Bandung – First Impressions

The fam and I have been planning for an overseas trip for some time, but we had to put it off coz my mum had some health problems. But after months of planning, we finally came through with plane tickets to Bandung, Indonesia! 🙂

Bandung is the capital city of West Java. Landlocked by mountains, it is the third largest city in Indonesia and has a higher elevation than most, so the weather is pleasantly cooling. A welcome change from the scorching heat of Kuala Lumpur.

Although not as popular among foreign tourists as its sister cities like Yogyakarta and Bali, Bandung is a gem when it comes to nature, shopping, culture, arts and architecture. They don’t call it the Paris of Java for nothing!

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We arrived by plane, after a two hour flight from KL, at Bandara Husein Sastranegara Airport. It was already evening and the sun was setting. Took a cab to our hotel along Jalan Pasirkaliki.

As we drove through the roads, I was surprised to find that they were very clean and lined with tall, shady trees on both sides. The roads here are all one-way, so it took some time for us to get to the hotel even though it’s very close to the airport. Buildings had a distinct Dutch/Javanese flavour. Most were old, from colonial times, but were still lived in and maintained well, with pretty flower gardens. If it wasn’t for the loads of bikes weaving in and out dangerously, I would have thought I was somewhere in a small European town.

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Other than bikes, there were these public transport vans called ‘Angkut’. Very similar to Jeepneys in the Philippines or TukTuks in Thailand, you flag them down and hop off at your destination. They’re usually for intercity travel.

Did I mention that the traffic here’s crazy?

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We stayed at Hotel Citradream, located on a busy stretch along the main road. It has basic amenities like a cafe, is clean and has friendly staff. There are also loads of restaurants, food stalls and grocery shops in the area.

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The sun sets early in Bandung; it’s dark by 6pm, which felt quite odd since it only gets completely dark in KL at 7.30pm. We walked down the road to look for dinner. The conversation went like this:

  • Dad: I want Chinese food
  • Me: We’re in Indonesia and you want Chinese food?
  • Dad: I want Chinese food.

So we ended up getting Chinese food from this open air roadside stall called RM Santosa. It seemed quite authentic as there were many Indonesian Chinese patrons, and they served dishes like Kwetiaw Goreng, Nasi Goreng and Capcay (mixed veggies). Granted, there were some items that we had never heard of…

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Dad had Kwetiaw Sirem – flat glass noodles in broth. It’s like an Indonesian version of Malaysia’s Wat Tan Hor, but this one had cucumbers added in. Taste was wayyyy too sweet.

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Mum tried something called Nasi Puyonghai. Turned out to be a deep fried egg with minced chicken meat, sitting in a sweet and savoury sauce. Wasn’t half bad!

Bro and I were less adventurous and went with normal fried rice. I mean, you can’t go wrong with fried rice anywhere on the planet, right?

RM SANTOSA

Jl. Pasirkaliki, No.104, Bandung, Indonesia

Business hours: 6pm-10pm, closed Mondays

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It was still early, so we took a cab to Cihampelas Walk, a shopping district in downtown Bandung. There’s a mall area with the usual brands you find all over the world, like Starbucks, McDs, KFC, etc. as well as popular Asian brands like Chatime.

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Open-air area lined with chic cafes and mid range restaurants. No need for air conditioning here 🙂

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The inside area with clothing stores, salons, a cinema, gym, pharmacies and entertainment centers. Not very different from malls in KL, I must say.

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Outside the mall area were rows of clothing shops selling jeans, T-shirts and other clothing for really cheap. It was funny because the shops had names like ‘Rambo’, ‘Iron Man’, etc. and they had these huge ass statues and props to attract customers! There was even one with a helicopter inside the shop.

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Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped by an IndoMart, which is the equivalent of a 7-11 store in Bandung. Spotted Indomie crisps, so of course I had to get them. they tasted pretty funky 😀

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Them Indonesians really love their instant fried noodles.

More of Bandung to come!

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Author: Luna

Bibliophile/foodie. Drop me a line at erisgoesto@gmail.com

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