Bandung is one of the best destinations for a weekend away from jakarta, and especially a long one! Text: Dhion Gumilang
Bandung, known as the Paris of Java, has cultivated a reputation, just like the French capital, of beautiful tree-lined streets, fun recreational activities and always blossoming romance.
Ever since the Dutch colonized Indonesia, Bandung has offered a great place to holiday for people from Jakarta. The pleasant weather was probably always the favorite feature of this hill-top city. As time passed, and independence came to Indonesia, many tourism spots, both natural or man-made, have developed in the area. Bandung, known as the Paris of Java, has cultivated a reputation, just like the French capital, of beautiful tree-lined streets, fun recreational activities and always blossoming romance.
Bandung has many options to shop, eat, or rejuvenate tired bodies in a spa or in a luxury hotel. It is also just a three-hour drive from Jakarta thanks to the Padalarang toll road. The traffic was heavy on this particular weekend but we made it in good time.
Besides the bad traffic that everyone talks about nowadays, Bandung is still a haven for tourists due to all the festivities, its culinary landscape and the ubiquitous factory outlets. People love to shop and Bandung offers the lot at cut prices.
Our first stop was Cihampelas Walk, the open-air mall. The concept of this mall is pure genius minimizing the use of air conditioning and concrete walls, but most importantly; it feels like walking and shopping in Rodeo Drive, California or Milan, Italy with local-brand outlets. Other options for shopping include Riau Street or the Dago area where factory outlets line up offering big fashion label seconds.Click to view slideshow.
If you are hungry there are many food stalls and restaurants along the streets all over Bandung and I can guarantee that every menu I tried had a selection of delicious items. Let me mention a couple of retro old-school restaurants on Jl. Braga. “Het-Snoephuis” restaurant, better know as Sumber Hidangan, is an original Dutch bakery that opened in 1929 and like many buildings on Braga, has the original exterior and interior. The cakes’ names are all still in Dutch too. Another hot spot and must try on Braga is Braga Permai, formally known during Dutch times as Maison Bogerijn. The cuisine is Dutch and Peranakan with some great old and new dishes on their Heritage and Braga Edition menus. They were originally a pastry specialist and continue making delectable pastries and chocolates as well as a range of savory dishes for lunch or dinner. I felt just like Dutch royalty having lunch in the Braga area, the most famous and iconic heritage street in Bandung.
We chose the Trans Luxury Hotel to rest our heads, which is a new hotel in Bandung that opened its doors in June 2012. When we arrived, we were awed by its elegance and refinement. The 18-storey building looks glamorous in red and my jaw dropped in the lobby area to see a 12-metre long Swarovski dragon hanging from the ceiling. I was hoping one of those crystals would drop and fall into my hands! Walking to one of the 280 rooms was also an epic journey. The opulence was defining with butterfly images on the ceilings, tree trunks and crocodile skins on the wall on the way to the door of our spacious Premier Club room.
The luxuriously designed and lavishly appointed rooms that use Italian serpentine marble on the floors and hand-tufted carpeting with a pattern especially designed for The Trans Luxury Hotel, are really a sophisticated blend of rich Indonesian tradition with a refined contemporary interpretation. Acqua di Parma bath amenities are on offer in the spacious bathroom. But, before hitting the hay on the 320 thread-count Egyptian cotton luxury linen, there is no finer place to have dinner than the 18th Restaurant. From the 18th floor at night Bandung never looked so enticing, just like the delectable smoked salmon carpaccio they served us and the live music to accompany our visit and dining.
Another reason to stay in this hotel is that the biggest theme park in Indonesia and a luxury high-end mall are right next door. This makes the hotel strategically one of the best options to stay in the city. You can shop so elegantly or scream boisterously while on a roller coaster – no problem.
Bandung is a great place for a weekend away from the hussle and bustle of the big city. It may get busy on the weekends and especially long weekends but it’s a fun and an enjoyable place to visit. From the food stalls to fine dining, heritage to the modern and luxurious architecture and interiors, factory outlets with great bargains on branded labels to the latest malls to go shopping, Bandung is supreme.
The Trans Luxury Hotels
Jl. Gatot Subroto 289
Jl. Braga 20 – 22
Jl. Braga 58