Bandung’s appeal begins with its geography and cooler climate. The capital of Indonesia’s West Java province, approximately 150km from Jakarta, is in a river basin, surrounded by mountains. The hills provide a natural defence for the city, one of the reasons it is believed Indonesia’s colonial rulers, the Dutch, planned to move the capital here. The city never won that privilege, but it did turn into a colonial resort centre for the Dutch in the early 1900s, with European style cafes, restaurants and hotels cropping up in some parts of the city. The architectural style those early tourists created is why Bandung has been dubbed the Paris of Java, a bit of Europe in the east. Some of the buildings have retained that old world charm, and you can still catch a glimpse of Art Deco structures around the city.
Bandung has a quaint atmosphere, quite different from nearby Jakarta, with all of its hustle and bustle. And its sustained popularity among Indonesians has brought rapid development, slowly transforming the character of the city. Its population has grown exponentially, attracting people from all over Indonesia’s archipelago seeking work.
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