Even though I spent plenty of time in Malaysia back in 2012, I never actually made it to its fascinating Asian neighbor nation of Indonesia. As this year comes to a close though, and I start making plans for travel in 2017, I can’t help but think the time might be finally right to make it to Indonesia.
But where to go in Indonesia, as we all know it is one of the most sprawling countries in the world (at last count, home to over 900 inhabited islands)? Well, I’m thinking Bandung. Yes, the city in West Java that is Indonesia’s third largest seems to have a great mix of the things that make this country so special, and here are five (of many) of the reasons I think you should consider a trip too.
The Cool Surrounding Mountains
While the city of Bandung certainly bustles, the hills that surround the city are leafy and green and full of tea plantations, natural springs, and other fun things to see and do. One other big plus of the surrounding mountains? Cooler temperatures. Yes, these mountains help keep the region much cooler than other areas of Java, and this I am certain will be welcome relief from the island heat.
As I alluded to previously, the mountains surrounding Bandung are full of sights, with two of the main things to see within their hills being the geological wonders of Tangkuban Perahu volcano and the ghost white crater lake of Kawah Putih. Visitors are allowed to walk around the volcano and learn all about the sleeping giant that last erupted in 1969, and over at Kawah Putih, you can get up close and personal with the chalky environment and the air full of sulphur, combining to create a truly unique geological sight.
Great Places to Stay
A difficult task some places, hotel booking in Bandung is a surefire success as most hotels here are loaded with luxurious amenities, great restaurants, and soaring views over the city. Case in point is the Dago Highland Resort, featuring sumptuous rooms, an authentically local restaurant, and luxurious pool with sweeping views of the misty mountains that surround the town.
Indonesia is home to one of the world’s most underrated cuisines, but after living in Amsterdam and enjoying many ‘rice table’ dinners that starred dozens of Indonesian delicacies, I am already looking forward to feasting in Bandung. The colorful restaurant Braga Punya Cerita is a particular star on the scene, as they brush classic recipes (think Chicken Taliwang and smoked Tempe) with modern twists, and I can’t think of any place better to have dinner after a day in the mountains.
Rightfully renowned throughout the region as a shopping hub, the most famous of all areas in Bandung is the world famous ‘Jeans Street’. This street was where locals (and tourists in the know) would come to get homemade denim pants and it has now blossomed into so much more. And if you can’t find what you want on Jeans Street, then make your way to the acres of factory outlet shopping space sprinkled throughout the town.