Diverse shops, grand colonial buildings
and volcano hikes
At Bandung’s heart is tree-lined Braga Street, where elegant Dutch-era architecture mixes with chic cafes and upscale restaurants. A stroll down this historic thoroughfare takes in buildings like the stately Bank Indonesia and the Gedung Merdeka complex, now a museum documenting the country’s modern political history. Close by, the twin minarets of the Grand Mosque overlook Alun-Alun Square, a large open space popular with picnicking families and groups of friends hanging out.
Offering bargains galore are Bandung’s numerous malls and shopping districts. Those in the know head to Sultan Agung Street, where “distros”, or stores specialising in local products, sell offbeat clothing and accessories. Outlet stores on Cihampelas and Riau streets are filled with designer labels and leather goods, while Pasar Baru Trade Centre offers a dazzling array of colourful silks, embroidered fabrics and batiks.
Easy-going yet unconventional, Bandung’s thriving creative side can be seen in the contemporary art galleries dotted around town. Live music bars play everything from jazz to acoustic rock, drawing a chilled-out young crowd. You’ll also find a diverse variety of cuisines to sample, from classic European and Sundanese fare to sate jando – satay with its own local blend of spices – grilled on the spot by roadside vendors.
Yet it’s easy to leave the city behind for a hike in craggy Tangkuban Perahu volcano park or to take in otherworldly Kawah Putih crater lake. You might even fancy a day trip to nearby Lembang, where tea farms, fruit orchards and markets wait to be explored.