Bandung

Once known as the Paris of Java, Bandung boasts beautiful colonial architecture and a thriving arts and café culture, all overlooked by the peaks of the Parahyangun mountains. 

Come to Bandung and experience a true treat for the senses. Browse some of Indonesia’s finest galleries, in particular those dedicated to the arts and crafts of the Sudanese population. Eat spicy, exotic dishes at the many street carts and restaurants and shop for local produce in the colourful markets. Hike into the clean, cool air of the nearby mountains and enjoy a rejuvenating soak in a natural hot spring. Return to the town to enjoy a lively night out in the city’s bars and clubs. 

Bandung is Indonesia’s third-largest city with a population of around 8 million. Its location, 750 metres (2,500 feet) above sea level gives the city a cooler climate than many other Javanese towns, which is perhaps why the Dutch loved it here so much. The Dutch left a rich legacy of colonial architecture in Bandung. Villa Isola (Bumi Siliwangi), with its stunning fountains and gardens, and Gedung Merdeka, the site of the first ever Africa-Asia conference, are just two examples. 

The city is known as one of Java’s cultural hubs, with students, artists and intellectuals rubbing shoulders in the numerous cafés, bars and restaurants. Locals love their food. Everywhere you go in the city you will encounter enticing smells from restaurants and street carts. To guarantee yourself a good meal, head to Burangang Street, where a huge variety of eateries compete for your business. Shoppers looking for a bargain should head to Jalan Cihampelas also known as Jeans Street, home to a wide range of outlet stores. 

Bandung also makes a great base to explore the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. Take a day visit to the hillside resort Lembang and visit the Sari Ater Hot Springs on your way down. The 2-hour trek up Tangkuban Prahu Volcano is another highlight. 

Locals get around by angkot, which are small minibuses, but the easiest way to navigate the city is by taxi. Being such a large city, Bandung is well connected to the rest of the country by air and road, making it a popular weekend destination for Jakartans.

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