Fringed by jungle and energised by a bustling university, the city of Bandung is very much a tale of two halves. Culture seekers can find an eclectic mix of Dutch colonial history and traditional Indonesian heritage, while adventure fans can head into the countryside for volcano trekking and bike zip-lining. And thanks to its high altitude spot by the lush Parahyangan mountains, this Indonesian city can feel like a refreshing break from Southeast Asia’s humid climate.
Most hostels in Bandung are based within the city centre, close to its shops and attractions. Some reflect the city’s thriving café culture and have their own on-site coffee hangout, while others are set within tropical gardens and feature traditional wooden buildings. You can also find a Bandung hostel with colourful artsy vibes, as well as one with sleek, contemporary interiors. Perks like free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, rooftop spaces, air con and swimming pools can help make your stay feel a little more luxe.
Bandung is made up of lots of different neighbourhoods. Setiabudi, Riau and Cihampelas are the most central areas where you’ll find streets full of shops, nightlife and buzzing cafés. On the outskirts of the city, Lembang has more of a rural setting and is known for its floating markets. The Dago area is a 20-minute drive from the centre where you'll find most of the city's factory outlets as well as leafy, upscale restaurants.
Before you head off into the hills, check out some of the city’s highlights. Paskal Food Market has traditional Indonesian dishes like roti bakar bandung (a type of grilled ham and cheese sandwich), and live music at night. In Jalan Dago, you’ll find some impressive rooftop terrace bars with a hipster vibe. Just over an hour’s drive from the city centre is Tangkuban Perahu, hike to the top of this active volcano to see its boiling mud pool.
Husein Sastranegara International Airport is 4km from Bandung’s centre and has both international and domestic flights. You can catch a taxi into Bandung. South of the city centre (5km) is the bus terminal, which connects up to Cianjur, Bogor and Jakarta. The train station is centrally located and also connects to other cities across the country. In town, angkots (shared taxi vans) can take you from the station to Dago, Ledeng and other areas.