Summer holiday part 2: BandungPosted: 11/08/2011
So, here we are in part 2 of the summer holiday blog post serie. After staying in Jakarta for 4 days the group traveled further to Bandung. We took the long touristic route via Bogor, Puncak Pass, Padalarang, Cimahi to Bandung instead of the fast but so boring Cipularang toll road. It took us due to heavy traffic starting from Gadog, Bogor to Cisarua, plus a lunchbreak at Puncak Pass (see pic), 8 hours to reach Bandung from our hotel in Kuningan, Jakarta.
Bandung is situated in the bassin surrounded by mountains which brings fresh air to the city. Dormant Tangkuban Perahu volcano watches over Bandung at the north side. Being the third largest city of Indonesia and the capital of West Java province Bandung is like Jakarta, crowded too. At week ends the city is full of Jakartans shopping at countless Factory Outlets in Dago area and hopping from one to another eateries the city is famous of. So when possible, visit Bandung during week days. Why? In order to be able to enjoy the city to the max because yes, Bandung has the look, the feel and the taste.
The look and feel
The look: Bandung or Kota Kembang (city of flowers) or Parijs van Java is known for its art deco architecture. You can easily find many art deco style Dutch old building in the city. Most of them are located around the city center and Jalan Braga. Let me name a few of them: Gedung Sate, Villa Isola, ITB Campus and Hotel Preanger. These are beautiful city’s landmarks.
For a culinary journey Bandung is the right place to be. In the early 80-es till mid 90-es Soes Merdeka (Choux with cream filling with a dash of rhum) and Yoghurt Cisangkuy were an obligatory must try when you came to Bandung. Today is the day of Kartika Sari Bakery (selling various breads and traditional savory and sweet delicacies), Dapur Sunda (West Javanese or Sunda cuisine buffet style), Batagor and Siomay (fish/prawn dumplings, steamed or deep-fried with peanut sauce).
When I was there I dined at Poka Tiam at Jalan Pasir Kaliki 3 nights in a row. As this restaurant was opposite the hotel and the menu was to our satisfaction. Once we visited the Paris van Java Mall at Jalan Setiabudi for a quick coffee and a bite or two. The other day the group had lunch at Kampung Daun. A fully dining experience in the Sundanese (West Java) style (see pic). The concept of Kampung Daun attracts people to come there. Entering the premise you will get a hut called saung as your eating place. En route to your saung there are various hawkers selling typical Bandung delicacies. The food at Kampung Daun was good, not great but good.
Where to stay?
Most of the hotels are concentrated in the Dago and Jalan Pasir Kaliki areas. There are many price categories you can choose from. I stayed at hotel Guci at Jalan Pasir Kaliki. It is a stroll away from the headquarter of Kartika Sari bakery and Bandung central train station at Kebon Kawung street.
I didn’t visit any of those Factory Outlets as I have been there many times. Bandung was actually a base to discover Ciwidey, Rancabali tea plantation and Situ Patengan during this trip. A 2 hours ride down south, 50 km to this destination was an idyllic one. Our driver knew the points to stop for breathtaking view of the teaplantation at Rancabali. Those tea plants lie there as a big wavy green rug welcoming you and soothing your eyes. I must say I was more impressed by the tea plantation here than by that of Puncak Pass. What do you think your self? See pic. I heard that this plantation supplies its tea to Lipton Tea.
15 minutes ride further we reached Kawah Putih, the white volcano sulfuric crater at Ciwidey. This one has been discovered by domestic tourists the past years. Normally visitors of Bandung would visit Lembang and Tangkuban Perahu volcano at the north side.
After Ciwidey the group continued the trip to Situ (lake) Patengan. This is a beautiful lake with a tiny island in the center. We decided to try deep-fried goodies there such as fried banana (pisang goreng), fried tofu squares (tahu goreng), fried cassave (singkong goreng) etc, see pic. We even made a ride with a boat around the tiny island. There is a legend about a sweet love story concerning that tiny island.
On our last day we went to Saung Angklung Udjo for a cultural performance. Angklung is a music instrument made from dried bamboo. This show is highly recommended. During 2 hours show you see Sundanese dances, children and adults playing various kind of music with angklung. There was also a part of the show when audience had to participate playing angklung. The show was given in both English and Indonesian. It is held daily at 3.30 pm. No reservation is needed.
There are an amount of taxi companies. Should you stay more than 2 days in Bandung, renting a car with a driver is recommended. I hired a car, including petrol and a driver from Mulia Rental. The service was fine. My driver always came on time to pick me up at the hotel. He even told me some tips/suggestions. When you are more adventurous you can take the public transport, Angkot. It is a small coach which rides several routes in the city. To let the group experience the feel of Bandung I chartered two Angkots after checking out of the hotel to come to the train station instead of taking a cab.
Overall Bandung did not disappoint. It is always fun to come there.
Coming up: Summer holiday part 3: Yogyakarta