Blending in with the locals

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December 20th 2015
Published: December 20th 2015
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A short weekend respite to Bandung, a short 2-hour bus ride away, ended up a mini adventure. The bus trip from Cikarang to Bandung was fuss free… till the end of the journey, where I was dropped some 7km off at the outskirts of the main city. Santai! (No worries in Bahasa). I will get it figured out, soon…


Dropping off from the terminal, I walked in the general direction of the city. And before long, I trusted my instincts and got on an Angkot, a mini van that is their main form of transportation. Tried to ask the driver with my limited Bahasa if it heads to the city centre with no avail, so I relied on Google Maps instead. Thankfully, after simple navigation and changing into another Angkot, I reached the hostel some half an hour later. Well, the Angkot is such a flexible way to travel, where you can be picked up and dropped anywhere along its route. And as I’ve come to realize, most operate along main roads in a rather circular loop so in order to get to a destination, simply hop on and off whenever directions are changed so as to remain on course. Hah!


What’s best to experience the Indonesian way of living than to be on the motorcycle and join in the crowd on the roads? Well, I guess it’s not exactly pleasant to be stuck in the traffic everyday but trying it once definitely adds to the experience! So I did, renting one for RP100, 000 a day (~SGD$10) to explore the city as well as the nature Lembang and Maribaya have got to offer. Initial excitement eventually leads to a whole lot of concentration on the roads as I accustomed to maneuvering through the crowd and skipping the long car queue in the infamous Indonesian traffic. Soon enough, I was riding like a local on the roads! I think being on the motorcycle is by far the best way to explore places with little restrictions of time or location (& yes traffic to a large extent), to go wherever I want, when I want. And that brought me through the beautiful tea plantation in Lembang/Maribaya where I meandered along the small intersecting roads. Oh, 1 additional perk, I was only charged the local rates when visiting the Tangkuban Prahu volcano crater! (It helps that I’m an Asian too) A testament to being like a local all right!


The short weekend adventure through the landscapes of Tangkuban Prahu and the hilly terrains North of Bandung brought about a fresh bout of air as I hang out amongst many locals. I was easy on the time, people watched at the café in Maribaya Hot Springs Park, took time to relax, wrote some X’mas cards, enjoyed the breeze from a nearby waterfall and tuned in to the soothing sound of the crashing waters. In the evening, since I’m not a shopping person, I skipped the craze of the city shops that Bandung is pretty famed for, and walked Braga streets instead, marveling at the street art and the fusion of different unique cafés. I guess I barely scraped the surface of what the city/place offers, so I might just pop back on another weekend in the near future! Well, since I have more or less blended into being part of them…

Additional photos below
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21st December 2015
Tangkuban Prahu Volcano Crater


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