Bandung, Indonesia, is a city 150 km from Jakarta and in the middle of western Java. It’s not the most famous city in Indonesia, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit. Here, you will find the authentic Indonesian vibe. It’s a great place to stay and plan trips in and around Bandung.
The most famous attraction in Bandung is Gedung Sate, a public government building. The name is a reference to the decorations on the roof; it looks like a satay.
The city also has a big mall, which is relatively new (it was opened in 2017). You also find some parks, churches, and a lot of old Dutch buildings, which is normal for Indonesia. In fact, my grandparents lived here and my father was born in Tegal and lived in Bandung for a long time.
How to get to Bandung
The most convenient way is by train. It’s just 4 hours from Jakarta to Bandung if you go by train. This trip is pretty nice if you book a seat in the Eksekutif class. Just say this out loud and you know what it is. It has big chairs and air conditioning. Trains in Indonesia are pretty good.
Although the train station can be quiet, outside that station isn’t. We took a cab from the train station but walking would have been faster. If you do want a taxi, look for a BlueBird taxi. We never had problems with this company and they are represented a lot in Indonesia.
Things to do
The city of Bandung has a lot to offer; history, shopping, relaxation, and food. It’s easy to get around if you get a Grab or find a good tour operator. Note that some of the things to do are not in Bandung but in the surrounding area.
The climate is pretty good. Not too hot and not too cold. Because it’s located a bit higher than other areas in Indonesia the climate is a bit cooler, which we liked. And don’t worry about food, Bandung has plenty of restaurants to choose from!
Gedung Sate is a public building that was built by the Dutch architect J. Gerber for the Dutch East Indies Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management. The building was completed in 1920. Now it is used by the governor of West Java. The building gets its name from the local name ‘Gedung Satay’ because the decoration on the roof looks like satay.
You can explore the building’s interior, which features a mix of colonial and traditional Indonesian design elements. The building also houses several art galleries and museums, including the West Java Museum, which features exhibits on the history and culture of the region.
Gedung Sate is an important cultural and historical landmark in Bandung and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Indonesian architecture and history.
If you want to get out of the city and do some exploring, try to find a tour operator that takes you to Kawah Putih.
Kawah Putih is nicknamed the white Crater. It is a crater lake and one of the two craters of the Patuha volcano. The lake is about 2430 meters above sea level. This makes the temperature nice and cool. There has been no volcanic activity in Kawah Putih since 1600. The lake opened to visitors in 1987.
The entrance fee is around 81000 IDR (March 2023) and also gives you access to the hot springs if you want. If you have a driver he or she will park the car and you can take special buses to the crater. You can also walk, but it’s a pretty long walk.
When the bus stops at the top, you immediately smell the sulfur that rises from the lake. Due to the strong air, it is recommended not to walk along the lake for more than 15 minutes. You can choose to bring or buy a face mask, but this is not mandatory. When we visited the air wasn’t that bad so we walked around without a mask.
You have a viewpoint over the entire lake and you can walk to the lake itself. We first went for the overview and then we walked closer to the lake. The colors are really breathtakingly beautiful, the clear azure blue water surrounded by bright yellow sand. It feels like you are walking around in another world.
If you are looking for a natural hot spring (yes, there are many unnatural hot springs) you can find one near Kawah Putih. It is called Kawag Rangganis and it’s a short drive from the volcano. You can take a swim if you want or wander around.
Please note that you are in a Muslim country. Although they wouldn’t mind, we didn’t put on our swimwear since some people could be offended by it.
The water is pretty warm, but the smell of sulfur is pretty bad. If you walk around you will see all kinds of holes that spit out steam. Be careful; it’s really hot.
The people in Indonesia love food, like any other Asian country. It’s no surprise there are a lot of eateries in Bandung. Take the Humming Bird for example. Specialized in cake and other sweets. They also serve very good lunch as in Western food, but also local food.
Then there is Dago. This is a trendy area in Bandung with many cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It is a great place to relax, have a coffee, and do some people-watching.
When we arrived in Bandung, the taxi drove past some big clothing factories. If you are looking for cheap clothing, Bandung is the place to be. Not sure about the quality though. But there are other places where you can go.
The bustling market called Pasar Bar is one of the best shopping destinations in Bandung. It’s a maze of small shops and stalls selling everything from traditional textiles and handicrafts to electronics and fashion items. You can find great bargains here if you’re willing to haggle.
The modern shopping mall Cihampelas Walk is located in the Cihampelas area of Bandung and is known for its selection of local and international fashion brands. The mall is also home to a range of restaurants and cafes.
Paris Van Java is an upscale shopping center located in the Dago area of Bandung and features a mix of high-end international brands and local designer boutiques. The mall also has a range of dining options and a cinema.
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If you want a different volcano, then Tangkuban Perahu is another famous volcano located in Lembang, a suburb of Bandung in West Java, Indonesia. The name “Tangkuban Perahu” means “upturned boat” in the Sundanese language, which refers to the shape of the volcano’s crater that looks like an upturned boat.
Tangkuban Perahu is a popular tourist destination because of its stunning natural scenery and unique geology. Visitors can explore the crater and hike to the top of the mountain for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. There are also several hot springs around the volcano where visitors can relax and soak in the natural mineral water.
The volcano is also an important cultural site for the Sundanese people, who believe that the crater is the result of a legend involving a father and his disobedient daughter. According to the legend, the father kicked the boat that the daughter was in, causing it to upturn and create the crater.
Indonesia is the country of tea, so visiting a tea plantation can’t be hard to do, right? There are many plantations near Bandung. If you are planning to go to Kawah Putih, ask if they can stop at a tea plantation.
Our guide added it for free and brought us to a nice spot in the middle of a plantation. A beautiful view of the area, away from all the people.
Saung Angklung Udjo
Looking for real Indonesian performances like music and dance? Then Suang Angklung Udjo is what you need. It was founded in 1966 by Udjo Ngalagena, a musician and artist who wanted to preserve and promote Sundanese traditional music and culture.
Angklung is an Indonesian musical instrument and it is important for Java and Bandung. You will find shops selling this instrument everywhere. You can also enjoy the music of this instrument at Saung Angklung Udjo.
Saung Angklung Udjo is a unique and vibrant cultural experience that showcases the beauty and richness of Sundanese culture. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Indonesian arts and culture, and it’s a great way to immerse oneself in the local community.
The Braga area is located in the heart of Bandung and is known for its colonial-era architecture, which dates back to the Dutch colonial period. The area was once home to wealthy Dutch planters, and many of the buildings in the area were built in the early 20th century.
One of the most iconic buildings in the area is the Braga Permai building, which was built in 1923 and is now a restaurant and cafe. The building has an Art Deco-style facade and is a popular spot for taking photos.
The Braga area is also known for its street food, with many small stalls and restaurants serving up traditional Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice), sate (grilled meat skewers), and bakso (meatball soup). Some of the most popular street food stalls in the area include the Siomay Pak Bawor and the Nasi Kalong restaurant.
Use our Bandung Travel Guide to plan your trip
Although Bandung isn’t really a touristic city, there is so much to do and see. Nature, history, food, and music. Find a good tour operator and just go! You could also rent your own transport, but the traffic is terrible sometimes.
Have you ever been to Bandung? Please share your favorite places to eat, stay, or activities in the comments below this article. This way more people will know where to go or what to do in Bandung. We loved the authentic vibe and Kawah Putih is something we’ll never forget.
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