Last time I visited Indonesia it was 3 years ago and I was left with mixed feelings. I only went to Bali and came away with a dejected impression about the negative tourism that existed there. Ubud was the place that restored my faith in the small portion of Indonesia I visited. I vowed to come back to Indonesia for a second time around next time I was in Asia to give it a second chance and an open mind.
Well, I’m officially back in Asia and I’m looking forward to traveling to Indonesia in the next few months to dive deeper into Indonesian culture. I want to explore the many other wonderful places I’ve heard about in Indonesia, and to get away from the touristy side that I didn’t like so much in Bali.
One of those places I want to visit is Bandung, which is a city that seems to still be relatively unheard of by many travelers in Southeast Asia. It’s near the popular hub of Jakarta and west of Bali. It’s actually the fourth largest city in Indonesia and it’s even said to be the ‘Paris of Java’ by some. There seems to be a lot to discover with a visit to Bandung in terms of history and culture.
These are the main adventures I’m looking forward to experiencing when I make it to Bandung.
Get Lost in Dago Pakar
If getting lost in the midst of 2500 species of fauna, historical tunnels, hot springs, and sheer cliff face lookouts takes your breath away, then you know that a visit to Dago Pakar is a must-see for you.
Located a little ways outside the city, there are two adjacent parks that are a part of Dago Pakar – Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Djuanda and Taman Wisata Maribaya. The former offers the Instagram worthy views from high up cliffs, cool tunnels to explore, and a diverse amount of plants and flowers. The latter is all about chasing waterfalls and hot springs.
Feel Like Indiana Jones at Goa Pawon
This historical cave site is where ancient human remains were once found and it is said that you can feel the old history emanating off the walls of the cave. Around this area, you’ll also find the Stone Garden of Padalarang, where a ton of calcium-rich rocks exist. These types of rocks are usually only found near oceans, not high up on a mountain.
This weird phenomenon can best be explained by the belief that there was once a sea that ran the length of Padalarang to Negreg, with Bandung buried hundreds of feet below sea level.
Find a High Altitude Mystical Lake
Yes, you read that right. Located about 30 miles south of Bandung city, there’s a mystical lake called Kawah Putih, or “white crater”. It was formed after Mount Patuha collapsed long ago. It was seen as a mystical lake by locals because birds that would fly over it would consistently die. Scientists later found that this was due to the amount of sulfur coming off the lake, but the mystical nature of this area still remains.
If you’ve read my blog before, you know I have a thing for crater lakes, and this would be a lake I’d love to visit when I’m in Bandung. Instead of the deep blue color you’d find at Crater Lake in Oregon, you’ll most likely find a crystal blue color that makes you think of storybook lands and fairytales.
Indulge in All Things Strawberry
I love having a mainly fruit based diet whenever I’m in Southeast Asia and Bandung is blessed with a great climate for berry growing, especially strawberries.
If you rent a scooter or hire a car for a day, you’ll find an abundance of strawberry plantations on the way to Lembang and Ciwidey, only about a 5 minute drive from Kawah Putih. Visitors are generally welcome to visit and pick strawberries (usually for a fee) and can even harvest some themselves in the right season.
Get Pampered in Town at the Sensa Hotel Bandung
After all of those explorations around Bandung, there’s nothing better than a little pampering. If there’s one thing that Southeast Asia excels at it’s affordable luxury and spa days.
The Sensa Hotel Bandung offers chic rooms, panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains, and get this – complimentary massages for two and free minibars. Um yes, please! And one of my favorite perks of any hotel, they also offer a free breakfast. The Sensa Hotel is centrally located, which makes it the perfect base for your adventures around Bandung and West Java.
If you’re more interested in the pampering aspect, their spa offers traditional and Swedish massages, aromatherapy, hand and foot treatment, reflexology, mani/pedis, and waxing. And if you book from traveloka, prices of rooms start at only US$70/night. Not bad for a luxury experience in Indonesia.
Have you been to Bandung before? Any other recommendations for activities to do once I’m in the city?
Note: This post was sponsored by traveloka but all opinions are my own.
*Cover Photo via Phalinn Ooi
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