Thursday, October 1, 2009

Private thoughts on Bandung experience.

After Raya this year, a friend asked me and my wife to join a Co. trip to Bandung

( All these while I have always avoided any trip to Indonesia, for reasons privy to me alone. But my wife have been to Indonesia many time before.

From the air I saw Bandung. “Quite disorganised” I thought. My prejudice was already showing. And when we landed, we had it easy going through the Immigration and the Custom. And as it was a Co. trip, transport and meals have been arranged, so was accommodation.

We had our first lunch at a Padang restaurant. The food was reasonably good, ……. I had had very limited Padang restaurant experience. One has to go to a Padang restaurant in Indonesia to appreciate what are served and how they serve them.

We checked into a hotel, a small hotel, 4-star they say, in the outskirt of Bandung not too far away from the Airport and the main commercial area. Reasonably good hotel it was. (About RM150 a night stay) Named Karang Setra ( After a short rest, the group had arranged to go shopping at a factory outlet in Bandung. And I must say that there are a lot of factory outlets in Bandung (or is it in the whole of Indonesia?)……. Don’t ask me why and how but there they were …… where one can buy cheap “branded” clothings and accessories. Not only tourists go to these ‘outlets’ but many local also go there. In fact for the next 3 days, the ‘team’ went shopping most of the time in these ‘outlets’. But there are also ‘pasar’ where these are not called ‘outlets’ where local clothings (western and middle eastern designs) are sold at a reasonably cheap price (cheaper than in Malaysia …… probably taking advantage of the cheap labour in Indonesia).

My first impression of Bandung? Life is hard over there. Probably life is hard all over Indonesia for the lower classes but the upper crust of society have it easy. People are basically selling on the streets whatever they can sell. At some traffic junctions they even sells stuff to car occupiers when cars stop at traffic lights. In the markets they even try to persuade you to buy even fancy cloth hangers, fancy stoneware necklaces and even shopping carrying bags. And in the more popular tourist places they even follow you around, ‘selling’ their stuff.

Foodwise, I would say that ‘never’ to eat at street stalls. (on one of my wife’s visits to Indonesia a few years back she ate at one of the street stall in her last day of the visit, and she came back to Malaysia with typhoid). There are many street stalls, of all sorts and one famous food they have is ‘baso’, a sort of soup filled with meat ball and vege or even soya bean stuff. Very tempting, but if you have to eat ‘baso’ do so at a reputable restaurant. (‘baso’ men sometime ply their ‘baso’ from street to street on their shoulders).

I had some opportunity to visit places in Bandung. One place which we visited was Tangkuman Perahu (, a non-active volcano (it probably was just remaining silent!). Impressive place except for the entrance price was a bit expensive for foreign tourists (about RM20 per head: USD1 = RM 3.5; in Indonesian currency of course) and about RM5.00 for local tourists (in Indoenesian currency of course). Many local tourists I observe go there, The place was packed with tourists (and with temporary canvas lean-to sheds made by local to sell clothings and their local tourist souvenirs artifacts) and people trying to push their souvenirs stuff (pushing hard even to right on your nose). Quite a nuisance really, but the fact to see a real volcano was worth the going.

“pushing right to your nose” in their hard selling tactic is the rule of the day for all these ‘poor’ in Bandung (probably in the whole of Indonesia) and one just cannot get away from them, they are every where ……… you just have to live with them and have to learn to say “NO!”.

I must also add that Bandung is a nice place. It was where Soukarno was imprisoned by the Dutch and also where he organized the Bandung Conference (a historical landmark) when he was the President of the Republic of Indonesia. And Bandung still has many old Dutch houses, now being used as commercial or educational centres. New buildings are also being built in Bandung, the latest being an international standard shopping complex called Paris Van Java ( And it has many mosques and a few churches. I am told that 80% of the population are Muslims and the rest are of all sorts of religion and with the majority of the Chinese origin being Christians.

I must say that the temperature in Bandung is very mild, temperature probably in the morning being at about 25 deg C and about 27 deg C to 28 deg C in the afternoon. The humidity is reasonably low. Quite a comfortable place to live.

Transportation in Bandung is reasonably efficient. One can hire a car (Kijang) with a driver for about RM150 a day, or one can take the town taxi which is reasonably fared, or one can even go on a horse driven cart. But if one knows one’s way, one can take a ‘mini bus’, a van converted into public transport which normally are very packed with people. Or one can walk about as the weather is reasonably mild with low humidity.

If you in Indoenesia, do buy their ‘batik’. It’s the best, I think.

We were there for 4 days and 3 night. It was quite an experience.

The fare from Kuala Lumpur to Bandung. One may enquire from Air Asia (


Miss Taeyong said...

im planning to go there next month. few tips & recommendations are highly appreciated.

mylias said...

Kalau nak shopping, pergi Pasar Baru first ...... you can get almost everything there. Don't go to these so called 'outlets'........ but you may go later, just to see what they have to offer. The best restaurant? I recommend Restoran Sederhana (Nasi Padang).......