In instances like this, I get reminded of why I enjoy my job. Thanks to a new project, I recently went for a week to Bandung in Indonesia.
Admittedly this wouldn’t be my first choice if I were to travel, and I’ve never heard of Bandung before this… but I would never pass up the chance to explore given that I have to go here anyway. So I asked for an extension in my stay until the weekend, and started googling to find out what this place has to offer.
Bandung is the capital city of West Java province. From Jakarta, the drive (assuming there’s no traffic) would take around two hours. But Indonesia has a lot of traffic (comparable to the Philippines), so I had a feeling that the drive going here from Jakarta would take longer than that. So I instead asked the travel agent to find me a flight that goes directly to Bandung (BDO) airport. It’s a good thing I did, my client took the flight to Jakarta and hired a taxi to go to Bandung, and it took them 4 hours to get to the hotel. While mine took 30-40 minutes with traffic.
For a lot of nationalities, there’s no need to get a visa to travel to Indonesia. You just need to pay a fee upon arrival for an entry visa valid up to 30 days.
This is the view of the city from my hotel. The city is close to the mountains and above sea level so the climate here is a bit cooler and not as hot and sticky as I expected.
As for currency, the conversion rate between AUD and Rupiah is pretty good. At the time I went 1 AUD = 10,000 rupiah. So this will probably be the only time I can say I was a millionaire 🙂
Indonesia is mainly a Muslim country. I don’t know much about the religion, only that there’s a lot of terrorist acts in the news coming from Muslims. But the people I met here were so far from that. From my client to the taxi drivers, they are indeed very devout in their religion, but they don’t force those beliefs on you and treated us very kindly. For the women their belief requires them to have a head covering and wearing long skirts or pants.. At certain times in the day you’ll find less people around when they have a regular scheduled call to prayer. They strictly follow this especially every Friday at 12 pm. Where it’s mandatory that everyone does this. This is why as you explore the city.. from the offices to the department stores to the hotels, you’ll find everywhere signs pointing to prayer rooms or mosques. That way regardless of where you are, once there’s a scheduled prayer you can just go into one of these places to pray.
For westerners who aren’t used to going to 3rd world countries, the chaos and traffic in the roads might be a bit of a shock. There’s an insane amount of traffic, so many motorcycles just weaving in and out of the traffic.. And pedestrians just crossing anywhere in the road.
To get around, the easiest way is to hire a taxi.. You can then make arrangements to have the taxi for the whole day, or have an agreed drop off and pick up time. I went through the hotel so that we would get a trusted taxi.. The cost is 8,000 rupiah (8 aud) for an hour for a minimum of 4 hours.. It’s pretty cheap.. But I think its possible to find cheaper outside..
Based on google and what my client over there said, Bandung is known as a weekend destination for a lot of Malaysians and local Indonesians for a foodie trip, for bargain shopping, and for others a little bit of sightseeing.
In my short stay there I managed to touch on all three, and will talk about those in my next post.