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List of Categories : Commentary * Database * Singapore * Technology * Travel *

Tue 08 Dec 2009

Bandung

Category : Travel/Bandung.txt

Just got back from a week in Bandung, a one-and-a-half hour plane ride from Singapore. Bandung is Indonesia's 4th largest city and the capital city of West Java. It's on relatively high ground (2500 ft), so it's cooler, less humid than Singapore. And it offers great food, pleasant shopping, and friendly hosts.

Bandung is also Factory Outlet Central. There are textile factories presumably for fashion brands like Zara, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, etc., outside the city and you can find their goods, marked "sisa export" (rejected or over-produced export quality items), in the dozens of factory outlets at the three or four major shopping districts - Setiabudi, Dago, Riau and Cihampelas.

We stayed for half our week at the very nice Hotel New Sany Rosa at Setiabudi (but do take note that it's close to a mosque and you'll be greatly disturbed in the small hours of the morning by the call to the devout for prayers). One other thing to recommend this hotel. It is only a 10 minute walk away from the delightful Rumah Mode.

Ahh, Rumah Mode. I would go to Bandung again just to re-visit it. It's like a Bali-themed Polo Ralph Lauren, with a nicely integrated food court. And such great service - have your jeans potong'ed (cut and altered), gratis (a word that seems to have been absorbed into their language), while you wait.

Two other notable factory outlets, as much for their decor as for their range of quality merchandise, are The Secret and the Heritage/Cascade (bottom right corner picture, above), both at the Riau district.

We stayed at a hotel near the Riau road for the second half of our stay but that hotel wasn't too good and will remain nameless.

But Bandung is not all shopping. You can visit a volcano crater, strawberry fields, and hot springs, and these are all cool (even chilly) places on the mountain ranges around Bandung.

It wasn't always so easy to get to Bandung. You had to take a plane to Jakarta and then take a bus trip to Bandung. But now, with budget airlines like Air Asia providing daily cheap flights direct from Singapore, going to Bandung is like hopping on a bus.

I've been to Shanghai, Beijing, Saigon, and now Bandung and the things you can get at each of these places are of very good quality, though significantly cheaper (I don't even bother to go out shopping in Singapore anymore), and they're all so easy to get to, with better climate (though not Saigon). These are all going to clobber Singapore's future as a shopper's paradise. I think you can bet on it. If we are to survive and remain prosperous, the solution has to be found elsewhere. But how do you Think Different if you're so conditioned to think the Microsoft way?

Posted at 9:51AM UTC | permalink


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