Looking Into Indonesia
The following article was written by us, and sponsored by Holiday Inn Bandung. As always, all opinions are our own.

Whenever we check an item off of our bucket list, it seems we find two more to replace it. Without fail someone opens our eyes to another destination that we must add to our ever growing roster of places we want to visit. That’s exactly what happened to us the other day when we were contacted by the Holiday Inn Bandung.

Of course we had a passing familiarity with the island nation of Indonesia. We knew about its tropical jungles and beaches, but it had not really been on our radar before, so this got us to give it a much closer look.

While we are certainly fans of all the fabulous things the tropics have to offer, we especially love to break off the beaten path and explore all that a new discovery has to offer. As we looked into Bandung, on the island of Java, we found that it presents a perfect opportunity for that kind of authentic insight into Indonesia, offering a peek into real life and a step beyond the usual tourist stop.

Best of all, even though it’s a little out of the way it is easy to get to. There are thirty trains a day running back and forth from Jakarta to Bandung through beautiful mountain scenery. That alone got David’s interest. Just say the word train and he’s ready to go.

The city sits half a mile above sea level surrounded by peaks nearly twice that high, which means the days are warm, but not hot, and evenings stay cool year ‘round. That’s our kind of weather, highs in the low eighties and nights in the mid-sixties no matter what the calendar says.

Centuries ago the Dutch East India Company discovered that this was an ideal climate for growing tea and established plantations along the hillsides surrounding the town. Vast fields remain and the success of the era is recollected in the notable colonial tropical Art Deco architecture still seen throughout the city.

One thing that always gets our attention is food, and Bandung has really embraced their foodie side. Recently several areas have been named Culinary Streets, where traditional dishes like Mie Ayam (a noodle soup), Basreng (spicy fried meatballs), Martabak (fried stuffed pancakes), and Nasi Timbel (rice cooked in a banana leaf) can all be found.

Our investigation also revealed that one of our all-time favorite street foods, Satay, originated on the island of Java. The skewers of charcoal grilled spiced meat goodness have become a staple of street fairs and festivals around the world and we would love to try the original.

Speaking of street fairs, every Saturday night along the main road in front of the Holiday Inn an impromptu street fair is known to break out with food, music, and street performers. When the party is over this is Bandung’s top shopping area packed with shops, factory outlets, and restaurants.

That same road leads up the mountain where panoramic views of the city and some of the best cuisine in town await. Travel a little farther and the town of Lembang is a favorite for a day trip or an overnight stay. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, hot springs, and the Tangkuban Perahu volcanic crater.

With all of those activities to keep us running, we were glad to find out that the hotel can relax away any aches and pains with a peaceful Indonesian massage at the Tea Tree Spa. There is so much to see and do, still we can’t get away with all play and no work, so we were also glad to see that free Wi-Fi is available in all of the rooms. Now all that’s left is to book the trip.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

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