It has been a long time since my last visit to Bandung. I landed at Husein Sastranegara Airport and immediately got into a traffic jam. It reminded me why Bandung is not a wise choice for a short weekend escape. Yet there’s a reason for all the traffic and the fact that Bandung is the weekend home away from home for a lot of Jakartans. There are a lot of things to do in Bandung.
I haven’t ever written about the city before. Partly it’s because I’ve spent the last few years around Yogyakarta and Bali and when I do have the time to visit Jakarta I’m happy to stay in the city. Still, I should have made the effort to visit Bandung, because it is such an interesting city to visit.
Part of the attraction with Bandung is the way the city has developed. Like Yogyakarta, Bandung is a university city. It is cheap and there are a lot of students, who want to socialize, are interested in art and fashion and like a good night out. It’s a market that fresh graduates are willing to exploit. They setup fashion houses, coffee shops, online businesses and a thousand other things in between that give the city a lively edge.
During my last visit to Bandung with the #TripOfWonders team, I had the opportunity to explore a tiny bit of the city (PS: Yes, I will be back and explore more in the future. Just wait for it). I added several things on top based on my previous visit. Here are several spots that I would recommend you check out if you visit Bandung in the future.
The Highlights of Bandung
The Lodge Maribaya
The Lodge Maribaya is like an outdoor theme park for people who want to have some fun and come away with photos that look great on Instagram. Some of the highlights include the Zip bike, where you cycle on a cable strung between two posts over the forest and a Sky Tree you can climb that offers epic backgrounds for a photo. I would recommend their website, but honestly the Instagram feed is a better way to see what you can do at The Lodge Maribaya.
The turquoise and slightly white-ish volcanic lake of Kawah Putih Bandung is a popular tourist attraction. The site was busy last time I visited, but you could still find some private spots (you just need to keep walk along the path with the Kawah Putih Lake on your right hand side).
Bandung Geology Museum
I like the fact that I can say, “visit the Bandung Geology Museum!”. Singapore has amazing museums and it would be great if Indonesia had more… but the fact the Geology Museum sits at the top of the list of things to do in Bandung is pretty great. The Museum has interesting exhibitions, reconstructed skeletons of Wooly Mammoths and even the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Sure, this is more of a place for a family visit, but it’s still an interesting place to visit while in Bandung.
Shopping: My personal favourite
I would like to suggest a store called Widely Project. The store promotes fashion lines from young Indonesian designers. It is a great place to go to find stylish, well-designed clothing. It is located close to the Heritage Factory Outlet and the Rumah Mode Factory Outlet. You can find their Instagram feed here.
Bandung has a lot of factory outlets, which is good for cheap clothing. Two shopping centers we visited in Bandung were Heritage Factory Outlet and Rumah Mode Factory Outlet. Nothing really caught my eye. Another place you can visit is Paris Van Java, which is a shopping mall with a lot of international brands. It’s the kind of place you visit if you want to do all of your shopping in one place.
Food: Some of my favourite restaurants
Dusun Bambu is an open planned shopping complex set in a forest with a park, shops, restaurants and apartments. I visited Burangrang, which is the largest restaurant in the complex. The food and drinks here were really tasty. On top of that the venue was fun, with an interesting interior and exterior design. The site is on the outskirts of Bandung in Lembang. Don’t miss to walk around the area when you come to the complex.
Lisung Boutique Restaurant
Lisung Boutique Restaurant is set on one of the hills overlooking Bandung and offers panoramic views over the city. It’s the kind of place that you want to visit with a group of friends or big families. The atmosphere is always lively and the food and drinks are tasty and reasonably priced. Make sure to visit in the late afternoon or early evening for views of the twinkling lights of Bandung.
The Restaurant by Padma Hotel
I have to say I don’t like the name. ‘The Restaurant’ sounds a bit pretentious. Luckily that’s the only bad thing I have to say about The Restaurant. Food here is really tasty. The chef offers Western and Asian dishes, which can be ordered from the menu. They also run themed buffets evenings, like the Ribs Buffet Dinner.
Coffee: Some of my favourite cafes
Armor Coffee, which is located in Tahura (Taman Hutan Raya), is one of the best places to go for coffee. The coffee shop also serves typical Sundanese snack (you have to try the Cireng with Rujak sauce). There is an outdoor garden set in the middle of pine trees, which gives the coffee shop a relaxing ambiance. Do come early as the crowd might unbearable start from 11 AM.
Lawangwangi Creative Space
Lawangwangi is an example of the mixture of things that makes Bandung such an interesting city to visit. The site has an Art Gallery, a Café and a design space that showcases products and objects created by local designers as well as hosting exhibitions. The coffee shop has a relaxed vibe with minimalist decoration and the floor to ceiling windows offer great views over the forests that surround the café.
Other Coffee Shops
There are tons of Coffee Shops in Bandung. A friend of mine said that it probably pop up a new one every single week! So instead of making this an endless list I’ll give you some ideas of coffee shops that I am eyeing and want to try next time I go to Bandung. The list includes: Warkop Modjok (Pinus Raya street, Isola, Sukasari, Kota Bandung), Jack Runner Roastery (Ciumbuleuit No.42, Hegarmanah, Cidadap, Kota Bandung), Blue Doors (Gandapura No.61, Kota Bandung) and Lacamera Coffee (Naripan No.79, Kb. Pisang, Sumur Bandung, Kota Bandung).
There are tons more interesting things to do in Bandung that you can explore. Honestly I feel like I have only scratched the surface of the city and I know I need to return to explore! I hope this article inspires you to visit Bandung!
What do you think of Bandung? Are you inspired to visit? Have you got recommendations for places to shop that I missed (I know there are some designers I should add to the list)!