I have never been to Bandung. In fact I have never been to Indonesia but it certainly is on my Bucket List. Ever since we travelled to Japan, I have grown somewhat obsessed with Asia. This is why I decided to fly to Thailand this year and why I will keep exploring this incredibly diverse continent for several more years to come.
Bandung is the third largest city of Indonesia. It is also the capital of Indonesia’s West Java province. In some circles Bandungs is even known as the Paris of Indonesia. Indeed the city is reputed for its mix of natural wonders, museums, markets and cultural offerings. And this is what makes Bandung such a worthwhile place to visit.
So while I have never been to Bandung, there are many experiences I plan to have when I finally do go. And that’s why, when Traveloka.com asked me to list out my must do activities in Bandung Indonesia, I was more than happy to oblige.
So here is a list of my top 11 things to do in Bandung.
PAY MY RESPECTS AT THE GRAND MOSQUE
The Grand Mosque is one of the most important buildings of Bandung. It was originally a humble thatched bamboo structure in 1812.
Since its humble beginnings the Mosque has be turned into one of the city’s most iconic structures. It features a gorgeous stone facade, tiled dome roof, plenty of minarets and intricate details such as the fish scale motif on its walls.
If you are not a history buff or architecture nerd, like Gary and me, I would still recommend you pop in and head to the top of its tower for a stunning panoramic view of Bandung. On a clear day you might even get a glimpse of Mount Tangkuban Perahu.
SAVOUR LOCAL SPECIALITIES AT A FLOATING MARKET
One thing we didn’t do in Thailand was visit a floating market.
A lot of Asian cities are renowned for their floating markets. Bandung is one of them. If you get a chance you should really visit one.
One of the best places to savour local specialities in Bandung is the Lembang Floating market. Here you can enjoy smaller snacks or even have a larger meal.
It is also a great place for keen photographers. The colourful floating stalls on the scenic man-made lake make it a very attractive photographic subject.
You can also hire a canoe or a water cycle, to exsplore the lake at your own leisure. You can even feed the many rabbits or hop on a Choo Choo train.
In general, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the Lembang Floating Market by car. However, weekend traffic can prolong your journey by an additional 30 minutes.
GAZE AT THE SKY AT THE BOSSCHA OBSERVATORY
London is so light-polluted that it is often difficult to get a glimpse of the stars in the sky. This is why I would certainly pop into the Bosscha Observatory, Indonesia’s oldest observatory.
The observatory was built in 1923 during the Dutch colonial era, and was acquired by Institut Teknologi Bandung in 1959 for research in mathematics and natural sciences.
Here you can borrow a high-quality telescope and marvel at the universe. You will be able to see everything from the red craters of mars to the rings of Saturn. Depending on the weather conditions, you might even get the chance to see Jupiter, Venus and several Nebulas.
If you are truly lucky though you will witness a meteor shower. These only happen on a few nights every other month. A schedule of the meteor showers is shown on the observatory’s website, so go check it out in advance!
Note that the observatory is only open to the public between 9:00-13:00 on Saturdays and that it’s advisable to make a reservation beforehand.
HIKE THE LIVE CRATER OF TANGKUBAN PERAHU VOLCANO
Although there are many things to do within the city of Bandung, one of the main draws for tourists, are the many volcanoes and hiking trails that surround it. And thus Bandung is a great place to have an adventure.
Bandung is located a mere 18 miles from the active volcano Tangkuban Perahu, that’s about a two hours drive form the city.
It must be an incredible experience to hike up the volcano and step into its active crater. Just picture the white steaming smoke, as it engulfs you and makes your heart beat just a little faster.
Once you reach the peak, you will be surprised to find rows of stores, selling handicrafts, souvenirs, and street food. Grab something to eat, while you enjoy the incredible view that surrounds you
DINE IN THE TREETOPS OF DUSUN BAMBU
Dusun Bamboo is a little patch of paradise. This family leisure park is located approximately an hour outside of the city of Bandung, at the foot of the Situ Lembang Mountains.
From the car park, you will need to hop onto a fancy floral shuttle in order to reach the entrance of the park. Here a gigantic bamboo structure welcomes you to the leisure park before you head down the verdant walking paths.
Dusun Bamboo is the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, and a great alternative to another visit to the malls. You can participate in numerous activities, from jumping into a hot air balloon to canoeing from hut to hut, all while enjoying the crisp atmosphere of Lembang.
For a unique dining experience, sit down in one of Dusun Bambu’s hanging nests, the Lutung Kasarung. Or move to even higher altitudes and enjoy a satisfying meal at café Burangrang. The views from this restaurant are absolutely jaw-dropping.
If you haven’t had enough by 10 pm, when the park shuts its gate, you can stay the night in one of the wooden cottages or rent a tent for a more outdoor experience.
VISIT KAWAH PUTIH, THE MYSTICAL LAKE ABOVE THE CLOUDS
Kawah Putih (meaning “white crater” in Indonesian) is a crater lake of staggering beauty that lies 50km south of Bandung.It’s a picturesque almost surreal lake of pale turquoise. The sight of it will take your breath away, I promise. But it’s water is sulfur ousted and thus highly acidic (with a ph of 0.5-1.3), so no need to bring your bathing suit.
This Crater Lake, was formed by the explosion of Mount Patuha. It is considered to be mystical. According to legend, all animals but in particular birds that flew near the area would died suddenly and mysteriously. Unsurprisingly people were reluctant to visit the area.
That is until the 19th century when a German botanist explored the area and discovered the beautiful crater lake. It is now one of Bandung’s main tourist attractions.
The glaring whiteness of the landscape, paired with the changing colour of its crystal blue waters, the dramatic skeletal trees and banks lined with fine white sand, give visitors an otherworldly experience. Even the vegetation around the area is quite different to Indonesia’s typical flora.
Beware that there is a lot of sulphur in the air. Whilst not dangerous as such, the smell is pretty unpleasant and you might want to bring a mask.
Also be sure to pack a jacket. It can get a bit chilly due to the lake’s high elevation.
Although the lake is a mere 50km from Bandung, you might want to factor in at least 2 hours to reach it by car, due to the heavy traffic in the area.
TAKE A SELFIE IN A TEA PLANTATION
Just 10 minutes away from the well-known White Crater Lake ‘Kawah Putih’ lies Situ Patenggang, another lake that you would definitely regret missing out on.
According to legend Prince Putra Prabu of 15th Century West Java and Putri Titisan Dewi met on a heart-shaped island in the middle of the lake, after being separated for years due to the difference in their beliefs.
Better yet the surrounding view is simply breathtaking. The lake is encircled by undulating green tea plantations. Bandung is indeed famous for it’s tea plantations, so it just wouldnt do to miss out on them.
In fact whenever you visit a volcano in Indonesia, you’re bound to see miles of surrounding plantations. This is because of the breakdown of minerals; composites of volcanic residue that are highly beneficial for plants.
But the tea plantations of Walini Ranca are particularly beautiful and photogenic. You can walk through the fields and it’s a great photo spot.
PICK STRAWBERRIES IN THE HILLS
Where there is fertile soil and tea plantations, there are also strawberry fields. And this leads me to a more unusual experience to be had in Bandung: Strawberry Picking.
It was the Dutch who imported and planted this tasty Berry in Indonesia, during the colonial times, after they discovered that the soil surrounding the volcanoes is particularly fertile. As a result, the roads leading to Lembang and Ciwidey are abundant with strawberry plantations. And it is indeed possible to harvest these for yourself.
The ‘Natural Resto and Strawberry Land’ located in the midst of the Lembang countryside, offers 1.5 ha of strawberry fields, all grown using organic fertilizers. For 5$, you are given a basket and allowed to pick all the strawberries you want. Strawberry galore!
The farm’s restaurant and its strawberry-themed menu have been featured in multiple television shows. And I would agree that it’s ‘Gourame Goreng Strawberry’ and ‘Nasi Liwet Strawberry’ are definitely two must-try dishes, for their uniqueness alone.
RECONNECT WITH NATURE IN DAGO PAKAR
Whether you fancy a short stroll through the green thicket, or you would like to encounter some of the 2500 species that call it their home, there is something for everyone in Dago Paar.
The beautiful patch of forest is located just north (about a 30 minute drive) of the city centre and is made up of two adjacent parks separated by tge river Jl. Maribaya. Both parks offer different but equally interesting sights to see.
Taman Hutan Raya, or ‘TaHuRa’ for short, stretches across 590 hectares of land. It was created in order to conserve Bandung’s diversity of plants and flowers.
The park was named after Indonesia’s 10th Prime Minister. And the museum showcasing Ir. H. Djuanda’s memorabilia along with artifacts found in the the area can be visited on a daily basis.
If you are keen to gain some Instagram cred, head up to the spot commonly referred to by the locals as ‘Tebing Keraton’. The summit of this cliff offers a stunning view of the pine trees below.
The park also houses two separate waterfalls, Curug Lalay, and Curug Omas. And who doesn’t like that?
LISTEN TO THE TINCKLING OF THE ANGKLUNG
One of the best ways to explore Indonesian culture is to listen to a traditional musical performance at Saung Angklung Udjo. The two-hour show contains a puppet show, mask dance, and an Angklung performance.
Made from bamboo tubes carved to produce a particular note, the Angklung is a traditional instrument that produces a sound unlike any other musical instrument and is considered a unique identity of the Sundanese culture. Hearing the tickling blithe melodies of the Angklung is sure to put a smile on your face.
Furthermore, if you feel so inclined you can also attend an Angklung-making class.
Saung Angklung was built in 1996 by Udjo Ngalegana, a local craftsman, as a means of giving back to the community. In that frame of mind, all proceeds of the show go to the education of local students, most of whom are local underprivileged children in the area.
Saung Angklung Udjo is the perfect destination for visitors looking for an educational entertainment experience in Bandung.
HAVE A RESTFUL NIGHT AT GH UNIVERSAL HOTEL
One of the best parts about being on holiday is to return to the comfort of a beautiful hotel at the end of the day.
And ideally you want that hotel to have something special to offer, whether that be a central location, luxurious amenities, great food or great service.
One great option in Bandung is the five star GH Universal hotel, with its swimming pool, spa, bar, and restaurant.
But what makes this hotel unique and stand out, is its architecture. Its Italian Renaissance-inspired facade has numerous curves and makes it look a little like an enchanted castle.
The hotel is located in the heart of Bandung and just a few minutes away from the Husein Sastranegara International Airport. Its location at the centre of the city makes it the perfect hub, to explore Bandung’s many attractions.
You won’t struggle to find something to eat either. The hotel is just a two-minute walk away from quite a few tasty Indonesian eateries and has a great restaurant itself.
GH Universal Hotel is without a doubt one of the best choices for a comfortable relaxing stay in Bandung.For more information and hotel booking head to Traveloka, one of Indonesia’s largest flight and hotel booking sites.
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