Only a few hours drive from Jakarta will get you to the more laid back, green and a more artistic sister of Jakarta, Bandung. Bandung is a nice getaway from overly metropolitan Jakarta. Located around the mountain range, Bandung enjoys cooler weather and less pollution. Other than the beautiful scenery, Bandung is also well known for its creative industry, food, cafe culture, and brand outlet shopping. It is also big in clothing and ready to wear industry – producing and supplying for local and international market. Due to its charm, Bandung is also known as the Paris of Java or as they like to call it, Paris Van Java.
What should you visit in Bandung?
1. Gunung Tangkuban Perahu
Before development, there used to be only a handful of natural attractions to visit in Bandung. One of the most classic one is the Tangkuban Perahu crater. To this day this crater still emits smoke and reserve a great deal of sulfur. There are many myths surrounding this crater and one of the more popular one is the Sangkuriang legend. Get this stories from local guides.
2. Pemandian Cipanas
Where there is a crater, there will be a hot spring. Pemandian Cipanas is a natural hot spring where you can bath in the river with high content of sulfur. They believe that sulfur has many beneficial properties for the skin and can help treat some skin condition. This place can do with more maintenance but worth to visit nonetheless.
3. Maribaya Waterfall
Surround yourself with lush green around Maribaya waterfall. This and the above are within close proximity to one another so they are usually group together as a one day trip.
4. Kebun Strawberry
You can buy and pick your own strawberry when in season in Bandung. The cooler climate and higher ground of Bandung allows strawberry to grow.
5.Floating Market Lembang
Floating Market Lembang is a interesting park where you can buy food stuff from rows of floating boats and/or relax at some of the restaurants within the precinct.
6. Boscha Observary
For those who love to star gaze, Lembang has a long standing observatory called Boscha.
7. Pabrik Tahu Susu Lembang
One of the highlight of our visit for me is to visit Pabrik Tahu susu Lembang which is a factory that makes soybean curd. Bandung is very famous for the beancurd or tofu. The tofu from Bandung is second best to none especially while it’s fresh.
8. Curug Pelangi Cimahi
In Lembang you can also visit the rainbow waterfall. At nightfall the decorative light at the waterfall produce a beautiful sight. This place closes at 21:00.
Address: Jl. Kolonel Masturi No.325, Cisarua, Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat 40551, Indonesia
9. Dusun Bambu
Many come to Bandung just to enjoy Dusun Bambu alone. Dusun Bambu is relatively new compare to say Tangkuban Perahu that has been around forever. This park is a collection of the most trendy green (environmentally friendly) buildings, restaurants, lake, food stalls, flower garden and shops. Dusun Bambu has easily become the new icon and landmark for Bandung. Absolutely must visit.
10. Jalan Riau Factory Outlet
In the town centre of Jalan Riau you can find a lot of brand outlet shops. The clothing they sell is of excellent quality. The most famous factory outlet shops are Rumah Mode and The Heritage.
11. Gedung Sate
Gedung Sate is the iconic building in Bandung that gets its name from its structure that looks like satay stick. This building was decorated to light up beautifully at night.
12. Lapangan Gasibu
Gasibu is park/ open space turned night market near the Gedung sate that opens at night. It is filled with many food stalls selling local cuisine.
13. Museum Geology
Nearby Gedung Sate there is a Geology museum for those who are into rocks, minerals and fossil remnants.
14. Bandung Film Park
This is the first new generation outdoor cinema in Indonesia. Thanks to the governor of Bandung who is a creative himself, Bandung has morph into the creative and colourful city. They use the space underneath a bridge and transform it to a free outdoor cinema perfect for picnics and all to enjoy. Location: in between Pasirkaliki Street dan Pajajaran Street.
15. Pasar Cisangkuy
Pasar Cisangkuy is an open-plan food court in a trendy setting. They offer very extensive menus. The place is so cozy that makes it the perfect place to hang out with friends or for a casual date.
Address: Jl. Cisangkuy No. 64, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
16. Jalan Braga
Jalan Braga is a street full of restaurants and entertainment especially at night. Here you can also see the architecturally interesting conference buildings. In jalan Braga there’s a patisserie that has been around for ages called the Braga Permai. Strolling is Jalan Braga is delightful. We came across a street market, street side music performances, art galleries and interesting looking shops and place to eat along the way.
17. Situ Calenca Pagelangan
Visit Situ Calenca to dine with a beautiful view and take a stroll in the love bridge.
18. Paris Van Java Mall
One of the biggest shopping mall in Bandung is Paris Van Java.
19. Chiampelas Mall
Other than Paris Van Java, Bandung has another famous mall, the Chiampelas Walk. The mall in Bandung slightly differs to those in Jakarta with a more open plan concept.
20. Trans Studio
Trans Studio is a big theme park for kids and family activity. It is owned by Trans TV, one of the leading TV stations of the country. A lot of people with young children came to Bandung to visit Trans Studio.
21. Kampung Gajah
Kampung Gajah is another theme park in Bandung, it was first before Trans Studio. Kampung Gajah is slightly behind Trans Studio in popularity.
22. Kampung Daun
Kampung daun is a unique restaurant in Bandung. Located at the hilly area, they have individual bamboo terrace shed for diners. The ambience is amazing and you will feel so close to nature. Tips: bring insect repellent for the many mosquitoes.
Ciwidey is about two hours drive from downtown Bandung. Ciwidey is great for travellers who want to be closer to nature. Best things about Ciwidey are the Kawah Putih, Situ Patengan and the tea plantation.
24. Gunung Patuha
Gunung Patuha is mountain range near Kawah Putih. Adventure seeker can do some hiking in this mountain.
25. Kawah Putih
Kawah putih translates to the white lake/crater. Basically this part of bandung is a lake steaming with sulfr and the colour is beautiful turquoise light blue hence the name the white crater. Tip: Due to the smoke/mist that are bad for the respiratory it is advice-able to wear a mask while visiting the Kawah Putih.
26. Danau Situ Patengan
Pair your Kawah Putih visit with a boat ride on Situ (Lake) Patengan that will take you to the famous love stone.
27. Perkebunan teh ranca
The view in this tea plantation will take your breath away. Emerald green as far as the eyes can see.
So many good food and unique places to eat in Bandung. Below are some food Bandung is famous for:
1. Soto Mie
Bandung is famous for its soto mie. I personally have not really tried a very excellent one myself so if you have any suggestion I’d love to hear it!
The most famous batagor is bandung is Batagor Kingsley and Batagor Riri. Batagor is deep fried dumpling smothered in peanut and sweet soya sauce.
Batagor Kingsley: Jalan Veteran No.10, Jawa Barat 40112, Indonesia
Batagor Riri: Jalan Burangrang No. 41, Lengkong, Jawa Barat 40262, Indonesia
3. Kartika Sari
Kartika Sari is the place to get souvenirs in Bandung. It is a bakery that is most famous of its molen pies. The original molen is pisang molen but now it is available in many different filling like chocolate, banana chocolate, and durian. Molen is like a pie or pasty with dense filling. It is best served and consumed fresh. Due to popularity, there are many Kartika Sari Outlets around Bandung. Click here for location.
4. Sindang Reret Cikole
When visiting Tangkuban Perahu have lunch at Sindang Reret Cikole for an authentic Sundanese food experience.
Address: Jl. Raya Cikole KM. 22, Lembang, Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
People from Bandung is also known as Sundanese. Uneh serves local Sundanese food like Bandung Soup, deep fried grouper with sambal and locally stir fried veges. Sundanese food has mild taste and fresh flavour that I love.
Branch 1: Jalan Doktor Setiabudi No.159, Sukasari, Jawa Barat 40153, Indonesia
Branch 2: Jl. Pajajaran Belakang No. 132, Pajajaran, Cicendo, Jawa Barat 40173, Indonesia
6. Pandan Wangi
As to Ma’Uneh, this restaurant serves local Sundanese Food.
Address: JL Patuha, No. 38, Talagobodas, Jawa Barat 40263, Indonesia
Burangrang is restaurant with an epic architecture build to be a green building in Dusun Bambu. It has a lovely outdoor terrace and the food though looks high-end, they are really affordable and delicious.
Address: Jl. Kolonel Masturi KM 11, Situ Lembang, Cisarua, Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat 40551, Indonesia
8. Luntung Kasarung
Luntung Kasarung is one of the iconic restaurant in Dusun Bambu, probably one of the unique one in Bandung because it is on top of the tree (there are so many unique eats in Bandung). There is a minimum to spend to dine in one of this floating bird nest dining room.
Address: Jl. Kolonel Masturi KM 11, Situ Lembang, Cisarua, Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat 40551, Indonesia
9. Braga Permai
This patisserie that has been around for generations has never been short of customers in Braga Street. One of their specialties is the cream puff choux pastry. Other than pastry and baked products they also offer Western and a limited local menus.
Address: Jl. Braga No. 58, Jawa Barat 40111, Indonesia
Unique Places in Bandung
Other than the above places there are much more to Bandung to that. The below are some unique (and new) places that I discover afterwards. Definitely on my to-go list and will update them then.
Farmhouse Susu Lembang
There’s a new hobitton in town and no, it’s not in New Zealand. The Lord of The Ring and Frodo’s fan rejoice. Bandung has opened a farmhouse with a hobbit house as one of the attraction. Other than that, there’s animal to get up close and personal with, food and many other things to keep you entertained and feel close to nature. For the official guide in Indonesian Language click here.
Jln. Raya Lembang Nomor 108, Cihideung, Kabupaten Bandung Barat
Warkop Modjok is a café but the unique thing is that a warkop (abbreviated from Warung Kopi) is usually like this (Image source: backpackerlee.wordpress.com)
But Warkop Modjok is like this.
Jl. Pinus Raya no 73B (Perumahan Pondok Hijau Indah)
Talad Thai and Kombi Café’
Another eateries with unique concept combining a Thai restaurant and a minibus turned cafe.
Jl. Terate No.12, Batununggal, Kota Bandung, Jawa Barat 40273, Indonesia
Taman Wisata Grafika Cokole, Lembang
For unique accommodation, very similar to the hobbit house and Warkop Modjok, you can too stay like a hobbit. In mini little wooden house, surrounded by the green in the middle of the shire *cough* woodlands. This place is perfect for groups and those looking for place to stay with outbound activities.
Jln.Raya Tangkuban Perahu Km 8,Desa Cikole Kecamatan Lembang,Kabupaten Bandung Barat – Jawa Barat
We caught the train from Jakarta to Bandung. Other than the train toilet which is not so well urm user friendly, everything was great. It was $7.50 a ticket for the business class and the ride is about 3 hours. Catch the train from the Menteng train station near the Monument National, Jakarta, not the Stasiun Kota. The ticket has to be pre-purchased to ensure you get a seat at your preferred time. We purchased our ticket from Stasiun Kota but it can also be purchased online.
When in Bandung like any other place in Indonesia it is best to travel by car. We hire a car and driver that picked us up from the train station. Alternatively drive your car all the way from Jakarta and use waze application from your phone to get to places. Waze is very reliable app in Indonesia.
Bandung is definitely the place for shopping. Who doesn’t get excited from the buzz words factory outlet shopping? Jalan Riau has many of these factory outlet stores. For general shopping malls you can visit Paris Van Java and Chiampelas Walk.
Accomodation in Bandung start from $20 for a very comfortable hotel. I recommend staying at several places while in Bandung depending on where you want to explore on that day. The traffic in Bandung can be Notorious depending on the time and season (low/high). When exploring Lembang, stay at lembang. Stay near Jalan Riau while you want to explore down town Bandung and shop. Stay at Ciwidey while visiting Kawah Putih, Situ Patengan and the tea plantation.
When to go
Humid and hot all year around there is no real suggestion on when is the best time to go to Bandung. Personally I think the less people the better because you want to avoid traffic jam, squeezing with other people in factory outlet stores and restaurants. If possible it is best to come during weekdays where the crowd is the least and to avoid public holiday. Bandung is very busy during public holiday because it is so easy for people from Jakarta to spend their time in Bandung for a short escape.