A popular city of 2.4 million occupants, Bandung is the third biggest city by the population as well as being the capital of West Java territory in Indonesia. Encompassed by volcanic mountains and tea plantations, Bandung is honoured with a wealth of characteristic magnificence, drawing visitors from around the world as well as local sightseers from neighbouring urban communities like Jakarta.
In the early 19th century during the colonial era, Bandung’s design boutiques, chic bistros, themed stays and luxury hotels earned the city its moniker of Parijs van Java (Paris of Java). Bandung has over the years become the epicentre of knowledge and creativity in Indonesia, with top colleges and a lively art culture.
I was living in Bandung for 11 months (Plan was 2 months but the laid back vibes got to me haha) and it was simply fantastic. So, I am sharing this Bandung travel guide for anyone who wants to visit and is looking for top spots to eat, sleep, drink and see.
Where to stay in Bandung –
Ranging from backpackers hostels to extravagant hotels, there’s no dearth of accommodation options in Bandung. Furthermore, should you like to stay within the vicinity of volcanoes like Kawah Putih or Tangkuban Perahu, a large portion of the hostels and hotels are strategically placed in or around the downtown area for easier access. This bit of info comes in extremely handy during Bandung’s infamous traffic snarls.
Budget stays in Bandung:
Pinisi Backpacker Hostel
Hunny Hostel Bandung
Mid-range hotels in Bandung:
Hotel California Bandung
Grand Sovia Hotel
Luxury hotels in Bandung:
Trans Luxury Hotel
Places to visit in Bandung –
Kawa Putih: An ancient volcanic lake located some 2400 meters above sea level, Kawah Putih is one of two craters that make up Mount Patuha. The beautiful lake’s acidic water radiates a whitish glow which is spooky yet amazing, however, the stench of sulphur gas can be just too much. It is absolutely advisable to bring a face mask along as the crater billows out sulphur gas periodically. It is a wonderful trek to reach the summit and take in the view.
Tangkuban Perahu: The other beautiful and lofty mountain of Bandung, Tangkuban Perahu is a transcending fountain of liquid magma that sits around 30 kilometres north of the downtown area. Although being a quite active volcano that last erupted as recently as 2013, it is quite a thrill to see the flowing lava in person.
Braga: Braga used to be a sprawling shopping area for the Dutch elite in its early days and rightfully earned its nickname of Prijs Van Java. Over the years the trend has changed and given way to a myriad of upscale cafes, gourmet restaurants, jazz clubs, karaoke bars, etc. Music is the hum-drum of this area and it’s quite common to see people perform on street corners to musicians rocking to old school classic rock in bars. Braga turns into a spectacle on weekends when the crowd gets going. There are a few street vendors tucked away into narrow lanes who serve some delectable food very late into the night.
Places to eat in Bandung –
Indonesian food is simply enak (delicious) so you cannot miss out on the street food delights in Bandung. However, if you want to check out some fancy spots that don’t break the bank plus offer great views – this is where to go –
Cafe Dago Pakar: Built within the lush green rolling hills of Bandung, Cafe Dago Pakar can be found at Jl. Dago Pakar Utara. It is the perfect spot in Bandung for ultimate food while basking in nature.
Rumah Miring Bar: Located in Jl. Dagogiri and hemmed in by paddy fields, Rumah Miring Bar is quite possibly the classiest budget gastro-bar in Bandung. Diners can munch on pizza, sip on cocktails, and enjoy the dazzling panorama of Bandung’s city centre.
Stone Cafe: With live music, an impressive view, and delicious servings of hearty Indonesian food, Stone Café’s offers the whole package for a great night out. This unique cafe can be found in Jl. Rancakendal Luhur.
Dulang Cafe: This has always been number one on my list just because of the lovely infinity pool overlooking the valley – its incredible, to say the least.
For those who enjoy drinking, here are some underground bars to check out.
Bandung, overall, is a pretty chilled out place with some amazing people where it’s extremely easy to make great friends for life. I am in Bali now and still hanging with my buddies from Bandung whom I met 2 years ago – Now, those are the kind of people you want to know!
With awesome surroundings and so many places to indulge in, it is not hard to believe that Bandung is indeed aptly named Parijs van Java.