Explore Bandung: Hotsprings, Volcanoes, and Beyond
Bandung, also known as the City of Flowers, serves as the capital of West Java province in Indonesia. This city, steeped in Dutch history and a must-include in your Java itinerary, ranks as the third-largest city in Indonesia. With its lively atmosphere, chaotic charm, and diverse character, Bandung offers a unique blend of modern shopping malls and stunning natural beauty.
For me, Bandung holds an extra special meaning as it is the city where my grandparents spent a significant part of their youth. On my grandmother’s farm just outside the city, their love for each other blossomed. It is truly remarkable to be in this place and experience the history of my family.
Moreover, outside the city, there is an incredible amount to discover. Think of striking sulfur volcanoes, amazing hiking opportunities, quirky accommodations, and beautiful viewpoints. Whether you love nature or enjoy city life, Bandung offers the perfect combination of both. It is the ideal place for those who like to explore outdoors and enjoy city life in the evenings.
In this article about Bandung
What to do in Bandung
Bandung, also known as the City of Flowers, evokes diverse opinions. At first glance, it might not be the most picturesque city, but looks can be deceiving because this city has a lot to offer. In addition to a rich Dutch history, Bandung also provides beautiful natural surroundings and is a lively student city. It is the ideal destination to entertain yourself for a few days.
In Bandung, you can enjoy various activities, such as visiting volcanoes, relaxing in natural hot springs, walking through tea plantations, or savoring a drink at one of the many mountain restaurants with a splendid view over the city. Various tours are offered, allowing you to visit different highlights in a single day. However, you can also take a taxi or bus to specific locations on your own. The advantage of a tour, of course, is having a guide who can tell you everything about the surroundings.
Kawah Putih (White Crater Lake)
When visiting Bandung, you must not miss the white crater lake: Kawah Putih. Located at 2430 meters above sea level just outside Bandung, you’ll find the beautiful white crater lake. With its unique light blue color, it is one of Bandung’s most visited attractions. The lake is situated in one of the craters of the Patuha volcano.
War Cemeteries of Bandung
Bandung was a Dutch colony for a long time. Although you may not see much evidence of it now, there are certain places you should definitely visit. Especially the war cemeteries are impressive, where Dutch victims of World War II are buried. This is not only a historical site but also a tribute to those who gave their lives. Although Indonesia was part of the Netherlands during World War II, many people know little about the war in Indonesia. For me, it was heartening to see that the people in Indonesia (including my mother’s grandparents) have been given a beautiful place here. A very impressive place to visit and a bit emotional to see the names of my great-grandparents here.
Tangkuban Perahu Volcano
About an hour’s drive from Bandung, you’ll find the Tangkuban Perahu volcano. This active stratovolcano is known for its unique shape resembling an inverted boat (‘Perahu’ means boat in Indonesian). During the hike to the top of Tangkuban Perahu, you are rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and green valleys. Along the way, you’ll pass bubbling mud pools and steaming fumaroles, making you feel like you’re in an otherworldly landscape.
Once you reach the crater rim, you can admire the inner crater. After the volcano, continue your journey to the Kawah Domas hot springs to relax in the warm mineral-rich water. The hot springs are located in a peaceful area surrounded by lush greenery, making it the perfect place to unwind.
Outside the city, you can enjoy beautiful views of Bandung at various restaurants. This is definitely recommended and easily accessible with Grab or a local minivan, which might be cheaper and more fun.
Bandung has a modern and hip center, mainly focused on shopping. You can find various large shopping malls in the city where you’ll find well-known brands, as well as charming small concept stores. Bandung is also known as the textile city, with a significant focus on fashion.
In summary, Bandung is a city full of contrasts waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re interested in history, natural beauty, shopping, or culinary experiences, Bandung has something for everyone.
Hotspots & food in Bandung
Discover our favorite hotspots in Bandung. From the best bakso in town to a trendy latte in a fancy coffee shop, you can find it all in this vibrant student city.
- Hummingbird Eatery & Space
- Tilu Kitchen and Patisserie
- Ambrogio Patisserie: the tastiest sandwiches in town
- Cafe Bali
- Skyline Best View Resto: for the best view over the city
- Jenderal Kopi Nusantara Buwas
- Batagor Kingsley: for the best bakso
- Mie Rica Kejaksaan: for amazing noodles
- Wedang Ronde Jahe Alkateri: to try the unique Ronde dessert
- Dapur Dahapati: cozy eatery with great local food
Best time to travel to Bandung
The best time to visit Bandung is between May and October. During this period, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures, and there is less rainfall.
Transportation in Bandung
When navigating the lively streets of Bandung and you need to move from point A to B, GRAB is your go-to app. Grab is the Asian equivalent of Uber and incredibly convenient to download. You can use Grab for almost anything, be it long or short distances, a private taxi, or riding pillion on a scooter. With GRAB, it’s not only super convenient but also very affordable.
For the adventurous traveler who doesn’t mind a bit of local flair, ‘Ankot’ (angkutan kota) minibusses are an affordable and authentic way to maneuver through Bandung. While sitting snugly among the locals might be a bit less comfortable than the luxury of a Grab ride, the experience is all the more memorable.
For those who appreciate the freedom of their own itinerary, renting a private car is also an option to explore the surroundings. By sharing costs with fellow travelers, you can effortlessly explore multiple beautiful locations in one day. This way, you can seamlessly discover Bandung’s volcanoes, waterfalls, and cultural attractions while enjoying the company of like-minded adventurers.
Which budget do i need in Bandung?
The budget for Bandung largely depends on your preferences and travel style. Whether you opt for a fancy hotel or choose to stay in a homestay, indulge in street food or dine at a trendy burger joint, here’s a small cost estimate for your trip to Bandung:
- Budget: €10-€30 per night for hostels or budget guesthouses.
- Mid-range: €30-€70 per night for more comfortable hotels.
- Street food and local warungs: €2-€5 per meal.
- Restaurants: €5-€15 per meal in the mid-range.
- Simple entrance fees for attractions: €1-€5.
- Tours: €20-€50, depending on duration and inclusions.
- Grab rides within the city: €2-€5 per ride.
- Public transportation (Ankot): €0.25-€1 per ride.
- Car rental for day trips: €30-€50 per day, shared among fellow travelers.
General Daily Budget:
- Budget travelers: €30-€50 per day.
- Mid-range: €50-€100 per day.
What are nice places to stay in Bandung?
How to get to Bandung?
How to get to Bandung? There are various ways, and all of them are straightforward and affordable. Most people will start their journey from Jakarta. You can travel to Bandung by mini-bus, public bus, or train. We opted for the train, and even though only executive tickets were available, the extra luxury was certainly no hardship. What ample space!
By public bus from Jakarta to Bandung
This is undoubtedly the cheapest option, costing between 2 – 6 euros. The bus is often a faster option than the train, depending on traffic. Tickets can be purchased on the bus. Multiple buses from Jakarta directly to Bandung are available, with options like Ekonomi, Bisnis, or Eksekutif.
By minivan from Jakarta to Bandung
Want to ensure an on-time departure? Opt for a minivan. Costs are around 12 euros, but you’ll enjoy a luxurious ride and guaranteed timely departure. Tickets can be bought on the spot or reserved online through the companies themselves or via the booking site tiketux.com. An even more convenient option is arranging it through your hostel or hotel, often with the service of picking you up at the accommodation. (information via indearchipel.com)
By train from Jakarta to Bandung
We chose the train to Bandung because we liked the idea of exploring the whole of Java by train, as this is not possible everywhere. Multiple trains operate daily to Bandung, and the journey takes approximately 3 to 4 hours. You depart from Gambir train station. Tickets can be purchased in advance via Tiket.com, but this might not cover all options. It could be sold out on the website, but tickets might still be available at the station. Ordering a ticket at the station is super easy. The difference between Business and Executive is significant. It’s fine to compromise a bit on luxury for a 4-hour journey, but the cost difference is only a couple of euros, and it’s secretly worth it. The train journey is very comfortable, and you can enjoy beautiful scenery along the way.