Head for the Hills

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - CONTENTS - PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY RICKO FER­NANDO

A place of cre­ativ­ity, cul­tural his­tory and Art Deco ar­chi­tec­ture, Ban­dung of­fers far more than just a high­land re­treat from Jakarta.

A place of cre­ativ­ity, cul­tural his­tory and Art Deco ar­chi­tec­ture, Ban­dung of­fers far more than just a high­land re­treat for Jakar­tans. As big­ger and bet­ter trans­port op­tions open up the city to a wider au­di­ence, Jonathan Evans finds a bur­geon­ing ur­ban hub.

A SPRAWL­ING MOUN­TAIN town just 2½ hours from Jakarta, Ban­dung has long drawn na­ture­seek­ers for its lush rain­forests, ac­ces­si­ble vol­ca­noes and nat­u­ral hot springs. But as the city opens up to an in­ter­na­tional play­ing field—last month it co-hosted part of the

2018 Asian Games’ foot­ball tour­na­ment— Ban­dung has qui­etly de­vel­oped a more metropoli­tan charm, with both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses in­ject­ing fresh doses of con­tem­po­rary cool to its streets.

There are also more ways for vis­i­tors to con­nect with the city: Ker­ta­jati In­ter­na­tional Air­port, to the city’s east, opened in May, promis­ing to ease the strain on both Ban­dung’s and Jakarta’s over­sub­scribed trans­port hubs; work will soon be­gin on Ban­dung Metro

Kap­sul, a light-rail project us­ing low-cost,

en­ergy-ef­fi­cient tech­nol­ogy to com­bat the city’s grind­ing traf­fic; and a high-speed train con­nect­ing Ban­dung to Jakarta is slated to launch in 2020. Here’s why In­done­sia’s third largest city de­serves more of our at­ten­tion.


The sharpest new digs in town, in more ways than one, the 119-room U Janevalla (uho­tel­sre­sorts.com; dou­bles from Rp1,240,000) comes en­cased in a series of an­gu­lar glass boxes with abun­dant green­ery on the ex­te­rior—a nod to the as­sim­i­la­tion of nat­u­ral and man­made in this “City of Flow­ers.” The in­te­ri­ors are no less edgy, com­bin­ing warm tones with slick con­fig­u­ra­tions of wood, metal and brick­work, and a rhom­boid mo­tif through­out. Stand­ing al­most op­po­site each other in the hip dis­trict of Dago, Court­yard by Mar­riott (mar­riott.com; dou­bles from Rp750,000) and Four Points by Sher­a­ton (four­points­ban­dung.com; dou­bles from Rp1,220,000) of­fer classy com­fort. Court­yard’s sump­tu­ous spa is star­tlingly large for a medium-sized ho­tel, and staff-drawn de­signs dec­o­rate its din­ing area. Four Points’ gleam­ing mono­chrome lobby and top-floor bar make a bolder, W-es­que lux­ury state­ment.


For a truly orig­i­nal brunch ex­pe­ri­ence, head to the light-filled One Eighty Cof­fee (in­sta­gram. com/oneeighty­cof­fee; mains from Rp26,000), with its huge cir­cu­lar cof­fee bar, shal­low cres­cent-shaped pool for din­ers to cool their feet and up­per-story per­for­mance area. The menu re­ally im­presses, too, with its thought­ful take on Euro and Indo clas­sics. Go min­i­mal at Subkul­ture Cof­fee/Panora­suna (in­sta­gram. com/subkul­ture.cof­fee; drinks from Rp15,000), an ovoid cabin with just four ta­bles, vinyl for sale, turnta­bles, recher­ché brews and DJs spin­ning EDM on Thurs­days. Braga Art Café (in­sta­gram.com/bra­gaart­cafe; mains from Rp20,000) is a no­tably up­scale op­tion on an oth­er­wise grungy pub street, com­bin­ing eth­nic carv­ings with play­ful ver­sions of lo­cal sta­ples—try the beef ren­dang or sa­tay burg­ers. For Western del­i­ca­cies, drop by But­ter­cup Bak­ery & Café (but­ter­cup.co.id; mains from Rp48,000), an op­u­lent bistro sit­u­ated ad­ja­cent to Four Points’ en­trance.

In the evening, join the throng at Up­stairs Bar (23 Jln. Truno­joyo; drinks from Rp120,000), a speakeasy-style hide­out with fine cock­tails, DJs and a pool ta­ble. Fur­ther north, a glass­floored ob­ser­va­tion deck and splashes of neon en­liven Sky Bar, the swish rooftop boozer at Moxy Ban­dung (moxy-ho­tels.mar­riott.com; dou­bles from Rp426,550; drinks from Rp40,000), the first Asian out­let for Mar­riott’s hip bou­tique brand that opened last year.


Ban­dung’s boule­vards are lined with clean pave­ments and or­nate lamp­posts, mak­ing this a pedes­trian-friendly city by any stan­dards (let alone In­done­sian). Saunter down Jalan Asia Afrika, past the curvy splen­dor of his­toric Ho­tel Bi­dakara Grand Savoy Ho­mann (savoy­homannho­tel.com; dou­bles from Rp2,300,000)—where

Dutch col­o­niz­ers first es­tab­lished Ban­dung in 1810 as a stag­ing post for West Java trav­el­ers— to find the largest con­cen­tra­tion of Ban­dung’s Art Deco and colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture. At the his­tor­i­cal park, Ta­man Se­jarah (53 Jln. Aceh), gi­ant mu­rals and smart land­scap­ing wrap at­trac­tively around pools and canals us­ing wa­ter from the Cika­payang River. For a cul­ture trip, the ma­jor new draw is Ban­dung Cre­ative Hub (ban­dungcre­ative­hub.com), an avant-garde struc­ture that echoes the imag­i­na­tion on dis­play in­side, with gal­leries, events, work­shops, cozy com­mu­nal spa­ces and a de­sign archive that show­cases the city’s artis­tic pre-emi­nence.


Ban­dung stakes an im­pres­sive claim as hav­ing In­done­sia’s most idio­syn­cratic, lo­cal de­signer– led re­tail scene. The city’s fac­tory out­lets, known for both high qual­ity and af­ford­able prices, clus­ter around grungy Ci­ham­pelas Walk and up­mar­ket Jalan Mar­tad­i­nata, in bar­gain-filled ware­houses such as The Se­cret Fac­tory Out­let (47 Jln. Mar­tad­i­nata) and Her­itage (her­itage­fac­to­ry­out­let.com). For lo­cal la­bels, sam­ple the once-un­der­ground, Ban­dung-orig­i­nat­ing phe­nom­e­non known as “dis­tro” (short for “distri­bu­tion out­let,” the term ref­er­ences a sub­cul­ture aes­thetic made pop­u­lar in the 90s), which birthed ma­jor play­ers Nord­hen Ba­sic (nord­hen­ba­sic.com), Screa­mous (screa­mous.com), UNKL347 (unkl347.com) and Ou­val Re­search (schof­fi­cial. com)—chi-chi stores with strik­ing dis­plays and se­ri­ous hip­ster cred.


While the new Ker­ta­jati In­ter­na­tional Air­port is larger, Hu­sein Sas­trane­gara In­ter­na­tional Air­port (ban­dun­gair­port.com), which ser­vices Garuda, SilkAir and a brace of bud­get car­ri­ers, is closer to Ban­dung city cen­ter—how­ever, the high-speed Jakarta–Ban­dung fast train ex­pected to be­gin in 2020 is also planned to even­tu­ally ex­tend to Ker­ta­jati.

Cur­rently, the least-ex­pen­sive and most scenic route to Ban­dung is the three-hour

Argo Parahyan­gan train ride from Jakarta’s Sta­siun Gam­bir (tiket.com; one-way “Ek­seku­tif” ticket Rp100,000).

Around town, lo­cal taxis are plen­ti­ful, but tend to over­charge for short rides. Use Grab (grab.com/id) taxis in­stead, or visit moovi­tapp. com for per­son­al­ized itin­er­ar­ies that link up with lo­cal buses (there’s free pub­lic Wi-Fi across the city).

FROM TOP: Por­traits of former may­ors at Ta­man Se­jarah; U Janevalla's sleek in­te­ri­ors; crafted cock­tails at Up­stairs Bar. OP­PO­SITE, CLOCK­WISE FROMTOP LEFT: Ban­dung Cre­ative Hub; One Eighty Cof­fee's lush set­ting; in­die menswear brand Nord­hen Ba­sic.

CLOCK­WISE FROMTOP LEFT: The sharp façades of U Janevalla; artis­tic mu­rals don the dimly lit walls of Up­stairs Bar; moun­tain views from the rooftop Sky Bar at Moxy Ban­dung.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cambodia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.