Thursday, October 3, 2013


Ole-ole Bandung, Mee Bandung, Kebaya Bandung and Air Sirap Bandung......  Why is the name Bandung so famous in your food, drink and so on? Why? Well, that is the power of a name, a good name. 

Kebaya Bandung

Mee Bandung

Air Sirap Bandung
 What makes Bandung so popular? It is not even the largest city in Indonesia and yet it is so well known! I went to Bandung quite a number of times. That was the destination my husband picked and took me here for our honeymoon. Just imagine, it was my first time ever to go overseas. That was the most unforgettable trip we have ever made. Since then we just love Bandung.  But that was back 30 years ago and we still love Bandung until now.

The geography of Bandung (source wikipedia).
Let us come back to history  and a bit of geography!  The Dutch chose Bandung or Bandoeng they call it, as a place to rest because of certain reasons.  Because of it's location in a low area between two mountainous regions, provides a good defense for them against the English.  All around Bandung are mountains and volcanoes (up to 2,400 m (7,874 ft) high).  Some of the famous ones are Mount Takuban Perahu, Mount Papandayan and many more. Furthermore, Bandung is situated on a river basin (River Citarum) which means there will be no water shortage anytime of the year.  And Bandung is 2,520 ft above sea level and that makes the air cooler as compared to the other cities in Indonesia (the average temperature is 23.6 °C (74.5 °F) throughout the year.  The land is furtile, the air is cool and the water is lavish .... that makes Bandung a place for administration, for agriculture and for relaxation.  Bandung has it all!  The Dutch named Bandoeng as Paris Van Java (Parijs van Java) ... the Paris of Indonesia!

In 1955, Indonesia held the first ever Asian-African Conference in Bandung with a participation from 29  countries.  The leaders of the Asian-African countries who attended the summit included Nehru (India), Nasser (Egypt), Tito (Yugoslavia) and some others. We were 2 years away from our independence! The building where this summit was held still stand strong in the city of Bandung and they call it Gedung Merdeka.
Gedung Merdeka.
During the summit, all the 29 countries leaders stayed at Savoy Homaan Hotel.  I stayed in that hotel last 30 years without knowing the historical part.  It is an old hotel and now they have refurbished but the features stays the same. I still remember the wide corridoor and balconies.

The Savoy Homaan Hotel.
 The Dutch built their houses and offices in Bandung.  Until today, most of  the buildings still stand strong and most of them remains the same as it used to be.  We were told that the goverment are trying their best to keep it that way!  Some of the houses were sold to the locals.  Some of them live in the house while some turned it into a shop or a mall.  But they still maintain the Dutch features of the buildings! 

The trees which grew along the roads in this city makes Bandung a green city.  Most of the trees were history by themselves!  Most of them were hundreds of years old and still standing strong. Unfortunately, some of the trees had to be cut down to give space for them to built and upgrade the road. 

Bandung is expanding in population but not the space.  The space are getting smaller.  Last 30 years, on our first visit, I still remember the much  cooler weather and we have to put on thick clothing.  There was no traffic jam and from the roadside, I remembered looking at people working in the paddy fields in the mid afternoon!  But now, you see people on your right, left front and everywhere.... people are everywhere and they need more vehicles to move around and that causes massive traffic jam ... machet they call it!  Even so, we still like Kota Bandung!

Last week I was in Bandung with my husband.  We took the train from Gambir Station in Jakarta and arrived in Bandung after 3 hours. It was an interesting ride. The snakelike track made the ride very interesting with beautiful scenery all the way.  We passed through deep ravines, bridges, tunnel and picturesques views.  We will do it again .... maybe to the other destinations, InsyaAllah.!

A train moving on the famous Cikubang bridge.
When we first decided on visiting Bandung we promised no shopping!  But we lied!  First the Pasar Baru ..... it is a big building with 6 storeys high.  You can buy anything under the sun here right from food, shoes, textile, garments and so on. They have it all.  We had a bit of a shopping for ourselves. Not so much but enough for both of us. 

Pasar Baru.. A wholesale market.
The factory outlets are real eye catching!  If I were with my girlfriends, we will stop at each and everyone outlets but no choice when you are with your Big Boss, it will not happen! hahahhahhaha ... I am laughing at myself.  But we did make a pit stop at Rumah Mode to buy somethings for our family .... managed to grab 2 pants for me ... hahhahahhahaha.... Choices are good, just cannot resist!

At Rumah Mode.
When you are in Bandung, do try Sundanese food.  Sindang Reret  is one of our favourites.  This stylish restaurant serves nice Sundanese food ..... delicious.  A must try....Ikan Gurame goreng. It looks like a big butterfly but it is a deep fried fish served with hot soya sauce ... Yummeyh!

BATAGOR is a short form of Bakso Tauhu Goreng.

Next we went to Kampung Daun.  An open air restaurant. This magnificient place is a must to visit for dining . Once arrived, you have to register your name and a number of the hut is given.  It depends on how many people in your group. If there is many, then you will get a bigger hut.   If you are lucky, you will get a hut by the stream or even better by the waterfall!  The flora and fauna around  makes you feel so nice when breathing  and with the sounds of the crickets and birds and butterflies flying around makes it more interesting. When you are ready to place your order, all you need to do is to hit the bamboo with a given stick (ketuk-ketuk).  They too serves Sundanese food!  Surprising, the price is way, way affordable! 

                                                                                     Kampung Daun Restaurant is 10km away from the city.

For the first time we tried The Stone Cafe.  Also an open air restaurant. It serves Sundanese and international cuisine. Something similar to Kampung Daun but it is in the higher ground. From this restaurant, we can see the whole of Bandung below us. Under one big hut, guests were divided into different cubicles depending on the number of people in a group.  The service is very fast and the food is good.  This restaurant have life music which  starts after Isyak.

A night view  the city of Bandung  from the hilltop.
There are a number of good restaurants around Bandung that you can go ......  Sangkuriang,  Sapu Lidi, Rumah Sederhana and many more.  Do try their kind of food like Nasi Timbel, Nasi Uduk, Batagor, Karedok, Pecel lele and so on. Most of Sundanese food are dry and not oily plus fresh raw vegetables which they call Lalap with Samal Terasi.  So for weight watchers, Sundanese is the best for you.  That is why, most of them have good figure and beautiful complexion. But if you crave for food with almost similar to our kind of cooking, try Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang. The choice is yours!

When you arrive at a Nasi Padang restaurant, many choices of dishes will greet you which includes Kari Ayam, Ayam Goreng, Ayam Pop, Gulai Sapi, Sambel Hijo, Ikan goreng sambel merah, Jengkol, Sambel Terong, Gulai Otak and many more. And it comes with a hot steaming white rice! Then you have to wash everything down your throat with many glasses of Teh Padang or Teh Botol! The best part is, no matter how many kind of dishes served, you only pay for the ones you ate and the price is very cheap! You will love it! Good food and value for money!

Teh Botol.

Because of it's environment, the beautiful scenery, the mountains, the lakes, the cool fresh air,  Bandung,  just like the other almost similar places I visited produced many nobles, artists,  singers and so on.  Hetty Koes Endang, Ruth Suhanaya, Nikki Astriya and Marcell Siahaan are some of the successful singers born in Bandung. Not to forget the great world class badminton player, Taufik Hidayat is born here. 
                             Hetty Koes Endang                                                                                      Taufik Hidayat

Bandung is also a place where most good universities are. Students from  all over the world come here to become doctors,  dentists,  engineers and so on.  Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB)  was established  as early as 1920  (started as  Technishe Hogeschool te Bandung byy Dutch East Indies Gov),  Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia or known as IKIP  established in 1954  and  Universitas Padjadjaran established in 1956.  For comparison, our University of Malaya was found in 1949

The fresh air, the choices of food, the nice cosy hotels, the factory outlets, the friendly locals plus everything makes Bandung the place to visit.  Bandung has it all.


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