Maybe it's the cool, pleasant climate, the cultured atmosphere that comes with being Indonesia's intellectual center, or a layout replete with gardens and elegant boulevards, but Bandung fully deserves its title as the "Paris of Java."
Bandung is a serious cultural center. Check out the fossils in the Geology Museum and Gedung Merdeka, where the famous Bandung Conference of world leaders was held in 1955.
If you climb Dago Hill, Bandung will be laid out before you. This magnificent vantage point has waterfalls, an outdoor theater, and regularly witnesses astonishing sunsets.
Bandung's prosperity was once based upon textiles, and Jeans Street commemorates this heritage with wild, colorfully decorated store fronts (and great prices for apparel too).
If you want to see Sundanese theater, Jaipongan dancing, or spectacular martial arts like Pencak Silat, Bandung is a great place to do so.
Aside from textiles, you can also snag some incredible gifts like beautiful wayang golek puppets or masks, and you can see them being carved at the Cupu Manik Puppet Factory.
This epic lake and tourist spot in the middle of a volcanic crater proves just how far visitors will go for a good time - and what natural beauty Indonesia's forests, volcanoes and waters offer. As you move on up Mount Patuha, you'll find Kawah Putih situated at a height of 7,972 feet above sea level. Basking in the middle of this massive volcanic formation is a highly acidic but incredibly picturesque lake, with its swirls of light, baby blue to white green and brown, all blending together in a hazy mix. With its surrounding forest, hot, vaporous sulfur and steam bubbling up, you can pick a spot on the banks of the lake and stay for the afternoon.
While Kawah Putih may have been a cool 10 degrees Celsius, the rest of Bandung is not. Escape the heat and humidity of day with your little ones at an indoor theme park, complete with massive play areas, heart-stopping rides and a giant theater. Located within the Trans Studio Mall, visitors often spend the day shopping and grabbing a bite to eat before hitting this sweet spot in Bandung. The rides are safe, the staff is friendly and the eats are varied. What more could a traveler want for?
Yes, you read that right: this epic example of neoclassical architecture in Bandung is called the "Satay" building for its long, spiked pinnacle that resembles the Indonesian and Thai dish, "satay". But its resemblance to food ends there. Completed in the 1920s, the building is a shimmering and well-preserved building that hearkens back the Dutch colonial period, in all its white, resplendent glory. Take a stroll around the building's promenade and you'll see the lush greenery that surrounds its stunning facade, even today.
While the building is yet another trace of the old Dutch colonial rule, its exhibits, "inhabitants" and artifacts go way back before history. Here, the fossils of massive T-rex dinosaurs, skulls of the famous Java Man, exhibits marking the geological evolution of lakes and volcanoes - these all mark the way the area is almost like the cradle of life in the East. Exhibits and collections here focus on four distinct sections: the native geology of Indonesia, understanding the evolution of biodiversity through fossils, the geology of human life and outdoor exhibitions.
The Patenggang Lake is truly a magical place to be. Quiet, ethereal and serene, its lush greenery and quiet waters provide a truly tranquil experience for locals and visitors alike. Spend the day paddling about the lake, watching children play in its recreation area, touring the nearby Rancabali tea plantation, immersing yourself in its steaming and soothing hot spring waters, taking a dip in the cool of its swimming pools and grabbing a bite (or two!) at its casual restaurants.
The "dry" season tends to be the best time to go, which stretches from June to September. The mild temperatures make Bandung a fantastic Indonesian destination for those who aren't keen on 90+ degrees of heat.
You can fly to Husein International Sastranegara Airport (BDO) from Jakarta. The airport is only around three miles from the center of town, and a taxi will cost about Rp30-40,000.
PT Kereta Api trains run from Jakarta to Bandung, taking around three hours (the cheapest seats are Rp95,000).
If you are driving from Jakarta, take highway 1 eastbound, then turn onto highway 4 and follow it all the way to Bandung.
Air-conditioned express buses run every day from Jakarta to Bandung's Leuwi Panjang bus station. There are also shuttle bus companies like Baraya Travel, who charge around Rp50,000 for the trip.
Reliable, upscale hotels in Bandung include the Crowne Plaza Bandung, the Aryaduta Bandung, and the Trans Luxury Hotel.
Alun Alun - translated as "city square", Alun Alun is the center of town. It's a useful point of orientation, and is close to most of the major attractions.
Jalan Diponegoro - one of the city's major streets, Jl. Diponegoro is home to the Geology Museum and the beautiful Gedung Sate, a colonial administrative palace.
Jalan Braga - located in the south of the city, Jl. Braga is Bandung's nightlife strip, offering all-night dance venues and great bars like North Sea Bar.
The only public transportation in Bandung is via Angkot (minibuses). Prices vary by destination but range from Rp2,000-5,000.
Taxis are a more reliable option and should cost Rp7,500 for the meter drop, then Rp6,000 for every mile traveled.
You can also rent a car from companies like Cipaganti, Prambanan, and MPV Rentcar, with prices starting at around Rp60,000 per day.
If you want to buy some gorgeous Bandung textiles or clothes, Jeans Street (Jl. Cihampelas) is the place to go. You can also buy hand-crafted puppets at Toko Sin Sin on Jl. Braga.
Local supermarkets include LotteMart and Giant Ekstra, and prices are low. For example, you can expect to pay about Rp20,000 for 12 eggs.
Sundanese cuisine is a highlight of trips to Bandung. Try the oxtail soup at Dapur Dahapati or the sate at Maulana Yusuf, while the views from Lawangwangi Creative Space are incredible. Meals will cost around Rp30,000-50,000.