I wonder if you also had such a conviction when you were teenagers or children that in the southern hemisphere people walk upside down?
Walking my finger around the map, virtually visiting the southern hemisphere, Indonesia's archipelago or the territory of Australia and New Zealand, I always asked myself - how is it in the southern hemisphere?
There was an opportunity to check it out. I'm going to Indonesia!
This will not be an exhaustive article about Indonesia. The time will come. Today I invite you to Java, the most populated island of Indonesia and the world. A country that extends below the equator from our perspective, between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and which consists of 17,508 islands and is the largest island country in the world.
In addition to Java, one of the most famous islands is Borneo, which Indonesians call Kalimantan, plus Sumatra, Celebes (also known as Sulawesi) and much of New Guinea.
I know, I know you, Indonesia is immediately associated with Bali. Yes Bali is an icon of Indonesia, this tourist. But time for Bali will come. I will devote a separate article to it.
I invite you to one of these islands today. To Java. For... shopping.
There used to be a song about Cuba and I would say today: Java, an island hot like a volcano.
All Indonesia lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which stretches from Sumatra through the entire Indonesian archipelago, goes to the Philippines and then goes north to Japan.
Java is a cluster of really many volcanoes on both the east and west sides, and is often hit by earthquakes. Just mention Krakatau, Merapi or Tambora. The largest of 400 volcanoes, of which 150 are active.
As I mentioned, Java is the most populated island in the world. In the capital of Indonesia alone, Jakarta lives (officially) 32 million people. Apart from Jakarta, there are several strong centers such as Surabaya, Yogyakarta and Bandung. These towns gather industrial centers and have several million inhabitants.
And in this connection, I invite you to Bandung, an industrial center of 6 million in the province of West Java, to the global outlet center.
Bandung is located in the west of the island, about 130 km east of Jakarta, with which it is connected by a highway and a very picturesque railway line. It was founded by the Dutch in 1810. It is the center of the textile, chemical and machine industry.
Bandung is located on the hills (750 m a.s.l.), therefore the temperatures of the day are around 20 degrees. So it's nice and pleasant, there is no heat. It is a place that houses three large universities, educating staff for nearby factories and development plants. Bandung is home to one of the global's strongest universities - the "Institut Teknologi".
The factories around Bandung mainly produce clothes, leather goods and footwear - sports and family. In short, it is a sewing center of the world, consisting of several hundred factories and by the way dozens of outlets.
A place in itself, very picturesque. Narrow streets, numerous hills, so you have to be careful by car or motorcycle because some streets are very steep. Fortunately, they do not have winter so there is no problem with slipping ...
Bandung is a young place. Once because a large number of students live here. Two, because Indonesia is a young, demographically young country. It is the young people who determine the atmosphere of this city.
Taking all this into account, we can say that Bandung has become an Asian shopping mecca.
Every day, planes full of shopping tourists from China, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Arabian Peninsula arrive at the local airport. Practically all of Asia. There are also Europeans.
Most international connections arrive in Bandung from Kuala Lumpur. It is offered by Air Asia and Malindo Air. A lot of connections are also from / to remote corners of Indonesia from New Guinea, from Borneo, from Surabaya located in the east of the island and from Denpasar, which is the airport in Bali, where there is a large transfer traffic for Australians and New Zealanders, or for Europeans flying to Australia or New Zealand.
I always choose to travel to Bandung with Malindo Air - the Malay-Indonesian line, with a new fleet of planes and a good on-board service. All at a reasonable ticket price.
This direct connection to Kuala Lumpur is perfect for me. Departure from Saigon, 2 hours and I am in KLIA, where I change flight to Bandung. I am flying another 2 hours directly to Bandung, thanks to which I avoid traffic jams that between Jakarta and Bandung make 100 km travel in 4 or 5 hours.
The obvious fact is that people come to Bandung either for business or just to do good shopping.
Outlets are located in several parts of the city, sometimes 10-15 on one street. Some of them are specialized, e.g. by selling only pants or shoes. Some of them simply have all kinds of goods on the shelves and take the form of a shopping center. So there are outlets only with travel bags, there are outlets only with leather goods but there are also ones that basically allow you to dress from head to toe and pack all other purchases in a newly purchased luggage.
I invite you to Bandung for shopping. You can buy pants at prices below 25 USD, buy Polo at 6-12 USD or shoes for less than 25 USD. Or handbags and other haberdashery items at prices around USD 15. All, of course, well-known brands.
Prices similar to USD 5 are not uncommon.
Shopping is often the purpose of a visit to Bandung. But is it really the only reason?
Apart from the fact that you can do good shopping there, you can also see and eat something interesting.
First of all, I encourage you to visit the Geology Museum, where you can see the rock exhibition, geological machinery, learn about the history of the Ring of Fire, the characteristics of volcanoes and admire the collection of minerals.
You can walk around the numerous parks that are nicely decorated, beautifully green, as in the tropics and where you can hide somewhat from the sun. You can go to the mountains, which are within several dozen minutes by car from the center.
Local cuisine is based mainly on rice and chicken curry and beef dishes.
It is known - Indonesia - we do not eat pork here.
But one of Bandung's culinary curiosities is ... quail.
Served with rice and cucumber. Mainly roasted like our chicken. You cannot overload your stomach by a quail. It's not a very big bird, it tastes delicious. I really encourage you to try. There are many restaurants offering quail. To relax while shopping, order a quail with curry rice and a mix of local spices. The Dutch knew what to bring to Europe from this corner of the world.
There is also a railway line from Jakarta to Bandung that runs through Purwakarta. Extremely panoramic route, with numerous bridges, with a beautiful jungle behind the wagon`s window. What's more, it is a journey that saves at least 3 hours because the train travels up to 2 hours from Jakarta while by car, as I said before, sometimes five hours. And if an accident happens and the highway is blocked, then you can drive even 10 hours.
After successful shopping, it's also worth spending a day or two just relaxing. There are several resorts that offer a high standard of stay, with pools and at a very good price.
If you want to see local houses, rice fields, coconut palm trees or banana plantations, it is worth venturing a little further out of the city, for approx. 20-30 km, e.g. to Purwakarta. Being in small towns, you'll also see restaurants and bars remembering the days when Indochina was a Dutch colony.
And one more thing. An unforgettable first impression and first experience when we, the north people, while in Java, we must look north to see the sun at its zenith. Interesting experience. The sun rises and sets similarly to the northern hemisphere, while at noon when you look at the sun the East is on the right and the West on the left. While the northern hemisphere is the other way around.
When it comes time to say goodbye to the island of Java, the image of extremely lush vegetation, wonderful and nice people and the sun wandering the northern sky at noon is remembered.
But don't worry, everything else is the same as in the Northern Hemisphere, and surprisingly, no one is upside down in Indonesia!
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