Traffic in Bandung can be very challenging, especially on weekends or long holidays because of flocks of visitors from neighboring cities, particularly from Jakarta. During these congested times, on foot might be the best means of transportation to see Bandung, if you stay around the city center.
Wherever you walk, you should pay extra attention to local drivers and bikers. As mentioned earlier, it is rare to see drivers giving way to pedestrians, and people usually cross roads anywhere they like.Should you find it hard to cross a very busy street, ask a favour from a local resident nearby, who usually more than happy to help each other, to assist you crossing the street. You can say this simple sentence "bisa bantu aku ke sana?" (/bee-sa bun-too a-koo khe sa-nah/), which literarily means "can you help me getting there?". Many pedestrian walkways or sidewalks in Bandung are not stroller friendly either. Though some people might think it is still manageable, other people might think it is very difficult to move around with stroller there. A few pictures of pedestrian walkways here might give you a heads up.
The picture above is another option for going from one place to another in Bandung. It’s called Becak ( /bé-chuck/ the local version of cycle rickshaw/pedicabs). To avoid being ripped off by the driver, you should cross-check with your hotel staff for the latest fares. The fare usually varies around Rp 7,000 to Rp 20,000, depending on your traveling distance. As a reference a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers, which can be reached in about 7 minutes, costs Rp. 10,000. It can be an interesting experience to have a go!
Public bus is also available at cheap fares, compared to developed countries’ standards, Rp. 4,500 per trip. Public buses do not cover extensive areas in Bandung and one of the main considerations, if you have to take it, is waiting time. Bus drivers may wait for a full load before departing. How long do they have to wait? Nobody knows the exact time, except the driver himself!
The most common way for locals to move around is by Angkot (Angkutan Kota /Unk-Cot/ ), small public minivans. You will see these angkots in many colors: green, light blue, light brown, yellow, and so on, and their fares really depend on your travelling distance. It’d be better to ask other passengers (or the driver) for the right fare. As a rough idea, a short distance of about 1-2 kilometer, such as a trip from Cihampelas Street to Bandung Indah Plaza/Hyatt Hotel, will cost you only Rp.2,000, while a longer distance will normally be around Rp. 4,000.
Give the money to the driver when you are getting off. Not all angkots have air conditioning, and they have a side passenger door opening. 10 Passengers can be squeezed in this small minivan, sitting facing each other, usually with 4 on the left side and 6 on right side of the minivan If you are a really tall person, then you will have a problem in making yourself comfortable in there. However, when roads are gridlock-free this angkot can save some of your time. Angkot drivers have habits to honk to get passenger’s/people’s attention, and everybody who is standing on curbs. By the way, you can get on and get off anywhere you like, just hail for them to hop on, and say “Stop” or “Kiri” ( /kee-ree/ - meaning: Left) to hop off.
An angkot’s direction is noticeable from station names written on the upper part of its windscreen and rear window. For instance “Ledeng-Cicaheum” or “Ledeng-Cicaheum pp” or “Cicaheum-Ledeng (pp)” all mean the same: it goes from Ledeng station to Cicaheum station and vice versa. Asking locals will help you in taking the right angkot direction.
A more comfortable option is Taksi (taxi). There are several taxi companies in Bandung. Blue Bird is the most trusted company in Bandung, with Gemah Ripah (GR) Taxi as the locals’ second choice, with fare always based on meter, instead of negotiation as other taxi companies usually do. If you have to take a taxi other than Blue Bird, insist on using the meter first before sitting in the taxi. If it doesn’t work then try to negotiate. As of today, only cash payment is accepted.
There is a minimum taxi fare of Rp. 10,000 for Gemah Ripah (GR taxi), Rp. 20,000 for Kota Kembang taxi or Rp. 25,000 for Blue Bird (normally it is written on a sticker next to your seat). For instance, a distance of about 2.5 kilometers, from Alun-alun to Jalan Riau/RE Martadinata or near Gedung Sate, costs about Rp. 15,000 on meter. In a "usual-moving traffic condition" it takes about 10 minutes. An approximate negotiated medium-distance fare from Alun-alun to Gedung Sate (or Geology Museum) is Rp. 35,000. As a guidance, from Bandung train station to Trans Studio Bandung/Trans Studio Mall (about 5 kilometers/3 miles) costs around Rp. 25,000 (on meter). While from the airport, fares are fixed to a minimum of Rp. 40,000 for a short trip to within the city center (for instance: airport to Jalan Asia Afrika, about 6 kilometers or 3.7 miles). To destinations, such as Trans Studio Mall (Trans Studio Bandung) costs Rp. 60,000, around Husein Sastranegara Airport (eg. Pasir Kaliki) costs Rp. 35,000.
Finally, the most comfortable way to move around Bandung and its surroundings is called car rental! A car rental with a driver is highly recommended, unless you are familiar and comfortable with the “driving culture” in Bandung, or willing to accept the challenge of the experience. They drive on the left side of the road (left hand traffic) with right side steering wheel (right hand drive cars). An international driving permit (license) is also required.
A small 5 seater Toyota Avanza or an 8 seater Suzuki APV costs around Rp. 300,000 a day. A Toyota Innova (8 seater medium car) around Rp. 350,000 for a 12 to 16 hour rental. Some companies might include a driver on their charges but some exclude driver charges, which should be around Rp. 75,000 a day. One company, for example, sets a price as high as Rp. 630,000 for a 12-hour Toyota Innova rental inclusive of driver and petrol/gas.
Depending on how long you stop at one interesting place, a day car rental should bring you to virtually all of the interesting places within Bandung, and depending on whether or not you want to keep your cost low, and whether or not you have plenty of time, if you are not travelling alone renting a car might be the best option you have to choose, since you can share the cost.
Several car rental websites for further information: Cipaganti, Europcar, Golden Bird, Karizma Rental Mobil, Lily Rent Car, Mulia Car Rental, Rental Mobil Bandung, Total Car Rental, Travel Jaya, and Dirgantara Car Rental.