Why I Want to Visit Bandung, Indonesia
So, before I begin, I want to highlight that I have never been to Indonesia, and in actually fact until very recently did not really know all that much about what has to be one of the largest countries in the world, for which I am quite ashamed of, but in just a few short weeks we are taking our first trip over to South East Asia, and it got me thinking…. why have we never explored this corner of the world before?
After all, Indonesia is home to around 17,000 magnificent islands, all individual but all sharing those eye-popping, lustful sandy beaches that we all dream about on cold winter days. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time swinging in a hammock, coconut cocktail in hand, looking out onto crystal-clear waters?
Add to this the fact that the adventurer in me can also spend some time exploring the world-renowned Pacific Ring of Fire.
452 of the world’s volcanoes, both active and dormant can be found in this area, with Indonesia itself being home to not one but two of the most active volcanoes of all time – Kelut and Mount Merapi, known as the Mount of Fire.
However, whilst locals have got used to living with the constant rumblings that happen, I am not so sure I would be so calm about it all, but, a hike up a dormant volcano or two simply for the stunning views across the landscape would be well worth the time.
But what happens when you have had enough of the beaches and the volcanoes, where do you head for something different?
Being a bit of a culture junkie and a history nerd, I like the best of both worlds. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of spending a day or two on a white-sandy beach with a book relaxing but I also want to explore; to try to understand more about the country I am visiting. So for me, a trip to the city would also be calling.
Again, just like with the beaches there are many cities worth visiting but for me personally, Bandung, stands out.
Well to begin with, whilst researching any area, whenever a city claims to be the “Paris” of somewhere I am bound by intrigue to delve deeper and Bandung has made that claim, being known as the “Paris” of Java.
That alone, makes me want to visit.
Add to this the fact that Bandung sits 768m above sea-level meaning that not only will it be cooler than many other tropical cities, the views from every corner are likely to be stunning.
So, when visiting Bandung what should we do?
Bandung – Three Great Reasons To Visit
#1 The Architecture
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established themselves around various ports in Indonesia, leading to an influx of Dutch nationals moving to the pacific country in order to set up home. Not only did this event lead to 1000’s of jobs being created, it also meant that skilled workers and architects also arrived on the islands with a hope that they too would make a mark on the world.
Therefore, when you walk the streets of Bandung, you can’t help but notice the Dutch Colonial architecture surrounding the city, most notably the tropical art deco designs that were first introduced by Henri Maclaine-Pont who wanted to incorporate both stylish designs with local cultural traditions.
Many of these buildings still stand today and include the Institute of Technology, The Savoy Homann Hotel, the DENIS bank and Villa Isola, which is home to some of the best views across the city.
Locals and tourists alike, flock to Bandung for the shopping malls.
If you have a thing for demin then you need to head to Cihampelas Street (Also known as ‘Jeans Street’) whereas if you head to either Riau Street, Djuanda Street or Setiabudi Street will find numerous factory outlets which sell various products at rock-bottom prices.
On top of this you have numerous other malls and market stalls dotted around the city meaning that anyone who fancies it can shop until they literally drop.
#3 The Surrounding Area
Indonesia is a fertile country , with arable soils ideal for producing food sources, including cocoa, coffee, rice, spices and tea, and it is the surrounding tea plantations that I personally would love to explore. With several in the local area it would be easy to spend a couple of days touring the various plantations of Rancabali and Malabar before visiting the Walini Tea Gallery in Bandung itself where you can purchase many different Walini products.
Whilst in explorer-mode I would also take the time to visit Tangkuban Perahu Volcano Crater, Kawak Putih in Ciwidey, a sulphur volcanic lake also known as the White Crater and the Patenggang Lake which itself is surrounded by tea plantations.
There are also various waterfalls and hot springs that are not to be missed and as I have been known to enjoy a hike or two a visit to Bukit Moko, a protected forest would be high up on my list of things to do as the views from the top are meant to be outstanding.
The food is meant to be both cheap and delicious so why wouldn’t you indulge whilst in the city. Two in particular that I have been reading about appeal, The Valley Restaurant is set atop a hillside and is supposedly well worth a visit for the stunning sunset views whilst Kampung Daun is known for its unique setting of little dining huts surrounded by nature.
So Where Would We Stay?
We are not backpackers, and prefer our own space often opting either for more unusual, quirky places to stay or a hotel that offers the option a bath tub. We have also been known to move around, experiencing different types of accommodation whilst visiting just one location so it would not be strange for us to have a couple of nights in one hotel before moving on to another.
I would probably start our trip with a couple of nights at somewhere like the art-deco inspired Grand Royal Panghegar with fantastic deals from Traveloka worth looking at, before heading off to somewhere like Sapulidi Sawah where each room has a Javanese Joglo architectural theme about them, hence allowing both my luxury and quirky side to be satisfied.
Perhaps you have been to Bandung, and have some recommendations for us. We would love to hear about your experiences and suggestions to help us plan more extensively for a future trip.
Have you visited Indonesia? Where else would you recommend to us?