Called the City of Flowers, Bandung is a green city with great outlet shopping. For a nature adventure, go out of town.
Located in a huge basin 700 metres (2,300ft) above sea level and surrounded on all sides by lofty volcanic peaks, Bandung is a prosperous city with over 2 million inhabitants. Its cool climate makes it popular with both Indonesian and foreign travellers and with more than 27 colleges and universities, it is also home to thousands of students. Before World War II it was a quaint Dutch administrative and university town of about 150,000, known as the Paris of Java for its broad, shady boulevards, expensive shops and elegant homes. Although it is now a rapidly growing industrial city, Bandung is still green and attractive, and is often called Kota Kembang (City of Flowers).
The city has an abundance of Dutch colonial Art Deco architecture, including the stately Gedung Sate, built in 1920 and home to the provincial government.
Shopaholics flock to Bandung for its plethora of factory outlets, but there are other out-of-town attractions, too. For a half-day respite, drive north to Mt. Tangkuban Prahu (Gunung Tangkuban Prahu) to peer inside the crater of an active volcano – no climbing involved – and from there to Lembang, a resort and spa haven surrounded by plantations laden with flowers, vegetables and flowers.
The best time to visit Bandung is during the dry season (April-October).
Singaporeans and citizens of other ASEAN member states can visit Indonesia for 30 days without a visa. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months and that you have a return or onward ticket. Visitors from many other countries can get a 30-day visa on arrival at Bandung for US$25.
Indonesian rupiah (Rp).
The easiest option when getting from the airport to the city is take a taxi. Minivans (angkot) and un-air conditioned city buses are ideal for budget travellers. TMB (TransMetro Bandung) buses are air-conditioned and you can get route information from the driver or at terminals. Fares are paid to the driver or his assistant. Travel by metered taxi can save time when bus routes are unfamiliar. The Blue Bird Taxi service is recommended.
As with any major city, watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas, thieves in cheap hotels, and the occasional scam artist. Report and theft immediately to police or security officers.
As everywhere in Indonesia, don't drink the tap water. While there is very little danger of contracting malaria in Bandung, there is a potential risk of dengue fever, particularly towards the end of the rainy season, so do your best to avoid mosquito bites.
|How are you?||Apa kabar?|
|Fine, thanks||Baik, terima kasih|
|Excuse-me! (to get attention)||Permisi!|
|Thank you||Terima kasih|
|What's your name?||Siapa nama anda?|
|My name is…||Nama saya…|
|Nice to know you||Senang berkenalan dengan anda|
|Are you on Facebook/Twitter?||Anda ada di Facebook/Twitter?|
|Where’s an internet café?||Warnet [warung internet] di mana?|
|Where can I get a taxi?||Di mana saya bisa mendapatkan taksi?|
|Where is the bus/train station?||Stasiun bis/kereta di mana?|
|A one-way/return ticket to…||Tiket sekali jalan/pulang-pergi ke…|
|Do you have a room for one/two?||Ada kamar untuk satu/dua orang?|
|When's check out?||Kapan waktu check-out?|
|Can you recommend a good restaurant/bar?||Bisakah anda menyarankan restoran/bar yang bagus?|
|A table for two, please||Tolong meja untuk dua orang|
|A menu, please||Tolong minta menunya|
|The bill, please||Tolong minta bonnya|
|Where's the toilet?||Kamar kecil di mana?|
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Saung Angklung Udjo
An angklung is a traditional Sundanese musical instrument made from bamboo, now recognized by Unesco as one of Indonesia’s cultural heritage icons. See how they are made and watch student performances at Pak Ujo’s Saung Angklung. Doing quadruple duty as an angklung workshop, bamboo handicraft centre, performance venue and school, it’s a rare opportunity to see such an important tradition kept alive. Performances are held daily 3.30–5.30pm for a fee. Wayang golek and dance performances can be arranged upon request.
Mt. Tangkuban Perahu
Bandung’s own drive-up volcano, Mt. Tangkuban Perahu is popular because visitors can gaze into the volcano’s gaping crater without having to break a sweat to see it. Its name, 'Upside down Boat', is based on a legend that in a temper tantrum, a boy kicked his boat and turned it over and as a punishment was turned into stone. It has shown a lot of activity of late, so check before going to make sure that it is stable. The main crater that visitors look down upon is called Kawah Ratu. Be wary of pushy hawkers here.
Selasar Sunaryo Art Space
An open space art centre (no admission fee) with a library, gift shop and café, the mission of Selasar Sunaryo Art Space is the development of Indonesian Fine Arts, to serve as a resource centre and education. With artist talks, afternoon teas, workshops, exhibitions and kids’ programs, there is something for everyone in the family. Check their website for a calendar of events.
Whether young, old or in between, archaeologist wannabes will be delighted with Bandung’s Geology Museum. Gasp at the size of a T-Rex or giant mammoth skeleton; hold fossils, minerals and pieces of actual lava in your hands; or gaze at reliefs of geological eras. Whatever tweaks your curiosity, prepare to be amazed. There is only one drawback here: the signage isn’t in English.
The area surrounding Lembang was once exclusively plantations and is now an upper highland getaway with luxury resorts offering indulgent spa treatments. Visit the Maribaya Waterfalls and be amazed at their mighty force or, for a more cultivated vision of nature, head to Istana Bunga and the Cihideung Flower Plantation and Gardens which specialise in roses. Surrounding Istana Bunga are other flower plantations where potted plants are sold in roadside kiosks. The VIP Assana Graha Buddhist temple in Lembang is also worth a look.
A good place to begin a glimpse of Bandung’s famous Dutch tropical architecture is Jl. Asia Afrika, which runs through the southern edge of Old Bandung. Gedung Merdeka at No. 65 was once a club house for wealthy merchants and is now a museum commemorating the Asian-African conference in 1955. Heading east at No. 81 is the Grand Hotel Preanger, combining Art Deco in a unique style with local design. At No. 112 is the Savoy Hohmann Bidakara Hotel, built in 1880 and renovated in 1938, housing such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin in its heyday.
Between Gedung Merdeka and the hotels running north is Jl. Braga, the heart of Old Bandung. Now the cobbled street is lined with trendy cafés and boutiques, but at the height of Dutch rule it was a gathering spot for students by day, at night attracting the rich who dined on caviar and champagne. Jl. Braga becomes Jl. Merdeka further north, and the Bank Indonesia Building, near the town hall, is another mélange of Dutch and local architecture.
East of Jl. Merdeka is Jl. Diponegoro where Gedung Sate, built in 1921, stands. It was named for the flag pole jutting from the roof that resembles a satay skewer. In front of the building is Gazebo Field which becomes crowded on weekends with joggers, picnickers and hawkers. The Geological Museum is further east at No. 57 and although its exhibits are a bit on the decrepit side, its Art Deco architecture, constructed in 1928, is noteworthy.
Gedung Merdeka, Grand Hotel Preanger, Savoy Hohmann Bidakara Hotel, Jl. Braga, Gedung Sate, Geological Museum.
Expeditions into the wonderful world of Bandung shopping begin by knowing there are two types of shops. Factory outlets carry fixed-price items made for export: garments, shoes, accessories, bed and bath and even toys, to name a few. Factory outlets carry both Grade A (best quality overruns) and Grade B (flawed) items. Choose carefully, as returns are not permitted. Look for Calvin Klein, Zara, Banana Republic, Nike and other international brands; some items will still have the original foreign price tags on them so shoppers can see what bargains they’re getting. Rumah Mode on Jl. Setiabudi No. 41-F is among the local faves, and is a destination all of its own. There are also other factory outlets on this street in the Dago area, including Lily & Rose (Jl. Riau, No. 57) which is packed with good stuff. Other good areas for bargain hunting are Sukajadi and Dr. Otten, and have signs giving directions to the shops.
Distros are a bit different, as they are boutiques featuring garments and accessories by local designers who have not yet made a name for themselves. With over 200 local designer labels in the city, the variety of products is huge, and prices are reasonable. Many distros are owned by local musicians to fund their bohemian lifestyles, so don’t be surprised to see indie label recordings, books and magazines in these shops, too. Many distros are located on Jl. Trunojoyo, and UNKL347 (No. 4) also sells quirky furniture.
Rumah Mode, Lily & Rose, distros on Jl. Trunojoyo.