Everything you Need to Know about Bandung

Situated about 750 metres above sea level in the Priangan highlands, Bandung is a charming tourist spot that serves as the capital city of West Java, in addition to being the third largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya. The city is about 150km southeast of Jakarta. Bestowed with a picture-perfect landscape consisting of lush green areas, lakes, hot springs and volcanic mountains, Bandung is one of the country’s most beautiful tourist spots, and is especially popular among city dwellers seeking an enjoyable and stress-free weekend.

According to archeological findings, Bandung was first inhabited by Australopithecus, aka Java Man. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the place was the colonial capital of the Dutch East Indies, owing to its fertile topography backed by mountainous regions that served as an excellent defense system. As such, the town gradually began to develop, with the establishment of a plantation area and construction of a railroad between Bandung and Batavia, which in turn led to the boom of light industry. Additionally, a chain of defense units was set up here, as per the order of the Governor General, H.W. Daendels.

The city witnessed further development when the country gained independence in 1945. Today, Bandung is a metropolitan city that is home to more than two million people. Due to its European ambience, Bandung is dubbed the ‘Paris of Java.’ The city is also sometimes known as the ‘City of Flowers’.

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Bandung Attractions

With a relaxed atmosphere and natural surroundings, Bandung boasts an array of attractions that are a mix of Asian and European culture. The city is especially lauded for its architectural jewels that are mostly the remnants of its colonial past. Built in Indo-European architectural style, Villa Isola is one of the not-to-miss landmarks of the city. This exquisite structure stands out for its two gardens and offers views of the city from its top. Bandung’s impressive buildings also include Gedung Sate that is constructed using a blend of architectural styles like Spanish-Moorish, Italian, Thai and Balinese. Designed by renowned architect C.P.W. Schoemaker, Cipaganti Mosque is another prominent landmark of the city. It was built in 1933 and is the only mosque in the European residential area.

Further, Bandung is noted for its buildings such as Gedung Merdeka that is famed as the venue of the first Asian-African conference, Grand Hotel Preanger – a unique structure designed using a combination of art deco style and local culture and ITB West and East Hall – a significant Dutch East Indian architectural style structure that also holds the distinction of being the country’s oldest institute of technology. To get a glimpse of the country’s geology, take a tour of the Bandung Geological Museum that is housed within a one-of-a-kind art-deco style building. On display here are a variety of fossils, rocks and mineral collections. Other worthwhile museums in the city are Sri Baduga Maharaja Museum, Mandala Wangsit Siliwangi Museum and Pos dan Giro Museum.

As the melting point of arts and culture, Bandung presents some interesting highlights in the form of Saung Angklung Udjo, where wonderful traditional dances and bamboo musical concerts by children are conducted. The places of interest in and around the city also cover Bandung Zoo whose prime residents are Sumatran elephants, orangutans, African zebra and Sumatra tigers and Tangkuban perahu crater – a breathtaking attraction that is about 26km north of Bandung.

Bandung Restaurants & Dining

The city’s dining scene is sure to satisfy food lovers, with a plethora of cafes, restaurants, food stalls and food courts. The majority of eateries in Bandung serve such delicacies as bakso tahu, martabak, soto bandung, lotek, mie kocok, mie ayam and nasi timbel. Among the highly recommended dining choices to relish local specialties are Sate Kardjan, Bubur Ayam Mang Oyo and Santosa. For international cuisine, choices consist of Kampung Daun, Sierra Cafe & Lounge, Tizis Restaurant and Coca Suki. If Chinese dishes are your favourite, then drop into restaurants like Golden Lake Chinese Restaurant. Similarly, one of the highly preferred eateries for seafood dishes is Mustika Jaya Sari. There are also a number of options to try local cuisine, such as Sindang Reret, Ponyo and AA Laksana. In addition, the city also has a list of restaurants for western cuisine, including Sadewa Steak, McDonald's, the Stone Café and Cafe Venezia.

Bandung Nightlife

The nightlife in Bandung is perhaps the best in Indonesia. No matter if you want to spend an evening in a cozy café or a lively bar or club or just in the city’s streets, options are aplenty. A variety of choices are open to people interested in clubbing by way of Amare, Amnesia and Embassy. For a lively night out, head to disco venues like Braga Disco, Dago Thee Huis and North Sea Bar. If bar and club life do not enthrall you, visit the night food market at Cibadak Street, where you can savour sumptuous Chinese cuisine. Similarly, the uphill areas of Bandung, with its pleasant atmosphere and awe-inspiring views, are also ideal for a night out. For people looking for adventurous nightlife, a great option will be to go to the hot spring resort to relax your body by soaking yourself in the sulfur pool.

Bandung Shopping

From factory outlets to expansive shopping malls, choices are endless for shopping in the city. If you opt to buy from factory outlets, then visit the streets of Dago with more than 20 outlets and Setiabudi where you can find a couple of branded factory outlets. Some of the options available for distros shopping are Ouval Research, Screamous, Badger and Blackjack. They mostly come with chic products created by local designers. When it comes to the city’s shopping malls, most of them serve as a one-stop destination for shopping, fun dining and entertainment. A few to name are Cihampelas Walk, Bandung Trade Centre, Kepatihan Plaza, Mall IITC Kopo and Lucky Square. Above all, shopping in the city will be incomplete without taking a tour of Paris Van Java Mall, which is also one of the city’s significant landmarks.

Bandung Activities

The city has options such as Bandung Indah Golf and Country Club and Bandung Giri Gahana Golf Course to cater to golf enthusiasts. If you want to enjoy something different during your Bandung vacation, then visit one of its villages to enjoy ram fighting. Likewise, Bandung’s Ciator Hot Spring is a good picnic spot and is sure to thrill people vacationing with family. You can also opt to take an excursion to nearby scenic spots, the most prominent being Taman Safari, Bogor, also referred to as the ‘City of Rain’, Puncak – a cool area between Bandung and Bogor, Lake Patengan that provides perfect base for enjoying boating and fishing. Aside these, don’t miss out on a trip to spots like Lembang an uphill resort city and Tangkuban Perahu – an active volcano comprising a number of hot springs.

Bandung Information

Good to know:

  • Bandung has cool and salubrious climate year-round when compared to most Indonesian cities. The average temperature is 22.5 degrees Celsius.
  • The best time to visit is from December to February.
    To get around in the city, transportation options include public mini buses and taxis.
  • Accommodation options are aplenty, from budget choices to luxury hotels with top end amenities and facilities.
  • For emergency, dial:
    - Police: 110
    - Ambulance: 118
    - Tourist Information: (62)(22) 7210768

How to get there?
The city’s international airport, Hussein Sastranegara Airport operates direct flights to destinations such as Malaysia and Singapore apart from domestic flights within the country. By rail, the Bandung Railway Station has regular trains to and from cities including Jakarta and Jogjakarta. You can easily reach the city from Jakarta by road.

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