resort Hotel, Jl. Raya Cipanas No. 3, Tarogong Kale, ☎ . Double rooms from Rp750,000 per night.
- 5 Kampung Sampireun, Jl. Raya Samarang Kamojang Km. 4, Ciparay, ☎ . Romantic hill resort set by a lake; all travel within the resort is done by canoe! Double rooms from Rp2,000,000 per night.