Bandung: Parijs van Java

Nicknamed Parijs van Java (Paris of Java) by the Dutch for its resemblance to Paris and European atmosphere back at the colonial times. Bandung also earned another nickname as Kota Kembang, literally meaning the Flower City since Bandung used to have a lot of flowers (Wikipedia).

Bandung's Dago Street - famous for its tree-lined street, factory outlets, art deco building, and entertainment

Not for nothing is this city dubbed as Parijs van Java or Flower City:

  • Well known for the universities. Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) to Bandung is Sorbonne to Paris.
  • Old-tree lined roads. Though Jalan Dago is not comparable to Champs Elysees but it is probably the most famous street in Bandung. Old trees line this street as in Jalan Riau, Jalan Cipaganti and their wings. You will see some art deco building along the streets although many are converted to business, mainly restaurant, factory outlet.
  • Fashionista of its residents, owing to affordable clothing yet stylish and up-to-date. It  doesn’t need to be that  expensive to be charming and good looking. With such a long list of factory outlet and distro, are you sure you’re dare to shop till drop?
  • Culinary heaven. Bandung is famous for its great place for gastronomic adventure. Creative Bandung people provide unlimited array of culinary selection: from sidewalk warung on the nooks of the city, to middle class restaurants offering both good food and atmosphere, and to alfresco dining offering magnificent view to Bandung from mountainous area north of Bandung.
  • Creative industries. Should I mention creative indie apparel brands from Bandung’s designers, to music bands, to new hotel concepts, to new culinary product inventions or “that creativity” (unofficially cracked softwares, downgraded games consoles, etc.)?
  • Beautiful landscape. Bandung is located at the altitude of 768m with the surroundings of lush and beautiful Parahyangan mountains makes the climate mild and pleasant
  • art deco and heritage buildings. About 650 heritage building colors Bandung and preserve Bandung as Parijs van Java.

Bandung now becomes my second hometown since I arrived 17 years ago for university. I remembered the first day in Bandung when I got off from a city minibus in Dago early morning, welcomed by its very cold temperature. It is rarely now to see that level of temperature. Average temperature is now ranging from 19 to 29 C. Still cold sometimes but not that cold like it was 17 years ago. I would say it is pleasant temperature.

Bandung has a special place in my place for:

–          I earned my bachelor degree in Bandung

–          I  had been broken hearted in Bandung

–          I had been falling in love in Bandung

–          I married in Bandung

–          My second son born in Bandung

–          My hard earned house is now in Bandung

Spending about 3 weeks in Bandung for summer escape, I tried to satisfy my mainly culinary and shopping experiences in addition to busy doing home improvement to my house, or completing all bank and financial related issues:

  • Tasted another Sundanese restaurant in Setiabudi and Bandung Milk Center or Bandoengsche Melk Centrale (Dutch) in Jalan Aceh. Total damage? Only between 15-20 Euro for 4-6 persons while the same price in similar restaurant in Paris I tried few weeks back was only enough for 1 person! How can that be so expensive? 
  • Tried almost every local food offered by street vendors: sate padang, sate kambing, batagor, baso tahu, mie pangsit, martabak, bakso, singkong keju, gado-gado, pecel, siomay, cendol, bubur ayam, surabi, gehu pedas.
  • Late night gastronomic hunting: bubur ayam PR (Jalan Asia Afrika), Perkedel (Stasiun Hall)
  • How about alfresco dining in Cihampelas Walk, strolling city’s oldies Bandung Indah Plaza & nearby Gramedia book store, and Gasibu, shopping at Istana Plaza, Bandung Super Mall, Pasar Baru Trade Center, Parijs van Java mall, and of course, endless factory outlets (FO)/distro (distribution outlet) mushroomed at Jalan Riau, Jalan Setiabudi and Jalan Dago (Ir. H. Juanda)
  • Join the crowd to Bandung Electronic Center (BEC) for computer, software (I don’t say pirated one J, do I? ), electronic, games and mobile stuffs.
  • Strolling Bandung’s old-tree line roads, Dutch style Braga road, and architectural jewels: Villa Isola, Savoy Homan, Grand Preanger, Aula Barat dan Timur ITB, Gedung Sate, Gedung Merdeka, Geological Museum
  • Excursions to Lembang, famous for its Tangkuban Perahu mountain, tofu and milk industries, fresh fruits and vegetables, family outdoor recreation center and high-end dining experience. Visited one of them: Kampung Gajah, an outdoor recreation center, tried the longest SkyRider in Indonesia. Also visited Maribaya and Curug Omas waterfalls, some 4 km from Lembang. Then, driving down from Lembang to Bandung through winding streets (that end up at Dago) offering breathtaking view of Bandung from above.
  • Family getaway to Taman Safari (Safari Park) in Cisarua, Bogor, 3 hours drive from Bandung.
  • Not enough? Sipping hot coffee from Fabriek Aroma amidst almost-everyday-rain at house terrace.

Despite its everlasting typical metropolitan issues like traffic jams, and population explosion related issues, Bandung is still one of Indonesia’s favorite destination. No wonder you will see Jakartans crowd Bandung during weekend or holiday and now Malaysia’s tourist on the rise, owing to Airasia’s direct flight to/from Kuala Lumpur.

And as a Bandung resident, the best way to enjoy the city is during weekdays, or using motorcycle for zigzagging traffic jam, and easy parking or driving a car during rainy days (when you’ll see sudden drop of motorcycle waves that clog the roads.

Wikitravel Bandung provides handy travel guide to Bandung.

Bandung in old times is well presented in  http://bandungsae.com/index.html  (credit to Guntur Gantara).

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2 thoughts on “Bandung: Parijs van Java”

  1. wahyu!
    i googled “kampung gajah” and found your site:)

    my fam & me going for a weekend escape to bandung (one additional “plat B” to the traffic jam)

    anyway, nice blog and i appreciate your honesty in this statement “I had been broken hearted in Bandung” hahaha

    ok keep in touch

    1. Ona!
      Hope you enjoy Kampung Gajah.
      Went there but many were still under construction.

      You’re right about my honesty 🙂

      Keep in touch too. Salam buat isteri dan Dara

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