Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bandung trip – Prologue

I booked the airtix way back in May last year when Air Asia was having it's annual big sale. Air Asia no longer have zero airfare sale, they have replaced it with "Big Sale". As usual, I went to the website and take a look at the fare and travel period. The travel period is from 6 Feb - 20 Jun 2012 which coincides with 3 public holidays during this period. Of all the Air Asia destinations that departs from Singapore, I'm left with Miri, Jakarta, Bandung, Chiang Mai and Phuket. But I'm only interested in Miri, Bandung and Chiang Mai. After discussing with my sis, we intend to travel to Chiang Mai with our parents during the Good Friday period. But I encountered difficulties in booking the airtickets and soon the airtickets are no longer cheap on my travel dates. In the end, my sis and I settled on Bandung but my mom is not keen to join us. I asked Chew Hiang along since she's always keen on travelling. In the end, there are 6 of us - Me, YQ, sis, Chew Hiang, Fredrick and Luxiang.

Some of my friends are impressed that I can travel to so many destinations in a year. Well, it's just that I plan way ahead. =p If you have been following my blog, I always plan to travel during the public holidays. For example, travelling during the Good Friday period would only utilise 1 day of my annual leave and yet I could go for a short 4 days trip. Aint this killing two birds with one stone? I plan ahead hence the air tickets are cheap, air tickets can get very expensive during public holidays period. There is always a risk of planning so far ahead. Well, if in the event that I couldnt travel, I would just forfeit the air ticket which usually don't cost me > $100.

The airtix cost $15 one way but after adding up taxes and fuel surcharge, it cost $87 for return trip. Air Asia starts to charge fuel surcharge again and this increase the fare of airticket. =@ In my opinion, as long as the return airtix is < $100, it's considered very cheap. Normally, I wouldn't choose check in luggage unless I'm heading to those shopping destinations. Bandung can be considered a shopping destination as there are many factory outlets and distros (shops which sell clothes designed by local designers). Hence for this trip, I choose to hand carry my luggage for the flight there and share 30kg check in luggage with my sis for the flight back. I calculated that it's a bit cheaper to share check in luggage, a 15kg luggage cost S$16 while a 30kg check in luggage cost S$27 ($13.50 each if shared by 2 of us). There are 2 daily flights to Bandung so there is a choice of flight timing. Of cos I chose the earlier flight 10.40am to Bandung and the later flight 11.15am back to Singapore.

2 months prior to departure, I found that the departure flight timing has change from 10.40am to 9am but no email notice was sent to me. =( Luckily I  discovered the change in flight timing when I purchased the in flight meals. The email notice was only sent to me 3 weeks prior to the departure date and Indonesia Air Asia even called me 2 days prior to the departure date.

Bandung is the 3rd largest city in Indonesia. It is 768m above sea level and has cooler temperature all year round than other Indonesian cities. It is nicknamed Parijs van Java (Paris of Java) by the Dutch for its resemblance to Paris and European atmosphere back at the colonial times. It serves as a weekend destination for people living in Jakarta due to it's proximity (2.5hr car journey).
Map of Java

A 3 - 4 stars hotel cost at least $80 a night in Bandung and I would prefer to spend less on accommodation so that more can be spend on shopping. I try not to spend much on accommodation as the room is just a place for me to sleep since most of day will be spend outside and not inside the hotel room, unless I purposely stay in the hotel to enjoy the room and facilities, then it's a different matter. At first, I wanted to book Amaris Cinamuk which belongs to one of budget hotel chain in Indonesia. This hotel chain is similar to Tune Hotel but have all the basic facilities except mini bar inside the room and includes breakfast. But I encountered problem in booking 3 rooms at the same time and there is no response for the first email I sent. I decided to search for alternatives while sending another email again. In the end, I found Banana Inn Hotel and the rate is about the same as Amaris Cinamuk! It only cost IDR1,200,000 ~ S$158 for 3 nights and Banana Inn Hotel has better facilities than Amaris Cinamuk. Moreover Banana Inn Hotel ranks 3rd under Tripadvisor's Bandung hotels.

I decided to hire a car and driver as it will be more convenient for us. If we were to take cab, we would have to split into 2 cabs. For those travelling alone or in pairs, cabs are abundant in Bandung and mostly are on meter. The most reliable cab in Bandung is Blue Bird. Fares ranged from IDR11K to IDR25K within city and the minimum fare is IDR10K. For travelling to the outskirt such as Tangkuban Perahu or Kawah Putih, hiring a car and driver is preferred. After researching on the travel forum, these car rental companies are recommended by forummers: Cipaganti, Zafira and Mulia. I emailed them for quotation and decided to engage Zafira which quoted me IDR400,000/ day ~ S$57 for 14hrs usage which includes petrol and parking but exclude driver's meal which is IDR20,000/ day. For the airport transfer on the last day, Zafira quoted me IDR100K ~ S$14.

This will be a shopping trip hence we will be shopping at the FO "Factory Outlet" almost everyday. Initially, I wanted to allocate Day 2 solely for sightseeing but as the hot spring experience in Bandung is not as good as Taiwan or Japan, I decided to skip it. Forumers have commented that the hot spring water is lukewarm and some spa facilities are rundown.

As mentioned above, Bandung is famous for FO (Factory Outlets) and Distro (Distribution Outlets). The FOs are mainly concentrated at Jl Riau, Jl Dago and around Jl Sukajadi – Jl Setiabudi area. FOs at Cihampelas is not worth the time as most are low quality goods and looks dirty and dusty. Hence I decided to skip Cihampelas unless I have extra time after shopping at the 3 FO streets. Distros are shop selling stylish products that were made by local designers, concentrated at Jl Riau, Jl Trunojoyo, Jl Sultan Agung. Jl Sultan Agung/Trunojoyo is in between the Dago and Riau area.

Itinerary for the trip:
Day 1: Arrive in Bandung at 9.50am (GMT +7) and shopping at Jl Sukajadi – Jl Setiabudi
Day 2: Tangkuban Perahu, Strawberry farm and shopping at Jl Riau
Day 3: Shopping at Jl Dago and Jl Trunojoyo
Day 4: Check out of hotel and depart from Bandung at 11.15am (GMT+7)

Budget for this trip is S$400:
- S$10 for departure tax (IDR75,000 payable at Bandung Airport)
- S$40 for transport
- S$10 for admission fees
- S$90 for meals
- S$200 for shopping
- S$50 for massage


itsME said...


as i googled for tranportation service in bandung, i come across with your blog..

i plan to take zafira transportation service for my trip next year.. how would you recommend their service to me??? please advice...

Jerlin Tan said...


I wldnt really recommend their service. There is serious communication problem as the driver cant speak or understand English. I have to rely on my itinerary to direct the driver where to go or ask the receptionist from the hotel to communicate with the driver.
The driver was late on the first day when we reached Bandung airport. I have to call Zafira and the driver took about 15-20min to reach.
The driver also collect the payment upfront which makes me quite sceptical although he turns up for the remaining days. The collection of upfront payment was not communicated to me when I liase with them in the emails.