Saturday, October 12, 2013

Indonesia: Bandung 3D2N Trip


Last month, I went to Bandung, Indonesia with my awesome colleagues.  Did I mention they are awesome? Oh yes I did.  I know most of you have colleagues from hell so I’m just trying to rub it in your face that I have awesome colleagues.

Okay I’ll stop here before you unfollow me.

Anyway, our trip was a 3-day, 2-night excursion and I had been searching so deep into Google’s ass trying to find a recap on whether you can do Bandung, shopping haven, in just two days.  Turns out, you can, ‘coz I did it.  So if you’re wondering how it is possible, please enjoy my travel diarrhea here.

Since there was no direct flight from Sabah to Bandung, we took the last flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur the night before.  Then, we boarded the first flight from KL to Bandung, which was at 6.20 a.m.  So yeah, we slept (barely and horrifically) at the airport.


DAY 1

Yes, your brain won't be able to compute on how to smile with lack of sleep

Upon arriving, our driver (which we had pre-arranged) came to pick us up.  

Bandung town

By the way, we reached Bandung at 7.35 a.m. (it is an hour earlier there).  We went straight to our also pre-booked hotel, which was Edelweis Hotel.

Right after we dumped our things and get our faces washed (time was of the essence, so a hot shower at night could wait), we went straight to Pasar Baru.

Pasar Baru is well, a pasar, a market.



A huge market for clothes, bags and shoes.  Stuffs there are cheap and aplenty.  If you’re a Muslim Malay, not to be racist but, you would feel like you have died and went to baju kurung-kebaya-batik-telekung-tudung-kain heaven.  Even I went nuts buying materials to make baju kebayas.  One set of material is about RM50.  I bought enough materials to make kebayas to last me for 10 years of working.  

Now I just need to get a tailor.  

There are also bags and shoes, but of course, the bags are complete, obvious knock-offs.  But if that doesn't bother you, then knock yourself out.

Mom's "Prada"

Again, since time was of the essence, we thought of just spending at least 3 hours there, like just grab whatever we see we like and buy whatever souveniers that are right in front of us.  However, we ended up leaving the place 6 hours later.  There were just too many things, too many choices.

After Pasar Baru, we were taken to Toko Tiga.

Sorry for the crappy photo, took it from inside our MPV

I’m not sure whether this shop is considered a factory outlet, but within this shop there are different jeans brand in every corner.  Levi’s of course take the biggest portion of the shop.  The Levi’s jeans here are definitely genuine as they do sell new arrival items (about RM230), with the discounted ones.  Here, I bought two Levi’s jeans, about RM90 each.  

Do you feel bad buying a RM250 Levi's jeans now? Do ya?
There were also other T-shirt brands like DC Comics, Ralph Lauren and Nike.  I bought a few superhero T-shirts and a polo tee which costed about RM30 each.  The goods here look pretty genuine to me.

When we were done, we went to Jalan Riau, where the whole street is just made of factory outlet stores. 


There are various brands, from mid-ends to high ends here.  Though I read online tips that really high-ended brands like Gucci and Versace are obvious fakes.  Genuine ones are like Mango, Zara and Topshop.  And as you enter every outlet, the clothes are pretty much the same.  However, I didn’t get anything for myself, just for other people.  I don’t know, none of the clothes seemed to interest me. 

What caught my attention was this fabulous snack called Es Durian.  It was real durian fruit mixed with ice cream and poured with like, 5 types of sauce.  Orgasmic.

I didn't capture a photo of it, but here is a photo of me secretly having an orgasm while eating it.
And a stall selling brownies with my name on it. 

Business is doing well

And this dude.

Try finding his dick...Gotcha! He's wearing shorts, you perve.

You’d think with the very limited time we have, we’d spent the whole night shopping.  By the time it was 8 p.m., we were beat so decided to call the day off and went back to our hotel, after ordering Indonesian food takeways.

DAY 2

Our initial plan for the trip was just solely for shopping.  But since we had bought most of our stuff on day one, we thought that a little sight-seeing, out of a department store would be nice.

Hence, at 8 a.m., we went to Tangkuban Perahu, which was about a 30-minute drive uphill from town.

I wasn't digging my nose okay.  Nor was I touching it.  That'd be so weird.

Tangkuban Perahu is a volcano crater.  And another one of nature’s great wonder that I was so happy to be alive to see.  

The crater
Wasn't smelling my armpit either.

After taking photos at every nook and cranny of the place, we went back to town.

Oh, before we reached town, we stopped at a strawberry farm.  Here, for a small fee, you can pick strawberries and you can either take it home with you, or get your strawberries juiced.  Only my colleagues did it, I just wanted to enjoy the products of their sweat.  The strawberries tasted a bit sour for my liking though.  Maybe I'm used to eating artificially sweet strawberry flavoured food, and I couldn't accept reality.

But they spent more time taking photos instead.

Products of their sweat and camwhoring

And oh, before heading back to town, we were brought to this really sweet touristy-hole restaurant, called 
Kampung Daun.

Here, taking photos is more important than eating

The tables are scattered all over the “forest” so you have to “trek” the path to reach your table, which is actually a luxurious hut with throw pillows and blinds.

Taking selfies along the way

Making waiters take our photos

As for the food, well, my nasi ayam penyet wasn’t that ass-burning like the one I had the day before at Pasar Baru.

While waiting for our driver, we fooled around with a couple of horses at the car park.  The horses there are meant for riding (with a guide), but we just wanted to camwhore with them pretty horses.

Lucky/poor horsey, I know

TO NARNIAAA!

Realising our driver was actually there waiting for us at a secluded area, watching as we were squealing excitedly (and in fear) on the horses - well, I did most of the squealing when the horse jerked a bit, we then ran sheepishly to our MPV and made a move back to town.

We continued our shopping and this time, it was at Rumah Mode, the most famous factory outlet store in Bandung.  

Posing with the Goddess of Shopaholics
Since it was a Saturday, the place was brimming with people.  


Since there were too many humans, I only had enough will to get three pieces of clothes.

Unlike the other factory outlets we went, the stuff here are slightly expensive, but of better quality and fashion.  In my opinion.  Or else I wouldn’t have gotten anything.  


Rumah Mode is a good place to shop for branded, quality goods, but there’s only one thing about the store that is a little bit worrying.

THERE’S NO WALL IN THIS TOILET STALL. 

DAFUQ?

WHAT IF PEOPLE WALK BEHIND YOU? WHAT IF CURIOUS SHOPPERS (like me) DECIDED TO STICK THEIR HEAD OUT AND CHECK OUT THE NEXT STALL? WHY MUST THEY BUILD SUCH MONSTROSITY?

Other than that, Rumah Mode is a must go outlet when in Bandung.  Around Rumah Mode, there are two more outlets around this area, and that’s it.

Our last shopping destination was at Jalan Dago. 


 Like, Jalan Riau, the whole street is made up of factory outlets.  And being such a surprising-myself-picky shopper, I didn’t get anything here.  Bear in mind that I was the one with a anti-shopaholic problem here, don’t let my opinion make you think that there’s actually nothing to shop in Bandung, ‘coz my colleagues bought extra luggages to fit the products of their damage.   I thought I’d go all out, as I did plan to go all out (I brought RM2K to splurge), yet there I was, my ovaries decided to stop producing estrogen to make me think and act like a normal girl.  Even my male colleague bought more stuffs than I did.  I probably need to get tested.

Anyway, when we were done shopping, our last destination was none other than Malaysian-born, Giants.  Like how I always do in my travels, I like to buy food stuffs that aren’t found at home.

Except for the nuts and notebook

We also laughed our tourist-ass off at weird brand names.

Though I have nothing against effeminism.

Soon, it was already a Saturday night in Bandung.  Did I get hammered in any pubs like I usually do?
Unfortunately, there weren’t any pubs within the vicinity of our hotel.  In fact, the nearest club to our hotel was quite far to walk to (damn you lying Google Maps).

We ended up at a family-friendly karaoke joint.


Drinking a bottle of RM10 Heneiken didn’t make it any less lame.  Note: Yes, alcohol here seems to be quite cheap.  Unlike Malaysia and Singapore. 

But it’s something – a little buzz to end our trip.


DAY 3

On our last day, I wanted to get those famed brownies my good friend had told me about.  And also I wanted to try the brownies that copyrighted my name.  So we went to these two bakeries before heading to the airport.

Idiot tourists posing in front of a bakery

Should I sue them? And make them give me a lifetime free supply of brownies?

And so our extremely short shopping-sightseeing excursion ended when we board our plan back to Malaysia.

Taking photo illegally while carrying my spoils from Kartika Sari Bakery

As you can see, you CAN do Bandung in 3 days.  But you have to do it like us.

TIPS

As usual, here are some tips according to my travel experience!  Just mine.

1. Getting there/around

If you’re travelling from Sabah, you can do like what we did – take the last flight to KL, have a measly sleep at the airport, and board the earliest flight to Bandung. Or, you can take a direct flight to Jakarta.  From Jakarta, you can take a train to Bandung, or hire a driver to fetch you from the airport and take you straightaway to Bandung.  Your preference of travelling will depend on your cost, comfort and how much sleep you’re willing to lose.  I think I only had 2 hours of complete sleep when we reached Bandung.

Make some arrangements with a driver to take you around Bandung, prior your journey.  They will fetch you at the airport, and can take you wherever you want to go and will of course wait for you, even if you die among the throng of people in the factory outlet stores.

And if your driver is nice, he will give you travelling tips, like not to buy “fresh” strawberries from walking vendors as the strawberries are artificially sweetened.  Or he might enlighten you with tales of sleeping policemen in Indonesia. 

Our driver is awesome so I think you should just e-mail this guy, Usman at uusindi@yahoo.com.

2. Accomodation

We stayed at Edelweis Hotel.  

You can deduce that someone was pantless here.


Pretty basic, not so clean (read stained, flimsy towels, dirty floor etc), but there's free breakfast.  About RM70 per night for a twin bed room.  Nothing to look at/go around the vicinity, which is at Setiabudi.  There's only a walking distance family-friendly karaoke joint.  Oh wait, there is one high-class escort-friendly karaoke joint, about two shops next to the hotel.  So yeah, not a place I'd recommend if you want to go night sight-seeing after your driver drop you off.  Anyway, in my opinion, if you have a driver, it doesn't matter where you stay, unless like I said, you want to go bitching around the area on your own.

Pre-book hotels online.  On weekends, hotels might be fully-booked as Bandung is a shopping hotspot for tourists and locals.  I did it through Agoda.com.  Whatever you do, email the hotel to reconfirm your booking.  Do some research on which area you want to stay. 

3. Shopping

Refer to the shopping spots I went above.  Since you might be buying lots of stuff for yourself and probably more for your family from your first to seventh generation, it is wise to just buy cheap luggage bags there.
RM1 = Rp3510.  So you might get confused with the 'large' currency there.  You will also feel like a fucking millionaire.  If you're planning to buy clothes to last you for a lifetime, RM1-2K should suffice.

That's 7 million rupees yo!
The best thing to do is to have a currency converter apps, or you refer to this if your Internet connection there frustrates you.  You're welcome.

As for souvenirs, you don't have to find them.  Vendors selling trinkets will come and find you.  And they will make big puppy eyes to make you buy from them.  THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.  Outside all the factory outlet stores.  If you are good in bargaining, you can get them keychains at a very low price.  

4. Sight-seeing

The only sight-seeing worthy place that I went was Tangkuban Perahu.  Even if you are pressed for time, go and marvel at mother nature's dormant volcanic crater.  Who knows, one day it might erupt and wipe out the whole area and you will be left thinking, "Well shit, I should've gone there when I had the chance".



5. Food

Do enjoy the local food.  Since nasi ayam penyet is just about my favourite Indonesian delicacy, I had it two days in a row.  The one at Pasar Baru food court was fantastic, and fantastically spicy, I think I burnt my shorts when I farted fire out of my ass.  Also don't forget to go to that touristy restaurant that I mentioned.  The nasi ayam penyet there was meh, but just enjoy the ambiance.  There will be lots of stalls and selling snacks and even full meals, so if you have a strong stomach, do try it out.  You may need some Pil Chi Kit Teck Auns for emergency though.  The source of water there is quite questionable as well (our driver told us - not being prude), so buy bottled water.

Oh, do buy (a lot) of those brownies that I mentioned above.  BOTH BROWNIES ARE MADE IN HEAVEN, BY THE HANDS OF GOD HIMSELF, USING UNICORN POOP FOR CHOCOLATE, AND CHEESE LAYER FROM UNICORN’S MILK, WHICH TEETS WERE MILKED BY HEAVENLY ANGELS.  



Or there probably was marijuana it in.  ‘Coz it was just that damn good.  Secret Recipe’s brownies ain't got anything on them babies.

6. Clothing

Wear something comfortable.  Shorts and flip flops, or sneakers if you prefer.  'Coz you'll be walking a lot.  The only cool place is Tangkuban Perahu, so make sure you bring a jacket.  Anyway I wore a skimpy summer dress there and I didn't die, so if you forgot your jacket, you don't have to make your driver turn around and go back to the hotel.  

See, still standing and posing at random places.

Also make sure you travel during the dry season.  Just ask Google when it is.

7. Company

Make sure you travel with a group of people that you like.  The overwhelming shopping experience in Bandung can turn your bestfriend into a shopaholic monster.  You might need to wait for hours for your travel buddies to be done with their shopping, or you might end up with people like me who walks around the stores for only 5 minutes, and bugs others to be quick.  Both kinds of people are annoying.  Choose your shopping buddies wisely.  

If you're a quick shopper like me, a dude would be a better choice.

8. Safety

Bandung is relatively safe.  Police are everywhere, but according to our driver, all they do is sleep on the job.  But of course, always travel in groups and be careful with your belongings, especially in crowded areas like Pasar Baru and Rumah Mode.  At Pasar Baru, you can arrange with your driver to get you a guide to take you around there, to speak to the locals or to even carry your stuff, you horrible person.  Leave a tip of course.

Our helpful slave I mean guide

With all that being said, if you have any questions, you can just PM me on Facebook.  Seriously.  Feel free to let me know that you are going to Bandung 'coz I badly want to have them brownies in my mouth again.  

 So, so bad.