Whether you’re visiting Bandung for the shopping culture, the delicious gastronomy scene, to climb one of the surrounding mountains or simply to escape the chaos of Jakarta, you will leave with a new appreciation for both the city life and the natural beauty of the Java province.
Bandung is often referred to as “Paris van Java” and while the city may not have the immediate charm of France’s capital, it does offer visitors a lot to see and do. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t miss when travelling to Bandung!
1. Go Shopping in Pasar Baru
You really can’t find a better example of an Indonesian market in Bandung. Pasar Baru has all of the cheap textiles, souvenirs and bargaining shop owners that you’d expect to find in a Southeast Asian market.
Make sure that you keep a close eye on your belongings when squeezing your way through the market as it can become very crowded in peak hours and there have been reports of pickpockets.
The market is located just a short walk from the city’s central train station and although it’s locally called “The New Market”, it was actually built in 1884 and it is the oldest of its kind in Bandung.
2. Eat Out in a Themed Cafe / Restaurant
From seafood restaurants set in pirate ships, to bamboo gardens and cottage style cafes, you can really make the most of a meal in Bandung by eating in one of the many themed restaurants in the city.
3. Visit Goa Pawon and the Stone Garden of Padalarang
It’s a pretty steep hike up Mount Pasigit, but once you reach the coral rocks and Stone Garden of Padalarang, you’ll know that all of the huffing and puffing was worth it.
The mouth of Goa Pawan is a significant historic site in the region and it is the place where ancient human remains were found. Unfortunately, you’ll have to climb back down the hill to see the remains in Bandung’s Museum Geologi, but the view and the rock formations around Goa Pawon are still worth a visit.
Scientists believe that the valley was once under sea water and that is why the coral garden still stands, fossilized at the top of Goa Pawon.
4. Shop at the Floating Market
Just a 35 minute drive from the Hilton Bandung, you can reach the Floating Market in Lembang. If you thought Thailand was the only place where you could take a boat shopping, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
The floating market in Lembang isn’t quite as large as the ones you’ll find outside of Bangkok, but it’s equally exciting to meander your way through the canals, stopping to buy coconuts, traditional meals and souvenirs along the way.
5. Witness The Lake Above The Clouds
Possibly one of the most visually striking crater lakes in Asia, Kawah Putih is just a 2 hour drive from Badung and it is definitely worth a visit. It’s Kawa Putih’s high acidity that causes its colours to change from blue to whiteish green and brown, depending on the levels of sulfur, the oxidization and the temperature of the water at any given time.
The rocks and sand that surround the lake have also been bleached through the same process and the entire scene looks like something out of a Disney winter fairytale. Bring your camera and be prepared for some rotten egg aromas.
Give yourself at least a couple of days to really explore the markets, restaurants and sites in Bandung, as well as an extra day to visit some of the nearby sites on quick side trips. You won’t likely see everything that the town has to offer, but if you manage to see these 5 sights, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what makes the city so unique.
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