Bandung is the capital city of West Java, quite a large area to explore for only a weekend. Most people come to Bandung for its known numerous Factory Outlets in Riau street (now RE Martadinata street) and its culinary.
Unlike most people, I chose the west part of Bandung, Lembang, as my weekend escape destination. Lembang is an attractive and popular destination for family escape with young children as this area has various farms and agricultural tourist attractions to visit, such as strawberry farm, cherry farm, dairy farm or tofu factory.
So here we go, the ultimate travel guide for Lembang, Bandung.
1. Getting Here
There are plenty of transportation modes to reach Bandung. Several companies, like Day Trans and Citi Trans, provide a mini bus to Bandung with cost starts from IDR 130,000. Normally they could drop you at Pasteur street in Bandung, from there you need to take a local public car (angkot or bemo) direction to Lembang. However, going by mini bus may risk you to be stuck in traffic for 6 hours during weekend, so it is not really my favorite mode of transport.
The best and reliable transport for me is by taking a train Argo Parahyangan from Gambir station in Jakarta to Bandung Station. There are some schedules available starting from the early morning at 5 am until late night at 10 pm, sometimes you can find an extra train at 11:20 pm. The journey with the train will last 3 hours with cost IDR 80,000 for economy seat and IDR 125,000 for executive seat. Economy seat in Argo Parahyangan is a premium type but may be uncomfortable for those who need more space, for example if you are tall, there will be not enough space for your legs.
As soon as you arrive in Bandung station, you will find a white angkot with direction to Lembang written on it. But what I did in my trip is, I walked through Pasirkaliki street to Ibis Pasteur Hotel. There is a small passage next to Ibis Pasteur Hotel where the motorbike rental is available. Yup, I rented motorbike for a weekend from as low as IDR 130,000. The rental name is Jasa Prima Rental Motor with address in Jl. Suka Bunga No.1 Pasteur, Bandung.
2. Getting Around and Attractions
Getting around in Lembang is possible by angkot but it will be less flexible compare to motorbike. I really saved much time with my decision to go around the area by motorbike.
The first thing that came in my mind when talking about Lembang is Mount Tangkuban Perahu. During my visit, I failed to find something written to tell the visitors about the legend of this mountain. Maybe I didn’t search well, but anyway, the legend is very interesting.
The meaning of Tangkuban Perahu itself in Sundanese language is “up-side-down boat” or “upturned boat”. The story is about a princess name Dayang Sumbi who had a son name Sangkuriang. Sangkuriang really liked to hunt, he usually hunted accompanied by a dog named Tumang. According to the legend, Tumang was actually a God that was disguised as a dog and he was also a father of Sangkuriang. Once upon a time, Sangkuriang went to hunt with Tumang but at that time, Tumang didn’t want to follow Sangkuriang’s order to catch the prey. Sangkuriang was angry and then dismissed Tumang in the middle of the forest. He came home and told his mother, Dayang Sumbi, about Tumang. Dayang Sumbi was very angry and hitting Sangkuriang badly on his head. She repelled Sangkuriang from the kingdom.
Dayang Sumbi was in a deep sorrow and spent her time to pray and meditate. For her obedience, she was granted an eternal youth and beauty.
After years of exile, Sangkuriang grew to be a young and handsome man and he decided to come back to his kingdom. Back in the kingdom, he met a beautiful woman and he fell in love with her. The woman was also impressed by his handsomeness. He decided to propose and marry her.
Yes, that woman was Dayang Sumbi, his mother. They both didn’t know that they were a Mother-Son. Until one day Sangkuriang was about to go for hunting and Dayang Sumbi helped him to put on a hat on his head. She then recognized the scar on his head was the same scar as what she did to Sangkuriang. That was the moment when she realized that he is her lost son.
In order to prevent the forbidden marriage, Dayang Sumbi requested two conditions to Sangkuriang. First was to dam up Citarum river, second was to build a big boat to cross the river. Both conditions had to be finished overnight before the dawn.
Sangkuriang meditated that night and asked for a help from supernatural beings to get those conditions done. Seeing the jobs were almost done before dawn, Dayang Sumbi then ordered her legions to spread out the red carpet in the east side. That made Sangkuriang thought that the dawn had come and he failed to do the jobs. He was very angry knowing that he failed, so angry that he kicked the boat and left in an up-side-down position.
That’s believed as the reason why Mount Tangkuban Perahu has a shape of up-side-down boat.
The entrance fee for this attraction is IDR 20,000 for local/KITAS holder and IDR 200,000 for foreigner during weekday. During weekend it raises to IDR 30,000 for local/KITAS holder and IDR 300,000 for foreigner.
Sukawana Tea Plantation
If Aix-en-Provence in France has lavender garden, Lembang has tea plantation. This is what I always bragged on my social media when talking about Sukawana tea plantation. With an entrance fee of IDR 2,500 you will be welcome by a large carpet of tea plants.
The road in the plantation is still rocky, so my suggestion is to park your motorbike somewhere in the plantation and walk through the plantation while enjoying the refreshing air in a green view.
Looking for a local delicacy for lunch? In floating market you will experience local cuisine on the water. But that’s not all, I did my first flying fox here too. After lunch, you can walk around floating market with many souvenir tenants to check. There are even tenants where you can rent a Korean or Japanese costumes for a photo shoot. Our local people are having fun with that.
Or if photo shoot is not your thing, you can simply walk to a miniature of Kampung Leuit inside.
I have been obsessed with science since I was a child. I like all the scientific stuff and I love it when I could have a scientific explanation for all phenomenons in this universe. That also includes the thing about planets, stars, comets, galaxies and the whole space. I love movies related to those things, like Armageddon and Interstellar.
During my childhood, there was a movie name “Petualangan Sherina” where the setting is in Lembang. In some scenes, Sherina and her friend, Sadam, had to escape from the evil people who wanted to kidnap them and they ended up in Bosscha Observatory. On that scene, it is shown how close we could see the stars from that giant telescope. Because of that movie, I always wanted to visit Bosscha.
Unfortunately, on Saturday the Observatory is closed at 1 pm, but the officer said that it is possible to book a night tour during dry season (April to October) every year and each tour is limited for 200 persons only. The tour can be booked on this link.
Taman Hutan Raya (Tahura) Juanda & Tebing Keraton
This seems like a place where everyone is heading to during the weekend. So only if you have time, you can include Taman Hutan Raya and Tebing Keraton on your list. The traffic to reach there during weekend is a nightmare and in the end you will be there with numerous tourists doing selfie all over the sites.
Tahura and Tebing Keraton are listed in the most instagram-able destination, so everyone is going crazy to have their photos taken on sites. Well, I admit that I have my photo there but not every inch of my step I had to take a photo of me.
Honestly, it is not really a convenient place for a simple visitor like me who just want to walk and enjoy what the nature could offer in peace.
3. Travel Tips & Cautions
- If you ride a motorbike to go around, just like me, be very careful for the “off-road” track to Sukawana tea plantation and Tebing Keraton. You need some driving experience and a fit motorbike to succeed the track.
- The name Sukawana could be confusing because if you check on Google maps, it will show Sukawarna, when in reality the name is Sukawana, but those are just the same. You can set Kebun Teh Sukawarna on your Google GPS and you will arrive in Sukawana Tea Plantation.
- Bring light warm clothes or jacket and you will thank me later. The air in 3 hours train is somehow colder than the air in 2084 meter above sea level (Tangkuban Perahu).
- Book your train at least 2 weeks in advance, the tickets are sold out rapidly especially for weekend departure.