After the bottle-green hills of Cibodas, the sprawling bulk of Bandung hits you like a baseball bat across the back of the head. Once the ‘Paris of Java’, the city is now a throng of congested, polluted streets and any romantic notions of colonial glamour have long disappeared. This is one of Indonesia’s megacities (the Bandung conurbation is home to almost eight million people).
But not everything has gone to pot. Bandung attracts workers, intellectuals and students from across the archipelago, and its industries, restaurants and cafes throb with life. Today, grandiose art deco buildings, heaving market stalls, becak and multiplexes jostle for space in the city.
For travellers, the city does make a good base for daytrips to the surrounding countryside – high volcanic peaks, hot springs and tea plantations are all within easy reach.
Bandung destination guides
Jakarta to Ubud
Don’t be fooled into thinking Indonesia is ‘just another island getaway’, because the scale of experiences you’ll have in this magical country are truly epic. Miles of empty beaches, steamy verdant rainforests, volcano studded valleys, culture rich cities, ancient temples - and that’s just the places they tell you about.
Indonesia in Depth—Sumatra, Java, Bali
Get ready to hit the ground running in this 28-day whirlwind tour of Indonesia’s top sights. We mean that literally, too – you’ll stay active as you hike and explore Berastagi, Sipirok, Tangkahan, Bukit Lawang and more. Recharge with street food crawls and coffee plantation tours, and take the time to get up close and personal with orangutans and elephants.