Welcome to Bandung! Otherwise known as the Paris of Java Island.
Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated last, but I am committing to do a better job of updating this blog. Essentially, the last couple months has been a blur! Meeting new people, exploring the city, and learning the language really wears a person out! As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my room doing nothing but taking extended naps, and immersing myself in western media outlets.
However, I finally am starting to feel a little more comfortable, and I’m not completely worn out after I get home after language classes. Just wanted to do a quick introduction of the city that I’m living in.
Welcome to Bandung! Bandung is a city about 3 hours west of Jakarta. It sits high up amid the mountains, nestled in a valley surrounded by volcanoes. As a result of it’s unique positioning, it is cooler than the rest of Indonesia, but still considered a subtropical climate.
This also makes Bandung a popular destination for domestic tourism! It’s famous for its wide variety of delicious (cheap) food, clothing outlets (cheap), cool weather, and beautiful neighborhoods. There are also a number of hot springs and tea plantations that make for good tourist destinations. They say here, that the only thing Bandung is missing is a beach!
The greater area of Bandung is home to almost 10,000,000 people! The urban density is something else. However, because of poor infrastructure, this means that traffic is terrible! Especially on weekends, when thousands of people from Jakarta flood into the city to play and relax.
Many residents of Bandung just stay in their homes on the weekends, unwilling to sit in traffic for hours. After all, they’ve got the rest of the week to enjoy.
Traffic is so bad that people actually make a living standing in the street and helping people make turns. If a person wants to make a turn, they promptly stop oncoming traffic, waving you through, after which they take a small tip from the driver of each car. While payment is up to the discretion of the drivers, usually they tend to pay out, viewing the whole thing as a valuable service.
As you can imagine, this wreaks havoc on traffic, sometimes creating large jams all so a few cars can make a turn. O_o
To top it all off, at any given time there are tens of motorbikes whizzing around you. Forget any traditional traffic laws that you know, you only need to know ONE in Bandung.
If there is open space in front of you, go for it.
“Oh, there’s a couple feet clearance in the opposing traffic lane! Let’s go!.” or… “Here’s an open sidewalk! Let’s take this!”
But motorbikes or scooters are definitely an integral part of life here. Everyone and their grandmother rides motorbikes here.