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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Intriguing Indonesia - Beautiful Bandung

Indonesia is a large archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, comprising hundreds of distinct linguistic and ethnic groups. And it is very close to Singapore. Hence, besides the island tours and Jakarta trip, my next Indonesian visit was Bandung - they say its where the most Indonesia beauties originate from, and the third largest capital in Indonesia.

There are a few hotels in Bandung itself. We chose the Grand Royal Panghegar - which was a rather elegant hotel with good facilities and friendly staff. Harley Davidson happened to be celebrating their 50th anniversary when we were there - so we got an eyeful of Harley Davidsons around the hotel, and the bars were filled with bikers from all over. There is a revolving restaurant at the top of Grand Royal Panghegar - we had wanted to eat there but unfortunately it was under renovation.

Food and Drinks

There were plenty of spots for food and drinks, for sure- we managed to try Sundanese cuisine, Javanese cuisine, Western cuisine and Chinese cuisine at various spots on our 3-days 2 nights trip. 

Suki, by the way, is located at our hotel itself.

This is Braga - a popular hotspot for drinks and chilling out, it is akin to our Clarke Quay, where myriads of restaurants and pubs with live bands are strewn around.


We were brought to many factory outlets to shop - Polo Ralph Lauren, Converse, Levis, and their local brands etc. It was a literal shop-till-you-drop trip. The most outlets congregated at the Dago area, Rumah Mode and Jalan Riau areas. Note that the "branded" goods may not be real... leave it to your own judgment to beware.

We were brought up to the mountain (Taman Wisata Alam)  to see a beautiful crater after volcanic eruption. The strong sulfuric odors were notably unpleasant, but the views were breathtaking. I loved the smokey look as well, so peaceful and beauteous after an eruption. Here was where the shopping continued - lots of little crafts and souveinirs shops along the way. One piece of advice though - try not to buy the fruits as most of the fruits (grapes, berries etc) were all not refrigerated and had already fermented or rotted under the hot sun.

Hotsprings and Spas
Then we enjoyed ourselves at the Sari Ater Hotsprings - one could try the natural hotsprings (free of charge) or the more secluded hotsprings pools (need to pay a fee). We opted for the latter, a recharging session of soaking half our bodies in the hotsprings.

We also did Spa and Massages at the hotel's very own Panghegar Spa - I had the masseur come up to my room. I had been perplexed at their inability to communicate even in simple English, but the service provided by my masseur was excellent.

Tea Plantation

Yes, for the nature or tea lovers, the plantation might be a place of interest to you - beautifully strewn with exotic flowers and fresh air.

Kueh Lapis / Rainbow Cake
We went to Kartika Sari bakery for freshly-baked Kueh Lapis (thousand-layered cakes) and Rainbow Cakes. These pastries were pricey but delicious. 

Last but not least, the bad jam in Bandung was noticeably similar to that of Jakarta's.  We hated the traffic but it was the only way of getting around. In fact, crossing the roads was a dangerous affair, since there werent traffic lights, and the drivers did not stop even at zebra crossings.

Overall, it was a rather fun and enriching trip with shopping, spa, savouring good food, seeing a volcano after eruption and spending some time with a group of awesome ex-colleagues.

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