Photo: Tea country.


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Fringed by volcanic peaks blanketed in tea and coffee plantations, Bandung is a hectic urban hub and the heartland of West Java’s Sundanese culture, and while, like many Indonesian cities, first impressions are less than favourable, maybe it’s the traffic (yes, it is the traffic), but this response is only fleeting if you wipe back a layer of grime and discover Bandung’s charms.

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Keep reading to learn more about Bandung!

Located approximately 150 kilometres southeast of the nation’s capital, Jakarta, Bandung is Indonesia’s third largest city (and at times it feels like it) and is the provincial capital of West Java, once dubbed “Parijs van Java” (the Paris of Java) for its charming colonial boulevards and laid back hill-town feel.

Big city, bright colours... Photo taken in or around Bandung, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Big city, bright colours... Photo: Sally Arnold

Although Bandung has lost much of its former appeal, what remains from this colonial legacy is one of the world’s greatest concentrations of Art déco architecture (albeit much crumbling or razed by rampant haphazard development), and a manufacturing industry which has given rise to numerous factory outlets, today a huge tourism draw. The prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) establish by the Dutch is one of the oldest educational intuitions in the country and today Bandung continues to be a seat of academia, known for creative innovation and not to mention the serious, almost cult-like coffee culture springing from the Dutch initiated plantations.

The earliest written evidence of the area now known as Bandung was in connection to the 15th century Pajajaran Kingdom, but the city as we know it today was developed by the Dutch in the late 18th century. Plantations of tea, rubber, coffee and cinchona (for quinine then used in antimalarials and tonic water, essential in a G&T) were established in the surrounding highlands, and in the early 19th century a supply road running the length of Java was constructed connecting Bandung to ports in Batavia (Jakarta) Cirebon, Semarang, Surabaya and the world beyond, the Bandung section of this “Great Post Road” (De Groote Postweg) is today Jalan ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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