Bandung is the third largest city in Indonesia and is nicknamed the Flower City for its abundance of greenhouses, local floral growing businesses and lush mountainous backdrop. Bandung is very popular with local Jakartanas, as its higher altitude and cool mountainous climate provide relief against the rushed, smoggy atmosphere of the capital.
How to Get to Bandung
It’s also quite conveniently located from Jakarta, only about a two hour drive away. There are convenient express and local buses, a scenic winding route through Puncak (although this is often congested with traffic on weekends) as well as a railroad route. You can also book a day trip from Jakarta to take care of all the sightseeing logistics.
The train is a bit slow, taking at least 3 hours on the express service, but it’s a highly scenic route passing both mountains and rice paddy terraces. For the most affordable option, take a shuttle bus since competition among different minivan companies keeps prices competitive.
How Long to Stay in Bandung?
Bandung is quite scenic and beautiful – I would recommend allocating two to three days to fully explore the natural wonders of the area. A good hotel to stay in is the Sheraton Bandung, as it’s part of the SPG network, has great wifi and a family friendly pool / outdoor area with beach huts.
Keep reading for Bandung’s sights and points of attraction that are worth your while!
The 7 Best Things to Do in Bandung Indonesia
1. Have Lunch at Dusun Bambu
Kolonel Masturi KM 11, Cisarua, Bandung Barat
This family leisure park sits at the foot of a mountain with the most incredible picturesque surroundings. The park is huge so you can take a cute floral shuttle to explore different areas. All along drive or walk, the paths have lush green folliage, bamboo structures and giant sculpture art made from nature. Compared to Jakarta, it really feels like you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city and in your own private mountain retreat.
Sher’s Tip: There are 3 restaurants at Dusun Bambu but I really recommend Cafe Burangrang – a beautiful multi-tiered structure made from glass. From our dining tables, we had the most incredible jaw dropping view of the man-made lake below, Burangrang mountain and wooden huts (which are available to rent overnight). Other dining options include Khatulistiwa and Purbasari.
2. Go Off Roading
For the adventure traveler, off roading is an unforgettable experience in Bandung. You’ll sit in an open landrover in groups of 6 and rip road off high into the mountains, passing tea plantations, troughs of rainwater and high tunnels of mud. We used the tour company Bandung Off Road who were great. They take care of all the details and had a nice pit stop organized in the mountains for some coffee. They also offer paintball!
My Tip: If you have any kind of back or spinal injury I don’t recommend this. It’s a fun way to spend the afternoon! My only regret is not bringing a GoPro to capture the rough and tumble footage.
3. Have Dinner at Kampung Daun
Kampung Daun is a beautiful mutli layered restaurant where you can dine amidst nature. There are many dining huts (attap houses) perfect for large groups, big family reunions, etc each with their own privacy behind lush greenery and waterfalls.
This is a great spot to sample authentic Indonesian cuisine and enjoy the perfect atmosphere with traditional Indonesian music in the background. We were part of a large group and were treated to a cultural show as well.
There were a couple vegetarians in our group who had a full decadent meal (some other parts of the Indonesia seemed a little less vegetarian friendly) but this is one great spot!
4. Visit the Lembang Floating Market
Lembang is a small floating market selling food and Indonesian snacks in picturesque wooden boats. The market is much smaller than similar ones in Bangkok or Thailand and roughly 1-2 hours from Bandung.
5. Learn About Sundanese Culture at Hong Communitas
Bandung has a long history dating back to Indonesia’s colonial period and the city is the capital of West Java. A great cultural activity is to learn more about the local Sundanese Indonesians.
We spent a day at The Hong Community, a family friendly center with countless games and activities that keeps traditional Sundanese folk lore alive. Most of the games are played in groups or use organic materials like bamboo. Check availability and more info here.
6. Attend a Saung Angklung Udjo Concert
Saung Udjo is a museum dedicated to the Angklung, a Sundanese instrument made from bamboo. Each one angklung produces one chord or note when shaken so a full “orchestra” is composed of many many angklung. Picture a hanging xylophone if you will!
The Udjo museum has unique evening concert performances which are a fun, interactive and family friendly experience. The show begins with a shadow puppet performance, part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage, incorporates local children singing and dancing and ends with an audience-contributed orchestra performance.
Personally the beginning started off “okay” for me but by the end, I loved the orchestra part! It was fun playing out songs with the entire audience using the unique instruments. Check this out if you want an immersive cultural experience.
7. Outlet Shopping
Shopping in Bandung is what all the locals do since the city is known for its great factory outlets where everything sold is brand new but at steep discounts. The most popular ones are at Jl Riau or Jl Dago.
Sher’s Tip: If you’re not much of a shopper, hang out and grab a snack at the bakery in the main outlet on Jl Riau. They have great rice dishes that you can order from (ask for the lunch menu) or go around the small doorway in the seating area to the coffee shop right behind it. That coffee shop sells avocado coffee and avocado smoothie drinks! Pictured is the avocado oreo smoothie and avocado coffee – both are good and super avocado-y.
And that’s my mini travel guide to Bandung, Indonesia!
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