Bandung in a Nutshell

“Hello Bandung, long time no see you.”

That’s my unspoken Greeting to this city after my last visit almost 6 years ago. I lived in Jakarta for 5 years and a weekend getaways to Bandung was common things for us who live in Jakarta.

My 2016’s impression toward Bandung, it is extremely different from many years ago. Today’s Bandung is polluted, not as cold as it used to be, and .. crazy traffic jam here and there, almost similar to Jakarta. Why of why, Bandung.. Don’t you know, you used to be my favorite Indonesian city, well, maybe because at that time, I was still young and loved shopping. But then, things changed as I get older.

Age isn’t just a number anymore when we grow old. When I was still young, skinny and pretty, I viewed Bandung as a heaven both for food and fashion. Yeah, those old days when I still had fast metabolism, albeit I ate tons of sweet cakes, yummy food in Bandung, they wouldn’t affect the size of my hip and tummy. And it was the great old days when whatever fashion I wear just looked good, nothing to hide (belly fat), and all was in XS size !!! So, it’s cheaper based on its size, and I could do shopping at dozens of Factory Outlet in Bandung. This city is also known as a shopping travel destination where you can find Factory Outlets, Mall or Boutique scattered at 768m above sea level city.

1. Shopping Mecca

Bandung and its plenty of Shopping options.

Cihampelas Mall aka CIWALK

Cihampelas Mall aka CIWALK


Braga City Walk

Paris van Java Mall


2. Heritage Architecture

Yes, Bandung has a lot of designation. Besides the land of Pasundan, a flower city, a capital of sweet snack, and during the colonial times, the Dutch called this city as Paris van Java. In Dutch, ‘van’ should be written in a lower case, it means ‘of’.

According to history, in colonial times,- Bandung is famous of its natural beauty and cool fresh air, and the geography is quite similar to the region of southern France.

The Dutch constructed this city to become a beautiful city in European atmosphere, for example, along Braga street, you will find the European architectural style and have a pedestrian walk. But today, having a stroll along Braga street, as far as the eyes can see is human and cars.

An old colonial building on Braga street.



Hostel on Braga street

Hostel on Braga street


Braga is a heritage street is packed with all kind of  coffee shop, cafe, bar or even food truck.


Selling flowers on Braga's sidewalkA young man who sells flowers on the sidewalk of Braga street.



In my opinion, narrow road on Braga used to be a nice sidewalk but when it was built, the Dutch might never never expect that Bandung would be one of the biggest cities with more than 2.5 millions inhabitant.

At the present time, Braga road was like a long parking lots, especially on the weekend.

Apart from Braga City Walk (Shopping Mall), also,- there are some restaurants, cafes, Pubs or even a 24 hour convenience stores.

Warung Upnormal

Warung Upnormal

Most of tourists who hang around here is domestic tourist. I rarely see Western Tourist along the sidewalk. I stopped at Warunk Upnormal, to be frank, I have good and bad impression at the same time.

The food and coffee are nice, but it’s occupied with a group of teenagers or hipster who talked and laughed out loud as if the space is only for them. And the worst thing, the cafe is filled with smokers. I found it’s frustrating and not healthy to stay at this place longer or frequent visit. Especially for a passive smoker like me. What a pity, they should concern on this..

Oh yeah, this is Indonesia, how could I complain about this 🙂 .. the smokers are king here, and you can smoke freely indoor.

Till now, there’s no signs for Indonesia to be a friendly place for non-smokers. The cafe owners still treat smokers like a respectable guest, offer them an ashtray on each table though indoor, I never against smokers, but please do it at open space, or outdoor. You’re killing people softly with your smoke.


Me had to inhale this guy’s smokes for more than one and half hour..


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3. Multiculture

Unique Mosque in temple architectural style


It’s called Al-Imtizaj Mosque, I first time thought this building was a Chinese Temple, but then I got bemused when I read the signage hangs above the gate door. There are three different scripts; Indonesian, Chinese and Arabic. I found it’s cool showing how multicultural Bandung is, stuff like this might only be found in Xian Province, or Xin Jiang in China. It’s stunning to see Islam is not only identical to Arabic architectural style.



dsc_0093The entrance of the mosque


dsc_0096The shoes/sandal rack with individual key


dsc_0105I like this corner..


dsc_0109The Interior, with Red Lantern, Chinese & Arabic Scripts



4. Asia Africa Boulevard

Asia Africa is a historic road in Bandung where representatives from twenty-nine governments of Asian and African nations gathered in Bandung, Indonesia in April 1955, to discuss peace and the role of the Third World in the Cold War, economic development, and decolonization.




Today, around this area we will see Alun-Alun Bandung in front of the great Bandung mosque, youth dressed in fictional character from Robot or even the guy with (toy) gun, or the ghost look alike who just sits on the bench of the sidewalk in the afternoon. I don’t know whether they get paid dressing in this character, any idea?





The good thing of this boulevard is, a quite bike friendly road.


*Asia Africa boulevard located in between the road to Pasar Baru and Braga Street.

5. Pasar Baru & its surroundings

Well, Yeah… we can take a walk to Pasar Baru from Asia Africa boulevard. Pasar Baru means New Market in Indonesian, I have no idea why it’s called so. But, all I know about this place and the surroundings, it’s the most popular shopping destination especially for textile goods in Bandung.



From outside, it looks soooo crowded, YUP, I warned you, actually even Inside and Outside are crowded !!! Beware of Pickpockets. However, it’s not only crowded, this place is also a bit dangerous for Women, especially Muslim or Malay ladies. WHY ??

Let me finish it..

Pasar Baru, both the trade center and square one are shopping paradise. You can get textile goods, laces, attires or Muslim attires, songket, embroidery, scarfs, souvenirs and a lot more in super cheap price. Women would love this, and could be crazy over the cheap price and would shop till they broke, and leave Pasar Baru with a BIG new luggage, and debt … 😛 , A lot of Singaporean and Malaysian tourists here, and I think it’s an obligatory destination for tourist from neighbor countries.

From head to toe Muslim attire for IDR 200,000.- or less than USD 20

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The price range from IDR 35,000.-  to IDR 45,000.- or less than USD 5 !!



6. Co-Working Space

Just in case you turn out to be a homeless in Bandung, and need a WiFi and a comfy place to work without being distracted by other travelers in your hostel asking a typical traveler question in guesthouse/hostel ,- ‘where are you from?’ , no worries.. EduPlex is a co-working space in Bandung, open for 24 hours and you can take a seat here with a proper table for your butt and back, and it’s free unless you order meal or coffee.



7. Street Food

Surabi Durian, yes, that king of fruit with its ‘special’ smell. I love Surabi durian because its pancake texture mixed with the sweet taste of Durian.


And, Urap Sampeu is made of cassava and another one is Cilok. It’s hard to describe, Cilok is round like a small ball with peanut sauce, sometimes spicy or sweet.



SEBLAK is my favorite Street Food in Bandung, and even thinking of it make me drooling. I love its hot and spicy taste, the gravy is made of spice called ‘Kencur’, and garlic.

And, more exotic thing, I love how chicken feet lay on my bowl… Hahah, it’s just a wild stuff for some people. Do you eat chicken feet?? It’s yummy, and after I did a little research, its content Collagen. So, ladies… don’t be shy eating them. Dermatologist is expensive, chicken feet produces natural collagen!!


Located on highland, Bandung is quite cold, especially in the evening. So, no wonder they have a traditional hot, sweet and spicy beverage called Bandrek. During in Bandung, I drank Bandrek every night to warm my body.

The ingredient of Bandrek is a mixture of ginger essence, palm sugar, and cinnamon. Drink it in hot water to get warm sensation, it’s also nice for your throat.


Okay, above is ‘normal’ Bandrek. When I took a stroll in Bandung supermarket and I found this two types of Bandrek, the orange and green packaging. While in Bandung, I only drank the orange version, never had I tried or found the green packaging serves in convenience stores where I bought Bandrek every night.

Then I observed what’s the different between the orange and green packaging, .. Awww, the Green Bandrek is for ‘ADULT’. Hmmm, can you imagine the function of this ‘special’ Bandrek. Not only to warm the body like ‘normal’ Bandrek, it’s also added extra ingredient called Pinang (areca Nut)

Pinang or Areca Nut is believed, when you mix it with Bandrek and Hot Water, can increase the vitality of sex for adult. Interesting isn’t it ?? I bought these 2 packets but haven’t tried them yet. I’m back to 33 degree celcius, and Bandrek doesn’t appeal me in this weather.


Have you been to Bandung ?? What’s your first impression of her ??

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