Visiting Bandung – A City Guide
Around three hours’ drive from the Indonesian capital, Bandung is a revered weekend destination for Jakarta locals in pursuit of fantastic shopping, dining and hiking. Framed by three dramatic volcanoes and lush tea plantations, Bandung offers enticing nightlife, a trendy café scene and a multitude of nature-based activities.
Bandung: city layout and top attractions
Bandung may be spread out, but most attractions are centred on three compact areas. Jalan Braga is the busiest central point of reference, stretching north from a point close to the Masjid Raya Grand Mosque. To the north is Jalan Cihampelas, known for its many discount retail outlets. Just northeast is the Dago area, the leafiest and most gentrified suburb of all.
Markets, malls and upscale boutiques cater to every visitor, as do the many options for enjoying Sundanese delicacies. If you wish to enjoy a breath of fresh air, you’ll find nearby active volcanoes, pine forests and mountain lakes to be ideal day-trip destinations.
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Eating Out in Bandung
The capital of Sundanese (West Javan) cuisine, Bandung is home to exclusive fine-dining options, enticing street food and everything in between. The most popular streets for dining are Jalan Braga and Jalan Cihampelas. For a more refined take on the local street-stall experience, head to Paskal Food Market on Jalan Pasirkaliki instead.
Sundanese cuisine distinguishes itself in its love of raw vegetables (a rarity in Indonesia), clean and fresh dishes and a particular weakness for salted fish and oncom, a type of fermented soybean cake. Freshly roasted Javanese coffee, one of Indonesia’s most popular international exports, is the city’s favourite beverage.
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Shopping in Bandung
A shopping mecca like no other, Bandung’s array of shopping options attracts Jakarta visitors in droves every weekend. They visit for better deals on jeans (Jalan Cihampelas is locally known as “Jeans Street”) and other clothing items, shoes and leather goods.
Factory outlets are Bandung’s most famous asset, since the city is home to Indonesia’s textile industry. Here’s where you’ll find the widest range and best prices on both local and international brands.
Foreign visitors will love the array of crafts, especially hand-carved wooden puppets, silver jewellery, batik fabric and superb paintings. Jalan Braga boasts many souvenir markets and shops (called toko) selling locally made handicrafts ranging from jewellery to furniture and everything in between.
Specialty shopping in Bandung
Culture & Nightlife in Bandung
Steeped in Javanese culture and history, Bandung is home to stellar museums, historical monuments and plenty of architectural attractions. Aside from the Great Mosque and St Peter’s Cathedral, the two pillars of Java’s most prominent religions, Bandung’s city centre boasts many colonial heritage buildings. Avid museum lovers will enjoy the comprehensive meteorite and dinosaur displays at the Bandung Geological Museum. For a cultural experience, don’t miss a show at Saung Angklung Ugjo, Bandung’s premier centre for the performing arts.
Bandung’s nightlife offers plenty of options for visitors of all ages. Thanks to its healthy student population, Bandung enjoys a substantial clubbing scene. If you’re looking for something more serene, head to Jalan Braga for an evening stroll on a vibrant street.
Bandung’s best nightlife spots
Leisure in Bandung
A visit to Bandung is punctuated by plenty of shopping and endless culinary feasting. Once you’ve had your fill of the city’s best attractions, however, you’d do well to explore the city’s spectacular surrounding natural wonders. This sets Bandung apart from other Indonesia cities, and makes it a delightful weekend escape destination.
Best day trips from Bandung