Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bargaining at Bandung, Indonesia - 2007

Unlike my Jakarta and Bangkok’s family holiday, Bandung was a trip I had with my best buddies. It was great to be with them but I must tell you the truth that I missed my family so very much throughout my stay in Bandung. I texted home almost every hour and called them at night.

We had our room in Samudra Hotel, a small Bed and Breakfast Inn along Cihampelas Road. Our first visit in Bandung was the Tangkuban Perahu, a volcano crater which is still active, it seemed. As we reached the place after an hour and half of a zig-zagging road ride, we were delighted to actually view the crater so closely that it is worth the journey!

It was chilly that morning so we had to put our sweater on. The pungent smell of sulphur was so strong that it took us some time to get ourselves accustomed to. There were many street-sellers approaching us the minute we stepped our foot out of the car. Yup, I bought a few things from them at a very good bargained price. My best purchase so far from Tangkuban Perahu was a couple of horns resting on a small stand with Quranic verses engraved on it.

The Sari Ater Hot Spring was our next stop after the crater. I had quite a spin on my head, thanks to the winding road and the sulphur smell at Tangkuban Perahu, but the stop at the Hot Springs really made my day! We had a great time dipping our tired feet into the warm water. The green surroundings and the pleasing sound of waterfalls around us really blew my headaches away.

We went around shopping the next day since there were a lot of branded outlets there in Bandung. The Rumah Mode, Mode Plus, Heritage, and other factory outlets located just next to each other almost became our second-home! At night, we strolled along the Cihampelas Road and did our shopping again at the Cihampelas Walk. It was oh-so cheap that I can’t resist myself but to shop!

Pasar Baru was another shopping heaven in Bandung! The textiles were dirt-cheap! We had a few unbranded handbags and shoes from there too. And to make our trip in Bandung town more memorable, we tried the public transport they called Angkutan Kota. It was a mini-van that can be loaded up to 10 persons or so. But with 4 of us and our unbeatable amount of shopping bags, only 5 persons can be loaded at one time! And the ticket fee, Rp5.000 for four of us per way! Unbelievable!!

Besides shopping, there are other things that got me hooked on Bandung. Food!! Nasi Timbel, Bakso and Brownies! We had our Nasi Timbel at Dapur Sangkuriang for lunch. It was a set of plain rice accompanied with Vegetable Sourish Soup, Fried Salty Fish, Fried Toufu, Fried Tempe (fermented soya beans) and Sambal Belacan. It was kind of OK for me and I believe it could may well be an acquired taste to some.

I bought some Brownies Amanda to bring back home - a home made specialty. I’m not so much of a brownies’ fan but their steamed brownies and cookies were really out of this world! I heard Bakso Malang at Chihampelas Walk was delicious too but I did not get the chance to try it.

For dinner, I would suggest you to try heading to The Peak. It was quite far up on the hill, but once you reached there you would love the place to bits. Please mind that it is always chilly in Bandung especially at night. And eating al-fresco right on top of the hill in a posh restaurant would be really romantic for couples. There were live band performances at night and you are free to make your song requests, or even make a request to sing your favourite number accompanied by the band.

The restaurant was lovely especially if you opt for outdoor seats under the moonlight and shiny stars but it was too cold that night that we had to move in to dine. It serves fusion food, but it was not just about the food. It was the ambience and the company I had which were second to none!

My special thanks to my Bandung friends, Citra and Anin for their hospitality and warmth, and for being really helpful throughout my stay there. I’ll be back in Bandung one fine day, and that time it will be with my beloved husband and my little boy!

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