It’s now been three years since I first discovered Southeast Asia. After visiting Malaysia, Borneo, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, I was hooked on the region. 2013 was quite the year.
Recently, my good friends at the Martian Arts Tattoo Studio took a well-deserved journey to some of the same places I had visited. Upon seeing their photos of familiar, yet foreign lands, nostalgia quickly crept up on me.
Not a week later, my “brothers” from Indonesia sent me a Facebook message with a photo album, reminding me of their country’s beauty. In 2013, I serendipitously met these guys on a late-night bus ride from Penang, Malaysia, northbound to Phuket, Thailand. That’s the way it is on the road; you’re always making friends when you least expect it. They were taking a vacation from their business careers and I was drifting around, paying heed to whatever destination called me.
I didn’t plan on it, but we ended up hanging out in Phuket for quite a few days, meeting up for dinners and partying in Pattaya. The looked after me, calling me their sister, and even inspired me to write about what is takes to be a “real” backpacker. Ever since, we’ve been in contact, and the idea of visiting Indonesia has not left me.
When most people think of Indonesia, they think of the paradise of Bali. And while I would undoubtedly love to see Bali, they are many other places I’d love to see. For example, I’d love to go back to Borneo (this time, the Indonesian side!) or visit Sumatra to see orangutans in the wild. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m a total animal lover!) I’d also love to see the capital city, Jakarta, as well as a city that’s recently come to my attention for its incredible natural landscapes- Bandung.
So, here’s my vision:
After arriving in Jakarta and exploring the capital for a few days, catching up with my brothers, I’d head south to Bandung. I’d check into the Hilton Bandung, enjoy the hotel’s facilities, and then head out to explore Braga Street in the city center, which was historically a promenade in the 1920s. Before hitting up the Grand Mosque, I’d grab a coffee at a vegan-friendly café, like LN Fortunate coffee. After exploring important sites like Gedung Sate, The Konferensi Asia Afrika Museum, and the Bandung Geological Museum, I’d then head to a late lunch or early dinner (vegan, obviously!) at Kehiidipan Tidak Pernah Berakhir or Tahu Yun-Yi.
The next day, I’d head over to Villa Isola, or Bumi Siliwangi, in the northern region of Bandung. Designed by the Dutch architect, Wolff Schoemaker, in 1933, it’s an interesting combination of Dutch and Indonesian philosophies. As it now serves as the head office for the University of Education Indonesia, it would hopefully give me some insight into the longstanding Dutch occupation of Indonesia. After roaming the grounds, I would wait around with my camera for golden hour, as there are supposed to be spectacular views of the city here.
In the following days, I’d explore some of Bandung’s natural wonders, such as the volcano site of Tangkuban Perahu, Patenggang Lake, or Kawah Puti. Whenever I travel, I try to balance out my time spent in cities with equal immersion in nature, which is one of the reasons I’d love to visit Bandung. Tangkuban Perahu, meaning “up-turned boat,” is Bandung’s most renowned volcano with three large craters. After hiking around, I’d be sure to see Kawah Domas, the crater strewn with hot geysers. With luck on my side, it would be a clear day, and I’d be able to spot the Java Sea off in the distance before heading to the nearby Ciater tea plantations.
After a week or two of properly navigating Bandung, I would hopefully meet up with my Indonesian brothers again, heading to a lesser-known locations like Luengbata, to swim, snorkel, dive, and enjoy the underwater world of the southern hemisphere.
This, my friends, is one of my Southeast Asian dreams.
If you long to see Southeast Asia as well, traveloka.com can help you plan your adventure.
Have you traveled to Bandung or Indonesia? If so, what was your experience? What would you recommend? Please respond in the comments below!
*This is a sponsored post. However, like everything else, it is reflective of my opinions only.