BANDUNG - WEST JAVA INDONESIA
The highland city of Bandung is only a short 2.5 hours’ drive southeast of Jakarta via a toll road and is the overwhelming destination of choice for Jakarta residents to get away for weekends and long holidays. Lately, it has also become a favorite holiday resort for tourists from Singapore and Malaysia, who come here in droves to shop and enjoy its nature and fabulous foods. And with its popularity, an abundance of hotels have sprouted offering business facilities to luxurious service or also budget rooms, and eateries galore serving yummy local dishes to old-style Dutch cuisine. Meanwhile, the adjacent cool town of Lembang and other scenic areas now also offer a wide variety of attractions and entertainment for the whole family, a haven for Instagrammers.
Where Two Continents Meet
Worldwide, Bandung is better known today for its historic Bandung Conference, - otherwise known as the first Asian-African Conference in 1955, that brought together 29 newly independent countries from the two continents representing over half of the world's population. Delegations were headed by legendary leaders that included Jawaharlal Nehru and daughter Indira Gandhi, King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Prime Minister Zhou En Lai of China and of course Indonesia's own President Soekarno, and many, many more.
But back in Dutch colonial days, at the beginning of the 20th century, Bandung was the favorite resort of wealthy tea and coffee planters owners of swathes of undulating tea and coffee plantations. Bandung was then also dubbed the elegant " Parijs van Java", the Paris of Java. For this reason also, in Central Bandung you can still admire Art Deco buildings of Dutch colonial heritage, which include "Gedung Sate" the Governor's office building; the present Bidakara Homann Hotel, and Gedung Merdeka, venue for the Asian-African Conference with its attached Museum. Reminiscent also of those heydays, some restaurants still serve genuine, sizzling Dutch Beef steaks and Dutch bitterballen, for food-lovers to make a beeline to Bandung.
Where Love and Culture Collides
Indeed,"Pasundan (the land of the Sundanese in the West Java province) was created when God was smiling", said MAW Brouwer, renowned Dutch psychologist, and writer who spent most of his life in Bandung. While, Pidi Baiq – Bandung's own multitalented artists and pop culture icon - said: "Bandung is not just a mere spot on the map. More than that, it evokes lasting emotions that remain silently within me". These two quotes are carved right by Bandung's Big Square in the heart of the city and illustrate the irresistible charm that spells: Bandung.
Bandung is now also developed to become the Creative City, where millennials and students are encouraged to express their exuberant creativity in art, music and innovative digital creations.
While, for affordable latest fashion trends, the city is second to none. There are factory outlets galore in Distros that dot the main Dago avenue (now called Jalan Ir. H. Juanda), along Jalan Riau (officially known as Jalan R.E. Martadinata), or on the way up to Lembang at Jalan Setiabudi, where cars regularly jam the roads and parking lots. But if you are looking for bales of affordable textiles, then you should go to Pasar Baru Trade Center where you can practice your bargaining skills and get special discounts for buying clothes and materials in bulk.
Whereas, for those looking for unique selfie spots, you are in the right city! Those who love nature at its finest should walk up the dramatic hills of Tebing Keraton or The Royal (Palace) Cliff, the peak of Moko Hill, Eurad Highland Lembang, or the Stone Garden Citatah. For special attractions with special features, visit the Farm House at Lembang where you discover a hobbit village and Victorian English towns. At De Ranch Lembang selfies are spot-on in cowboy-style surroundings. Do visit the Rabbit Town which dedicates itself as a 'selfie' tourist attraction offering a range of selfie spots just the thing to send on to friends on Instagram and Youtube. Another attraction is Bandung's Amazing Art World where you can take hundreds of unique photos with 3D effects or get to the Upside Down World, where the world is literally turned upside down for you to take pictures, that are sure to amaze your friends and family. Your experiences here will surely linger on for a long while.
On the other hand, if you wish to get close to the local people, its music, dance, and culture, then Saung Angklung Udjo or Udjo's House of Angklung is one you should not miss. Famed for its Angklung, the local traditional bamboo musical instrument, here you can watch a children orchestra present delightful music shaking the Angklung and perform Sundanese dances and music. Here you may also learn how to play the Angklung yourself and become part of the orchestra.
HOW TO GET TO BANDUNG
Bandung is located in central highlands of West Java, approximately 120 km to the south-east of Jakarta, the Capital of Indonesia. As the capital of West Java Province, here are some easiest options to get to Bandung :
By Air :
There are 2 nearest airport near Bandung, Soekarno-Hatta Interntional Airport Jakarta and Kertajati International Airport, Majalengka, West Java. From Soekarno-Hatta Interntional Airport Jakarta then continue with minivan or buses which approximately takes 3-4 hours to Bandung.
*We will provide shuttle bus from Airport to Bandung at schedule hour for our participant for free —the schedule and transportation booking will be announce soon.
For land transport option, many way are available. Buses, trains, or by car. By land you can reach Bandung within 3 hours (estimated by 150 km direct highway) or faster from Jakarta. If you depart from the major cities in Java like Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and prefer to enjoy the beautiful view of West Java Mountains and paddy fields, travel with train can be the best option to get to Bandung. The fastest train to Bandung takes 3 hours from Gambir Central Jakarta, 9 hours from Jogjakarta and 13 hours from Surabaya. The Bandung Central Station (Stasiun Bandung) located 6 km from Universitas Katolik Parahyangan.
Mie Kocok or “Shaken Noodle” is one of the legendary ones in Bandung. This mie kocok consists of handmade noodles, beef gravel, green onions, served in a rich beef broth with fried onions on top.
Cireng; short for “aci digoreng” or fried tapioca starch. Our Sundanese friends themselves have been devouring these chewy delights since the 80s. Cireng itself has undergone a series of rebrandings. Now you can find cireng that is filled with stuffing, such as cheese, corned beef, meatballs, or sausage with a dip into “rujak” sambal.
Batagor is the next “must” on our Bandung Culinary Tourism Experience list. Being one of the most famous snacks that can be found throughout Indonesia, batagor originally came from Bandung. Experience the taste of fried fish dumpling served in spicy peanut sauce with a little bit of lime juice smeared on top. Usually, the dumplings are cut into small-bite sized pieces.
One of the best Bandung Culinary Tourism Experience list, Seblak. A bowl of crackers cooked with vegetables, eggs and spicy sauce. Serve in spicy and savory flavors, seblak is best eaten while hot and during rainy days in Bandung!
Serabi,” a small-sized traditional snack that is made from wheat flour and a mixture of coconut milk or some with shredded coconut. Serabi is often served with sweet palm sugar syrup on top. These modern days, Serabi can be found either in sweet or savory versions, and include not just the old school liquid palm sugar, but also the likes of cheese, sausage, ice cream, bananas, durian slices or strawberry slices on top.
Most of people said Martabak Manis is one of the guiltiest pleasure, sinful but heavenly delicious. We can call it Indonesian sweet pancake as well. Martabak Manis is start with a thin, full of egg batter and very much like pancake batter. It gets deposited into a deep, oiled cast iron pan where it slowly cooks until the center puffs up with tiny holes. Next, a spoonful of butter will literally dropped on the hot Martabak for good measure, and it will melt quickly. Wysman butter also will add on to the Martabak, which gives great fragrance for the pancake. This is the key of a good Martabak, a lot of butter involved. The toppings are generously sprinkled, such as chocolate rice, peanuts, and cheese. Nowadays, a lot of variation toppings.
Martabak is often described as spicy folded omelet pancake with bits of vegetables. The filling batter was made from eggs (chicken’s or duck’s or both), some meat (minced beef or chicken), spring onions, and seasoning (salt and paper). The thin of Martabak skin, will be folded into an envelope shape, then bring it into a deep fry process, and become very crispy.
Wedang Ronde is a traditional beverage in Indonesia to warm your cold night . The dough of Ronde (tiny colorful rice balls) is made from glutinous rice flours, while the liquid called “Wedang” itself is made of ginger water which is best served when still hot. Feel that tiny bite sized rice balls filled with sweetened crushed peanuts.
Siomay Bandung is Indonesian steamed fish dumplings served in peanut sauce. Originated from the city of Bandung in West Java, these dumplings are an evolution of Chinese pork shumai. Unlike its dim sum inspiration, siomay Bandung is served as a complete meal with an assortment of vegetables and peanut sauce.
Peuyeum is processed through fermentation and uses starter cultures in the form of yeast tapay. The word peuyeum comes from “meuyeum” or “memeram,” which in Sundanese—the native language of West Java—means an incubation. This is because the process to make it requires curing time for ripening. The cassava is peeled, cleaned, and boiled to soften the tissue, then the starter is added and incubated for a certain time.
Lotek originally came from West Java. The vegetables are boiled spinach, cabbage and bean sprouts to make Lotek. The specialty of Lotek is that the sauce contains galangal and shrimp paste. Uniquely seasoning tastes sweeter than gado-gado. After all we pour vegetables in the peanut sauce. Then we mix the vegetables and the peanut sauce. As a side dish, lotek is served with krupuk and fried onions. Similar to gado-gado, lotek can also be served with rice cake or ketupat as a substitute for rice.
Soto Bandung is made with a combination of cubed beef, ginger, garlic, scallions, thinly sliced daikon, bay leaves, lemongrass, oil, sugar, salt, and white pepper.
The ingredients are cooked in water until the beef becomes tender. The soup is then seasoned with salt, pepper, and sugar, and daikon is added to the pot near the end of cooking. Once prepared, soto Bandung is garnished with many ingredients such as soy beans, scallions, shallot flakes, and often a squeeze of kaffir lime.