Sunday, 6 October 2013

Welcome to Bandung

Bandung has always been home to me.  I was born and raised in Bandung...

I used to talk in Sundanese dialect everyday...

and having Baso Tahu (which for some reason, people from Jakarta change the name to Siomay), Rujak Cuka, Pisang Bolen, Lotek, Jengkol, Genjer and Lalapan as my snacks.

I carry Bandung everywhere I go.  When I was in US, my Indonesian friends could automatically tell that I was from Bandung from my "kampung Sunda" accent when I spoke English (at that time I found it very embarrassing and tried to eliminate that kampong accent by speaking English with Indonesian accent instead, which Americans found it equally difficult to understand). 

When my husband married me 14 years ago, most of his relatives had no idea where Bandung was.  There was no Airasia to promote and connect Indonesian small towns to Malaysia.  Going to Bandung meant taking a 2-hour-flight to Jakarta followed by a 5-hour-drive from Jakarta to Bandung. A trip to Bandung would take at least 9 hours without traffic jam.  With Jakarta's maddening traffic jam, it could easily take 12-14 hours.  So yes, I would like to thank Tan Sri Tony Fernandez for connecting my Bandung to Kuala Lumpur with a direct 2-hour flight. 

Because of Airasia, Bandung grows to be one of the favourite holiday destinations for Malaysians.  The flights increased from once a day to 5 times a day.  Hotels, factory outlets and restaurants have been mushrooming at a very fast speed, providing job opportunities and improving the town economy.  Pasar Baru store operators have been adjusting their products to cater to the busloads of Malaysian customers for years that some of them even accept Ringgit Malaysia as a mode of payment. 

When my husband's friends found out that he married a girl from Bandung, most of them asked him to tell them where to go and what to do in Bandung.  Initially my husband would recommend places that we normally go whenever we visit Bandung.  But after a few months telling the same thing over and over again, he asked me to help him making a list of places to visit in Bandung using Microsoft Words so he could just email it to his friends. 

Well, of course.... as a very kind and understanding wife.. (wink..wink..) I obligingly wrote a simple travel guide for his friends.  Little did I know that my "travel guide" was circulated among his colleagues in the office.  Now my husband claims the title of "Bandung Expert"..!!!  (thanks to his supportive wife... (another wink...))

Since Malaysia and Singapore school holidays are coming soon, I think about sharing this little Bandung Travel Guide with my readers.  While it is not really a Lonely Planet, the places in the guide are places that are close to my heart..... the places I go when I visit my kampong.  You are free to circulate the guide to your friends (and claim the title of "Bandung Ambassador")

I share this guide to welcome you to my home.  I hope you will enjoy Bandung as much as I do..

Wilujeng Sumping ka Bandung (Welcome to Bandung)

PS: Let me know if you need PDF file for this. Just tell me your email address on "comment" below and I will email the file to you.



Gunung Tangkuban Perahu – Active volcano at Lembang  
Opens daily until 4pm

Located 30 km from Bandung, about 45 minutes drive.

At the volcano site, go to the kawah and shop traditional souvenir (but please bargain hard 70% off). You can also try the traditional delicacy such as pisang bakar with cheese and chocolate, bajigur drink (hot mixture of gula melaka and santan) or bandrek drink (shredded coconut in hot mixture of ginger and gula melaka).  

Sari Ater Hot Spring Resort

Opens all day but the best time to visit is after 5pm

Located near Gunung Tangkuban Perahu.  It’s a hot spring restort for a dip in sulfuric hot pool. You should bring your swinsuit for this. It’s better if you can spend one night at the resort, relaxing and enjoying the chill.  The weather is cold, so please bring some long sleeves, the temperature at night can drop to 10 degrees when it rains.

On the way there (in the morning) you can stop by at Pasar Lembang.  You can sample fresh n cheap local fruits like raspberry, strawberries, blackberries, avocado, and salak pondoh.  You can also sample traditional delicacies like ketan bakar oncom (charcoal grilled pulut with spicy soy bean paste) or jagung bakar 3 rasa (sweet, salty and spicy).

If you happen to be in Lembang area on weekend, go to The Ranch or Rumah Sosis where children can go horse riding, rowing boat at the lake, go carting, flying fox, etc.

Trans Studio Theme Park

The largest indoor theme park in Indonesia. Located next to Bandung Super Mall, the theme park is a hit for both adults and children.


Factory outlets:

1. Rumah Mode (Jalan Setia Budi), the most popular factory outlets combining shopping, dining and massage in one place.   The Food outlets offer traditional Bandung street food such as Batagor, Satay, Lotek, Siomay, etc.

2. The Happenning – next to Rumah Mode

3. The whole stretch of Jalan Dago you will find more than 10 outlets

4. The Summit, Heritage, Cascade (the stretch of Jalan Riau)

5. Jalan Soka : Moi (for kids, a lot of branded stuffs) and Carvieno(for party gowns).  These two outlets are close to the famous Prima Rasa Bakery selling Bandung snacks.

1. Jalan Cihampelas (jeans shops the whole stretch of jalan cihampelas,
interesting to see and cheap clothes). If you want to buy cheap bags, go to Toko Elizabeth.

2. Toko Yogya: Has few branches at Jalan Sunda, Jalan Diponegoro (near Jalan Riau), CiWalk and in The Bandung Indah Plaza (Jalan Merdeka). Cheap and nice children clothing but not branded.

3. Pasar Baru : 5-storey traditional market (fully air-cond) selling vast variety of cheap clothes, tudong, sulam, kebaya etc.  Make sure to bargain.  Favorite place for Malaysians.

4. Jalan Braga : heaven for art lovers with street vendors selling paintings at very reasonable prices.  Be sure to bargain.


  • Ciwalk Mall (Cihampelas Walk) for access to their website. Outdoor mall with good mixtures of interesting small shops and restaurants. Strategically located on the stretch of Jalan Cihampelas, famous for jeans.   

  • Bandung Trade Center (BTC) – selling very reasonable clothing, local brands.  It’s also good for wholeseller.
  • Bandung Super Mall (BSM) at Jalan Gatot Subroto.  The perfect mall for kids because it has indoor amusement park with merry go round, mini roller coaster and ferry wheel. 


For muslims:  Be aware that not all Malay Indonesian are muslims, so a restaurant owned and served by Malay may not be necessarily halal.  The list below is for halal restaurants

1. D'Palm Sundanese Restaurant at Jalan Lombok.  Order Gurame goreng bumbu acar kuning, Gepuk (fried marinated beef), Tahu goreng, ayam kampung goreng, karedok (local salad with peanut sauce).

2. Atmosphere Restaurant at Jalan Lengkong.  Serves local and international cuisine.  Very nice place and relaxing ambiance for dinner.  Sit outside for balinese style hut.  Weekend nights are usually fully booked.

3. Kedai Nyonya Rumah at Jalan Naripan.  Serves local and Javanese food
and snacks.  Try lemper (pulut filled with chicken floss), kue bika ambon and baso tahu (fish dumplings, tofu filled with fish paste, sort of like yong tau foo but the sauce is peanut base).  The front part is just snack shop but go to the back of the shop for an outdoor dining.

4. Sushi Tei at Jalan Sumatera.  If you get bored with Sundanese food, try this Japanese rest.  Very nice, Californian style sushi.  Try their Dragon Roll.

5. Hawkers : Martabak San Francisco at Jalan Karapitan (after 6pm).  Try their special martabak asin (chicken or beef) or Special martabak manis (Big apam balik with cheese, peanuts, milk and chocolate sprinkle).

6. Kartika Sari at Jalan Dago.  Sells the famous Bandung Pisang Bolen and all kind of kerepek.

7. Ikan Bakar Sulawesi at jalan setiabudi.  Serves varieties of fresh grilled seafood from Sulawesi island (Celebes).  Located just before Rumah Mode outlet.  Try the Sup Konro Goreng (Makasar’s sup tulang)

8. The stalls at Heritage factory outlets: the pisang goreng is very good.
9.  Sederhana Padang Restaurant at Jalan Pasteur and Jalan Riau.  Extensive spread of Padang dishes.  Very popular with Malaysian tourists, good food and reasonable prices.

10. Kingsley at Jalan Bungsu.  Serves the famous Bandung delicacy Batagor (fried tofu stuffed with fish cake), meehoon soup with beefball (baso) and varieties of kerepek.

11. Dago Pakar and Lembang area:  You can only go to these restaurants when you have a personal local driver.  It’s a very different experience.  Only the locals and tourists from Jakarta know these places, as no public transports go to those areas.  But it’s really worth the trip… highly recommended.

  •  Kampung Daun  Traditional outdoor Indonesian restaurant.  A must visit at night. Serve both western and local food.

  •  The Valley beautiful restaurant at night, up on the hill overlooking Bandung, western food.

  • Sapu Lidi Restaurant at Jalan Sersan Baiduri (in front of Ledeng Station).  Very nice restaurant where you eat in a hut on top of padi field.  Lunch only. Served authentic Sundanese food.

  • Sindang Reret Restaurant at Lembang (on the way to the volcano). Food to order : Ikan gurame bumbu rujak, ayam kampung bakar, karedok, sayur asem.  

  • Congo : A hilltop restaurant cum furniture shop with a nice ambiance and fresh air. Food is a mixture of Indonesian and western.  Nice for traditional afternoon tea.  Located near the Mountain View Golf resort.

  • Bumi Joglo : Dago Pakar near Congo.  Serve traditional Javanese food like Nasi Liwet, Sizzling Satay.




Gold jewelries are reasonably cheaper than KL with different and simpler designs.

1.  Toko Mahkota, Jalan Ahmad Yani 164 (Kosambi) in front of Pasar Kosambi.

2.  Toko Bagus, inside Pasar Kosambi, Ground floor

3.  Toko Putera Mahkota, Jalan Ahmad Yani (Kosambi)

4. Toko Nan Hoa, near Pasar Baru


1.   Roger's Salon at Jalan Dago. Located within walking distance to Factory Outlets so you can drop by to relax your tired feet after some shopping free.
2.  San Gria Resort & Spa in Lembang, just before Pasar Lembang.  Try the boreh or coffee scrub.  Interesting and nice experience.

3.    Anata Salon at Jalan Windu no 3, good for Creambath (Scalp & Back Massage), Menicure and Pedicure.

4.    Bersih Sehat Massage.  Basic good quality massage with basic ambiance.  Most locals go to this place once a week for basic massage.


Click on the hotel names to direct you to their websites @ Agoda. You will be able to see the rooms, facilities, etc from the picture galleries there.

Please book early as hotels are mostly fully booked on weekends. 

Recommended hotels

1.  Sensa Hotel - Jalan Cihampelas no 160.  Phone: +62 22 206 1111
A zen-style new hotel with a perfect location. Located in the heart of Jalan Cihampelas, a shopping paradise for jeans, bags and T-shirt.  Walking distance to malls, restaurants and shops.  Scrumptious breakfast buffet.

2. Geulis Hotel at Jalan Dago.  A cute all-suite boutique hotel located within walking distance to some of the Factory Outlets.

The perfect place to stay if you plan on hopping from one factory outlet to another as it’s located in front of the Factory Outlet stretch.

3Sheraton Resort A resort-style hotel located at a quieter area of Jalan Dago.   

A beautiful and relaxing traditional villa located north of Bandung. The only villa that provides real Sundanese ambiance.


A quiet and relaxing 5-star resort up on the hill. About 20 minutes from town but perfect for couples without children. Beautiful, romantic ambiance with hill backdrop.

6. Hyatt Regency Bandung located conveniently next to Bandung Indah Plaza Mall.

7.  The Valley Resort at Dago Pakar. A quiet 3-star resort on a hill of Dago, around 25 minutes from town.

8.    San Gria Resort & Spa at Lembang.  A very quiet boutique resort perch on a hill with idyllic backdrop against padi field. Located in Lembang, the air can be chilly at night.

Located on the mainstreet of Jalan Dago, it’s walking distance to Bandung Indah Plaza mall.  The road in-front is very busy especially on weekends.

Nice 4 star, location is OK but not walking distance to any shopping area.


11.  Aston Hotel and service apt. 

 It has 3 branches :

  • Aston Hotel Braga
  • Located at the Braga Citiwalk, the historic street full famous for its art galleries.

Located on Jalan Cihampelas, right in the center of shopping activities, across Sensa Hotel.


12. For a budget accommodation, can try the chain of Royal Dago hotels (few locations).  Small hotels with good locations.

13. Guest houses : bungalow houses converted into hotels.  Provide clean and basic accommodation with homely environment. Recommended : de’ Tropis (pin bb 23BE7E5D) with the option of arranging full transportation with personal driver.

1. Cipaganti Car Rental. Ph. 62-21-720 4766 or 62-21-7204616 (cover Jakarta and Bandung). Check the time on its website

2. Tiara Travel. ph 62-22-601 1118 or 62-22-603 7737
The rate is around Rp650,000 to 700,000 per day (usually 8 hrs), depending on what car you want, in Bandung only, inclusive driver.  Give Rp.20,000 to the driver for lunch.


** The best way to enjoy Bandung is by renting a car with a driver which will serve as guide as well.  Taxi service in Bandung is better than KL in terms of service and honesty but inconvenience because of the quantity.  Taxis mostly available in downtown area but not in factory outlets or restaurants.

** Tipping is customary in Indonesia.  For dining, tip around Rp10,000. Tips for massage is Rp20,000.


** Avoid travelling to Bandung on weekends, the traffic jam is horrendous due to the influx of local tourists from Jakarta.

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