Bandung

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.

When to go

The best time to visit Bandung is during the dry season (April-October).

Visa requirements

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.

Money

Indonesian rupiah (Rp).

Transport

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.

Health and safety tips

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.

Emergency details

The nearest embassy is in Jakarta at Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, Kav. X-4, No. 2, Kuninga (tel: (62) 21 2995 0400, www.mfa.gov.sg/jkt)
 

In an emergency dial 110.

Basic greetings
English Indonesian
Hello Halo!
How are you? Apa kabar?
Fine, thanks Baik, terima kasih
Goodbye Selamat tinggal
Excuse-me! (to get attention) Permisi!
Thank you Terima kasih
Yes Ya
No Tidak
OK OK
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?
Help! Tolong!

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Saung Angklung Udjo

Jl. Padasuka, No. 118

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

Between Bandung and Lembang, to the north

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

Jl. Bukit Patar Timur, No. 100

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.

Geology Museum

Jl. Diponegoro, No. 57

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.

Lembang

Lembang

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.

Shop

Cihampelas Walk

Jl. Cihampelas

Commonly known as 'Jeans Street' for its dozens of factory outlet denim shops, Jl. Cihampelas is a feast for the eye as well as the pocket, and shopping there is a popular pastime. Many of the shops have quirky facades fashioned from papier mâché, chrome or plywood. One even has King Kong peering down; another, a dinosaur crashing through a roof.

Budget $

Kayoe Gallery

Jl. Puri Isola Kav, 19

The Kayoe Gallery sells antique furniture – much of it solid teak – such as tables, chairs and cupboards that has been collected from throughout Java and refurbished in the workshop  here. They also have bric-a-brac, such as wooden statues, and a selection of souvenirs. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try Toko Old & New (Jl. R.E. Martadinata, No. 85, tel: 62 22 420 3727), a thrift shop that has antique furniture, old books and other treasures.

Budget $$

Lori

Jl. Guntur, No. 1

Lori fashions materials from nature such as wood, seeds, stones and other natural fibres into jewellery that appeals to those who have a penchant for ethnic and environmentally-friendly items. Selections include earrings, necklaces, brooches and rings, and they also have a few non-jewellery items such as keychains.

Budget $$

Ruhiyat

Jl. Pangarang Bawah III, No. 78/17B

To see Sundanese wooden puppets (wayang golek) being made – and of course to buy them – visit the Ruhiyat workshop and gallery in a residential area near the Savoy Homann Hotel. After Pak Ruhiyat, a renowned local artist, passed away, his son continued his work. The artisans here also make wooden masks and other Sundanese souvenirs. Take someone with you who speaks English if you want to delve more deeply into the creative process, as there are no English-speakers here.

Budget $$

Toko Sin Sin

Jl. Braga, No. 59

A shop with its origins way back in Dutch times, Toko Sin Sin sells high quality souvenirs and handicrafts to enthusiastic shoppers. If you’re in the market for traditional silverwork, wooden puppets (wayang golek), leather puppets (wayang kulit) or angklung instruments, this is the place. Also has leather and crocodile skin products, art and locally made furniture.

Budget $$

Dine

Batagor Abuy

Jl. Lengkong Besar, Pujasera Lengkong

A Sundanese fave, Batagor Abuy is a fried meat, fish and tofu dumpling served with sweet soy and spicy peanut sauces that is a staple soul food for ravenous snackers. Just a humble kiosk in a food court in Pujasera, Batagor Abuy draws crowds from the moment it opens until the last tasty morsel is swallowed. Also try the siomay, a steamed meat and flour concoction that can include tofu.

Budget $

Jubilare Dine and Wine

Jl. Karangsari, No. 14

Although not so expensive that the price spoils the meal, a meal at Jubilare Dine and Wine is a sumptuous experience. The setting is a restored Dutch colonial building with both indoor and outdoor seating. The food is excellent and reasonably priced, the service is great, and – unusually for a restaurant that isn't part of a hotel – wine is served here. What more could any food lover ask for?

Budget $$$

Kampung Daun Culture Gallery & Café

Jl. Sersan Bajuri Km 4.7, No. 88, RR1

The popularity of Kampung Daun stems from its environment, away from the city and surrounded by natural forest while kampung (village) folk go about their daily work nearby. An Indonesian menu is supplemented with pizza and pasta for those who have had enough rice. Stop here before or after an expedition to Mt. Tangkuban Perahu. After eating, take a stroll around the grounds before moving on. Open all day, beginning with breakfast.

Budget $$

Sajian Sunda Sambara

Jalan Trunojoyo, No. 64

For an interesting variety of authentic Sundanese food, give Sajian Sunda Sambara a try. Instead of menu ordering, all dishes are displayed where they can be seen, are prepared to order on the spot and delivered to the table piping hot and fresh. Choose fish, chicken or beef, not too hot or heavily spiced, and be prepared for a culinary delight. Be sure to get there early as this place is a popular local spot.

Budget $

Sushi Tei

Jl. Sumatra, No. 9

A franchise that is springing up fast across Southeast Asia and Australia, Sushi Tei’s modern Japanese cuisine has folks waiting in line to get in as soon as a new outlet opens. Offerings change throughout the year based on Japan’s season but ever present are its sashimi, teppanyaki and Kaiten conveyor belt allowing the hungry to take what they want when it passes by. The elegant decor is also appetizing and invigorating. There are two other outlets in in Bandung: at Trans Studio Mall and in the Flamboyant-Season Building, Jl. Sukawangi, No. 2.

Budget $$


Stay

Banana Inn Hotel & Spa

Jl. Setiabudhi, No. 191

Families are made welcome at the Banana Inn Hotel & Spa. Drop your little ones off at Cherry Kidz Corner while you indulge in a spa treatment, go for a swim or sweat through a good workout in the fitness centre. Or, if you fancy something more adventurous, put your name down for zip-lining. After dark, have some laughs at one of the very few Bandung karaokes. Children are, of course, invited.

Budget $$

Gino Feruci Braga Baudung

Jl. Braga, No. 67

Although Gino Feruci Braga Bandung is a four-star hotel, its best-priced rooms fall within mid-range budgets. The hotel is located on Jl. Braga in the heart of the historic district, with galleries, shops and eateries within easy walking distance. Save time at day’s end for a sundowner in the Sublime Sky Lounge on the 17th floor overlooking the city.

Budget $$

Padma Hotel Bandung

Jl. Ranca Bentang, No. 56–58

Taking indulgence to a new level – especially for Bandung – Padma Hotel Bandung’s 24-hour butler service might top the bill. Although equally luxurious is its afternoon tea service and its selection of pillow choices – ranging from goose down to 'Neck Treat'. Perched on a hillside overlooking a lush green valley, its recreation options include jungle trekking, zip-lining, high-rope walking and wall climbing. There is also a mini soccer field, a half basketball court and a fitness centre.

Budget $$$

Pop! Hotel Bandung Festival CityLink

Jl. Peta No. 241, Pasir Koja

Fun, hip accommodations designed for the young and the young at heart, POP! Hotels pride themselves on their use of eco-friendly construction materials, solar powered energy, and dedication to minimizing paper and plastic usage. Small rooms appeal to those who spend more time out and about than in-house. Low prices are ideal for travellers on a budget, but they haven’t skimped on extras such as WiFi, cable TV, and a free 'morning bite'. POP! Hotel Bandung Festival CityLink is connected to the Festival CityLink Mall and Harris Convention Center.

Budget $

The Trans Luxury Hotel

Jl. Gatot Subroto, No. 289

The Trans Luxury Hotel has all the amenities you would expect of a luxury hotel and then some. Its yoga room, fitness centre and 'beach' pool invigorate. Its spa is equipped with couples and relaxation rooms, a juice bar and a retail shop. And for the biggest splurge of all, go for the presidential suite with his and hers bathtubs! Whether or not you are staying here, plan to have at least one evening meal in The 18th Restaurant and Lounge on the top floor, with panoramic views of the city.

Budget $$$


Bandung Fashion and Food Market

November

Held in Sasana Budaya Ganesha Cultural Center, the fashion market exhibits Indonesian textiles, such as batik, and Muslim wear, while the food market presents Bandung’s top cuisine. A gala event with music and a dance performance caps the event.


Braga Festival

4th week of September

Held to commemorate Bandung’s anniversary, historic Jl. Braga morphs into a festival site with traditional and modern music performances, wooden puppet (wayang golek) and Jaipong dance exhibitions, and an indie film, art and photography expo. The festival continues three days.


Braga Weekend Market

First week of every month

A Jl. Braga community-based event featuring food, fashion, art, and local products for sale that’s fun for the whole family. The purpose of this event is to maintain the historic value of the neighbourhood and to bond visitors with the people who live there.


Independence Day

17 August

A nationwide commemoration of the declaration of Indonesian independence, this national holiday is celebrated with parades, competitions, and a mass of red-and-white flags.


Public night

7th and 8th days of the Javanese calendar months April/October

Night-time tours of Indonesia’s only observatory and a chance to look at the planets through gigantic telescopes. Built in 1923 by the Dutch-Indies Astronomers Association, the Bosscha Observatory is located in Lembang, north of Bandung, on Jl. Peneropongan Bintang.


Ram fighting

Alternate Sundays Year-round

As traditional to Sundanese men as cock fights are to the Balinese, ram fights are held in villages surrounding Bandung and are accompanied by great enthusiasm. Ask upon arrival where they are being held and arrange for transport with someone who knows where he’s going. Warning: this sport is not for animal lovers.


Culture

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.

Places to visit:
Gedung Merdeka, Grand Hotel Preanger, Savoy Hohmann Bidakara Hotel, Jl. Braga, Gedung Sate, Geological Museum.

Shopaholic

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. 

Places to visit:
Rumah Mode, Lily & Rose, distros on Jl. Trunojoyo.