It used to be a real bitch of a journey to get from Jakarta to Bandung. But not any longer. Because with thanks to the new toll road that links the two cities you can now drive to Bandung from Jakarta in around 2 hours – or even less if you are a Michael Schumacher wannabe.
One great place to visit is the wonderful area south of Bandung. Everything here seems to be green and the air is so clean that it is almost intoxicating – in the best possible way of course!
It’s a far nicer – and much less crowded alternative to Puncak which gets so heavily congested at the weekends you might as well stay in Jakarta.
The place to stay at in the area south of Bandung is the pleasant town of Ciwidey. To get here from Jakarta is a cinch: Just take the toll road to Bandung, take the Kopo exit, and then follow the road until you arrive at Ciwidey.
A good place to stay at in Ciwidey is the excellent Sindang Reret Hotel. Extremely spacious and built on huge grounds, the hotel’s restaurant and rooms are all surrounded by small fishponds. Although often quiet during the week (when prices are cheaper), you’ll need to make a reservation if you want to stay here on Friday or Saturday night. The number to call is (022) 5928205.
Things to do?
Well you can pick your own strawberries in places around Ciwidey for a start. The prices are very reasonable.
Head higher and after around 20 minutes of so, you will find a huge sign signaling the turnoff on the left that takes you to the eerie Kawah Putih (a volcanic crater which is now a lake).
A little way up the main road – just past the Kawah Putih turnoff – are hot springs which may or may not be fun – depending upon whether three coaches of school kids turn up at the same time as you!
Continue up the road and you come to the real gem: the visually stunning Ranca Bali tea plantations.
And follow the road even further up and in about another 15 minutes or so you’ll come to the turnoff for the Situ Patenggan Lake.
Tea plantations at Ranca Bali