Bandung, Indonesia, has it all. Beautiful scenery, clean streets, friendly locals and it’s great for kids – just the thing for a family weekend getaway from Kuala Lumpur.
The hospitality of the people starts as early as your Grab driver’s friendly chatter when you leave the airport. This is the Indonesian way to make you feel comfortable in your new destination.
Bandung is the third largest city on Java and sits 770 metres above sea level in a mountainous area where the average temperature is a pleasant 23.6° Celsius.
Volcanoes and waterfalls
Bandung sits amid incredible natural beauty with volcanoes and waterfalls to keep you captivated. The nearby volcano, Tangkuban Perahu, meaning upside-down boat, is 2,084 metres high and while it is active, it is also open to tourists for trekking to the crater.
You can opt for a guide or walk the well-marked track yourself, and don’t be alarmed that it is still active: it is monitored, and would be closed if there is any increase in seismic activity.
The crater lake is beautiful and so hot you can literally boil eggs in the little pools – roadside stalls sell eggs for this very purpose.
If egg boiling is not your thing then purchase bottles of the mud for your beauty regimen. Apparently, the mud is supposed to do wonders for the skin.
Tip for families with very young children: This area is not stroller-friendly, so the little ones would need to be carried if they can’t walk. However, the track is suitable for children from about five years old.
If you’re looking for a more sedate natural experience then head to North of Bandung in Lembang.
There you will find the Maribaya waterfalls – a beautiful place for a picnic, and if you forget to pack your own food, don’t worry there is deliciously roasted corn and satay available for you to purchase.
If it rains while on holiday
If you’re looking for a spot where you can get out of the rain, then pack up the kids and head to the Bandung Super Mall. Here you will find the indoor theme park Trans Studio Bandung – with entertainment for all ages.
For some culture, the kids will love the “angklung” interactive performances. The “angklung” is a bamboo musical instrument, which makes a special sound when you shake it.
The performances allow kids from the audience the opportunity to participate and try to make music themselves.
Bandung is a town of factory outlets for cheap clothing, bags, shoes and accessories.
Rumah Mode at Jalan Setiabudi is the most famous of all. For those who are squeamish about shopping, don’t worry there are two restaurants close by where food is good and Wi-Fi is free and strong.
There are sports factory outlets found on Jalan Juanda and Heritage on Jalan Martadinata, and Anakecil at Jalan Hayam Wuruk No 32 that sells children’s wear.
For a chance to bargain for beautiful Indonesian batiks, bags, underwear, souvenirs and jackets head to Pasar Baru on Jalan Otto Iskandar Dinata 70.
The trick, apparently, is that you bargain to around 60 or 70% of the asking price.
Bandung offers foodies a plethora of foods. Take the opportunity to discover the heavenly Sundanese kitchen – a wonderful experience for the whole family.
Or for really authentic Sundanese food like nasi timbel, karedok, oncom or batagor, try the Sari Sunda restaurants.
A favourite of the kids is Café Bali on Jalan Martadinata 211, with the top picks being siomay Bandung, an Indonesian style dim sum with peanut sauce.
If you are in Lembang or fancy the hours’ drive then the top pick is Kampung Daun on Jalan Sersan Bajuri in Lembang where you can enjoy delicious food served in small huts along the river and within a beautiful natural environment.
Grab taxis are easy and affordable, but what makes it so special is the chatter from the drivers – a perfect opportunity for you to get to know the friendly locals.
If you are planning a trip outside of the city then it is recommended to rent a car and driver for the day.
The climate is wonderful for walking in Bandung, but be mindful of the condition of some pavements as pushing a stroller can be difficult.
Another transport option is the bicycle taxis or becaks. They are cheap and fun for the whole family, but use them in the outer areas of town where there are fewer cars and a lot less exhaust pollution.
Where to stay in Bandung
For a place to stay, try the very affordable U Janevalla hotel where the rooms are modern and comfortable.
If taking the 6.30 am flight from KL you are able to check in at 9am, however be aware that the checkout time is the same time as check in so that can make for a very early check out.