With a snap of a finger we moved back west to visit the colder part of Indonesia, the mountain city of Bandung. Taking another 8 hour train ride along winding mountainous stretches, we were greeted with heavy rain fall, gray clouds, and chilly weather. Undeterred that we had arrived at a bad time, we still set out to enjoy the city, its history, and its beautiful scenery.
Asia-Africa Conference Museum
After being greeted by strong rainfall, the next day was a whole lot better, sunny but still cool enough to explore the city. Our first stop in Bandung was the Asia-Africa Conference Museum where the historic (well to us International Studies majors) Bandung Conference took place.
Located in Jalan Asia-Afrika (Asia-Afrika Street), the Asia-Africa Conference Museum is in the city center where old Dutch colonial buildings surround it. The museum is dedicated to the historic Bandung Conference where members from Asian and African countries set about to create a series of principles on a broad range of topics: the future of colonialism and independence movements; and the looming threat of the Cold War.
Inside the museum were panel displays on the entire history of the Bandung Conference, from when it started to the key players who made it a reality. It was quite interesting to see powerful and classic names on the displays: Carlos P. Romulo, Jawaharlal Nehru, President Soekarno just to name a few. Besides famous leaders, the museum also took the opportunity to highlight little items that played a vital part in the conference: notebooks, letters, furniture, and cameras all displayed to give a glimpse of the atmosphere at that time.
The last part of the tour was a visit to the hall where the conference took place. Under dim lights a documentary on the conference was playing, in front was the podium where member flags were displayed prominently, and to the right a gong celebrating the then-recently Bandung Conference for this century. The hall was quite surreal, knowing that 60 years ago, a momentous event where Asian and African leaders gathered to debate on the future of non-aligned countries in a time when the Cold War loomed over everyone’s heads.
The next stop and the next day of our stay in Bandung was visiting the city’s nature sights. Once again waking up early, we made our way south of the city to visit Kawah Putih, one of Bandung’s many natural sights. The drive going to Kawah Putih was quite long, taking us along winding mountainous roads, rice fields, and small towns.
Inside, Kawah Putih was a beautiful shade of sky blue a stark contrast to the overcast sky that had us worrying since we arrived. Milky blue, sky blue, more blue than white, Kawah Putih was a sight to behold. Besides marveling at it there was also a sense of desolation and despair in the park, as if a dragon had swooped up and picked up an unsuspecting resident of Lake Town. The trees that surrounded the lake were barren, chalk white, and had barely any green on it. While the shores were practically littered with green moss and the lake itself, barren, still, and quiet.
Despite the eeriness of the lake, it was still beautiful, the way fog would climb down from the mountain ridges and blend with the already milky white texture or the way sulfur would finally rise up from the lake and hit our nose making us teary eyed and sneezing our way to eternity.
Tea Plantations in Ciwidey
The day was still early and our feet still itching to explore some more of Bandung’s countryside, which was slowly becoming more and more beautiful. Our next stop was a drive deeper into the country to visit a strawberry and tea plantation.
As our driver crested the top of a really steep hill, out of nowhere tea hedges began popping up everywhere. From gray clouds, my vision was filled with greenery everywhere and it was jaw dropping. Everywhere I looked there were hedges of tea, they followed the slope of hills and mountains, the contours of the land, and it was all just amazing.
Our driver sensing our awe, stopped and we were given time to really explore the plantation itself. I marveled at the beauty of all the color around me, sure there was only one, but it was wonderful. The hedges were all uniform in height and size, nothing stuck out. Likewise I also thought I would smell the familiar raw tea smell, but nothing, not even when I smelled a bush.
With the requisite pictures and marveling at the beauty of it all, we went back to our car and made our way to the tea plantation. When we got there, we were being charged an exorbitant fee of IDR 557,000 just to visit and partake in some of the activities. Given our dwindling budget, we decided to forego the experience and instead enjoy and capture the beautiful scenery on our way back. There were just some experiences not worth spending that much money for.
Needless to say our adventure in Bandung was educational and inspirational, a mix of history and nature at the same time. Not knowing what to expect and only having somewhat of an idea, I was amazed by the beauty, the history, the wonder of all the places we went to. I am glad we made the decision to visit Bandung before heading back to Jakarta.
The Asian-African Conference Museum / Museum Konprensi Asia – Afrika
Jalan Asia Afrika no. 65
Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
The museum is open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 8:00am to 3:00pm, Fridays at 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00am to 4:00pm. The museum is closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Ticket fee: Free with a free brochure
Contact number: +62 22 4233564
Visit their website here.
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Jalan Situ Patengan, Rancabali, Bandung, Jawa Barat, Indonesia
Open everyday from 7am to 5pm
IDR 50,000 for foreigners
IDR 150,000 for private vehicles