Bandung is the 3rd largest city and the 2nd largest metropolitan area in Indonesia. Bandung also the capital city of the West Java Province (Provinsi Jawa Barat). Situated at the elevation of 750m (2.350 ft) above sea level, the city lies in a river basin and almost completely surrounded by volcanoes, most of which remain active. Bandung has cooler temperatures year-around than most other Indonesian cities.
The area is a major industrial and trade center producing textiles, dyes, chemicals, aircraft, machinery and quinine. It is also an important center for education and research with facilities such as the Institute of Technology Bandung (1920), Padjadjaran University (1957), Parahyangan Catholic University (1955) and other national research institutes. Bandung is the cultural heart of the Sundanese people and is noted for its angling bamboo orchestra and its traditions of classical Sundanese theater, dance, puppet theater and gamelan music.
Originally a garrison town, Bandung grew rapidly in importance after a railway line reached the city in 1884. The city served for a time as the proposed headquarters of the colonial government of the Netherlands East Indies and as the result, offer many fine historic districts and historic monuments of excellent architectural value. The city attracted worldwide fame as the venue of the historic Asia-Africa Conference of 1955 bringing together 29 newly independent nations which became the foundation for the non-aligned movement in the cold war period. The attendees, who included Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Nehru and Daughter Indira Gandhi, Ho Chi Minh, Prince Norodom Shihanouk of Cambodia, Indonesia’s own Soekarno and many others resolved to strengthen cultural and economic ties between member nations and to unite in opposition to colonialism.
- Stroll around town to take in the colonial-era buildings for which Bandung is famous. Villa Isola is considered an art deco masterpiece. It was completed in 1932 and draws countless fans for its elegance and graceful curves. Hotel Preanger, built in 1929, and Bethel Church, built in 1925, are just a few of the other must-sees.
- Embark on a gastronomic tour. Sundanese food is earthy and flavoursome, distinguished by steamed dishes such as nasi timbel or rice steamed in banana leaf and little packages called pepes, which consist of steamed meat, fish or tofu in banana leaf. Local tourists make a beeline for batagor, fried fish dumplings served with peanut sauce.
- Go shopping. Bandung’s reputation as an outlet shopping haven is well earned. You’ll be spoilt for choice amid the excellent local handicrafts and brand-name bargains ranging from shoes and bags to clothes and accessories. Prices are unbeatable at the many denim stores, factory outlets and distros (distribution outlets). The nine-storey Pasar Baru Trade Centre has something for everyone, and tends to pack out on weekends with crowds of shoppers from Jakarta and Malaysia.
- Enjoy a traditional bamboo musical concert at Saung Angklung Udjo, a one-stop cultural workshop dedicated to celebrating Sundanese musical traditions. It houses a bamboo handicraft centre, performance venue and bamboo instrument workshop. With dances and puppet shows also featured, this is a great introduction to the traditions of West Java.
- Get into golf. Beautiful scenery and well-designed courses mean it’s tee time all the time in Bandung. Test your mettle at courses like Arcamanik Raya Golf & Country Club, Dago Endah Golf & Country Club, Poltak Golf Lembang or Bandung Giri Gahana Golf & Resort.