Category: Bandung

Bandung to Pangandaran

Traveling from Bandung to Pangandaran, I decided to try one of Indonesia’s small, regional airlines – Susi Air.

I found Bandung’s airport very impressive. It’s very comfortable and modern, despite its small size. Everyone was very friendly, and helpful. The baggage screeners even had a cheery disposition.

The airport at the other end is in Cijulang, about 25 km from Pangandaran. If you need transport to Pangandaran or Batu Karas, Susi Air offeres a shuttle service to either place for Rp.25,000 – schedule it when you buy the ticket. If you have another destination, There are a few ojeks (motor bike taxis) waiting outside.

The plane I was on was a fairly new, 12 seat Cessna Grand Caravan. From the time I bought my ticket, to I got off the plane in Pangandaran (Cijulang), the service was fantastic. I was late getting to the ticket office the day I bought my ticket, but my friend Tara called the ticket agent (a little Bahasa Indinesian helps), and she waited. The day of my flight, I arrived before the ticket counter opened so I went to the waiting area. When the ticket agent arrived, she came and got my bag, took it to the ticket counter and checked it in, then returned with the paperwork. I never had to even get up. The pilots were two guys from abroad, and also very friendly, as was the ground staff in Pangandaran (Cijulang).

Susi Air
Susi Air operates fairly new planes that are flown by experienced pilots, and equipped with modern electronic navigation.

In these days rude, impersonal service at major airports, and by the big airlines, flying between two regional airports on a small carrier was a flashback of how air travel used to be – enjoyable!

This trip is highly recommended for that reason alone.

But there’s more. The 40 minute flight is so much nicer than the 10 hour bus ride, and the scenery from the plane is beautiful.

Java View
Aerial view between Bandung and Pangandaran.

Java Mountains
Aerial view between Bandung and Pangandaran.

Java landscape
Aerial view between Bandung and Pangandaran.

Terraced rice paddies.
Terraced rice paddies.

South Java coast
South Java coast.

Susi Air has daily scheduled flights between Bandung and Pangandaran (Rp.280,000), Jakarta and Pangandaran (Rp.520,000), Jakarta and Bandung (Rp.250,000), and Jakarta and Cilacap (580,000). However, they need a minimum of two passengers on the flight, so some days they don’t fly. I had to wait one day for my flight.

Their call center number is: +62 811 212 3080 / 3090

Susi Air’s airport sales office numbers are: Jakarta – +62 811 212 3921 / 3922, Bandung – +62 811 212 3923 / 3924, Pangandaran – +62 811 212 3925 / 3926, Cilacap – +62 811 212 3927 / 3928

The Bandung Experience

Tangkuban Prahu,indonesia volcano
View of Tangkuban Prahu from the city center.

Bandung was once known as the Paris of Java, and when I came here I was under the impression that that era had long passed. From what I had heard, Bandung had become a congested mess of bargain crazed shoppers who constantly haunted the various outlet stores.

But, what I found was something very different. Originally, I planned on being in Bandung for one week to hit the high spots, and then move on to more interesting places. That week stretched to two, then to three, as I discovered the real Bandung.

While it it’s true that Bandung certainly has a traffic problem, and the sleepy palm lined lanes are long gone, Bandung’s charm is still intact, if one knows where to look.

By day or by night, relaxing in one of the cafes of Dago Atas enjoying the splendid view, and the refreshing cool mountain air, while having a good meal, or a coffee, is a pleasure not to be missed.

Cihideung is another area in the hills above Bandung where there are many concept cafes and restaurants to enjoy.

Moving down into Indonesia’s fourth largest city is an intense experience after experiencing the tranquility of the hills. Bandung is the Capital of West Java, a regional business hub, and home to many universities, in addition to a primary tourist destination, so, of course it’s a busy place.

But, it’s because Bandung is such a multi-facetted city that it is able to offer so much to its visitors. There are many fine buildings from Bandung’s colonial past, there’s traditional arts and music, there’s a huge variety of scrumptious food, a vibrant night life, an endless array of hotels, and last but not least – there’s the shopping – all to be enjoyed in the cool, refreshing mountain air.

Gedung Sate
Gedung Sate - the West Java governor's office.

When you want a break from the city, the volcanic craters of Tangkuban Perahu, and Kawah Putih make an excellent day trip, as do the hot springs that surround the city. If you’re into adventure, sports like white water rafting and rock climbing are here for you. A trek through The Great Forest is also an excellent choice.

If I haven’t convinced you to come to Bandung yet, I should mention the incredible hospitality of the Sundanese people. I have found them to be among the friendliest, most gracious people I have ever enjoyed meeting. Then, there all the traditional Sundanese restaurants.

One hotel that deserves a special mention is The Majesty Hotel and Apartments. I stayed here for the three weeks I was in Bandung, and I can honestly say the staff – from the bell boys to the manager – is the most pleasant, friendly, helpful, and professional hotel crew I have come across in a long time.

As much as I have enjoyed Bandung, it’s time to move on to the south coast of Java, where I’ll be using the small village of Batu Karas as a base to explore the area. But, I leave Bandung thinking it still deserves to be known as the Paris of Java.

Indonesian Flag

Today is Independence Day in Indonesia – celebrating 65 years of nation building. Happy Birthday Indonesia!!

Adventure Travel – West Java

Widhie Soekarnen is an interesting guy. In addition to being a lawyer in Bandung, he runs CANA Adventure Consultants. Widhie is an outdoor enthusiast who is very proud of West Java’s rustic beauty, and really takes pleasure in showing it off by taking groups with him on his adventure travels through out West Java.

Adventure travel Indonesia,adventure travel West Java
The Happy Adventurers

He specializes in arranging adventure trips, both as recreational activities, and corporate team building, or experience based training. He offers many options including: whitewater rafting, tubing, 4 x 4 off-road travel, motocross, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, and trekking. A three day experience of tribal life in a Baduy village is also a possibility.

Adventure travel Indonesia,adventure travel West Java

The premier offering is the West Java Extreme Trip – a five day adventure that includes white water rafting, motocross, tubing, paintball, 4 x 4 off-road travel, bicycle, para-gliding, and rock climbing. This trip takes place in the area surrounding Bandung – starting in Pangalengan and finishing in Bandung. 20 participants are needed, and the cost is Rp.7,500,000 per person. The price includes: transportation from Jakarta, accommodation, meals, equipment, local insurance, and documentation.

Adventure travel Indonesia,adventure travel West Java
A bit to the right...

CANA Adventure Consultants also offers a number of other one day adventures that focus on one of the sports mentioned above. If you’re into adventure travel, and interested in trying one of their trips, please contact Widhie Soekarnen on +62 85 7220 24800, or +62 81 2212 55070. Email:

Widhie is a great guy who is sure to show you a good time, as well as offer you advice and contacts to help you organize other adventure travel in Indonesia.

Adventure travel Indonesia,adventure travel West Java
A bit of a bounce...
Adventure travel Indonesia,adventure travel West Java
I can do this....

Trek from Bandung

Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Djuanda (Great Forest Park) is a conservation area, botanical garden, and recreational area that begins in the Dago area of Bandung and stretches nearly 30 km north, past Tangkuban Prahu to the village of Ciater.

curug omas,west java waterfall
Curug Omas

In addition to the waterfalls, the mostly pine and bamboo forest has abundant wildlife – weasels, squirrels, monkeys, and many species of birds.

Taman Hutan Raya Ir. H. Djuanda,Great Forest Park
Trekking through the Great Forest is a great way to see West Java's natural beauty.

A lot of the trail is lined with warungs (outdoor cafes), and there are ojeks (motorbike taxis) to carry people who don’t want to walk, so on weekends you’ll find it quite unpleasantly crowded if you’re after a peaceful, forest hike. However, I returned during the week and was the only one there – the warungs were closed, and there wasn’t an ojek in sight.

Dutch caves west java,Japanese caves west java
Left: Dutch cave built in 1918. Right: Japanese cave built in 1942

Both the Dutch and the Japanese built an extensive cave network around Bandung. They’re open for trekkers to explore – vendors hang out outside the caves to rent flashlights for Rp.3000.

The trekking trail extends the entire distance. It’s one of West Java’s most accessible treks. One popular option is to go to Maribaya by car and trek back into Dago (6 km). This direction is downhill most of the way.

Another, longer option is to go to Ciater by car and trek the entire distance back to Dago. From Ciater – the first 7 km will be uphill to Tangkuban Prahu Crater, then all downhill to Dago. Of course, walking in the reverse from Dago is possible too, but it will be all uphill.

Whichever way you decide to do it, you’re sure to enjoy it, as I did.