The highland city of Bandung reminds me of Baguio. But better and more interesting. For the first time traveler, it is such a beautiful city filled with geologic wonders, cheap shopping, great food, and of course, it’s Indonesia’s art deco capital. Life here is a bit slow but the cool weather make it the perfect weekend getaway for the people of Jakarta that it can get crowded and traffic becomes terrible. But on weekdays? It’s bliss. Here is a list of some things to do in Bandung for that memorable visit.
Bandung is an Art Deco haven for the enthusiast of this architectural style. Unlike Manila wherein the art deco structures were either bombarded in World War II or are in such sad state, the ones in this Indonesian city are in good condition and still impressive. Built during the latter part of the Dutch colonial period, there are still several extant Modernist structures standing with the likes of the grand Gedung Sate, those designed by Albert Aalbers like the Savoy Homann Hotel, the Denis Bank and many others. But perhaps, the grandest of them all, probably, the crown jewel of Bandung’s art deco is the beautiful Villa Isola by Wolff Schoemaker for the wealthy Dutch media tycon Dominique Willem Berretty.
The travel up Tangkuban Perahu is effortless. Compared to Kawah Putih, there’s no change of vehicles or several meters hike. Just take your vehicle directly to the parking lot, walk a few meters and there it is, the yawning maw of an active volcano below. You can do take the path around it for better and not so common views. Looking down, its a desolate environement, dreary with fumaroles venting gases.
Kawah Putih is one of the most popular attractions in Bandung and during weekends, can be full of visitors. It’s one of two craters of Gunung Patuha that changes in color from white to bluish to greenish, depending on the temperature and amount of sulphur. But for most of the time, it is whitish. The area can smell of sulphur but the view from the lake’s edge is stunning, like an alien landscape with steaming fumaroles at the side. Other than that, I just love the cool weather!
Malabar Pangalengan tea plantation
Located at the south of Bandung, the extensive Malabar Teh Plantation in Pangalengan is such a view! Endless carpet of green formed by rows and rows of tea in a hilly setting makes for a great scenic landscape. You can observe tea gatherers early in the morning, or see fog rise up from the mountains. At one area, there’s even a hot spring resort. When going up here, it is recommended to have a vehicle so that you can go around the area.
A lazy afternoon at Alun Alun Bandung
Weekends can get crowded in Bandung when almost all of Jakarta descends in this highland city. But for locals, the wide open grounds behind the Masjid Raya Bandung is perfect for that lazy afternoon. Carpeted with faux grass, you have to leave your footwear before entering the green area. It’s a nice place to do nothing but watch people under the shadows of the two gigantic minarets.
Armor Kopi, short for Arabika Multi Origin Kopi and specializes on manually brewed coffee using Indonesian beans from several sources like Flores, Banda Aceh and many other islands around the country, which is great for coffee lovers and connoisseurs. Other than the great coffee, it serves traditional Indonesian fare in a cool setting. The place is quite picturesque too, very much instagrammable.
Located in Lembang, Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park is a resort village that offers several activities for the family. The restaurant area serves interesting and delicious Indonesian food with several works of art found almost everywhere in the tastefully done structure. You can also walk around the extensive park grounds including an elevated walkway under the stands of eucalyptus trees with egg shaped, nest like dining areas. At another section is a small lake surrounded with villas. Dusun Bambu also offers accommodations for those who wants to stay for a night or a couple of days.
One thing that really makes Bandung a must visit is the cheap shopping in several factory outlets around the city. From oleh-oleh (souvenir items), to surplus, designer goods and export overruns, Bandung has a great and wide variety for the shopaholic. The city is also known for its independent fashion designers and the interesting stuff that they are creating.
This trip made possible through the Wonderful Indonesia program of the Ministry of Tourism. Check out the official website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But don’t forget to Like my Langyaw Media Facebook page for updates.
For stories during my WONDERFUL INDONESIA trip, click on the TRIP OF WONDERS tag.