Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bandung Indonesia


Before I travel usually I will vigorously look at tripadvisors and search on google to see what are the places of interest and where to go. For one, I am not usually keen being hoarded from one place to another trying to cramp everything in one day. I prefer to take my own time, and tailor the place i visit according to my preference and of course rajinness. After all it is my holidays right :)

So here I go again to the land with the largest archipelago and this time to the Java Island.

I flew direct to Bandung with Malindo Air. Its my first time on this airline and I have to say, it is pretty good! The seats are surprisingly not too cramped, snacks provided (sausage buns and muffins),and we are given 30Kgs BY DEFAULT. Not bad at all for a no-frill airlines.

Now Bandung. Most people I talked to - gushed about the shopping. Most common information is Factory Outlets like which streets etc, which one to go, and Kartika Sari cookies/brownies.

None of which of any much interest to me. Yep, I like shopping, but not when I travel.

When I travel, I really really would like to see and experience things.

Unfortunately for Bandung, I couldn't find much information except shopping places

With little information, I had almost very little itinerary. One thing for sure is I want to go to the Craters. Been wanting to for the last few trips to Indonesia and never had the chance to.


We arrived and as the norm we were brought to factory outlets along jalan riau. They are ok, I dont exactly know if their products are genuine or not and for the price they offer, some are fairly good and some to me are nothing special.

The Valley, view from dining. Photos from
After dinner, we went to 'The Valley Resort' to have coffee, which is a short drive from Bandung to one of the hills where you get to see the Bandung town. It is actually a resort, which is pretty self-contained and the place where we had coffee is their coffee house, and it has the view overlooking the Bandung town. Sadly I couldn't get good shots as it was raining. But google it people, you will know what i mean.


Still almost clueless about where to go, I decided to ask my supir (Pak Ervin) to just take me around town. What better way to know a city other than immersing yourself in it, ait.

Bandung is actually a very quaint city. Not too big and busy (because it is weekdays I suppose, I was told on weekends it is terribly busy) so we didnt take long to go around it.

The town does have few historical buildings way back to its dutch colonial days and one place that is also worth noting is alun alun. Its like a dataran in front of the grand mosque and I was told that the place is also really alive and popular at night time too.

Floating Market
We went to Lembang towards the Tangkuban Perahu then after, but as it was pouring cats and dogs, we couldnt go to the craters and Pak Ervin took me to floating market instead. I am glad I did, it is actually quite a nice place, there are few attractions for the little ones such as rabbit playground and you could also go kayaking around the floating market. It is not like the real floating market in Thailand or Vietnam, more like small hawkers on a floating boats. They sell mostly food rather than vegetables, so dont go bringing your shopping cart hoping to buy sayur or ikan.

There are many little huts made of bamboo, there are also mini padi field and vegetable patches around the area so overall it is quite nice. The entrance fee is also really cheap - just 20.000 IDR + 10.000IDR for the car. You could redeem the entrance fee with a drink at the floating market so I think it is totally worth it.

Farm House
Next up we went to the Farm house. This one has the dutch theme all over it. There are those hobbit houses, cute ones.
Entrance fee 20.000 IDR + 10.000 IDR for car, again it is redeemable with the fresh milk.

Dusun Bambu
As the name suggests, this place is a dusun but complete with a camping site and/or if you prefer huts with many other attractions and activities. When I was there it was nearly dark and it has been raining so it kind limits what I get to see and experience.

So I mostly spent my time taking photos of the place and one day I would definitely want to return. If it is not for staying there, perhaps only to dine.

Entrance fee 15.000 IDR + 15.000 IDR for car


Tangkuban Perahu
Finally, I get to see the craters. Yay!

The first thing - this place is swarming with people. Like really a lot of people. local mostly. And there are wayyy too many touts and peddlers. They hassle you like crazey, and I was just glad that I finally manage let them to leave me alone once I started walking towards to the shops area.

Despite all that, if you happen to be in Bandung and have never seen a crater before, this is some place you definitely want to visit. It is surreal, and coming from Malaysia where we are blessed with fairly tame grounds, its definitely a sight to behold. I could almost not stop staring at it and clicking my camera.

In the hopes of getting better shots I had walked along the edges towards the greens, and finally reached the entrance to Kawah Batu. You have to pay another fee to the guides and you are not allowed to wander on your own. I bargained from the original 100.000IDR quoted to me to 50.000IDR so he took me in. Its not very far from the entrance (post guard said 250mtrs but seriously  I think its much further).

Please make sure you wear sensible shoes though if you intend to go down the craters cause obviously the hike is on a trail and you would be walking on slippery ground.

Entrance fee is really steep at 300.000 IDR per person + 15.000 IDR for the car.

Also to note, its really pretty heading towards the craters with the pines trees

TaHuRa (Taman Hutan Raya Juanda)
Single, narrow, and undulating
lane almost all the way!
Next up is the Tebing Keraton, which is located at the Taman Hutan Raya. Since we are travelling from Lembang so Pak Ervin took a shortcut, which turned up to be quite a scenic one. Along the way, we went through really small roads in between villages and really really nice view. According to him, on weekends these roads are always congested and I can imagine why...

Entrance to Tahura is like all other places (except tangkuban perahu) is really cheap 11.000 IDR per person + 10.000IDR for the car. The entrance fee allows you to go to Tebing Keraton, Gua Japang, Gua Belanda and many others. There are many entrances to this part as well, but I think we went to the Gado Pakar entrance. There are a few nice hipster coffee houses at the entrance area which is really nice for a relaxing.

So once you enter from the entrance, you will be greeted by beautiful tall pine trees... really nice.

I didnt have any specific place I wanted to go here, so I decided to just walk towards the closest Gua, which is Gua Belanda. OK, one thing, I seriously think their map and distance calculations are all wrong over there in Bandung. It says 1KM but seriously peeps I honestly think it is wayyyy further (or is it me??). All the while when I was walking there'd be someone of motorbike offering the
service to take me to my destination. I was tired but hey, I think I could do 1 or 2 kilometres. Or Not  (all the while cursing the misleading information). Anyway after what seem like eternity of dragging my feet, I reached Gua Belanda. The cave is a like a H shape, so you see two entrances from one side. And when you peep along you will only see on way. which is the other end.

I am glad I had the foresight to bring my tiny torchlight with me,  so I could finally use it to good use. (you know the many times you bring all sorts of things with you but NEVER use them?? ) Anyway, if you didnt bring any, not too worry, you could rent it at the entrance for 5000IDR (well that was the rate given to me, and mind you just like everywhere in indonesia it was not a service offered by the park or anything, but by the touts hovering at the cave entrance). Back to the cave, I walked along the cave to the other side, and on the other side, you were greeted with another trail. When I asked the pakcik selling foodstuff he said I could go towards the waterfalls from there.
There werent many people, and honestly by that time, I already learned that their 'nggak jauh' is not the same as my definition of short distance. I decided to give it a pass and walk back to the other side.

By that time, I was really kinda tired. Especially when I thought about all the downhill walk coming to the cave, and obviously going back to the other area requires me to walk uphill . At that point in time, the temptation of being transported instead of walking was really really a lot more appealing. 

I decided to take the plunge and negotiated with the motorbikes. The rate quoted to me was 90000IDR, to go to the Gua Japang, Tebing Keraton and back to the entrance. It is definitely pricier than the 'normal' rate, but because I was kinda short of option, and also I decided to just be generous (after all its only RM30) we had a deal at IDR100,000.

So off I was on the Ojek.....

First thing that you must know about me, I have only been on a motorbike like two times in my WHOLE entire life. And, those ride were short one and, it was with the people I trusted (People I know well). Taking motorbike honestly scares the shit out of me. So when this guy, sprinted off, on gravels mind you, you can just imagine how shit-scared I was. I had to tell him to slow down, because I was sooo nervous. Never in my lifetime I felt more relieved when we arrived at the Gua Japang - which was like 2 mins with the bike.

So Gua Japang unlike Gua Belanda is shaped like a horizontal E. So as you can imagine, there isnt 'light at the end of the tunnel' like the other. Its pitch dark, with no lights installed and no 'other-end' to go to. I almost wanted to give it a pass - but luckily for me, there were a group of students with their guide preparing to go in. So I just tumpang the group, which turned out good because the guide explained to us things.

And then.. its time to go to the Tebing Keraton which was my ultimate reason coming to TaHuRa.. With anticipation, I hopped on the bike again for my ride to the 'bestest view ever'. Wooo hooo hooo, the exhilaration slowly left me soon enough when the guy took me out of the entrance gates,and started going to a slip road.
1. I was already scared of riding a motorbike.
2. We are now not in the park anymore but outside road with actual traffic, AND I DONT HAVE A HELMET ON!
3. Remember all that small hilly roads I took to get here, well, its going even steeper.
Needless to say, I was feverishly praying all the way, and at some point, was closing my eyes (so that I dont get to see how dangerous it was.

Tebing Keraton
After what took like forever, we finally stopped at another entrance. Entrance to Tebing Keraton is already included in the ticket, so you just need to show them the ticket to go in. When I was there it was already mid afternoon so definitely no sunrise to catch. The area is also now cordoned off so you cant sit at the edges anymore looking as if you conquer the world. Tough luck. Though truth to be told I dont think I dared to sit on the boulder anyway. It is creepingly close to the cliff and with me careless as ever, no thank you. Maybe I will consider, if I have an abseil on. #dontwannadieyet#

Nevertheless, it is still breathtaking. The air is serene, and there is a look out point as well. Definitely no regrets. Oh btw, if you somehow could manage to balance your cuppa or some drinks over the motorbike ride, it would have been great to slowly sip your coffee with the view. Unlike near the other places, there isnt any peddlers or shops inside the Tebing keraton area so make sure you bring your water/rations with you.

What is worst that going uphill, is actually going downhill on a motorbike. I kept thinking, if he sprinted up, he would probably be twice faster going downhill. THANK GOD, that is not the case. In fact it was quite pleasant, as whenever we went downhill he killed the power - i guess to save fuel. So instead of sprinting down, we were just cruising as if we were on a bicycle. Phew.

Back at the main entrance, I made my way to the coffee shop and ordered my coffee and snack. Total bliss.


Rumah Mode
What can I say, I guess a visit to Bandung aint a visit if you dont go to one of their most famous factory outlet - Rumah Mode.

It is a really nice place, complete with a large coffee shop and spa center (you know, after all that walking and waiting).

I cant really comment about if the clothes are really that cheap, but I guess its not so bad.. You can get blouses for about IDR125000. To me its not expensive, but I think I could get similar priced items during mega sales or at the shops like FOS or Reject Shops in KL. I mean I wouldnt fly all the way to Bandung if it was just to shop for some clothes.

Kartika Sari
We were taken to the outlet near railway station, this one is where they actually bake the cakes. So if you go to this one usually you will get the ones that is fresh. I didnt buy much for myself, only one of the mix cakes. My cousin actually asked me to buy some for her so I was worried that it would be too difficult to bring the lot hand-carry. But turned out that they can put the item in a box, to make it easier to carry. Ah well. Next time then.

Bandung Airport
One advise - when and if you are travelling to Bandung airport during rainy season,  beware that:

1. If the rain is really heavy, expect your flight to be delayed

2. Your luggage might get wet so if you have a fabric type of luggage, you might wanna get it wrapped

This is because Bandung airport doesnt have a bridge from the gates to the aircraft, you will need to disembark from the plane through stairs and walk on the hangar towards the airport (and vice versa). Its kinda cool actually because you get to be at the aircraft pretty close, but the downside is that you are subjected to the elements, and if you are travelling with elderly, might also be a challenge.

Apart from that, its a smallish airport, with very basic departure lounge. Erm, I think there is only the one.

So there goes. All in all, it was a nice break. I particularly like the cooling weather and many many nice cafes with exceptional views.

I didnt get to go to the Puncak this time around, so perhaps on my next trip :)