Going to Bandung on a weekend, I had heard, was not a good idea unless we were planning to eat, drink and be merry inside our car. Apparently Bandung is a very popular locale to visit as evidenced by the heavy traffic in the tollway every weekend. There are hundreds of very famous outlet stores that are very popular among expats and Indonesians and the weekend is the preferred time to visit them for both. I thought if we left early in the morning we would avoid the morning traffic and just have a blissful trip to Bandung. The hubs was not sure this was a wise choice so he insisted we purchased tickets for the train. I was
extremely a bit hesitant since I had never been in a train in Indonesia except for the local city train and I had no idea what to expect.
Still hesitant, I got train tickets in the “executive class” for Rp. 90,000 per person and prepared for what I thought would be a less than pleasant experience. Don’t get me wrong, we love love love riding in trains, so much so that we even rode the train from Paris to Barcelona for 7+ hours last year. This time I was a bit weary since I knew the city of Bandung was 768 meters above sea level and we had to do the climb in an iron vehicle, thru the mountains for over three hours.
My fears subsided as soon as we say the train that was going to serve as our chariot for our voyage. Granted, it was a bit older that I feel comfortable with but it seemed in excellent condition and the boys were so excited that I didn’t care anymore. The train was surprisingly clean and the fact that it was older player in our favor since we were able to turn the seats around and have the 4 seats facing each other. You can imagine the shrieks of joy and excitement ebbing from Josh and Evan and you will be right to think that the excitement manifested itself in both screams and energetic jumps.
The train had even more surprises in store for us as we discovered there was a waiter service and we could order drinks and food from our seats. My hubby was super excited to find out there was a reflexology service within the train. That’s right, rest your tired feet as you enjoy the gorgeous mountain views and sip your teh botol.
As we arrived in Bandung we were greeting by hundreds of taxi drivers who insisted they had the best service. It turns out they want to charge you hundreds of rupiahs to take you to your hotel so as we avoided the first drivers we found an honest driver who said he would use the taximeter. We were on our way to the hotel only to find out we had not really escaped the lovely Jakarta traffic but instead encountered an even worse kind of traffic, one exacerbated by hundreds of street vendors and even more motorcycles.
As we slowly made our way to the hotel we looked out the window and enjoyed the city views. Bandung is less urbanized than Jakarta and the change of scenery was very refreshing. We loved looking at the old Dutch buildings and the lush greenery present in every single street. As we reached our hotel we were excited to have found a beautiful oasis in the midst of outlet chaos.
The Hyatt Regency Bandung greeted us with outstanding service, a beautiful spotless room with a view to the nearby park, a gorgeous pool and an incredibly fun play room. We were trying to make it out to the Geology Museum but were too late to do so and instead we headed to the playground were we ended up spending most of our afternoon.
The kid’s club was just amazing. They had wonderful kid-friendly Indonesian instruments that were a hit among the boys, specially Joshua and a wide array of toys and activities. We played music, we threw balls at each other, we colored and ran all over the place until we got worn out.
After an intense play session and a shorter regrouping session in our room we headed to the Bandung Indah Mall which was connected to the hotel by a hallway. Compared to the grandiose malls in Jakarta this one was much smaller but it was not bad at all. We found a nice restaurant called GiggleBox and enjoyed a good meal which included sausages shaped as octopuses and french fries. In toddler talk it doesn’t get any better than this!
After lunch we went back to the hotel and went swimming. Evan was able to swim the length of the pool without any help! Sure, he looked like a puppy when he came up for air but we were so so proud of him! Bandung then surprised us with a heavy rainstorm but that didn’t keep the boys from running around. A shower, a nap and a few minutes of Disney channel later we were ready to go to dinner.
For dinner we went to the Sushi Tei restaurant in Jalan Sumatera. The boys really enjoyed the food, particularly the kid’s meal. Evan had too much fun getting food from the conveyor belt. Josh was learning to use chopsticks and I was just enjoying a nice ramen soup and a cold bintang.
Early Sunday morning we were ready to explore Bandung a bit more. After a nice hearty breakfast at the hotel we were determined to finally see the Geology Museum.
We got to Jalan Diponegoro where the museum is located and where it turns out the weekend market had set it stakes and the crowd was bustling and ready to do some heavy shopping. Getting there was kind of crazy but tons of fun.
After visiting the museum we walked back to the hotel. We had a wonderful time strolling the clean relatively safe sidewalks of Bandung and really enjoyed the cooler weather. After we packed up and checked out we visited the mall adjacent to the hotel one more time. The boys played for about an hour at Stingers, an arcade game spot before we headed back to the train station.
Our train ride back home was as smooth as the one coming in. We had a great time on this quick weekend trip and we can’t wait to go to Bandung again and discover what else it has to offer.
Bandung is certainly worth a visit if you have little ones. Take the train there, you won’t regret it!
- The train was quite full. We were glad to have tickets for the four of us. Kids can be held on your lap but if you want to make sure you are comfortable for the next few hours I would just get a ticket for the little ones.
- If you are taking the train there, be aware that the toilets are squat toilets. If you are not a squatting pro like me, just avoid drinking any water…. Or practice your squatting skills.
- Taxis are mostly reliable. Be firm and tell them to use a taximeter. They are used to tourists and will try to not use it to get more money.
- If you are going outlet shopping do some research about what you are looking for first. There are hundreds of stores, some nicer than other. We didn’t do any shopping so I cannot say I have any authority to talk about which one is better but I can tell you Jalan Sumatera is a good place to start.
- If you miss walking, Bandung is a great place to walk. We Walked from Jl. Diponegoro to our hotel, stroller in tow and all, and had a decent sidewalk most of the way.