Over the holidays, my family and I went to Bandung to visit my grandpa, and for the first time we took the train from Jakarta to Bandung. Normally, we would just drive up there, but due to traffic and road repairs we decided to travel by train.
We went to Stasiun Gambir (Gambir Station) early in the morning, and departed aboard the Argo Parahyangan around 6.30 am. As soon as our bags were set, I sat on my designated seat, and it just felt like I was living in a different time (except for my iPhone, of course). Perhaps it’s because the carriages were still the old ones, while the insides have been slightly revamped (the Argo Parahyangan is actually made up of two different trains fused together). Or maybe it’s the fact that the railroads we were traveling on were built during the time of the Dutch East Indies.
The Dutch occupation in Indonesia lasted about 350 years, and many of the transportation infrastructure that was built during those times are still in use today, including the railroads. The first railroad was constructed back in 1864, and Indonesia became the second Asian country to have a railroad with India being the first. (http://heritage.kereta-api.co.id/?p=2652)
Anyway, I think the experience and the views along the train ride definitely beats going by car. Not to mention the possibility of being stuck in traffic for over 6 hours during peak season. All in all it took about 3.5 hours to get to Bandung by train.
Here’s a time lapse video I took of the train ride (0:55 to 1:33 for the best views):
While in Bandung I spent most of my time at home with family, but managed to sneak a trip to a relatively new art installation by Bandung artist Sunaryo called Wot Batu. Wot Batu is an art space where stone is the primary medium. The ambience is very serene, it is a small retreat from the busy world and a good place for reflections. Those who enjoy art and nature, or just enjoy taking good pictures would like this place.
(Note: The entrance fee is Rp. 50.000 and only phone photography is permitted.)
I also got to catch a performance at Saung Angklung Udjo, which is known for its preservation and showcase of Indonesian culture. Udjo is a center for the crafting of Angklung – a traditional Indonesian instrument made of bamboo, where they hold interactive performances and provide workshops. The performance includes Wayang (Indonesian puppet), Angklung and other bamboo instruments, and folk dances and songs from across the nation. This is highly recommended if you are interested in Indonesian culture and music.
(Note: Call in advance to check for show times and ticket prices.)
There is also a plethora of cafés and restaurants to check out in Bandung, so you never run out of things to do!