The Sights and Sounds of Bandung

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

bandung travel guide

By the end of the almost four-hour train ride aboard the Argo Parahyangan from Jakarta, you would have already enjoyed a montage of Indonesian everyday life. Swaths of farmlands, rows of shanties, kids in Batik uniform, and a graveyard for trains are scenes that would have already sped past your window. For just IDR120,000 (about PHP445), this train, complete with foot rests and pillows, will take you to Bandung, Parisj van Java.
jakarta to bandung train
Where trains go to die

The Paris of Java.

Why this West Java capital calls itself this is apparent in the many high-end hotels, cafes, boutiques, outlet stores, and shopping centers that, for the most part, make up its topography. Bandung, for all intents and purposes, had taken these vestiges of European colonialism – this “legacy” of the Dutch tea plantation owners that used to be the city’s inhabitants – and owned it. But beyond the retail therapy and luxurious staycations, its real character – Bandung's true colors, if you will – proves to be equally, if not more, enticing.

Read: Hotel Review | Sheraton Bandung

Art Without Nature is Nothing
On the northern part of Bandung lies a wonderland of metal, trees, and imagination. The NuArt Sculpture Park – all five hectares of it – has been providing artists and art connoisseurs a dedicated space since 2000. But before the park hosted workshops, exhibits, and a watering hole in the form of N Café, it was (and still is) the atelier of prominent Bali-born and Bandung-educated sculptor Nyoman Nuarta.
things to do in bandung
Of real and metal trees
what to do in bandung indonesia

what to do in indonesia

Through copper and brass, Nyoman Nuarta comments on social and environmental issues. “Everything you see is a protest,” he says. And when you see them for yourself, you’d know it’s true. His works on display may appear whimsical. In truth, they are crafted out of dark and awful inspirations. From the 9/11 to indiscriminate whale-fishing, Nuarta draws inspiration from a gamut of the most horrible natural calamities and the worst of human failures.
things to do in bandung

things to do in bandung
Inspired by the Aceh Tsunami of 2004
things to do in bandung
A piece on the May 1998 riots of Indonesia where at least 168 cases of rape were reported
nuart scuplture park
The master sculptor himself
But like all artists, Nuarta remains hopeful. He continues to do what he does best – creating a sort of bliss out of discontentment. Beside a waterfall, he and his team persist in heat and toil, breathing life to another masterpiece that is set to stand in Bali in 2018.
things to do in bandung
A waterfall right beside the workshop
things to do in bandung
Nuarta's team in action
A piece that will soon be part of the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali
NuArt Sculpture Park
Jalan Setra Duta Raya No. L 6
Bandung, West Java
T: +62 22 2017812; +62 22 2017816; +62 22 2020414
Instagram: @nuartpark
Operating Hours: Sun – Thurs 9AM to 5PM; Fri – Sat 9AM to 9PM
Entrance Fee: Free until further notice

It Takes a Bamboo Village
Rustic; an idyll of bamboo and pastoral scenery – these perfectly describe the Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park. The park incorporates the humble but pliant bamboo in almost all of its structures, inspiring a sense of nostalgia and a desire for rural life.
things to do in bandung

things to do in bandung

things to do in bandung

Read: Where to Eat in Bandung

Attractions such as Café Burangrang, an Alice In Wonderland-themed playground, floating cottages, and Birdcage – a network of dining coves ala bird’s nests – make for a delightful weekend with the whole family.
things to do in bandung
Cafe Burangrang
things to do in bandung
Birdcage - dining coves ala bird's nests
Dusun Bambu Family Leisure Park
Kolonel Masturi KM 11, Cisarua
Bandung, West Java
T: +62 8 2782020
Instagram: @dusun_bambu
Operating Hours: Mon to Sun 8AM to 9PM
Entrance Fee: IDR15,000/person

Nature, Culture in Harmony
Perhaps the greatest showcase of Bandung’s character can be found in Udjo’s House of Angklung. Established in 1966 by the late Udjo Nalagena and his wife Uum Sumiyati, Saung Angklung Udjo (SAU) was built to preserve West Java’s Sundanese art and culture. Their efforts paid off when angklung – a traditional bamboo musical instrument – was included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.
things to do in bandung

things to do in bandung
During the "Mask Dance" performance
At present, SAU continues to be a haven where Sundanese traditions thrive. Its cultural show entitled “Kaulinan Urang Lembur”, or The Villagers’ Playtime, is a collection of educational and engaging performances. It includes a wayang golek (wooden puppet) demonstration, helaran (harvest celebration) rites, an angklung orchestral performance, and an interactive angklung demonstration where the audience gets to learn how to play the instrument.
saung angklung udjo
Angklung, and Arumba (Alunan, RUMpa and BAmbu) - a traditional musical instrument in diatonic tone scale - performance
saung angklung udjo
Angklung Orchestra
how to play angklung
Angklung Interactive where the audience gets to try the musical instrument
wayang golek or wooden puppet

Aside from providing an avenue for art and culture to prosper, SAU also dedicates itself to the conservation and preservation of the natural environment, staying true to the principle of harmony it was anchored on. The cultural sanctuary works with Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry in the latter’s efforts to reforest the country.

Saung Angklung Udjo (SAU)
Jl. Padasuka 118
Bandung, West Java
T: +62 22 727 1714; +62 22 710 1736
Facebook : Saung Angklung Udjo
Twitter : @angklungudjo
Instagram : @angklungudjo
Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 9AM to 6PM
Fees: (Cultural Show) Weekdays, Local IDR60,000, Foreigners IDR100,000; Weekends, Local IDR70,000, Foreigners IDR110,000; Cultural Visit IDR20,000; Parking is free
Cultural Show Schedule: Mon - Sat 10AM to 11:30AM, 1PM to 2:30PM, 3:30PM to 5:30PM, and 6:30PM to 8PM. A group visit with a minimum of 50 guests should make an appointment at least two weeks in advance.

Want to know more about Bandung? Visit the official website of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and learn more about this city and other popular destinations in Indonesia. If you’re planning a trip to Bandung, check out also my review of the very posh Sheraton Bandung Hotel, and these cool places to eat in this bustling metropolis

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