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Written by Cisca Lim
Edited by Beverley Lennon

When I first travelled to Bandung with my husband (then fiancé) for our pre-wedding photoshoot, we were delighted to discover the city’s natural attractions along with the several cute cafes (hands-down some of the best in Indonesia!), iconic streets, cheap factory outlets and a creative local industry that made it more captivating!

As our family grew bigger, I returned for more – either for shopping sprees with my sisters or simply to enjoy mid/end-of-year holidays with the kids. Besides being a great shopping destination, Bandung, especially Lembang, works fabulously for kids of all ages!

And just like all great destinations, Bandung’s food scene also offers an exciting culinary ride from mouthwatering modern cuisine to one-of-a-kind local street food. Furthermore, you can find a vast variety of unique accommodations here – and all these in cooler temperatures!

So check out this first timer’s guide to the Paris of Java where you can find all you need!

A. Getting to Bandung

From SingaporeFrom Malaysia (tap here to view)From Jakarta (tap here to view)

Take AirAsia or SilkAir from Singapore Changi Airport to Husein Sastranegara International Airport (Flight Time: 2 hours)

Direct Flight (total cost from SGD 178)

Take AirAsia or SilkAir from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Husein Sastranegara International Airport (Flight Time: 2h 20 min)

Direct Flight (total cost from RM 378)

Option 1: Flight

Fare starts at Rp. 385,000 via Wings Air (35-minute flight)

Option 2: Train

a. Executive: starts at Rp. 140,000
b. Economy: starts at Rp. 90,000
Depart from Gambir Station (Central Jakarta), and arrive at Bandung Station Hall (Kebon Jeruk-Andir Area, about a 3.5-hour ride)

Option 3: Private/Rental Car or Shuttle

Take the Cikampek-Purwakarta-Padalarang highway (about 120 km or 3-4 hour drive with no traffic). Toll fare is around Rp. 54,500.

B. Overview of main areas in Bandung

Home to 2.5 million people, Bandung is the 3rd biggest city in Indonesia with a lively yet relaxing vibe. On arrival, make sure you get to familiarise yourself with the city’s four main coordinates.

The airport is located at the West point where most industrial and residential areas are. To the North, there are universities and several popular malls such as Paris Van Java and Bandung Trade Centre, along with its rows of factory outlets. Further North from this downtown area you will reach the region of Lembang (the lush and chilly suburb).

To the East and South of Bandung, you’ll find lesser well-known areas and also the famous Saung Angklung and Cibaduyut leather market.

But to make things simpler, these are the areas you should be checking out on your first trip:

Photo Via Ferzyaf, Delimavalen, Firman.abdillh, Didinrustandi, Andriannvg, Dinidient18, One_wander_at_a_time
Riau: The happening modern-meets-colonial downtown
Dago: A trendy hub between establishments and greeneries
Setiabudi: More shopping and feasting await
Cihampelas: Small shops with authentic local vibes
Ciwidey: Relaxing with nature begins here
Lembang: Mountainous getaway with stunning views and fresh air
Garut: Serene beauty of sprawling nature

C. Best of Bandung

1. Scenic natural attractions

Nestled between three mountains, Bandung offers an array of outdoor adventures that are waiting to be explored! From the expansive green plantations, hidden nooks of Mother Nature, to the most legendary creations on Earth. Reconnect with nature here:

Photo Via Adhinagara, RickyMartin, Hartasderis, Ardeliapr, Iis_solihah08

a. Orchid Forest Lembang: Smell fresh orchids in the cool climate (More info).
b. Tebing Keraton: This dramatic hill is all over Instagram! (More info).
c. Ranca Upas: Be a deer whisperer at this conservation park and camping ground (More info).
d. Kawah Putih: The mystical crater lake above the clouds (More info).
e. Leuwi Jurig, Garut: The mini Grand Canyon with a crystal green waterfall (More info).

2. Fun family things to do

With plenty of family-friendly attractions and cooler climates, Bandung is the perfect place for your ultimate family vacation! Both kids and yourself will be as happy as in Europe ;).

Photo Via Fauzananshor, Ekibott928, Tans_aprilian, Mulkisalman, Yudiudet, Homeykitchen__

a. D’Dieuland: The panoramic little European castle, Bandung’s ‘Disneyland’ (Website | More info in Bahasa Indonesia).
b. Farm House, Lembang: The famous Hobbit house with educative values (Website | More info).
c. Kota Mini, Lembang: Dress up, play pretend and do much more at this colorful mini town (Website | More info).
d. Dago Dream Park: A whole new world of theme park with exciting attractions (Website |  More info).
e. De’Ranch: Yeehaw! Giddy up with your little cowboys (Website | More info).
f. Floating Market, Lembang: Relax, dine and shop while afloat (Website | Coordinates here).


3. Where to shop till you drop!

With a thriving textile industry, the fashion scene here guarantees good quality, creative local designs and affordable prices. Whether you’re looking for artsy local crafts or unique and fashion forward designer clothing or even leather goods, hit these spots and you’re all set:

Photo Via Hisommudin, Didinrustandi, Delimavalen, Dhenok_bientarno, Grahairassinterior, Risnarosman

a. UNKL 347 Headquarters: From fashion apparels, surfboards, skateboards to homewares for your trendy youngsters (Website | More info).
b. Rumah Mode: That epic factory outlet any first timer needs to experience! (Website | More info).
c. The Heritage FO: Shopping for the whole family! (Website  | More  info).
d. Cihampelas: Shop like locals at Bandung’s iconic jeans centre (More info).
e. Cibaduyut: The longest leather market in Asia. Bags or shoes anyone? (More info)
f. Widely Project: Fashion-forward with some of Indonesia’s best local brands (Website  | More info).

4. Unique Hipster Cafes

Besides just good coffee and great food, these cafes in Bandung have stepped up their aesthetic to provide you with unforgettable experiences. Check out these hipster cafes with beautifully designed spaces that will make your Instagram feed look spectacular!

Photo Via Taalivv, Y.ratnaa, Diahlrst, Yovitakendrawijaya

a. Kalpa Tree: The uber chic swimming-pool dining with gorgeous view (Website | More info).
b. One Eighty Coffee: Toe-dipping, foot-soaking and fun-dining all at once! (Website |  More info).
c. Goldstar 360 Cafe: The whimsical Greek cave dining (Website |  More info).
d. D’Moners: Because everyone’s a Doraemon fan at heart (Website | More  info).

5. Scenic restaurants with a view

At these restaurants, dazzling views are as spectacular as the cuisine, where mouthwatering plates are met with jaw-dropping scenery.

Photo Via Arnell_martyas, Danboyz88

a. Pinisi Resto: Ahoy! All aboard the pirate ship to set sail for unforgettable-land (Website  | More info).
b. Skyline: Get to the top for Bandung’s atmospheric sky view (Website | More info in Bahasa Indonesia).
c. Cafe D’Pakar: Indulge with a side of mountain view (More info).
d. Orofi: Glorious city views and Santorini vibes (More info in Bahasa Indonesia).

6. Best Family-friendly Restaurants

Does dining out on vacation get complicated with kids? Not when you choose one of these family-friendly restaurants that feature meals and activities that are enjoyable for the whole family! So hide your tablets and gadgets, your kids will eagerly eat and explore right after.

Photo Via Indahjuliana_lie, Lia_tenda, Affreshair, Ciptonoxiang

a. Dusun Bambu: What’s your style? Birdcage, lakeside or campers! (Website | More  info).
b. Tafso Barn: A vintage and rustic paradise with matching views (Website | More info).
c. Le Delice: Instagrammable picnic lunch! (More info).
d. Rumah Stroberi: More than just a strawberry house, farm and restaurant! (Website | More info).

7. Tasty local snacks/street food

Exploring the corners of Bandung can be energy-draining, so don’t forget to stop by for a yummy break. These local delicacies will get you going in between adventures and shopping sprees.Let’s dig in!

Photo Via Nyummy2, Leemartha, Andrebinarto, Helenysm, Dad_dish

a. Local street food @ Cibadak street: Sate Wibisana (charcoal-grilled pork skewers) is one of the must-tries along this food street!  (More info in Bahasa Indonesia)
b. Kue Balok Cihapit Mang Udju: Crunchy on the surface, milky soft inside (Website |  More info in Bahasa Indonesia).
c. Ronde Alkateri: Sweet Javanese ginger soup that warms your soul (More info in Bahasa Indonesia).
d. RM Mergosari: A local ‘finger liking good!’ (Coordinates here)
e. Baso Tahu Tegallega Asli Sin Sien Hien: Legendary steamed tofu & meat dish since the 50’s (Website | More info in Bahasa Indonesia).

8. Affordable yet relaxing spas

More than just a way to rest your feet or sooth your back, pampering sessions here can be a special and affordable treat to look forward to while in Bandung!

Photo Via Novianapuspitadewi

a. Ola Family SPA & Reflexology: An athlete’s ultimate pampering spot (Website | Coordinates here)
b. Everyday Spa: Time for that authentic Javanese treatment! (Website | Coordinates here).
c. Martha Tilaar: Herbal treatments that will do good to your body (Website | Coordinates here).
d. AMAIA Family Spa & Reflexology: A spa fit for the whole family (including babies)! (Website | Coordinates here).

D. Recommended places to stay

There is no universal ‘best hotel’ to stay at in Bandung, as much depend on your interests and budget. Whether you are keen for centrally located stays, unique ones, those fit for the whole family or something that won’t break your purse, here’s some of the best we recommend!

1. Most Unique Hotels

Fancy a room with character or dream of sleeping under the stars? Get ready for a totally different vacation at these unique hotels.

Photo Via Vial380, Dickyrdy, Ferzyaf

2. Comfortable budget boutique hotels

All the fancy stays, minus the splurge, at these budget boutique hotels.

Photo Via Mimidevi28real, Tirtabuana_earthwater

3. Affordable hotels near best shopping areas

Set your camp here for the best shopping escapades!

Photo Via Moxsoliv

4. (Special Treat!!) Budget hotels with a view and infinity pool

A much needed break in these budget hotels with a view and infinity pool.

Photo Via Elisaanovia, Endriraput, Inggra.dp_

5. Top Family-friendly hotels

For a thoroughly enjoyable family time, these hotels won’t disappoint.

Photo Via Rinnasuri, Putriwansah

E. Getting Around

1. Taxi (Bluebird taxis, Go-Jek or Grab)

Our recommendation: Go-Jek is an affordable and reliable option.

2. Rent a car with private driver/tour guide (our recommendation): Mulia Car Rental (with driver)

More info (tap to expand)
Website

Please book at least 1 day in advance to ensure car availability.

F. Best time to travel

For first-time travellers to Bandung, the dry season which usually lasts from June to September is a great choice for your holiday. These summer months offer a fairly warm weather with fewer chances of rain. Do avoid the rainy season from October to March.

May to June is considered to be the high season as it’s the local school holiday period, not to mention Eid-Al-Fitr as well. If you don’t want to squeeze with the crowd, avoid holiday seasons such as Christmas and Chinese New Year too.

Weekends are generally more crowded in Bandung, as travellers from Jakarta will stream in for a weekend getaway, so traffic will be heavier.

G. Recommended length of stay

–  Exploring Bandung city and local food: 3 Days 2 Nights (3D2N).
–  Shopping and travelling to Lembang for family excursions: 4 Days 3 Nights (4D3N).
–  Looking for adventures in nature (Lembang & Garut): 5 Days 4 Nights (5D4N).

H. Safety and travel tips

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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