Aside from its delicious cool weather and other sights, Bandung is known for being home to lots of clothing factory outlets. Popular with weekending Jakartans, Singaporeans and Malaysians, it’s also a great spot for Westerners to dig out bargains as the outlets tend to stock larger sizers than you’ll find in ordinary Indonesian malls.
We hate shopping passionately, which makes Bandung perfect for us; you jump in and do it for a day (or two — three or four if you actually like shopping) and you’re done for the year.
Three locations, a short taxi ride from each other, have concentrations of outlets — Dago, Jalan Setiabudi and Jalan Riau — and within each area you can walk between shops. It’s a real treasure hunt — even the crappiest looking outlet stuffed with fakes may harbour a pile of genuine New York and Company T-shirts at nutso prices in a corner. But do be warned — a lot of the stuff is junk. You’ve got to work for your bargains.
Real brands you may find include Zara, Old Navy, Gap, Mossimo, SOliver, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Banana Republic, Mango, New York and Company, Ann Taylor… And a lot are not actually Zara, Old Navy, Gap, Mossimo, SOliver, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Banana Republic, Mango, New York and Company, Ann Taylor.
When there’s a proper tag with the importing nation’s price tag on it, you can be pretty sure it’s the real deal. But just because it’s missing the tag doesn’t mean it’s not real; we’re pretty sure we found plenty of genuine stuff without them. Feel the quality of the fabric and check the labels — obviously a typo is a dead giveaway, but the fakes here tend to be quite decent copies.
The final test of course is in the change room. If the fabric feels good, the cut is good, and the price fair, who cares about the label?
On our latest trip, bargains we found included a Mossimo top with a tag of $17.99 going for 69,000 rupiah* (Grande), Ann Taylor pants marked at $89 for about 150,000 rupiah (Rumah Mode), lovely Zara cardigans with no sizes on the tags but genuine-appearing for 189,000 (Anthropology) and SOliver tops with a tag for 29.95 euros going for 49,000 rupiah (Fashion World). We found a great New York and Company jersey black shift dress for 107,000 at Mode Plus and a stunning MNG-tagged yellow shift dress for 175,000 at Summit; the tag on the latter was a bit iffy, but the fabric and cut so good we’re sure it’s the real deal.
Do check — we saw one Old Navy men’s tee at Fashion World marked at $8.99 with a rupiah tag for 99,000.
So where to head? Your precise itinerary will depend on where you stay, but we’d thoroughly recommend lovely Hummingbird, which is just a two-minute walk from Heritage. We’ve also stayed at Amaris, which did the job, but without the charm of Hummingbird.
We didn’t find too much to our liking at Heritage, nor at Cascade next door. Things can change fast though, so it’s of course worth having a look. From Heritage though you’re walking distance from at least another half dozen outlets, including Secret and Summit, both of which we found quite a bit at.
From here, grab a streetside bakso or maybe some durian ice cream. If you want more luxe surrounds, pop back to Hummingbird to eat (and drop your stuff off in your room), or Giggle Box, two minutes further down Jalan Progo, where they make a mean caramel coffee frappe for 18,000 rupiah.
Then you’ll want to grab a cab (about 30,000 rupiah) to Rumah Mode, another of the key outlets, located on Jalan Setiabudi — traffic can get bad, so it can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. Rumah Mode is a biggie, so allow for a bit of time here. Next door is Mode Plus, then Fashion World, which is among our favourites for jeans and long pants.
From here, grab another cab to Anthropology on Jalan Juanda in the Dago area. Make sure you give the street address — or you’ll end up on Jalan Antropologi, miles away. Ahem. So we can’t let you know what the direct cab price should be. Anthropology has the loveliest change rooms of anywhere we went this time around (trailed by Rumah Mode) and though the vast majority of stuff here we didn’t like, the Zara cardigan find made the stop worthwhile.
From Anthropology, grab an angkot on the street (same side) and head to Grande — pronounced Grander — two minutes down the hill. It should cost 2,000 rupiah (or maybe less). Keep heading downhill and you’ll hit loads more outlets — Glow, Level, House of Donatello and more.
A cab from here back to Hummingbird cost us (13,000 rupiah).
You can also hire a driver for the day; we did this the first time about a year ago when there were a few of us. The hotel offered us a driver with car for the day for 350,000 rupiah before fuel and driver’s meals; much pricier than just catching cabs when you need them — look for Bluebird or slightly cheaper GR — and as always, make sure the drivers turns the meter on.
Overall, expect to find loads of tops and pants for both men and women, plus women’s dresses; they don’t have a lot of is skirts; lingerie is very limited; and a lot of the kids selections are all-polyester crap. Shoes, bags and wallets are sold by the truckload as well, but to us they look more obviously cheap and the shoes never fit us so, yeah — we stuck to clothes.
Most outlets have a toilet tucked away somewhere, of varying degrees of cleanliness. Expect to be accosted by the occasional tout; a polite no is all you should need to say to be left alone. And as mentioned at the outset, shopping is popular on weekends, so if you can come to Bandung on a weekday instead, you’ll find it all a bit more relaxed.
Jalan Cihampelas is another outlet area, but mostly for fairly crappy quality jeans — unless you have kids in tow and you want to show them the superheros jumping out of the signs along the street, we’d skip this area. Spend the extra few hours on lulur and massage at Bersih Sehat, which has an outlet five minutes’ from Hummingbird by taxi.
* The rupiah-USD exchange rate today is 11,260 rupiah to the dollar.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 28th November, 2014.