Indonesia is a huge and wonderfully diverse archipelago but most tourists make a beeline for the blissful islands of Bali which are justifiably popular, but more adventurous travellers know that Indonesia offers so much more and there are so many places in Indonesia that are still on my travel wish list; from seeing the Komodo dragons and scuba diving in Flores, exploring Mount Bromo, Yogyakarta and Borobudur – the largest Buddhist temple in the world and learning more about the tribal people and animals that live in Indonesia.
Why visit Bandung
Bandung, in West Java, is also another place in Indonesia that you really should check out. Bandung is known as “the Paris of Indonesia” because of it’s colonial and art deco architecture, cosmopolitan atmosphere, great shopping scene and a lively, university-town feel. Bandung is also popular due to its relatively cool tropical climate and is surrounded by natural beauty like volcanoes and tea plantations. Good road and rail connections with the rest of Indonesia and cheap flights from KL and Singapore make Bandung easy to reach.
Top Things to do in Bandung
Bandung is a popular weekend getaway and people come to enjoy the great shopping, cooler climate and surrounding natural beauty. There is a wide range of accommodation for all budgets in Bandung but you can make your stay extra special by choosing a hotel like the Padma Hotel, Bandung that has gorgeous sweeping views over the jungle from the luxurious rooms and the stunning infinity pool whilst still being close to all the action that Bandung has to offer.
Some things that you really can’t miss visiting Bandung include:
Checking out the Colonial Architecture
Gedung Sate is one of the most distinctive buildings in Bandung. It was built in the 1920s by the Dutch and is now used as the office for West Java governor. Gedung Sate is open to public and the top floor is a great places to chill with a drink and enjoy views over the city.
Visit a Volcano
Bandung is surrounded by volcanoes which gave the land its fertility and made it a great place to settle and so visiting a volcano is an essential thing to do whilst in Bandung. Tangkuban Perahu is the most famous one, it’s an active volcano that last erupted in 1983 and it’s nice to walk around the perimeter of the volcano and visit the craters. The biggest and most amazing crater is Kawah Ratu ( meaning Queen Crater)
Experience traditional Indonesian music
This traditional musical performance at Saung Angklung Udjo is one of the best way to explore Indonesian culture. The 2 hour show contains a puppet show, mask dance, Angklung performance (a traditional instrument made from bamboo) It’s a colourful and cultural evening’s entertainment.
Take photos in the tea plantations
Bandung is famous for it’s tea plantations so you can’t skip seeing at least one. Not far from the White Crater are some really beautiful and photogenic tea plantations at Walini Ranca. You can walk through the fields and it’s a great photo spot, there are also some strawberry fields where you can pick your own strawberries.
Indonesia’s third largest city is famous as a shopper’s heaven. You can explore Pasar Baru, and get lost in the atmosphere and choice in this typical Indonesian market and if your good at haggling get a great bargain on fabrics and souvenirs. There are also many factory outlets on Jalan Riau and Jalan Dago where you can get brand new famous branded clothes at half the price!
See the Blue Lake
Kawah Putih (Indonesian for “white crater” ) is a stunning, surreal turquoise blue crater lake 50km south of Bandung. The views are pretty magical but the lake is sulfurous so even though it looks tempting you wouldn’t want to swim in here but it’s still a must see.
For some memorable dining experiences don’t miss Kampung Daun, one of the city’s best restaurants with good Indonesian cuisine in a lovely setting with bamboo huts, streams and waterfall. Also try The Valley, a Western restaurant on a hilltop that has amazing sunset views. There is also a floating market which is a great place both for photography and to try local food.
Have you been to Bandung? What was your favourite thing to do there?