Set amidst volcanoes and tea plantations with cool temperate climate year-round, BANDUNG makes for an irresistible 3D2N getaway of fabulous shopping and dining
Bandung is the capital city of West Java and the third largest city in Indonesia with a population of around three million people with many of them students from the universities around town. The city, which used to be called “Paris of Java” during the Dutch colonial days for its beautiful streets and European architecture, can be reached within a three-hour drive southeast of Jakarta making it an ideal getaway for city folks on weekends and national holidays.
Tourists flock to Bandung for the best shopping deals, a variety of Indonesian and Sundanese culinary delights and spectacular mountain scenery. Located at 768 metres above sea level, the city enjoys a noticeably cooler temperature compared with other Indonesian cities.
Go for a heritage walk on your first day in the city. Start at The Centre of Bandung 0 Kilometre Monument (Jl Asia Afrika). From there, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to Prama Grand Preanger (www.pramahotels.com), an art deco hotel with an old wing that dates back to the 1920s.
Another art deco hotel, Savoy Homann Bidakara is directly opposite the 0 Kilometre Monument. About 350 metres west of Savoy Homann is the Alun Alun Kota Bandung, a popular city square and picnic spot facing the Grand Mosque’s tower. Next head 800 metres north along Braga street towards Braga City Walk (bragacitywalk.co.id), a retail complex, to cool off and have lunch.
After lunch, continue to walk 500 metres to St Peter's Cathedral (Jl. Merdeka No.14), a gothic-style Catholic church built in 1922. From St Peter's, walk 200 metres towards Gereja Bethel (Jl. Wastukancana), a Protestant art deco church completed in 1925. Walk another 150 metres north and you will arrive at Bandung City Hall Park or Balai Kota Bandung (Jl. Wastukancana No.2), a green oasis in the city where you can rest and take some selfies with huge trees as your background.
You can spend the rest of your day checking out the markets, shops and factory outlets which Bandung is famous for. Start by visiting the The Secret Factory Outlet (LLRE Martadinata Street No.47) and Heritage The Factory Outlet (LLRE Martadinata Street No.63) just around the corner. You can find branded items at discounted prices at these outlets.
Another place to check out is the famous Cihampelas Walk (Jl. Cihampelas), also known as Cihampelas Jeans Centre, where they have the largest collection of jeans and tee-shirts at one convenient location. If you still have the energy, head towards Paris Van Java Mall (www.parisvanjava.id) for more upmarket stuff. The mall has a beautiful outdoor garden and a man-made waterfall. Just two kilometres from the mall is Rumah Mode (Jl. DR. Setiabudi No.41), another big factory outlet.
You can end your day with a nice western dinner at the beautiful Congo Gallery & Cafe (Jl Rancakendal Luhur No. 8) located near the Dago Golf Course.
Head out of town to explore the mountains and craters that Bandung is famous for. Set off early to visit an active volcano called Tangkuban Perahu, about a 90-minute drive north of the city. You can trek right down to the crater to soak your feet in the hot spring water and enjoy the natural wonder. Along the way, you can have breakfast at Balibu Rumah Makan Khas Sunda (www.rmbalibu.com; Jalan Raya Tangkuban Perahu 423A) for a lovely Sundanese meal.
On the way back towards the city, remember to visit Dusun Bambu (dusunbambu.id), an Instagram-worthy attraction featuring bamboo houses surrounding a lake. The scenic Curug Cimahi (Jl. Kolonel Masturi No.325) waterfall, about a kilometre away from Dusun Bambu, would be ideal for those who are physically fit as one needs to climb a few hundred steps to the viewing platform.
Take a lunch break at Saung Balibu restaurant (rmbalibu.com), famous for their Sundanese cuisine. If you have kids in tow, head straight to Dago Dreampark (dagodreampark.co.id) for a few hours of fun including a magic carpet ride.
For those who prefer to stay up in the mountains to enjoy the cool crispy air, the options include Sari Ater Hotel & Resort (sariater-hotel.com) and Gracia Spa Resort. Nearby the area, you can also take a dip in the rejuvenating Ciater Hot Springs.
Your visit to Bandung would not be complete without a visit to Kawah Putih (Jl Raya Soreang Ciwidey), which means “white crater” to see the surreal lake formed on top of a volcano. The lake, located about two hours’ drive south-west of the city, is 2,430 metres above sea level so the weather can be chilly. The smell of sulphur is strong so do bring along a face mask when you visit.
Before heading back to the city, you can visit some of the tea plantations like Perkebunan Teh Rancabali (Patengan, Rancabali) or the Ranca Upas (Jl Patengan Km 12) deer farm.
The eastern side of Bandung is also worth a visit especially Curug Maribaya (Jl. Maribaya) where you can go for a swim at the waterfalls or a dip in the hot springs. Head further east and you will reach The Lodge Maribaya (www.thelodgemaribaya.com) where you enjoy the mountain scenery, go for a hot air balloon ride or do some trekking.
Back in the city, visit Trans Studio (www.transstudiobandung.com) theme park to enjoy the exciting roller coaster and other rides.
TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS
A number of carriers offer direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Bandung, including Malindo, AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia.
It is easy to get around the city using taxis or ride hailing apps like Grab or Go-Jek.
Do bring along a jacket especially if you plan on spending the night in the mountains. Rainy months are between October and June.
Bandung is often congested especially during weekends and national holidays so do visit on weekdays, if possible.
In Indonesia, you will see road names starting with “Jl” which is short for Jalan or street. Small roads that are inaccessible to cars are called Gang abbreviated as Gg.
Photos © iStock by Getty Images (unless otherwise specified)