A Romancing Date with Nature

Halo-halo Bandung!!! That is the Bandungnese way of saying 'Welcome to Bandung'!

Separated by hills, mountains, tiny towns and villages some 180 kilometers away from Jakarta is Bandung. Bandung's charm as an old city trails back to five centuries ago. From its humble beginning as part of the Padjajaran kingdom to the administrative capital of the Dutch colonial ruler, Bandung is today serving as the proud capital of the West Java province. In 1946, local rebellions to drive away the colonial ruler was recorded in the history textbook. Dozens of building were destroyed and set on fire. A historical chapter known as 'Bandung lautan api' (or literally translated to 'Bandung - Ocean of Fire'). The song 'Halo-halo Bandung' expresses the passion, loyalty and love that the Bandungnese have for their homeland. A line that has now become the signature greeting of the Bandungnese to all visitors.

In another historic moment, Bandung played host to the first ever world's peace conference. Attended by 29 countries from Asian to African continents, the conference produced the Non-block declaration to promote peaceful relationships between countries. The summit was known as Konferensi Asia Afrika (Asia-African Summit). After the summit, leaders from the participating nations walk hand-in-hand as they stroll down the road - in show of the spirit of togetherness and unity. The road is now known as Asia-Africa Road.

The splendid geographical location and landscape give Bandung distinct advantages to many other cities in the world. Bandung is surrounded by hills and mountains resulting from the volcanic activity and plate movement beneath. The combination of such factors as high soil fertility and cool weather condition make Bandung a hotbed for agriculture development - from tea to padi growing, from fruits to vegetables. A view from the top sees Bandung city circled by mountains and high terrains - making the city uniquely shaped like a gigantic bowl. This unique feature gives Bandung a natural advantage when comes to military defense. This was one reason Bandung was chosen as the administrative center by the Dutch.

Sitting 800 meters above the sea level, Bandungnese get to enjoy moderately cool temperature of 22 degree celcius all year round. Today, Bandung is designated as 'The Paris of Java'. Tourism has become the top economic pillar of the city. According to the latest statistics, Bandung is home to three millions people. Majority of the locals are of Sunda ethnicity.

The gate to Bandung is accessible via four main routes. The most travelled route is the CiPuLarang (Cikampek, Purwakarta and Padalarang) highway. This highway serves as the most direct connection between Jakarta and Bandung. A drive through CiPuLarang consumes about 1.5 to 2 hours. This is the shortest and guaranteed to be jam-free as compared to all other routes that might take as long as 5 hours to travel, depending on the time of the day, day of the week and town activities.

Since the completion of CiPuLarang highway, tourism industry in Bandung has seen tremendous growth and major makeovers. From architectural blend between the West and the traditional Javanese touch. From the view of city landscape from mountaintop to the view of the majestic mountains from the city. From fine dining to traditional dining by the padi field. From high-rise luxurious apartments to traditional bamboo houses. From shopping experience at one of the factory outlets to traditional delicacies served by the roadside.

Many Jakartanese love to spend their weekends and festive holidays with their families in Bandung. Just to enjoy the scenic city lights from the valley top. Or enjoy the companions of family members as everyone get together to dine at the bamboo hut right in the middle of the padi field. Or healthy workout at one of the nature trekking destination. Or pick and eat at one of the strawberry farms.

So the next time you visit Bandung, get ready to be enchanted. Every trip to Bandung is a romancing date with nature.

1 comment: