Bandung, capital of West Java , is a great place to visit any time of the year as it’s not only renowned for its picturesque open vista, but the town also offers many attractions well worth a visit.

Surrounded by green fertile mountains, Bandung today is Indonesia’s center for learning and creativity. Here is the wellknown, Institut Tekonologi Bandung (ITB) established since 1920, the university that has produced many of Indonesia’s top scientists from engineers, geologists to leaders in business management. Today Bandung is one of Indonesia’s most prestigeous university towns. Bandung is also the center of Indonesia’s burgeoning ICT technology, at the same time it is a center of arts and artists. Every weekend and long holidays the city is filled with young people from Jakarta who flock to Bandung to enjoy its youthful creative atmosphere in music, painting, fashion, and the culinary arts. 

Originally established in the late 19th century as a colonial garrison town, Bandung soon grew into a town for wealthy planters who owned the miles and miles of tea, coffee and cinchona plantations, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens in the cool and fertile hills of West Java. Bandung thus became the town of the European elite. And since this was the era of art deco, Bandung has a rich heritage of buildings in examplary art deco architecture. They include the beautiful Villa Isola, - now housing the University for Education-, the Concordia, the present Asian-African Museum, which was then the Society’s Clubhouse- , the main Braga shopping center, where the Dutch colonial elite went to shop, and the Savoy-Homann and Preanger hotels, where they would overnight and hold grand balls. 

While along the present Jalan Juanda, then known as Dago Boulevard, were the houses of the elite with their green lawns and flower gardens fronting opulent homes. In those colonial heydays in the early 20th century, Bandung became known as “Parijs van Java”, or the Paris of Java, where Dutch planters and ladies paraded and flaunted their wealth and beauty along the boulevards and Bragaweg, then the Champs Elysees of the East. 

Today, Bandung is remembered in history internationally as the venue of the First Asian-African Conference held in 1955 which brought together for the first time, leaders of 29 Asian and African countries, who declared to jointly fight colonialism for national independence. Attending the Conference were noted national leaders, among whom, Jawaharlal Nehru and daughter Indira Gandhi of India, Chao En Lai of China, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia and Indonesia’s own President Soekarno. The Asian-African Conference became the precursor of the Non-Alighned Movement. 

Later Bandung also became the center for textile mills producing much of Indonesia’s textiles for fashion wear, linen and upholstery.

Standing some 768 m above sea level, Bandung is today the country’s third largest city after Jakarta and Surabaya. Since the opening of the Cipularang Toll road, which cuts down travel from Jakarta to two hours from the previous four hours over the tortuous Puncak Pass, Bandung has become the favourite weekend getaway to relax and escape from the hectic pace of metropolitan Jakarta.

For Bandung offers trendy fashion wear at reasonable prices at its myriad factory outlets, a wide range of delicious local and international cuisines, and a distinct colonial European-style atmosphere combined with captivating traditional arts.
To observe some of the fascinating images of Bandung, you can visit these photo essays:

Bandung is a town that offers great promise for shoppers. You may be overwhelmed with the large number of factory outlets scattered along Dago (Ir. H. Djuanda), Riau (R.E.Martadinata), Cihampelas, and Setiabudi. Here you can shop to your heart’s content and grab famous brands, trendy fashion and a lot more. Unlike the real Paris though, the clothes here are surprisingly affordable! Looking for the new design of jeans? Just stop by at Cihampelas street. Buy something here and their collections will brighten up your wardrobe in an instant.

Just a 30 minute drive from Bandung and you’ll be greeted by the natural beauty of the hills and valleys. Refresh your mind and unwind through a pleasant journey to Lembang, north of Bandung. On the way, stop at POM TAHU that sells the famous Tahu Lembang (Lembang tofu) and fresh milk in various flavors. Around this area, you can pick your own strawberries while breathing in the fresh air of Lembang and let your small kids have fun with outdoor activities, like a mini flying fox, pool rafting, and balloon walker. Get your adrenalines pumping by trying outbound activities at Imah Seniman, Lembang. For the adventurous, drive up the hills pass exhilarating tracks by ATV (All Terrain Vehicle), fly through the sky with the Flying Fox, or enjoy the many fishing spots around here.

Extend your journey and take in celestial sights through the giant telescopes of Bosscha Observatory or drive further up to the Tangkuban Perahu Volcano. Walking around its famous craters (Kawah Ratu, Kawah Upas, and Kawah Domas) will be a remarkable experience. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see volcanic activity up close, and enjoy the local hospitality.

Do not forget to admire Bandung’s art-deco architectural heritage found throughout the city. This will be a good opportunity to take a flash back in history. The Museum of the Asian-African Conference is definitely worth a visit and is one of the best preserved tropical art deco buildings, as are the ITB campus, the “Gedung Satay” governor’s office, Villa Isola, and many more.

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