Traveling to Bandung never crossed my mind before my recent trip to Indonesia. I had always only thought of it as working city near Jakarta with little to offer for travelers. I was so wrong! To my surprise, it turned out to be one of the coolest major cities I had visited in Southeast Asia.

First off, this city is literally cool. Located high in the mountains, Bandung enjoys comfy cool year-round temperatures, verdant pine forests & scenic highland views. The atmosphere is very similar to Baguio in the Philippines. Next, there are a ton of interesting things to do in and around Bandung. It’s a must-visit for art lovers, people who want to commune with nature, foodies who want to explore Indonesian food & shopaholics looking for cheap bargains. Also, it’s conveniently located near Jakarta, just 3-4 hours travel by land.

If you, too, are looking for reasons to go, here are the highlights of my 3-day trip in Bandung:

1. Go aboard the Jakarta to Bandung Train

Bandung to Jakarta Train

Farming village seen along the Jakarta-Bandung train. I love how clay-roof houses dominate the typical townscapes in Indonesia.

Our adventure started on the railway journey from Gambir station, in Jakarta, to Bandung. Traveling by train offered a comfortable glimpse of local life along the tracks. Make sure to get a seat by the window as the train approaches Bandung. The route passes by a lot of farming villages surrounded by scenic terraced ride paddies & green mountains. We even saw a tall waterfall on the side of a deep gorge as the train crossed over one of the railway bridges.

Keep an eye out for the “train graveyard” at Purwakarta station, where old train carriages are stacked & kept to decay when they reach the end of their service.

2. Find inspiration at Nuart Sculpture Park

Outdoor art installation at Nuart Sculpture Park, in Bandung, Indonesia

Outdoor art installation at Nuart Sculpture Park, in Bandung, Indonesia

I was already enchanted the moment we stepped onto Nuart Sculpture Park, our first stop in Bandung. This 3-hectare park was an inspiring blend of art & nature. Here, we marveled on masterpieces by Indonesian sculptor Nyoman Nuarta, who is renowned for his brass and copper sculptures & larger-than-life artworks.

Here are some of my favorite pieces, housed in the main gallery, and spread across the park grounds.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKIZECKhGuO/

This place is a must visit for art lovers. When you go, try to schedule a tour of the workshop so you can take a closer look at how the sculptor and his assistants create a masterpiece. On our visit, they were doing massive pieces to be places at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park in Bali. FYI, there’s a waterfall beside the workshop!

3. Take a tour of Dusun Bambu

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKwSyfNhkpI/

We had a memorable lunch, sampling tasty Indonesian food while enjoying the refreshing green views at Dusun Bambu. This place was a filled with gorgeous dining venues inspired by nature & West Javanese culture like the bird’s nest cottages (photo above). It’s the perfect place to enjoy a fun-filled day with friends and family.

Paddle boats & traditional wooden cottages on the lake at Dusun Bambu, in Bandung, Indonesia

Paddle boats & traditional wooden cottages on the lake

4. Learn how to play an Angklung (local bamboo instrument)

Saung Angklung Udjo in Bandung, Indonesia

Saung Angklung Udjo in Bandung, Indonesia

This was by far the most fun that I’ve ever experienced had in a cultural show. As you can see in the photo, everyone really enjoyed their time at Saung Angklung Udjo (Udjo’s House of Angklung). This magical scene happened when they handed each of us an Angklung and taught us how to play. We could not stop smiling and laughing out loud because we surprised ourselves, that were able to play a few songs so well, even if it was our first time to use it.

5. Shop ’til You Drop

Rumah Mode Factory Outlet in Bandung, Indonesia

Rumah Mode Factory Outlet in Bandung, Indonesia

Bandung is famous shopping destination because of factory outlet stores that specialize in selling local fashion brands. These bargain shopping centers can be found in the areas of Riau Street, Setiabudi Street, and Djuanda Street (known as Dago). If shopping is one of your main objectives, reserve at least one full day as there are many good factory outlet stores found in the city and on the outskirts.

6. See Bandung’s colonial architecture

Gedung Sate in Bandung, Indonesia

Gedung Sate building in Bandung, Indonesia

Bandung is home to many opulent heritage buildings built during the Dutch-colonial period. These buildings stand witness to Bandung’s wealthy history as a resort destination for plantation owners in the early 1900s, and a city planned to replace the colonial capital Batavia (now Jakarta). Don’t miss a peek of the imposing Gedung Sate building, which reflect the blending of European & indigenous Indonesian architectural styles.

7. Enjoy Bandung’s Trendy Cafes

The city has a strong cafe culture, which traces its roots back to the 18th century when Dutch colonialists first established tea plantation areas & mountain resorts. You’re not going to run out of awesome places to get your caffeine fix in Bandung.

Armor Kopi

Armor Kopi in Bandung, Indonesia

V60 Coffe at Armor Kopi in Bandung, Indonesia

Fancy tea or coffee in a pine forest? Head to Armor Kopi found at the edge of Taman Hutan Raya Juanda (national park). Here, you can choose different kinds of brewing methods including drip, Vietnamese Phin, French press, V60, Moka pot, and Ibrik. My experience at Armor Kopi was memorable because it was my first time to drink coffee prepared Turkish-style, in an Ibrik. Whatever brewing style you choose, you’re assured of a proper brew because the baristas know their coffee well & they use fresh beans grown locally in Indonesia.

If you’re more of a tea person, do try the Silver Needle White Tea, a drink once only served to Chinese royalty.

Armor Kopi in Bandung, Indonesia

Stacked hammocks on the pine forest near Armor Kopi in Bandung, Indonesia

Vanilla Kitchen

Vanilla Kitchen in Bandung, Indonesia

Vanilla Kitchen in Bandung, Indonesia

Within the city center, you can try Vanilla Kitchen. This a trendy cafe & restaurant with a hipster & modern vibe is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. I loved the quirky atmosphere of the place. Each corner seems to have its own special character. Great place to spend lazy afternoons.

3 Days Bandung  Itinerary

Day 1

Morning — Jakarta to Bandung Train via Argo Parahyangan

Lunch at N Cafe NuArt Sculpture Park

Afternoon — NuArt Sculpture Park

Dinner at Sheraton Bandung Hotel

Rest at Sheraton Bandung Hotel

Day 2

Breakfast at Sheraton Bandung Hotel

Morning — Coffee & snacks at Armor Kopi

Lunch at Dusun Bamboo

Afternoon —Dusun Bamboo

Saung Angklung Udjo

Dinner at Roemah Nenek

Rest at Sheraton Bandung Hotel

Day 3

Breakfast at Sheraton Bandung Hotel

Morning — Shopping

Lunch at Vanilla Kitchen Restaurant

Bandung to Yogyakarta flight via Lion Air

Next

Book Your Stay

Sheraton Bandung Hotel in Bandung, Indonesia

Poolside at Sheraton Bandung Hotel in Bandung, Indonesia

For a comfortable stay, Sheraton Bandung Hotel and Towers is one of the city’s best. The hotel has lush gardens and a relaxing pool area that feels like a world away from the urban bustle. It’s a convenient base to explore Bandung since it’s located less than 5 kilometers from the center of town, 7 kms from the Bandung-Husein Sastranegara Airport and 7 kms from Bandung train station.

I really loved the super comfy bed and light interiors. My room was a short walk away from the gorgeous swimming pool and had a nice view of the garden from the balcony. The dinner and breakfast buffet were really good too. They served delicious Indonesian food and international dishes.

Sheraton Bandung Hotel in Bandung, Indonesia

Welcome desserts in my room at Sheraton Bandung Hotel