I didn’t know what to expect at all when I got to Bandung, least of all what to do in Northern Bandung. I was there on a trip with Indonesia and Bandung tourism, and didn’t have much time to research the area. I was BLOWN AWAY with the sights.
Some of the best parts were just seeing the big clouds over the mountains. How was the sky so blue and the tea leaves so green?! It was like it had been photoshopped.. in fact, my photos almost look photoshopped! But as you can imagine, I’m not that techy. I also loved the donkeys and horses, the rice fields all over the countryside, the random guys helping with traffic (were they hired or just helping, because their clothes were just normal!), the sunsets, the fog, the cold mornings, and the clean feeling in the air.
I wish I could have taken photos of the drive to Tangkuban Parahu, but the windy roads were making me feel a little sick… plus the fact breakfast was rice and noodles, no kidding! On your way up north, you should maybe take motion sickness pills. I’ll share a little bit about Tangkuban Parahu, the floating market, and learning to play the angklung.
This hotel has huge hot springs that they boast as some of the best in the world. Your showers will actually have the hot spring water coming out. It’s a great resort and the swimming pools have been built into the spring! They have off-road go-karts, horses, and awesome 4 wheel drive adventures.
Bandung was actually a lake a long time ago, but is now a huge city with something like 2 million people living there. Although some parts are prone to flooding, the lake is long gone. Now, the volcanoes and mountains that surround make for a great view from the city. If you drive north to Tangkuban Parahu which is an active volcano, you’ll get to see a HUGE volcanic crater called Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater). It’s amazing.
There are vendors dotted around and people giving donkey (or mule? or small horse?) rides. You’ll also see everyone selling the locally grown blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. It’s kind of perfect. No one hassles you to shop either.
Bandung Floating Market
The floating market is a great place to try local food. You can have a real lunch first, then snack if you like. You’ll switch money from tokens to make it easy. I don’t suggest taking the boat out and seeing the different floating stalls, but rather it’s easier to taste from land on the other side. Plus, rowing the boats is a work out and makes photography hard.
Definitely taste the “crepes”, dim sum, banana cake (so cute!), and all the varieties of delicious fried food. I even got a lollipop I saved for the parade.
Saung Angklung Udjo
In West Java, the Sundanese still play their traditional instrument, the angklung. It’s made of bamboo and different sizes are different octaves. I wish I could have gotten more photos from the center, Saung Angklung Udjo, where we saw a performance and also a traditional play. You will want to tap along to the play’s music, but trust me, it’s impossible to follow the beat!
Have you ever heard the quote from actress Kristen Bell, “if I’m not on a 3-7 on an emotional scale, I’m crying”. That is so me! I tear up sometimes with sad commercials, and I have teared up more times than I can count in India when something sweet happens.
I was sitting in the stands feeling so lucky to see their art form and to be on the trip in general, and the kids started playing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I started to tear up! I cheered so loud when it was over and the kids took us out to dance with them. We got to play our own angklungs which was pretty damn cool!
I was on this trip thanks to Wonderful Indonesia, Pesona Bandung, and all those involved in the Asian African Conference, but all opinions are my own. If you want to read more, check out my article on what to do in Southern Bandung.
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