Bandung, het Parijs van Java

Before I start, I think it would be nice to explain the title first. I’m pretty sure the majority of people on Java island would know that ‘Parijs van Java‘ refers to Bandung, the capital of West Java. I’ve never really understand the link between Bandung and Paris because they both don’t even look similar, but I stumbled upon this website of indonesienu.nl that explain briefly about it

Bandung; in de koloniale tijd kwam de Nederlandse elite hier graag om te winkelen. Modezaken verkochten in deze West-Javaanse stad de nieuwste mode uit Europa. Bandung werd in die tijd dan ook ‘het Parijs van Java’ genoemd.

In my amateur translation it means, “Bandung; During the colonial time, the Dutch elites used to come here to shop. The latest fashion that came from Europe were sold in this city of West Java. At that time, Bandung was then called as the ‘Paris van Java’ or Paris of Java. And I think although the colonial time has passed long time ago, the term itself still being used  to describe Bandung.

For me myself, I would describe Bandung as a city with a mix of nature beauty, modernity, and a food paradise.

As probably most of you here don’t know it yet, but Bandung has been my hometown since…. since my family moved there, so it’s been almost three years. Sadly, when my family moved to Bandung, I got accepted in UGM which is located in Yogyakarta, thus it makes me ‘blind’ about what Bandung has. I haven’t really enjoy Bandung, but luckily I got this one good chance.

Few weeks ago after my mid-term exam, I decided to go to Bandung to enjoy the city. Treethida, or Tree who is an exchange student from Thailand who also happen to be a great friend of mine decided to join me as well to Bandung. It was so fun, and it feels like I’m having another sibling who’s on the same age with me. I got to learn about my own (new) hometown, so I think it would be nice to post about our trip.

Alun Alun Bandung

This place is the one that we visited first at night right few hours after Tree arrived in Bandung. It is actually a square, with artificial grass and then there is also the Grand Mosque of Bandung there. It looks very beautiful, and I think it is nice to come here both during day and night because both offers its own charms ❤

 

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The Grand Mosque of Bandung

 

Asia African Street & Museum

Asia African street is one of the most famous street in Bandung. Remember the Bandung Conference? Non-aligned Movement? This is where it is all started. It is just a stroll away from the Alun-Alun, so sambil menyelam minum air.  The street and the buildings in this area looks so old-fashioned, in a good way. It reminds me of Dutch buildings to be honest, especially with some Dutch words still written on the building like Kunstboek or Papierhandel. There you can see Gedung Merdeka, the building in which was used to host the Bandung Conference or the Asian-African Conference, the game changer of bipolarity. Now, the building is still in a good condition and it is being used as a historical museum to display pictures, letters, flags, and others that were used during the conference. The building is now known as the Museum Asia Afrika.

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The replica situation of Bandung Conference, with pak Soekarno at the podium

The museum opens everyday at 8 or 9 am, but it closes in Monday. It really worth the visit, or maybe it is just because I’m quite a nerd HAHA. I cant stop imagining how glorious it mustve be back then.

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Saung Angklung Udjo

This is the third place that Tree and I visited. The location isn’t far, very accessible and so I could just drive there. By the way, Angklung is a Sundanese music instrument made from bamboo, and it looks like this. For this instrument, if you want to play a song, you have to play the whole set of 7 angklung (as one angklung plays only one note).  That’s why angklung performance usually need a lot of people to create the harmony. Here you can watch the Wayang (Indonesian traditional puppet) performance, traditional dance performance, and also angklung performance featuring gamelan set. Another plus thing about this place is that we didn’t only watch, but we also got to play the angklung. The angklung players were cute little kids and teenagers, and then they disributed the angklung to all the audience. After that, the MC taught us how to play and we ensemble some Indonesian songs together. It was really nice and fun, and Tree looks enjoying it so much!

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Wayang at Saung Angklung Udjo

After that we felt terribly hungry, so we ate there and the foods are really nice and traditional Sundanese like nasi timbel, nasi bakar, colenak, and others. If you want to experience all these fun activities, you can just come and pay 60k for Indonesian and 100k for foreign tourists as the entrance fee.

Factory Outlets at Dago and Riau street

As I have mentioned before, Bandung is well-known as the center of fashion in Java island (tho I don’t know whether it is still relatable or not). In this city, rather than shopping in shopping malls, many people actually prefer to shop at factory outlets but don’t compare it to factory outlets/designer outlets in Europe like Roermond or Bataviastad. There are several area of outlets, the one we visited was at Riau street and the famous one here is the Heritage. Other than Riau, there are also many outlets at Dago street. Too bad we didn’t take any pictures, as we were busy strolling around and window shopping.

Selasar Sunaryo Art Space

This place is located in Dago Pakar, which is relatively far from the city and it is quite uphill. Thankfully my mom was able to drive us for this day, so Tree and I just need to sit back and relax. Selasar Sunaryo is actually a contemporary art space that is very beautiful and unique, and it also has a cozy cafe that offers snacks, foods, and beverages. Both the art space and the cafe open from Tuesday to Sunday at 10am to 5pm. It was really nice to see all the greens, to breath fresh air, and to listen to nothing as it was incredibly quiet. If only I live in Bandung and I could drive here by myself, I would come at least twice a week.

 

 

Lawangwangi Creative Space

Another art space at Dago Pakar that we visited was Lawangwangi, but this one is a mix of creative art space and a restaurant on the top floor. Whereas Selasar Sunaryo has mostly 3D arts, but when I visited, this one has beautiful paintings instead. Although I don’t understand art, but for sure I know everything was really stunning. As I have mentioned before, they have a restaurant up on the second floor with an amazing view. The foods they provide were average tho, but I think it was worth the view. They have something kind of like a bridge, and many take pictures there including Tree, my mom and I.

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Bridge that is being used to take pictures
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My cutie mom and I

Taman Hutan Raya                                                                                                                                     

This is a conservation area and also a botanical garden in Bandung that also being called as Djuanda Forest Park. It is basically a very large park and it reminds me of Haagse Bos that I often visited when I was still in the Netherlands, only there was smaller, cleaner, more neat. But here they have more varieties of plants and flowers, and also you can see wild squirrel and monkeys that are soo cute!

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A bridge at the TaHuRa

 

What’s well known from this forest are the Caves, mysterious caves. There are two caves here, the Japanese cave and the Dutch cave that each has its own story. The Japanese cave was really close from the entrance, only several kilometers of walk. When we arrived there, there were several locals offered some guides inside the cave, so we took one (although at first I didn’t want to get in, but what can I do when Tree and my mom pushed me?). It was really dark, and the history of this one was not scary because the cave used only for hiding the troops and the weapons by the Japanese. After the tour finished, we walked further and further for almost 7km to the Dutch cave which has a darker history as this one was used to keep and tortured the indigenous people in the past during the colonial era. Just knowing the history gave me chills and of course, I definitely refused to go inside and thank God, for this one no one pushed me.

Paris van Java Rooftop    

On this last day, Tree and I felt bored but we didn’t have much time left and Dimas, my little brother had no school on that day. So we decided to go to Paris van Java shopping mall, to the rooftop. Here on the rooftop of PVJ, it has mini rice field and mini farm. I forgot the entrance fee but it was around 50k for one child and two adults. The entrance fee were included milk for Dimas, and also some vegetables and milk to be given to the animals.

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Tree has found her soulmate

The farm has goats, sheep, cows, rabbits, and also a pair of Siberian husky. Too bad the animals looks like in a bad condition, some of them looks thirsty and hungry and the cages were too small. The two Siberian huskies especially, looks sad as it is always in one small cage and they are living in a hot area while they supposed to be in very cold area. What even more sad was I think they don’t have time to be free outside of their cage. I think they they only go out when visitors want to play and take pictures, while in Indonesia, we don’t really familiar with dogs, and so I guess not many of visitors play with them. Yesterday, nyone can see that they were sooo happy as the guard unlocked the cage and let them go out with us.

People said, once a dog give you her/him back and also exposed their belly, it means that the dog trust the person. All these cute dogs did were to roll and expose their belly, which made us really happy. It was beyond happy to see that Dimas was very happy and caring to animals, especially dog that he has never played with before.

The rooftop farm ended our trip in Bandung. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see more things in Bandung as the time was very limited because we have school.

If you plan to go to Bandung, there are several places and foods I thing supposed to be in your list:

  • if you’re a fan of nature, try going to Tangkuban Perahu Volcanic mountain, Sari Ater natural hot spring, Dusun Bambu, and visit Lembang with a breathtaking view, a lot of  tree plantation and berries farms.
  • if you love foods, try Rumah Makan Ampera to get a taste of Bandung, Batagor Kingsley or Roti Gempol to get Bandung yum snacks, Karnivor to have meats and meats, Ayam & Bebek Borommeus that has annoying line but tasty foods, Kambing Bakar Cairo, Hummingbird with cute interior & exterior design, and still many other delicious yum that I can’t mention because it is so much.
  • Bored? Just go to shopping malls where they have everything. In Trans Studio Mall for example, they have branded stores, food courts, shopping areas, cinema, and also an indoor theme park. In Paris van Java, also cinema, food courts, but they have H&M, Bershka, Topshop, M&S, VS, and others here. Also remember the farm? It is here also, and they have an ice skating rink here as well.
  • Want to try Bandung original gem? Maybe you can have Pisang Bollen (Banana Balls) at Primarasa, Surabi Bandung thats different with Srabi Solo, Siomay Bandung, Gepuk, Peuyeum singkong that’s basically fermentated cassava – my dad’s and my fav, Seblak. Wow, I’m starving now just by listing the foods.

I think Bandung is a reaaaaally big city that has a lot to offer, and I think you should come and pay a visit at least once during your time in Indonesia (if you’re not an Indonesian).

Cheers!


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