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[GUIDE] The best things to do in Bandung in a weekend

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Getaway Category: RelaxGetaway Tags: bandung, indonesia, and west java

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  • This article contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. This article was first published on June 28, 2016 and updated in February 2018.

    Want to know what to do in Bandung? Well, witness the stunning landscapes, including rolling tea plantations, mist-covered volcanoes, crater lakes and natural hot springs. Sitting at over 2,500 feet above sea level, this city with its year-round cooling 19oC – 25oC weather is also a great escape from the lowland tropical heat. Back in the city center, enjoy the outlet malls.




    Day 0 in Bandung

    3:45pm: Arrive at Bandung Airport

    Because the airport only has two counters, clearing immigration can take an hour or more. Plus, with all the Friday evening traffic caused by visitors coming in from Jakarta, you’ll be safer spending the rest of your day in the city.

    5:30pm: Paskal Food Market

    Although you only have a few hours left of your day, there’s actually a lot to see in the city center of Bandung. Get a head start with an early dinner at Paskal Food Market, the biggest food fair in Bandung and your best introduction to dining like a local. With 100 tenants offering over 1,100 different menu items, Paskal Food Market serves Indonesian street delights in a comfortable alfresco setting.

    At night, the whole area is prettily lit with mini table lamps and fairy lights hanging from the trees. There’s even live entertainment with bands performing at the Fountain of Luck and Hope. Try Bandung’s signature dishes, such as kueh serabi (a coconut pancake), mutton satay (grilled meat on a skewer), and kupat tahu (a tumeric tofu dish mixed with rice cake).

    6:45pm: Shopping at Outlet Malls

    Bandung is known regionally by shopaholics for being home to many clothing, bags and shoe factory outlets. All the outlet malls are grouped in three main areas a short taxi ride from each other – Jalan Riau, Dago, and Jalan Setiabudi. Within each area, the roads are lined with rows of malls within walking distance of each other so you can hit many shops in just one night.

    The shops at Jalan Riau include Summit, Heritage, For Men Factory Outlet, Terminal Tas (bags), Nike, Polo, iBox, while Rumah Mode, the largest factory outlet, Rumah Mode, is in Jalan Setiabudi. The list of what to shop at these Bandung outlet malls is endless – some are branded and others are not. Make sure to feel the quality of the material before you purchase anything!

    9:45pm: Drinks at Backyard 145

    Backyard 145

    Backyard 145. Source

    Most outlet malls close at 9:30pm and as Indonesia is a Muslim country, bar options are mostly limited to inside hotels. But you can have drinks behind the Summit (Nike shop). This is the answer to your question of what to do in Bandung at night.

    Sleep early for an early start the next day. Read on to find out what to see and do in Bandung.

    Day 1 in Bandung

    8am: Breakfast

    Today you will venture out of the city and explore the amazing natural landscapes on the outskirts of Bandung. Weekends here are notorious for the heavy traffic and there are only single-lane roads going uphill to the key attractions, so start your day with an early breakfast. If your hotel doesn’t provide breakfast, then eat at the many trolleys on the street.

    9:30am: Tangkuban Perahu Volcano

    Standing 2,084m above sea level with 9 craters, Tangkuban Perahu is the only volcano accessible by car in Java and one of the key highlights to see while you’re in Bandung. But beware, it’s still highly active and erupted as recently as in 2015. How do you know if it’s safe to visit? Look out for monkeys. There will be plenty coming out of the forests at the foot of the volcano if it’s likely to erupt.

    You can hike, ride (on a motorbike), cycle (if you’re extremely fit), or drive up to the peak of the volcano to see its 3 craters that are open to the public. You can also ride a guided horse to travel between the craters. You’ll first reach Domas Crater, where you can get up close to the crater floor to cook and eat boiled eggs using the water from natural hot springs. Upas Crater is the oldest crater and the only one that is still active, therefore quite dangerous to visit.

    Kawah Ratu (Queen’s Crater) at Tangkuban Perahu volcano.

    Kawah Ratu (Queen’s Crater) at Tangkuban Perahu volcano. Photo by taufuuu

    The main attraction is at Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater), the volcano’s largest crater. Looking down into the crater is astonishing. Poisonous gases still emanate. Along the edges of the crater are stone paths lined with eateries and souvenir shops selling local woodcraft and handmade goods. It looks much like an old Tibetan mountain village. Remember to buy wood with a  natural pattern. There are several delicacies here for a mid-morning snack. I tried grilled buttered corn and barbecued rice cake filled with coconut shreds, a Bandung speciality, and highly recommend it.

    Entrance costs 300,000rp.
    Open daily 6:15am – 5pm.

    12pm: Lembang Floating Market

    Lembang Floating Market

    Lembang Floating Market. Photo by BxHxTxCx

    With such an early start to the day, you’ll be quite hungry for lunch by this time. A culinary paradise is just 1 hour’s drive south of Tangkuban Perahu volcano at Lembang Floating Market, where you can buy local food, drinks, snacks and fresh fruit from 40+ little boats anchored around the perimeter of Lake Umar Bandung. Definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Bandung.

    Unlike the floating markets in Bangkok where you cruise through stalls on a boat yourself, here you order and eat on land, sitting at shaded tables or in a rented private straw hut (from Rp 50,000 for 2 hours). The food here is cheap, costing only Rp 10,000 to Rp 50,000 per dish. We had steamed sweet potato and fried dumplings. If nothing here’s to your tasting, there are several restaurants around the lake serving Western food.

    The floating market is part of a much larger 7.2 acre park, so aside from stuffing yourself with local delicacies, you can enjoy a number of water activities. There are rabbits farms canoe rides, paddle boats and water cycles. Cost varies from Rp 30,000 to Rp 50,000 per 15-30 minutes ride. Another free alternative to spend your time here is to take a free tour around Lembang on the Floating Market’s bus. Your Rp. 10,000 entrance fee comes with a complimentary hot or cold drink.

    Open Mon to Thurs 10am-5pm, Fri & Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 8am – 8pm

    2:30pm: Sari Ater Hot Spring

    Sari Ater Hot Springs

    Sari Ater Hot Springs. Photo by B10m

    Natural hot springs are found throughout Bandung’s volcanic hills and a popular one is just a 30 minutes’ drive from Lembang Floating Market. Have a massage given by locals. Not only are these hot water springs relaxing, some claim the water has lots of health benefits. Also a myth that you’ll find your lover if you touch the water!

    Sari Ater Hot Springs

    Sari Ater Hot Springs. Photo by Sari Ater Hotel

    Note that most of the visitors here are locals who dress quite conservatively.

    5:30pm: Dusun Bambu

    Infinity Lake at Dusun Bambu

    Infinity Lake at Dusun Bambu. Photo by Taufuu

    Ecological leisure park in the mountains and flower market that looks like a Swiss ski resort. You can also stay here overnight if you like. 

    If you truly want to enjoy Bandung, make sure to avoid the rainy season as it is the most difficult time for visitors to travel. So avoid the months of October to April!

    7pm: Dinner

    There are two awesome fine-dining places in this area that we highly recommend trying:

    ”Bird Nest” restaurant at Dusun Bambu

    ”Bird Nest” restaurant at Dusun Bambu. Photo by Dusun Bambu

    Lutung Kasarung – Known more commonly as “Bird Nest”, this restaurant is part of the Dusun Bambu park. You get to eat in personal treetop dining enclaves shaped like traditional Indonesian bird cages.

    Open daily from 10am; Last order at 5pm

    Kampung Daun – Like Lutung Kasarung, the emphasis is on the natural ambience. Sit in little straw huts, and order your food by hitting a traditional chime

    If you’re on a tighter budget, then you’ll have to head down the mountain back to the city and try Back Alley Coffee and Kitchen, Kafetaria170 or Anata Cafe


    Day 2 in Bandung 

    Today is a packed  that starts early as your flight back to Singapore is an early one! With so many things to do in Bandung, we suggest you get up bright and early and head to the buzzing market to make the most of the day.

    Indonesia has plenty to offer and we’ve done plenty of getaways there too including lesser known Canggu and Nusa Lembongan!

    6am: Sunday Market

    Every sunday morning, huge markets pop up along the streets of Bandung, selling food, fresh vegetables, clothes and flea market goods. The largest one is at Gasibu square in front of the Gedung State building where you can stop by to have breakfast.

    8am: Kawah Putih

    Kawah Putih

    Kawah Putih

    Leave the market at around 8am and head to Kawah Putih. We saved the best for last! This is by far one of best things to do in Bandung. Along the way, you’ll pass by miles of gorgeous tea bushes, opened by the Dutch in the mid-19th century. Kawah Putih is an absolutely stunning high acidity lake (pH 0.5-1.3) that changes in colour depending on the temperature and the concentration of sulfur from blue to white to green or brown. If you are extremely lucky you may even see panthers or leopards that have been spotted at the nearby forest. The area has simple facilities and vendors selling food. Strawberries are often available as they are grown in the area. As this is a very popular destination for local Indonesians, you should avoid coming on public holidays when up to 10,000 people flock to the area.

    Kawah Putih with an amazing blue

    Kawah Putih with an amazing blue. Photo by Mumpuni Ardiyani

    Admission fee: Around $20 if you drive with your own vehicle

    11am: Saung Gawir Ciwidey

    Tea Plantations in Bandung

    Tea Plantations in Bandung

    Early lunch to enjoy tea plantations – only if you are eating at 11:00am and can finish by 12:30pm as you need to allow 4 hours from this location to arrive at the airport in time for your flight so see if you have enough time or Kawah Putih has completely mesmerised you and you lost track of time. Alternatively, eat near the airport, at Makan Doeloe.

    3pm: Bandung Airport

    Flight departs at 4:40pm so you will arrive well on time as this is a tiny airport.




    Places to Stay in Bandung

    As you are more likely getting a driver or at least need transportation for the entire day, and taxis are very affordable, it is not so relevant where you stay. Bandung is a very affordable city so hotels with good prices abound.

    HotelType of accomRating on TripadvisorPrice per nightMore Photos & Availability
    Tune or Kalya Hotel BandungBudget4S$35

    De Java HotelBudget4S$35

    Hotel Mercure Bandung City CentreMid4,5S$50
    Regata HotelMid5S$60

    Mercure Bandung SetiabudiMid4,5S$95

    Hilton BandungHigh4,5S$150

    Sheraton Bandung Hotel & TowersHigh4,5S$150

    Intercontinental Bandung Dago PakarHigh4,5S$160

    Affordable

    Kalya Hotel

    Kalya Hotel

    Tune Hotels has a branch in Bandung (after updating, we found that the name is now Kalya Hotel). For less than SGD$40, you can have a new, clean and perfectly good room. Book here.

    Mid-range

    De Java Hotel

    De Java Hotel

    De Java Hotel, this is where we stayed, is a very reasonable option. For about SGD$74, you get a comfortable deluxe room with breakfast. Book here.

    Luxury

    Mercure Bandung Setiabudi

    Mercure Bandung Setiabudi

    Mid to high-end brands like Mercure, Intercontinental, Sheraton and Hilton all have outlets in Bandung and rates float around the SGD$100-140. Take your pick!

    Getting to Bandung

    There is only one flight departing on Friday from Singapore to Bandung at 2,50pm with SilkAir. The Garuda option is actually operated by SilkAir too, as is the Singapore Airlines option that will appear on your online flight search. If you cannot leave work at 1pm, then opt for the indirect options via Jakarta but none of them will get you to Bandung on Friday as the flights from Jakarta to Bandung also depart early afternoon. The itinerary has been designed with the early Friday departure in mind.

    Return flights depart Bandung at 4pm on Sunday. This is one of the only airports we’ve been to where they don’t stop you from taking photos on the tarmac! Although it is tiny, shared by domestic and international flights.

    Getting around Bandung

    The most efficient way to organise the weekend and pack it all in is to hire a driver with a guide which are very affordable. We had the whole weekend with the car, driver, guide and hotel for SGD$220

    If you hire a taxi, you need to ask the driver to wait for you at every destination as you won’t be able to flag down any cabs outside of the city center. The taxi waiting rate is Rp 25,000 (SGD 2.50) an hour so it is very affordable too.

    If you stay at one of the higher end hotels, they will be able to organise a driver for you, though it might be significantly more expensive

    Other things to note when in Bandung

    Where to get a taxi or other public transportation

    Flag down the street, look for Bluebird or slightly cheaper GR and make sure they turn on the meter before you get on. Or take the minivan buses.

    Take it easy if you want

    This is a packed itinerary for a very full and scenic weekend. If you want to take it easy, we suggest you skip the shopping on the Friday and the market on the Sunday, plus eat at the airport so you have more time at Kawah Putih. This is especially true if you have a one day trip to Bandung. 

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