Because there’s more to this charming city than meets the eye.
When people think of Indonesia, the first city that comes to mind is Jakarta. But not many know that that Bandung is equally interesting. Located in the West Java province, Bandung is Indonesia’s second largest metropolitan following Jakarta, the weather is much cooler in general, and it’s traffic, definitely less hassling. In its own quaint ways, this city lures new visitors slowly into being smitten with it then occupies their minds when they are no longer there. Those returning on the other hand would always discover something new to enjoy.
Curious to discover what Bandung is really about? We’ve prepared a list of authentically local activities to enjoy when you’re there, so you don’t have to.
1. Skip the mainstream hotels and go boutique
Forget your usual Hilton! Bandung is a treasure trove of boutique hotels—a direct reﬂection of its people’s artisanal approach to life. While some accommodations are industrial, others are more quaint and traditional in aesthetics. If we have to pick a favourite, it would be the Breeze Bandung Art and Boutique Hotel. Designed by veteran architect Tan Tjiang Ay, the hotel’s wildlife ambience and antique art collections interpret Bandung as ‘the City of Flowers’.
2. Eat as much Sundanese food as you can.
Being Bandung’s official cuisine, Sundanese delicacies are everywhere. Typical offerings include specially marinated ayam madu (honey chicken), batagor (Sundanese fish cake) and an endless array of sambal (spicy condiments) options. Some of Bandung’s best hidden choices are Rumah Makan Sunda (Citarum), Rumah Makan Sunda Bambu (Jalan Djunjunan), Sajian Sunda Sambara (Jalan Trunojoyo) and Ma’Uneh (Jalan Setiabudi). Want more options to work with? Access the complete list of Sundanese restaurants throughout Bandung here.
3. Bask in the coolness of Tangkuban Perahu Volcano.
If you don’t pay a visit to this mountainside, it’s as if you’ve never stepped foot in Bandung at all. Word has it that the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano, located 30km north of the city centre, is where young locals would head to once in awhile to disconnect from the city and reconnect with nature. So why not fulfill the rite of passage yourself? Drive up and find yourself amazed at the wonders that you get to see, preceded no doubt by the famous craters: Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater), Kawah Domas (Domas Crater), and Kawah Upas (Upas Crater). If ever laziness sets in during your short trip, there’s always the equally picturesque Lembang nearby to visit and rest in.
4. Dance to the local music.
Besides food and nature, what better way to acquaint yourself with Bandung’s local culture than to experience its music? Head over to Saung Angklung Udjo, the one-stop cultural destination on Jalan Padasuka. There, you can experience traditional musical performance like no other, featuring the angklung (an instrument made from bamboo). The centre also hosts other artistic enjoyments including puppet shows, mask dance performances, and even angklung workshops.
5. Get lost in ﬂea markets.
Tired of shopping the usual stuff? Head over to a flea market (referred locally as pasar barang bekas), where you can find many unique items such as antiquities, vintage clothing, and mementos. Not sure which market to go to? Well, the good news is there are plenty throughout Bandung to check out, although you should definitely start with the pasar barang bekas on Jalan Istana Anyar or Jalan Suryani. If you have extra time in your hands, you should drive up to Lembang to check out the famous Floating Market, where all kinds of goods are found on boats.
6. Enjoy some quiet time at the park.
If there’s one thing we really admire about Bandung, it’s the fact that there are parks everywhere you go in Bandung. Being in town, you will never escape greenery. Tired from sightseeing and other social excursions? Head over to a park nearby to write down your thoughts or read a book. We hear the Bandung Techno Park and Peta Park are especially for good to wind down in.