Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Joko's Java Journey 10: Bandung

Bandung is the 3rd largest city in the world's 4th largest country. As you can see by the map, it's surrounded by hills, and since it's at elevation, it's a bit cooler than the steamy equatorial lowland parts of Java around it. Through an online expat forum in which I participate, I met a British gal who invited me to come stay with her and her husband at their place in Bandung. I was grateful to be hosted by a local and gladly accepted. 

After making my way through Bandung's constantly insane traffic (I've never seen more motorcycles in one place in my life), I found myself winding my way up a narrow road leading up to the highlands around Bandung. There, my host's modest villa hosted me, three dogs and a cute nephew. 

My new friend took me on a tour which I'll never forget. First, we went to a restaurant at the top of a hill and got to look down on the valley below. From there, we got to see the rain clouds start to make their way in. I could have spent hours there; they had decent food, but unfortunately, had run out of beer. At 2 PM. 

Then, it was off to a very unusual tourist attraction. A hilltop Chinese cemetery. If you've never been to a Chinese cemetery, they're quite remarkable. Each family has it's own compound, each covering thousands of square feet and complete with shrines and monuments. I don't know the proportion of Bandung's population of Chinese descent, but I was amazed by the size of the place. Again, the cemetery wasn't a site, it was a neighborhood. It went on and on. 

Getting there wasn't easy. The main road to the place was closed for repair, forcing my host and I to try to make our way through the back alleyways. That was intense. Imagine zooming down a thoroughfare barely wide enough to allow two motorcycles to pass one another. No street signs. Google maps on the phone not very accurate. As you might imagine, we got lost. Navigating our way to our destination proved impossible.
Fortunately, we both spoke Indonesian, and the locals are more than just helpful when it comes giving directions. This random guy we met, pictured right, guided us all the way to where we wanted to go. 

After some time driving around the place, enjoying the scenery, lamenting about the rampant graffiti and finding ourselves on roads that led nowhere, it was time to head back. I thought it'd be easy. Just head downhill. That said, we hadn't left any breadcrumbs. We didn't know how to get back. With the road closure, it wasn't such an easy task to get back to Bandung. 

We were heading down what turned out to be the wrong road when we were stopped by a very helpful local. An old guy sitting at the cemetery, nothing to do, but happy to help a couple lost foreigners. What I really loved was how he phrased his advice to us. 

"You can go that way," he told us, "but if you do, you will only end up turning around and coming back here." 

"You can turn right, but if you do, you will only end up coming back this way" 

We made our way back. Enjoy the video.


  1. I feel badly that your video said that people in my country (Canada) are blocked from watching your video. Sigh... I wasn't able to see it. I pray it was as great as other videos you have made. Blessings, Lynn

  2. What happened to AF? Why did it die? You must as a (former) moderator know.

    1. I do not know. Louis just decided to pull the plug.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. As I said previously, I couldn't see the video. After several tries, I gave up. Then, today... I tried again. I was able to watch it! :) Like always, it was a great video. Thanks! Blessings, Lynn


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