Things to Do at The Lembang Floating Market, Bandung

Indonesia is one of the world’s most populous Muslim countries: so I expected restaurants to be closed throughout the day during fasting month. Surprisingly, in the city of Bandung, many places remained open and people were cool about eating…as long as it wasn’t in ‘public’. The wooden roadside stalls had ‘curtains’ where people could eat away from prying eyes.

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We were running a little late, so by the time we left Lembang Begonia Flower Garden, the roads were clogged with people getting food to break fast. We inched slowly through traffic, and I took in the sights. There was smoke rising from meats being grilled in the open, accompanied by colorful displays of dessert and loads of yummy snacks. Pretty reminiscent of the Ramadan bazaars we have in Malaysia.

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The sun was setting by the time we got to Lembang Floating Market. Unlike some of the authentic floating markets of Thailand, this was built as a tourist attraction, with a spacious park and various entertainment outlets within. We wasted no time in exploring the place, which had a big lake in the middle where visitors can rent boats.

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Souvenir shops selling all manner of handicrafts, balloons, toys and snacks.

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Lake cruise. Great for families or dates !

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Geese roaming around a pond. They were scary af and acted like guard dogs: fiercely territorial, and prone to chasing you around until they take a good chunk out out of your butt.

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Park was well maintained and clean, with spots like this wooden bridge where visitors can take pretty pictures.

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A miniature train museum, complete with a train coach-shaped souvenir shop, tiny railroad crossing and shelves full of model trains.

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The kids will love the bunny park! Too bad they were closing for the evening. We saw some fat and fluffy specimens bouncing around.

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A cultural village, where there were traditional wooden huts and gazebos, as well as a paddy field.

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After a long walk, we finally got to the ‘Floating Market’. What it is, essentially, is a row of ‘boats’ on water where peddlers sell snacks, food and drinks. You have to buy ‘coins’ in order to purchase anything, kind of like at an arcade.

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There were a lot of interesting snacks, but we were going to have dinner soon so we didn’t get any.

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The Lembang Floating Market and Park is a nice place for a relaxing getaway from the city, so hop on over if you’re ever in the Lembang district near Bandung.

LEMBANG FLOATING MARKET

Jl. Grand Hotel No.33, Lembang, Kabupaten Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat, Indonesia

Open daily: 9am – 5pm (Mon-Fri), weekends til 8pm

Entrance: 15,000 IDR (inclusive of welcome drink)

Lembang Begonia Flower Garden, Indonesia

 

The sun sets early in Bandung, so we didn’t have much daylight left by the time our car rolled into Lembang Begonia Flower Garden.Thankfully, it wasn’t a huge place so we could take a quick tour to look at the pretty flowers and garden decorations 🙂

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Immediately upon entering,we were greeted by what else – loads of begonias! Most were in a velvety shade of dark pink and red.

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The garden was tastefully decorated, with statues, shrubs, small gazebos and flower archways.

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Loved the sunflower section! The stalks were really tall, and the sunflowers were in full bloom, their yellow petaled faces gazing towards the sun and bobbing slightly in the wind.

We had some sunflowers in our garden once. They didn’t grow this tall/were this pretty. It must be the fresh mountain air and water here.

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It was quite sunny – wish they had more shade, because the gazebos were angled at such a way that the sunlight would hit them anyway.

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There was a nice wooden house on stilts outside the garden; not sure if museum or souvenir shop (?).We had to leave though coz the sky was getting dark.

Visitors have to pay a small entrance fee to get into the Lembang Begonia Garden. Overall, a great place to take your s/o out for a date, or if you just love flowers in general. 🙂

KEBUN BUNGA BEGONIA LEMBANG 

Jalan Maribaya No. 120A, Lembang, Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat, Indonesia

Open daily: 8am – 5pm

Cat ‘Poop’ Coffee? – Kopi Luwak Cikole, Lembang

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Ever tried cat ‘poop’ coffee?

Okay, so they’re civet cats and it’s not really poop, but still. Kopi Luwak, or civet coffee, is famous all over the world for its supposedly superior quality and flavor. While I’ve always wanted to try it, they are very expensive in KL (RM60+ for a cup)! But since we’re in Indonesia, where the coffee originated from, it would be a shame to leave without tasting this peculiar coffee.

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Our guide brought us to Kopi Luwak Cikole, in the Cikole district of Lembang. This small farm-cum cafe has several civet cats and a home factory where they process the coffee beans into consumer-ready products.

In the wild, civet cats eat coffee cherries as part of their diet. After ingesting, the cherries will ferment along with other food in the animal’s stomach, and come out partially digested. They look kind of like yellow soy beans.

Traditionally, farmers collected the kopi luwak from the wild, but this has since given way to farms. While some farms adopt less-than-savoury practices of force feeding the animals, the one at Cikole seemed decent. The cages were clean, and the animals looked well fed and healthy. There was a ‘cafe’ area where guests can sit and enjoy a cuppa, or browse through the products they have in store. At the back of the farm is a small processing area.

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This cage was rather small, but there were bigger enclosures as well.

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Our guide explaining to us the process of making Kopi Luwak. As coffee is only part of the civet cat’s diet, they rotate the feeding with other items such as milk, banana, papaya and chicken. This allows the cat’s digestive system to produce enzymes for better tasting Kopi Luwak.

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Coffee cherries.

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The animals poop out the cherries, and these are collected and sun dried. The end product resembles peanuts.

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These will be sorted (there’s a difference in quality produced by male and female civet cats), ground to a powder, and then packaged for sale.

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RM200 (50USD) for a pack of 10 sachets. Much cheaper than if we were to get them back home.

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We got two cups to try. In order to get the purest flavour, the server told us not to add sugar or creamer.

I’m not a coffee connoisseur, so I can’t really tell.. but the coffee tasted more like a strong herbal brew. Bitter, with a slight tang to the tongue and a ‘dry’ texture when it goes down your throat. They give you three refills, but it doesn’t dilute the coffee at all.

Apparently the Kopi Luwak has lower caffeine content and can even help with improving one’s health, such as lowering the risk of diabetes, inhibiting inflammation, and a whole host of other benefits.

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Dad had another one with ginger.

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They also serve snacks! These piping hot banana fritters were fresh out of the wok and balanced the bitter coffee really well.

We didn’t buy any Kopi Luwak because it was way to expensive; but I can now tick one item off my bucket list of things to do. 🙂

KOPI LUWAK CIKOLE

Jalan Nyalindung No. 9, Cikole, Lembang,

Kabupaten Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat,

Indonesia

Phone: +62 22 82780643

Open daily: 8am – 6pm

Gubug Makan Mang Engking @ Lembang, Indonesia

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So after exploring the majestic Tangkuban Perahu volcano, dipping our feet in Sari Ater’s hot springs and taking in the sights at Ciater’s tea plantations, our tummies were well and rumbling – high time for lunch! 🙂 Tucked into the mountainside is a scenic resto called Gubug Makan Mang Engking, which serves traditional Indonesian cuisine.

Instead of a typical restaurant, the place cleverly incorporates its surroundings, so that diners can enjoy the beauty of nature while tucking in to their food. There was a pond in the middle, with walkways and dozens of smaller attap roofed gazebos. In the middle was the main hall for large functions, with a couple of decorative boats. Loads of greenery everywhere.

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Everything was very nature-themed: structures were built out of bamboo, wood and leaves.

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There was even a small natural stream cutting across the area 🙂

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Kids feeding the fat koi fish swimming in the pond.

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We settled ourselves down in one of the gazebos. They have a space underneath the table for guests to place their legs, with a bamboo leg rest at the bottom. The place was cooling enough so we didn’t need fans or air conditioning. Nothing like dining close to nature – the air was refreshing, and we could hear the sounds of birds chirping and insects buzzing in the trees.

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Having little to no knowledge of Indonesian cuisine, we didn’t know what to order – but lucky for us, we had our guide Mr Yoga with us! We got fried cumi (squid), honey fried chicken, stir-fried vegetables and soy-sauce fish. The meal was served with a basket of rice.

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The chickens that they serve at restos in Bandung are tiny. They use ‘kampung’ or village/spring chickens rather than farm fattened ones pumped full with steroids. Although healthier and tastier, those with big appetites might find that one chicken is not enough. It really is more the size of a pigeon lol.

The one we ordered was quite tasty. The honey-basted meat was firm, juicy and sweet.

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My other favourite was the fried squid rings. They were light, airy and crunchy, almost like eating snacks.

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If you throw bits of rice in, the fish will flock to your feet.

Our guide said: “You can throw any food into the pond. They even eat fish.”

Cannibalism??

We tried throwing some fish in. #evil 

 

Prices at Gubug Makan Mang Engking can be slightly pricier than your usual resto, but considering the settings, I’d say it’s worth the price.

Mang Engking Kopo Bandung

Jalan Raya Tangkuban Perahu

Km. 1 No. 68, Lembang,

Jawa Barat, Indonesia

Phone; +62 22 2784978

Opening hours: 10am – 9pm

Sari Ater Hot Springs, Lembang, Indonesia

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Nothing beats a nice soak in a hot spring, especially after you’ve been walking around a lot! After our visit to Tangkuban Perahu Volcano, our guide drove us downhill to Sari Ater Hot Springs Resort in Ciater district.  Sitting in the middle of a tea estate, the spacious retreat has dozens of natural mineral springs fed by heat from surrounding volcanoes. The water contains iodium and sulfur, which is good for people with skin problems and rheumatism.

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Since we came on a Friday, we almost had the whole place to ourselves. The park was well maintained and clean, while the railings had just had a fresh coat of paint. There were facilities like camping grounds, swimming pools, restaurants and tennis courts

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One of the main springs in the area is built around a small waterfall called Curug Jodo. The water was crystal clear  and looked so inviting! Too bad we didn’t bring a change of clothes because the trip here was kinda impromptu ;__;

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There are massage therapists stationed all around the park. They’ll be in the water massaging your feet, for a small fee.

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Seems to just wash your aches away… 🙂

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A parent was trying to get his kid in the water, but he was adamant about not touching any. His screams were as if he was being led to slaughter, lol.

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Pops and the Moomikins.

That sounds like a cool name for a band.

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There were creepy statues of frogs, Komodo dragons and scaly rhinos all around the park, for some reason.

Entrance fees depend on which pools you plan on visiting, but I think we paid 20,000 IDR.

Again, since it might be hard to get public transport here, I suggest hiring a private driver or a cab. 🙂 The charges are about 500,000 IDR (Rm150 – USD35+) a day.