The Travel Diary: Things to do in Bandung

Visit the capital of West Java, one of Indonesia's most picturesque cities

The Tangkuban Perahu Mountain is one of the mountains located in the West Javanese province, around 20 kilometres north of Bandung, Indonesia.

While we're sure you're familiar with the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta (a city infamous the world over for its traffic jams), how much to you know about neighbouring Bandung?

Bandung, the third largest city in Indonesia, was once mainly known for its textile industry. However, the city made history in 1995 when it became the first host of the Asian-African Conference and is now developing major tourism infrastructure, opening hotels and mega malls across its urban sprawl.

What to do

Trans Studio Bandung is not only the biggest in Indonesia but also one of the biggest in the world.

Although Bandung is a model of development, only a few hours away is impressive nature tourism. Enjoy a touch of adventure by visiting Tangkuban Perahu, a dormant volcano located about two hours from the city. Don't be deterred by the trek, you'll be happy you put in the driving time once you see the volcano in person.

When you get to the summit you'll be greeted by expansive views of the country below as well as a row of handicraft stalls. There's also horseback riding available for anyone who's game for it at such high altitude (a respectable 2,084 metres).

While you're in Bandung visiting the picturesque mountains and enjoying the cool weather, leave time to visit the world's third largest indoor theme park, Trans Studio Bandung. The park is home to 20 rides and a variety of shows, all divided into three different zones.

Take a day off and relive some childhood moments at Trans Studio, all in the name of fun.

Trans Studio Bandung, Jl. Gatot Subroto 289 Bandung - 40273, www.transstudiobandung.com; Tangkuban Perahu, Java, Bandung, Indonesia

Where to stay

The Regency club rooms overlooks marvelous views of the mountain as well as Bandung city.

All of the Hilton's guest rooms here feature high-speed Internet access as well as LCD TVs, and the hotel offers a gym and rooftop pool overlooking Tangkuban Perahu mountain. Even if you're not inclined to hit the exercise facilities, stop by the poolside restaurant Fresco Italian Restaurant, for cab-laden comfort food. When in need of additional relaxation, there's also an on-site spa.

Another option is the Hyatt Regency Bandung. Located in the heart of the city, this 252-room hotel offers guests meeting facilities and a fitness centre as well as dining and entertainment outlets. Hyatt Regency Bandung hotel is just a 20-minute drive from the Bandung airport and 10 minutes from the Bandung railway station.

Hilton Bandung Hotel, HOS Tjokroaminoto No. 41-43, Bandung, Indonesia 40171, 62 22 8606 6888, www1.hilton.com; Hyatt Regency Bandung, Jalan Sumatera No. 51, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia 40115, +62 22 421 1234, bandung.regency.hyatt.com

Where to shop

Bandung Supermal is the place where you will enjoy an endless array of shopping and entertainment experience in Bandung.

With over 250 stores and Metro Department Store, Bandung Supermal (BSM) is one of Bandung's leading shopping centres. In addition to shopping, BSM also houses Kota Fantasi, an indoor theme park, as well as a bowling alley and cinema.

Paris Van Java (PVJ) is another mega lifestyle complex popular with both visitors and locals. From the array of stores to cinema and hypermarket, there's something to suit everyone's needs.

Bandung Supermal, Jl. Gatot Subroto 289, Bandung 40273, +62 22 9109 1020, www.bandungsupermal.com; Paris Van Java - Resort Lifestyle Place, Jl. Karang Tinggal No. 7, Bandung, 40162, Indonesia, +62 22 206 0800, paris-van-java.com

Where to eat

The Valley is possibly the best place to be for a panoramic view of Bandung city while you dine.

The best dining experiences are about more than simply good food and warm service (although those are a good start); a memorable restaurant has outstanding atmosphere as well. Bandung's Valley Bistro Café has all these characteristics in spades, offering one of the best views of the sunset in the city. Enjoy your food with picturesque valley as the backdrop.

Located on a hilltop, The Valley Bistro Cafe is part of a The Valley resort and serves a good mix of modern European, Japanese and oriental cuisines. Don't be put off by the restaurant's location, the food and views here are a draw for locals and tourists alike. Be sure to make a reservation for the tables closest to the edge for the best views within the al fresco diner.

Kampung Daun is another atmospheric dining experience that's entirely different from The Valley, but not to be missed as well. Located within a protected valley of a cliff, Kampung Daun is structured for privacy, with tables in individual huts that are spread across the village.

Although they have a menu of mainly Western cuisine, feel free to order local dishes as well for a flavour of Indonesia. Also, make a point to reserve a hut prior to visiting, and remember to bring something warm as it can get chilly at night.

The Valley,  Jl. Lembah Pakar Timur No. 28, Dago Pakar, Bandung, Indonesia, +62 22 253 1053, www.thevalley.co.id; Kampung Daun Culture Gallery & Cafe, Jl. Sersan Bajuri Km. 4,7 No. 88 RR1 - Bandung, +62 22 278 7915, kampungdaun.net

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