Lots of dutch-influenced buildings around Bandung
I wouldn't recommend this place, but geeky dinosour-loving kids will love it. Oh wait that's me.
Tangkuban Perahu Crater, about 2 hours from Bandung
Most of the sceneries of Jakarta like this can be seen from the car.
Travelling with your family is not at all like traveling with your friends, not that one is better than the other. With friends, it’s a lot more laid back, but with your family, especially if the age ranges from middle-aged to children, it becomes a production to come up with the plans and itineraries. That being said, nothing is quite like seeing the world with your family. After all, these are the people who’ve seen you at your worst and best, so there is no pretense whatsoever.
I took my family for a trip to Bandung and Jakarta last month. It required a lot of planning, a lot of last minute ticket changes (My sister had an exam! My Dad couldn’t get more off days from work! And all that) and a lot of arguments (as we all do). But finally we all got it together and arrived at Bandara Husein Sasteranegara Airport that very late evening.
Bandung quickly reminded me of a Dutch street. Almost all of the houses by the road (and large mansions, if I may add) had Dutch influences in them, most notably the rooftops. The city had a bearable traffic flow, a nice mild weather that got slightly chilly as night approaches, and throngs and throngs of factory outlet stores. Now I am not much of a travel shopper. I don’t like to waste my traveling budget by shopping my way out of a country, but apparently my parents didn’t agree. We spent a whole day browsing lazily through the factory outlets, and tried various different restaurants that served local food. Dining is cheap in Bandung, even if you eat at a proper restaurant as opposed to the hawker stalls by the street. At night we would order room service (much cheaper than the ones in Malaysian hotels!) and watch dodgy HBO movies in bed, with my Dad trying to be as cool as the young ones and stayed up watching movies, but finally snoring off after the first fifteen minutes.
A couple of days later we decided to do some sightseeing. We asked our supir (that’s ‘driver’ in Indonesian speak. Hiring one is much cheaper than hailing a cab all day) to take us to Tangkuban Perahu, one of the still active volcanoes near the city. It was a nice two-hour drive, and the place was quite a sight, but holy cow the street vendors are awful! They kept shoving stuff in my face and forcing me to buy stuff, even going as far as getting in the picture frame as we were taking photos. That sort of ruined the mood for that whole visit. The road to and from the crater was quite pleasant, with local houses and shops selling interesting things, as well as nice small boutique hotels. I saw a lot of rabbits being sold by the streets though. I hope they are sold as pets (but to be honest, I don’t really think so).
We spent the remaining days of our trip in Jakarta. I wish I could say a lot about the city, but between getting stuck for hours in the traffic, spending our remaining cash in Tanah Abang (another fabric and clothing outlet), there really isn’t much to compliment besides the fact that art seemed to take center stage – there were monuments and statues at almost every roundabout. I’m sure if I had more time, Jakarta would be more appealing, but for me the two days are filled with memories of sitting in the car for hours watching the world pass by.
Places to Eat : There is a chain restaurant called ‘Ayam Pop’, if I’m not mistake, which serves Nasi Padang. It’s awesome, cheap and the place looks clean and decent enough. If you’re adventurous then there’s a wide variety of hawker stalls to try.