Bandung, Indonesia

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Bandung is a city of punks and prayer, serious religion and serious coffee. Here are teeming markets and good shopping, thriving cafes in reclaimed Dutch colonial buildings, palpable warmth and camaraderie on street corners, and traffic everywhere you look. Almost everything great and terrible about Indonesia can be found in Bandung. You may be troubled by the young teens smoking and systemic poverty, and nod with respect at the city's thriving art, shopping and cafe scene. Yes, Bandung has everything, except nature, and after the bottle-green hills of Cibodas, the sprawling bulk of Bandung is quite the urban reality check. But even if the local mountains are cloaked in smog, the city does make a good base for day trips to the surrounding countryside – high volcanic peaks, hot springs and tea plantations are all within reach.


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