Ultimate Travel Guide to Bandung the “Paris of Java”

Ultimate Travel Guide to Bandung the “Paris of Java”

It was an ungodly hour of 5am when I heard the car pulled over in front of the house. I hurried to stuff everything I need in my daypack and made my way downstairs. I told my airbnb hosts that I need to leave at 5am to get to Kawah Putih early so I can avoid the crowd. My car driver greeted me, his name is Yoga. I have to get a car rental service with a driver because most of the sights in Bandung are in the outskirts of town and there’s no proper public transportation to get to these places. I haven’t found any group tours offered as well, so I can just join as a solo traveler. I had no choice but do what most people do, hire a private car and a driver who acted as my travel guide to Bandung at the same time.

Bandung was not my original plan. I was planning to visit Surabaya and climb Mt. Bromo. The flight times however, wont fit into my schedule. So I ended up booking a flight to Bandung instead. Little did I expect that this city will become my favorite city in Java, Indonesia. I was in Yogyakarta, the last time I was in Java and while the temples in Jogja were impressive, I somehow didn’t enjoy myself very much when I was there. Bandung on the other hand is a city of artists or at least that’s how I see it. This city is all about nature and art, plus the people here are incredibly nice and kind, that’s probably why I loved it so much. If you ever plan to visit this city, I made a complete travel guide to Bandung to help you out.

WHAT TO SEE : There’s a lot, but this list for me are the only ones that are really worth it. 

1. Kawah Putih

Travel guide to Bandung

It’s a volcanic crater of Mt. Patuha. The place can be a little chilly so make sure to bring a sweater. It opens at 7am and it can get really crowded, so it’s best to be there early. I had an “expectations vs. reality moment” here because the pictures that I saw from the internet were really cool and eerie. The lake was like a dream and there were smokes coming out of it. When I got there however, the lake was almost dry, there’s not much water and there were no smokes at all. Maybe it depends on the sulfur concentration at the time of visit. When I was there, the sulfur smell was just bearable, I read stories when they cant stay longer because the smell was unbearable. Nonetheless, the place was still very picturesque and impressive.

Travel guide to Bandung

2. Tea Plantations

Travel guide to Bandung

Bandung has a cooler temperature compared to the other cities in Indonesia, so they have vast tea plantations and strawberry farms here too. I loved it when we were driving along these endless rolling hills when we were on our way back to the city. I kept asking for the car to stop so I can take all the photos that I want. Good thing, my car driver was so supportive and patient with what I do.

Travel guide to Bandung

3. Lawangwangi

Travel guide to Bandung

Bandung is a city of artists. I just love the vibe of this city. If you wanna check some art exhibits and hang out at the same time, Lawangwangi is definitely the place to go. It’s an art gallery with a restaurant on the top floor. The view in their restaurant is spectacular. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to try their food because of time constraints, but there are a lot of people when I was there, so I would assume they have good food.

4. Taman Hutan Raya Juanda

Travel guide to Bandung

Forget about the Japanese tunnel, the deer camp and the underwhelming waterfalls in this forest. They’re definitely not the highlight of this place. The towering pine trees, the sound of the monkeys and the birds in the wild and being enveloped by the beauty of nature are the reasons why you have to visit this forest. I did a 6km walk alone on a very cold morning in this forest. It was one of the highlights of my trip. I don’t know why but I just really love being surrounded by trees.

Travel guide to Bandung

5. Tangkuban Perahu

Travel guide to Bandung

I didn’t have any expectations before I came to this volcanic crater. I knew for a fact that it will be very touristy and there will be a lot of annoying touts who will try to sell all sorts of things. And I was correct, the parking space were filled up when we got there and there were so many people. But when I saw the crater, I was awestruck. It was unbelievably enormous. Yes, there are a lot of tourists but the place is huge, you will hardly bump into each other. I didn’t even dare to completely go around the crater because it was so big, it would take me forever to climb up and down the stairs. I went to the lowest point though, so I can take a good shot of the crater. The place was well developed and there are a lot of shops as you walk along the edge of the crater.

6. Floating Market

Travel guide to Bandung

The floating market here is a bit too organized. It was more like a nice eco park with a floating market inside. But it was a really nice place, I thoroughly enjoyed myself here. It’s worth a visit if you wanna take a break from your busy itinerary.

Travel guide to Bandung

7. Dusun Bambu

Travel guide to Bandung

There are a lot of eco parks in Bandung but Dusun Bambu is definitely one for the books. Whoever developed this place must really be an artist. I love the whole concept of this eco park, like how you have to ride a sampan before you can get to the cottages, how they designed their nest-like restaurant and even their shop looks impressive, both interior and exterior design. It was well thought of.

Travel guide to Bandung

8. NuArt

Travel guide to Bandung

This gallery was under renovation when I went there but I was really impressed by the art pieces displayed in this gallery. It exhibits the works of the talented artist and owner Nyoman Nuarta. His sculptures are made mostly of steel wires.

Travel guide to Bandung

I almost left after I found out that it was under renovation, but one of their receptionist showed me around. I forgot her name but she was so kind to me, she even went out of her way to help me get a cab because the gallery is inside a secluded village. Im glad I stayed and toured the whole place because I was tremendously impressed by the art pieces displayed here.

Travel guide to Bandung

9. Tebing Keraton at sunrise

I was so bummed when we got there at 5am only to be told that it was under renovation. Yoga kept telling me that this place is perched on top of the mountain and the view will definitely take my breath away. He has been there many times but he was still so excited to come along with me. He said that this is probably the most beautiful spot in Bandung but I didn’t get to see it because it was under renovation! Urgh! So, obviously I don’t have a photo to show you but I would still recommend visiting this place because based on what I heard, it’s really beautiful. This place can get really crowded so make sure to be there as early as possible.

TRANSPORTATION:

I highly recommend the car rental services of Diaz Travelindo. I paid for IDR 550,000 (PHP 1886.45) per day for the car rental and that already includes 14 hours of car use, gas, toll fee, driver’s fee, driver’s meals and parking fees. It’s usually just IDR 500k but I requested to start my tours at 5am, which is way too early, hence the additional IDR 50k.

My driver Yoga, was the best. Im an introvert traveler, I hate it when tour guides tend to impose what they want or when they are overwhelming me with their recommendations, suggestions and information. Yoga however is such a cool guide/ driver. He knows when to talk or when to leave me alone with my thoughts. He knows when I wanted to explore the place on my own or when to keep me company.

Travel guide to Bandung

Bandung’s Post Office

When we were touring the city, he noticed that Im not buying anything whenever we stop at some factory outlets or some shops. So he brought me instead to the post office and showed me the colonial buildings in the city. We went around some of the historical streets and talked about history because he realized that Im not really the kind of person who would enjoy shopping in those factory outlets. He was even too kind to worry about me when I asked him one afternoon to just drop me off at a nice restaurant for dinner. I told him that I’ll take a cab on my own after dinner so he doesn’t have to wait for me. He never left until he was able to arrange with the restaurant management for someone to help me get a cab after my dinner. He was worried that I might not get home because I can’t speak their language or that I might get scammed. I reassured him many times that I can take care of myself. Plus, he knows where the best sop buntut (ox tail) is in the city! =)

Yoga

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http://www.diaztravelindo.com

Email: diaztravelindo@gmail.com

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WHERE TO STAY:

Travel guide to Bandung

I found this really chic airbnb room at a cheap price. I paid about PHP 896.35/ night when I booked it last October 2015. The room was really spacious and I love love love the white bricked walls and the grecian blue door of my room. The interior of the entire house is too cute. This has been my favorite airbnb accommodation so far. Too bad I was only there for a few days. Check out their current rates at airbnb, it’s called Froufrou House.

Travel guide to Bandung

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8 Comments

  1. Louise Ramos

    First time to see this side of Indonesia. It’s beautiful! And your photos as well. The crater looked like an oasis. Bookmarking this for reference if ever I get to go there.
    Caffeine Rush

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks Louise! Bandung surprised me as well. Actually, Indonesia is full of surprises. There are still so many beautiful places in that country that I want to go to.

      REPLY
  2. seizetheday20

    I haven’t been to this part of Indonesia either – it is rather special. I love the Eco Park and the gorgeous artworks at NuArt, as well as the floating market. So much to see and do! 🙂

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks for dropping by Lyndall. Yep, there’s definitely so much to see in Indonesia.

      REPLY
  3. Vicki Garside

    Thank you for sharing a side to Indonesia not really seen by many tourists! The photos are stunning and there is such a sense of tranquility in each shot – I hope to visit someday!
    Thank you for sharing & Happy Travels 🙂

    -Vicki
    http://www.maketimetoseetheworld.com

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks Vicki! Bandung is indeed often overlooked by many but sometimes you’ll find beauty in the most unexpected places. Happy travels! =)

      REPLY
  4. corinnevail

    I would love to visti Bandung. Your photos are stunning.

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thank you! Bandung is definitely one of the must see cities in Java. Happy travels! =)

      REPLY

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