Bandung is situated in a river basin at an elevation of 768 metres and surrounded by volcanic mountains. It has a strong colonial history that goes back to the eighteenth century when the Dutch colonials first established tea plantations in the surrounding hills. It later became a resort city with many luxurious hotel, restaurants, cafe's and boutiques and received it's nickname of Parijs van Java or The Paris of Java.
Today, the city of Bandung still maintains many old colonial buildings and bungalows which can be seen all over the city. It's many tree-lined streets, restaurants and cafes and it's small town feeling attracts people from all over the country. With a mean temperature of just 23 deg C, it's cooler climate make it an ideal getaway for people wanting to escape the heat and humidity of other parts of Indonesia, and being just 140 km away from Jakarta it sees a big influx of local tourists during weekends and public holidays.
As a major centre for garment manufacturing, Bandung attracts investors and clients from all over the world. Tourists from nearby countries such as Singapore and Malaysia arrive everyday to visit it's many factory outlets that sell branded clothing at cheap prices and to enjoy the delicious Sundanese food and snacks.
These are some of the places that I have experienced in Bandung and the surrounding areas of West Java.
Kawah Putih (White Crater) is a volcanic lake in one of the two craters of Mount Patuha. The lake is highly acid and changes colour from bluish to whitish green depending on various factors such as the amount of sulfur present, the level of oxides in the water and the temperature. There are signs posted recommending that visitors limit their stay inside the crater to no longer than 15 minutes as the fumes can be toxic. The ground surrounding the lake is coated yellow with sulfur and and many tree stumps and red stained trees can be found inside the crater.
The journey from Bandung City to Kawah Putih takes about two hours by car. As you drive up the volcano road the temperature drops from around 23 deg C down to as low as 10 deg C as you reach the carpark near the top. It often rains at the top and people rent umbrellas and face masks near the carpark. The lake is often "in the clouds" being at 2,430 metres elevation.
The road up to the crater winds through wooded areas with wild coffee plants
A path leads down to the crater
As the water level drops, boulders and the stumps of dead trees are exposed
Closed shaft in the crater wall
Visitors picnicking outside the crater