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Sky in North Bandung, By: Noorman Wijaksana

Beyond Bandung: Hot Springs, Strawberries & Volcanoes

By: Andri Suryo

Bandung has so much more to offer than just food and shopping. Discovering all its nooks and crannies can’t be done in a day, a month or even a year! Now that you have learned the ABC’s of Bandung from my previous article, it time for you to digest the latest NEWS of Bandung: the essential path for you to explore the attractions that Bandung has to offer in all directions; North East West and South!

Sky in North Bandung, By: Noorman Wijaksana

Sky in North Bandung, By: Noorman Wijaksana

North of Bandung

The northern part of Bandung is still the most favorable area for tourists. Mainly because of the cool weather, due to its peak position near Bandung. Also it is the most accessible point of entry for people from outside of Bandung, Jakarta,etc.

There are several spots worth visiting north of Bandung.

First one up, Lepidopterist /butterfly enthusiasts cannot miss Taman Kupu-Kupu Cihanjuang (Cihanjuang Butterfly Park) is located at Jalan Cihanjuang KM 3,3 No. 58 Desa Cibaligo, Kecamatan Parongpong. Opened in 2009, you can find over 45 species of butterfly in this park. The park is open every day from 8AM-5PM, with Monday until Friday being the busiest days with more school kids than butterflies. Tickets are around 20k IDR. Phone +622260822222 / +622292952008. 

Further up, we reach Maribaya, one of the famous waterfalls in Bandung. Located 8 km from downtown Lembang, it offers amazing views from 1.000 meters above sea level and a magnificent 30 meter waterfall. It also has a forestry park where you frolic around to your heart’s content. Opens every day, and peaks up in weekend. Entrance fee is around 10K IDR.

Ok, moving on, we’re heading to the most visited place in northern Bandung: Gunung Tangkuban Parahu (mount Tangkuban Parahu, meaning ‘reversed boat’).

Crater of the Tangkuban Parahu, By: Andri Suryo

Crater of the Tangkuban Parahu, By: Andri Suryo

The name is derived from the folklore about Sangkuriang and Dayang Sumbi, about a boy who fell in love with a girl who turns out to be his own mother, who has the ability to remain ageless. The mother set him a challenge which she hoped he would not meet to prevent him from marrying her (something along the lines of building lake and boat before sunset). Frustrated, he ends up kicking his boat, until it reverses, and rumor has it that this is actually the reason why the mountain is shaped like a reversed boat.

Back to reality: The volcano spurs several kawah (craters) such as Kawah Ratu, Kawah Upas, Kawah Domas and Kawah Jurig. Tickets for foreigners are 50K, plus some extra vehicle charges. Motorcycles: 7K, four wheeled vehicles 15K and six wheeled busses are 25K. Opens daily from 7AM-5PM

Last up is the famous and one of the best Hot spring Resorts in Bandung, Sari Ater Resort. Located 10 minutes from Tangkuban Parahu, you can relax those sore muscles (assuming you did some climbing and hiking) in one of the hot springs. Sari Ater also offers some neat hotel rooms, outbound adventure, and also private hot tub rooms. Reservation Line: +62260 – 471700 / 471800 / 471900.

East of Bandung

When It comes to eastern part of Bandung, Saung Angklung Udjo is the most recommended place to visit. If you want to know more about the Sundanese culture of West Java, seek no further. The organization is renowned for its Angklung performances (a unique traditional bamboo instrument), workshops, traditional Wayang Golek puppet shows,etc.  Many locals and foreign visitors claim that they got goosebumps seeing 10 years old kids playing Angklung in well suited harmony. I guarantee you it will blow you away! The rhythm of bamboo will make it hard to sit still during the performance. Located in Jln. Padasuka 118, Bandung 40192 West Java – INDONESIA. Phone: +62 22 727 1714, +62 22 710 1736

Saung Udjo angklung performance, courtesy of Saung Udjo

Saung Udjo angklung performance, courtesy of Saung Angklung Udjo

Moving away from Padasuka, about an hour from there, the small but busy town of Cicalengka boasts another wild waterfall, named Cinulang. The exotic view and its accessible entrance make this place popular among locals from outside Bandung i.e Garut and Tasikmalaya. Opens daily with entrance fee around 10K for foreigners.

West of Bandung

First one up is Waduk Saguling. This is an artificial lake connected to the Citarum river. Initially, Prof. Ir. W.J. van Blommestein, as the man behind this project, designed it as a resevoir  for electricity. Nowadays, the lake is more and more evolving into a local tourism hotspot and a site for agri-aquaculture. If you are looking for some quiet time, with fresh air, and a brilliant sky, this is the perfect place for you. Tickets are a mere 10-20K IDR.

The mysterious Megalithic Site of Gunung Padang

The mysterious Megalithic Site of Gunung Padang

Further away, we stumble upon the Stonehenge of Indonesia: the Megalithic Site of Gunung Padang. Located on the border line of Western Bandung and Cianjur, this is the Indonesian answer to England’s Stonehenge. The mysterious ruin (possibly a former temple or cemetary) was probably erected in 1.500-2.800 BC (yes, not very accurate indeed, but at least 2000 years before the most famous monument of Indonesia, the Borobudur Temple, was built).

It is believed that this largest megalithic site in Asia Pacific, was initially found by a  Dutch Archeologist N.J. Krom. The first report of this site appeared on the yearly Hindia-Belanda Archeology Department in 1914 (Rapporten van den Oudheidkundigen Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indie).

South of Bandung

The southern part of Bandung is quite similar to the north, but less accessible, and quite far to reach from downtown Bandung. You’ll have to pass the dusty and congested Southern parts of the city (Soreang and or/Kopo). But I can assure you it is worth the trip! First stop should definitely be the tea plantations in Ciwidey. These wonderfully green rolling hills are not just extremely pleasing to the eye, but are part of the largest tea plantations and processing factory in West Java. The magnificent scenery is simply breathtaking. The cool weather is perfect for a stroll around the hills. There is no entrance fee to visit the site. The fields are on both sides of the road, and you are more than welcome to take some pictures, lay back and open your picnic basket or wander around the curving lanes!

Lush tea plantations around Ciwidey, By: Emma Kwee

Lush tea plantations around Ciwidey, By: Emma Kwee

Along the road from downtown Ciwidey to the highest area, Rancabali, strawberry fields stretch along the mountainside, where you can buy and pick strawberries by yourself. Normally, you’ll pay around 15K IDR /Kg. After a long and tiring day at the strawberry fields, you can regain your strength at one of the many hot spring resorts flocking the area. One of the most recommended places is Ciwalini, the cornerstone for the famous Indonesian tea  brand, Walini.  Be sure to visit on weekdays, otherwise you’ll be sharing the pool with hundreds of local visitors, bumping into each other. The pools are surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and picturesque tea plantations. Entrance is around 20K IDR. Most hot springs also offer bungalows and villas, starting at around 300 K a night.

Kawah putih crater, By: Noorman Wijaksana

Kawah putih crater, By: Noorman Wijaksana

Moving further up, the beautiful crater lake Kawah Putih (white crater) is well worth a visit. You can approach the eerily blue water of the crater safe and sound. It’s a great setting for some pictures. In fact don’t be surprised if you bump into couples doing their Pre-Wedding Photo shoot in complete wedding gown and suit. Tickets are 20K IDR a head plus150K for cars, and 5K for motorcycles.

Finally, at the other end of Ciwidey you’ll find a huge and lovely lake called Situ Patengan. It is of course packed with tourist on weekends or national holiday. Be sure to take a short trip with a boat to the famous Batu Cinta ( the stone of love ) located in the middle of the lake. The myth is that a couple that writes their name on it will be attached to each other eternally. There is only one way to find out if there’s any truth in this…Care to try?

Finally, whether you are going North, East, West or South, make sure you enjoy every minute of it, because once you visit Bandung, you’ll be coming back for more!

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