Bandung West Java information, places of interest, history of Bandung, culture, and arts of West Java includes Mang Udjo angklung bamboo musical instrument at Padasuka village. The capital city of West Java is Bandung. During the Dutch colonial era, this city became the vacation place for the Dutch people who lived in Batavia, Jakarta. Bandung then was called Paris van Java.

The indigenous people of West Java are the Sundanese, the Bantenese, the Naga people, and the Badui people. Even though these people live in the part of Java Island, but their cultures are distinguished from those of the Javanese who live in Central Java and East Java. The Sundanese’s unique musical instruments namely kecapi, angklung, suling, etc. The popular dance of West Java is called Jaipongan. Their traditional martial art is called Pencak Silat. The Sundanese also has traditional shadow play, Wayang Golek.


Bandung West Java Information and History
The city history dates from 1488 when the first reference to Bandung exists. But from ancient archeological finds, we know the city was home to Australopithecus, Java Man. These people lived on the banks of the Cikapundung in north Bandung, and on the shores of the Great Lake of Bandung. Flint artifacts can still be found in the Upper Dago area and the Geological Museum has displays and fragments of skeletal remains and artifacts.

The Sundanese were a pastoral people farming the fertile regions of Bandung. They developed a lively oral tradition which includes the still practiced Wayang Golek puppet theatre and many musical forms. “There is a city called Bandung, comprising 25 to 30 houses,” wrote Julien de Silva in 1614.

The achievements of European adventurers to try their luck in the fertile and prosperous Bandung area, led eventually to 1786 when a road was built connecting Jakarta, Bogor, Cianjur, and Bandung. This flow was increased when in 1809 Louis Napoleon, the ruler of the Netherlands, ordered Governor-General H.W. Daendels, to increase defenses in Java against English. The vision was a chain of military defense units and a supply road between Batavia and Cirebon. But this coastal area was marsh and swamp, and it was easier to construct the road further south, across the Priangan highlands.


The Grote Postweg (Great Post Road) was built 11 miles north of the then capital of Bandung. With his usual terseness, Daendels ordered the capital to be relocated to the road. Bupati Wiranatakusumah II chose a site south of the road on the western bank of the Cikapundung, near a pair of holy wells, Sumur Bandung, supposedly protected by the ancient goddess Nyi Kentring Manik. On this site, he built his dalem (palace) and the Alun-Alun (city square). Following traditional orientations, Mesjid Agung (The Grand Mosque) was placed on the western side and the public market on the east. His residence and Pendopo (meeting place) was on the south-facing the mystical mountain of Tangkuban Perahu. Thus was The Flower City born.

Around the middle of the l9th Century, South American cinchona (quinine), Assam tea, and coffee were introduced to the highlands. By the end of the century, Priangan was registered as the most prosperous plantation area of the province. In 1880 the rail line connecting Jakarta and Bandung was completed and promised a 2 1/2 hour trip from the blistering capital in Jakarta to Bandung.

With this life changed in Bandung, hotels, cafes, shops sprouted up to serve the planters who either came down from their highland plantations or up from the capital to frolic in Bandung. The Concordia Society was formed and with its large ballroom was the social magnet for weekend activities in the city. The Preanger Hotel and the Savoy Homann were the hotels of choice. The Braga became the promenade, lined with exclusive Europeans shops.

With the railroad, the light industry flourished. Once raw plantation crops were sent directly to Jakarta for shipment to Europe, now primary processing could be done efficiently in Bandung. The Chinese who had never lived in Bandung in any number came to help run the facilities and vendor machines and services to the new industries. Chinatown dates from this period.

In the first years of the present century, Pax Neerlandica was proclaimed, resulting in the passing of military government to a civilian one. With this came the policy of decentralization to lighten the administrative burden of the central government. And so Bandung became a municipality in 1906.

This turn of events left a great impact on the city. City Hall was built at the north end of Braga to accommodate the new government, separate from the original native system. This was soon followed by a larger scale development when the military headquarters was moved from Batavia to Bandung around 1920. The chosen site was east of City Hall and consisted of a residence for the Commander in Chief, offices, barracks, and military housing.


By the early ’20s, the need for skilled professionals drove the establishment of the technical high school that was sponsored by the citizens of Bandung. At the same time, the plan to move the capital of the Netherlands Indies from Batavia to Bandung was already mature, the city was to be extended to the north. The capital district was placed in the northeast, an area that had formerly been rice fields, and a grand avenue was planned to run for about 2.5 kilometers facing the fabled Tangkuban Perahu volcano with Gedung Sate at the south end, and a colossal monument at the other. on both sides of this grand boulevard, buildings would house the various offices of the massive colonial government.

Along the east bank of the Cikapundung River amidst natural scenery was the campus of the Technische Hogeschool, dormitories, and staff housing. The old campus buildings and its original landscaping reflect the genius of its architect Henri Maclain Pont. The southwestern section was reserved for the municipal hospital and the Pasteur Institute, in the neighborhood of the old quinine factory. These developments were carefully planned down to the architectural and maintenance details. These years shortly before World War II were the golden ones in Bandung and those alluded to today as Bandung Tempo Doeloe.

The war years did little to change the city of Bandung, but in 1946, facing the return of the Colonial Dutch to Indonesia, citizens chose to burn down their beloved Bandung in what has become known as Bandung Lautan Api, Bandung Ocean of Fire. Citizens fled to the southern hills and overlooking the “ocean of flames” penned “Halo-Halo Bandung,” the anthem promising their return. Political unrest colored the early years of Independence and consequently, people flocked to Bandung where safety was. The population skyrocketed from 230,000 in 1940 to 1 million by 1961. Economic prosperity following the oil boom in the ’70s pushed this further so that by 1990 there were 2 million inhabitants.

Present-day Bandung is thriving. As home to more than 35 schools of higher education, there is a vibrant collegiate atmosphere. The excellent fine arts offerings have produced an artist colony of great repute and excitement. The textile industry is the largest in the country and contributes to a vigorous business climate.

In 1987 the city extended its administrative boundaries toward a Greater Bandung Plan (Bandung Raya) Plans for the city include higher concentrations of development outside the current city center, in an attempt to dilute some of the population density in the old core. These days Bandung Raya is still years ahead, yet the land has suffered deeply. Commercial activities run amok, God only knows who can take control. The city core is practically uprooted, old faces are torn down, lot sizes regrouped, and what was idyllic residence is now bustling chain supermarkets and rich banks.

Bandung West Java and Places of Interest.

The West Java people are called the Sundanese, endowed with language and traditions unique to that of the rest of Java. The Sundanese language has 3 distinct hierarchies, starting from the lowly harsh (kasar), middle, and soft (lemes) Sundanese. Many Sundanese words have been adopted into Indonesian, although many of its contributions consist of profanities. The Pajajaran Kingdom was the oldest kingdom in the region. The West Java region is also named as Parahyangan or the “Land of the Gods”. In its later history, the region fell under influence of the Central Java kingdoms, reflected in elite Sundanese having borrowed much of its vocabulary and grammar from elite Javanese.

In Indonesia, the Sundanese people are known to be more easy-going and less formal in their temperament than their distant relatives from Central Java and East Java. This is reflected in the grammar of the Sundanese language, which has many forms allowing for meaningless light banter. Interestingly, Sundanese has contributed many swear words to the Indonesian language spoken in Jakarta.

The most popular traditional musical instrument is angklung, made of parallel bamboo tubes tuned to specific frequencies with a hammer and is shaken to produce certain notes. Music is performed by a choir of angklung players, each of whom is responsible for sounding certain notes. Its melody is only slightly different from that of Central Java’s gamelan ensembles.

The Sundanese language is spoken by approximately 27 million people and is the second most widely-spoken regional language in Indonesia, after Javanese. This language is spoken in the southern part of the Banten province, and most of West Java (excepting the northern coastal areas which have seen significant urbanization), and eastwards as far as the Pamali River in Brebes, Central Java.

There are several dialects of Sundanese, from the Sunda-Banten dialect to the Sunda-Central Javanese dialect which mixes elements of Javanese. Some of the most distinct dialects are from:

  • Banten
  • Bogor
  • Priangan
  • Cirebon

Due to the influence of the Javanese culture during the reign of the Islamic Mataram kingdom, the Sundanese language – especially in the Parahyangan area – have different layers starting from the most formal, or “halus” version, to every day “Loma/lancaran” version and the informal or harsh version. However, in the mountainous regions and most of Banten, the Loma version is the most dominant. By contrast, this version is considered “harsh” by people from Bandung. In Central Java, Sundanese is spoken in the Cilacap region.

Kidung Sunda is a Middle-Javanese poem of probable Balinese provenance. In this poem, the story of King Hayam Wuruk of Majapahit who was looking for a bride to be is narrated. At last, he chose the princess of Sunda, a kingdom in West Java whose name remained undisclosed in this story. But his grand vizier Gajah Mada rejected this idea. There was a dispute about geopolitical relations between Sunda and Majapahit (i.e. Java). Gajah Mada considered Sunda to be a vassal state of Java. For that reason, a great battle took place in Bubat, the port where the Sundanese party landed as they refused to be treated as vassals. There the Majapahit-Javanese army slaughtered the Sundanese. The grieved princes of Sunda committed suicide not long afterward. This historical story has to be situated somewhere in the 14th century.

Bandung West Java Information

The capital is situated on a plateau 768 meters above sea level with a cool climate throughout the year. Although it has a population of over two million the pace of city life is slower than Jakarta’s. Several institutes of higher education are located here, including the country’s prestigious Bandung Institute of Technology. There are short drives up to the mountain resorts of Lembang and the Bosscho Observatory, and higher to the volcanic crater of Tangkuban Perahu, the only crater in Java accessible all the way by car as for as its rim. It is an awe-inspiring sight of emanating sulfur fumes. Descent into all the volcano’s 12 craters is only possible with the aid of an experienced guide, because of the presence of suffocating gases at certain spots. Just a 15-minute drive from Tangkuban Perahu is the Crater hot springs resort. Here you can swim in warm mineral water pools, good for healing skin problems. The resort provides visitors with a bar, restaurants, tennis courts, and cottage style hotels overlooking a beautiful mountainscape. In Banding, try to see the “Wayang Golek” wooden puppet show and hear the “Angklung” bamboo orchestra, as well as the classical Sundanese gamelan and dances.

Mang Udjo Angklung Workshop
One of the unique characteristics of this place is that traditional art performances are staged with a natural background of mountains, rice fields, and plantations. Bamboo handicrafts and musical instruments are made and sold here. Mang Udjo’s “Angklungs” ore well known because of his fine workmanship and exact tuning of these bamboo musical instruments. His workshop is located in the village of Padasuka, around 7 km from Bandung.

Patenggang lake
One of the leading resorts is located in less than an hour by road to the south of the city. The eastern side of the lake is a cool forest having an average temperature of 10 degrees C and is often hazy the whole day. The north side is bordered by a lush tea estate, reaching far out to the west and south.

Juanda Forest Park
This is a 590-hectare (2,475-acre) forest for research and recreation with native plant species as well as from other parts of the world. The Japanese occupation forces left a number of caves and tunnels which they dug out of these cliffs during World War 11 for the defense of the area. This highland forest park is minutes away from Bandung.

Since long known for its hot water springs, Maribaya lies north of Bandung which can be reached within 30 minutes. The trip itself is worthwhile making, as you will pass through a picturesque road dotted with flowery hills and lovely villas all the way. The mountain air is cool and the sulfur-laden water just comfortably hot for swimming as well as for just soaking in. Part of the scenery is a 25 m high waterfall set against a steep mountain cliff.

Jatiluhur Dam
Situated just about halfway between Jakarta and Bandung, this dam was originally built with Fench technical assistance back in the Fifties, mainly for the purpose of generating electrical power for the region. Since then the dam developed into a multi-purpose designated area as it now serves irrigation to the surrounding arable land and fishery as well. Somewhat later, tourism saw a potential area for development as it now provides convenient facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, a camping ground, speedboats for water skiing and cottages. The water surface is enormously vast, the scenery tropical, the air crisp and cool.
Bandung West Java and History Information

Previously known as “Buitenzorg” (Sans Souci’s or Without worries) during the Dutch colonial era, Bogor actually lies closer to Jakarta 150 km) than it does to Bandung ( 120 km). Appropriately named by the Dutch as a town “without worries”, they chose Bogor to be the site for constructing the first palace of the Dutch Governor-General way back in 1745. Later restored in 1832, the palace still stands solid and elegant today with its stretched-out gardens where deer roam freely on the green grass under majestically tall old trees.

However, Bogor is famous because of its Botanical Garden which borders the Palace Grounds, covering an area of 87 hectares with thousands of species of plant life from all over the world, including towering age-old trees and the rarest kinds of orchids. See the original “Have Brazilliensis” rubber tree formerly imported from Brazil, and the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia a foul-smelling and stemless as well as leafless plant. When visiting this Garden, arrange for a permit to visit the neighboring Presidential Palace which belonged to the Dutch Governor-General before Indonesia’s independence. Doing this may be a day-long visit by leaving Jakarta in the morning and spend the night in the Puncak mountainous region on your way to Bandung the next day. Here again, the whole car trip will be memorable as scenic tropical beauty all around is really astonishing. You will also pass by another smaller Presidential Palace at Cipanas, the setting of which is in a colorful and flowery vast garden around this wooden but stylish palace.

Zoological Museum
Exhibited in this Museum are mainly stuffed animals placed behind vitrines or glass display cases, arranged as if these animals were alive in natural surroundings. It is located on Juanda Street in Bandung.

Batu-Tulis Ciaruteun /Stone Inscription)
An inscribed stone in the Sanskrit language originating in South India, which is a relic from the Tarumanegara kingdom during the reign of King Purnawarman in 450 A.D.
located on the bank of the Ciaruteun river in Ciampea village which can be reached by driving along the 9-kilometers road from Bogor to Ciampea followed by going on foot for about two kilometers.

Cibodas Botanic Garden
Located in the district of Pacet, 22 kilometers northwest of Cianjur, the Cibodas Garden Park, honored by its other name “Paradise on earth” impounds an 80- hectare area founded in 1890 for nature preservation purposes.

Taman Safari Indonesia
Animals from all continents roam freely in this 35-hectare park, 75 km southeast of Jakarta along the Jakarta-Bandung route. Among the animals kept here are some comparatively rare species such as the anoa, rhinos, giraffes, white tigers, and European, American as well as Asian bears. Adjacent to the park is recreational grounds with swimming pool, tennis courts, an artificial lake, a waterfall, and a children’s playground with facilities such as a circus arena, a house of horrors, a merry-go-round and a small circuit. There are also restaurants, cafeterias, and other facilities.

Lido Water Recreational Centre
It lies 21 km south of Bogor or 81 km from Jakarta. The lake is conveniently located along the route from Bogor to Sukabumi, surrounded by scenic panoramas. Water sport facilities, a restaurant and accommodation are available.

Bandung West Java Tourism Information

Pangrango is a cool place at the foot of this mountain bearing the same name, equipped with the longest restaurant and swimming pool. It has ample mountain views overlooking tropical forests and hills and is located on the Salabintana Road, at 7 km from Sukabumi.

Situ Gunung
Located in the district of Cisaat, 14 kilometers from Sukabumi Situ Gunung is a natural lake surrounded by damar trees. It is suitable for camping.

Pelabuhan Ratu Beach
Formerly just a plain fishing village it has now grown into a lovely holiday resort, more and more visited by holidaymakers from Jakarta and Bandung, a mere three-hour drive from either city through cool mountain villages with picturesque scenery Gradually but surely this area will catch up with the pace of development as is the case with Carita on the extreme West coast of Java. Pelabuhan Ratu Cisolok is a 15 km stretch of breathtaking beauty with hills, mountains, and very wide sandy beaches everywhere around you, set against the deep blue Indian Ocean. Truly rare is the fact that thick tropical forests on rolling hills are found right next to stretches of white beaches. Taking walks uphill enables the visitor to look down on the horseshoe shape of the bay’s coastline, whereas at night hundreds of fishermen’s boat lamps are seemingly competing with the star-studded sky above, which is both enchanting and romantic. There is one four-star hotel, the Samudera beach, about 6 km from Pelabuhan Ratu, but several other smaller hotels and cottages are available at moderate rates.

At this virgin stage, this area represents unspoiled beauty in a typically tropical setting with hospitable inhabitants. Because of its proximity to Jakarta, this area is visited by more tourists from the capital than those from Bandung. Moreover, the highways to and from Pelabuhan Ratu have recently been greatly improved to assure you of a smooth ride to enjoy the sceneries you pass even better. Don’t forget to enjoy fresh seafood at reasonable prices.

Pulau Manuk
A rocky isle of 500 m2, it is located 127 km south of Rangkasbitung or 120 km west of scenic Pelabuhan Ratu. The isle functions as a tide breaker as well, so that the inward beach is safe for a variety of marine sports which would have been threatened by the menacing tides of the Indian Ocean.
The isle has a forest conservation park and rubber estate. During low tide, it is reachable on foot.

The Prince Sumedang Foundation Museum
Located in the Pavillion of the Sumedang Regency building, in which relics of Sumedang’s ancestors such as gamelan, spears, crown, and royal clothes are exhibited.

A typical Sundanese town in the highlands, Garut is surrounded by volcanic mountains and vast tea plantations. Around this area are a few lovely lakes and hot springs, one of which is at Cipanas where comfortable accommodations can be found. People visit these sulfur springs which have medicating effects to purify their skin. Mount Papandayans crater is probably one of the most spectacular mountain scenes on Java island. There is the Cangkuang temple situated by Cangkuang Lake which was a major discovery of archaeological value as it was the first of its kind found in West Java, dating back to the 8th century. Situated 17 km from Garut, but 50 km from Bandung.

Sixty kilometers from Garut, Tasikmalaya is known for its patted mats, painted umbrellas, and batiks of particular designs and colors.

Kampung Naga
The uniqueness of Kampung Naga is that in spite of its proximity to modern society, it has retained its traditional customs over the centuries. It is a small village in the beautiful mountains of the Salawu District, some 30 km from Tasikmalaya. Here the most important traditional ceremony is called the “Upacara Pedaran~ which illustrates its age-old history and culture, held only once every year.

Traveling northeast from Bandung towards the coast, the seaport of Cirebon offers a wealth of culture and history. Situated by the border of West and Central Java, it is a combination of both. There is an ancient royal cemetery where a holy sultan was buried which has become a place for pilgrimage at the Astana Gunung Jati. In the city itself, the ancient palaces (kratons) of the Kasepuhan and Kanoman now serve as a museum that is open to the public, exhibiting house ornaments, paintings, calligraphy, and other art treasure of the courts. The royal carriages are sumptuous in design, one of them a gilded coach in the form of a winged elephant. Across the square from the Kasepuhan Kraton is the “Mesjid Agung~ (Grand Mosque) which is of a Javanese “Peak” architecture and made entirely of wood. Cirebon is also known for its distinct batik, now a flourishing industry that may be seen in the village of Trusmi. Another specialty this city can offer you is a wide range of seafood, probably the best in West Java.

The Linggarjati Tourism Park is located at Linggarjati village in the Cilimus district. The distance is 14 km from Kuningan or 24 km from Cirebon. The park occupies 1 1 hectares of land, and pro vices some recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool (Balong Kagungan) or the kagungan pond, lake and water springs (Cibulakan and silinggonom), water recreation and a fishing pond. Also available are resting places, cottages and villas, a tourism forest, a camping ground, a hall food kiosks/stalls, and ample parking facilities. The Linggarjati Agreement Building is located not far from the Linggarjati Tourism Park. From 1946 – 1947 a conference was held between Indonesia and the Netherlands, supervised by British delegates from the Tripartite Committee.

Pangandaran, Karang Nini and Batu Hiu
This is the second beach resort area on the Indian Ocean after Pelabuhan Ratu. It certainly equals the latter’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, however, it has the disadvantage of being so far off from Bandung 1223 km) and even more so from Jakarta 1400 km). Road conditions are good, thus making the trip by car or bus recommendable. However, if you prefer to take the train, get into the Bandung- Yogyakarta Express train and get off at the Ban jar railroad station about 4 hours later. From here it will be another 50 km by bus to Pangandaran.

The beach is called Penanjung, where most of the cottages and hotels are located, however, of modest ratings. Nothing luxurious should be expected. Pangandaran is especially of interest to nature lovers, as there is a wildlife reserve in the vicinity where wild birds and other indigenous animals live about freely to be enjoyed by visitors. Here too, the white beaches are fine, the ocean ever so blue and the seafood superb. Twelve kilometers before arriving at Pangandaran you will see a huge rock on the beach which is called Karang Nini. A forest Conservation Park is located right here, which is another place of special interest to nature lovers. Nearby is a camping ground which has basic facilities suitable for the younger set. Somewhat further out, west of Pangandaran, driving 23 km on the way to Parigi, lies Batu Hiu, meaning Shark’s Rock, which is a coastal rock having the shape of a shark. Close by a recreation park is found where you can have an endless open ocean view and enjoy nature at its best.

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