Looking for Kid Friendly Holidays in Asia? Put Bandung on your radar!
For several years, Bandung, Java has been the underdog of holiday destinations and Bali, Phuket and Koh Samui have dominated the Asian championships thanks to their widely publicised attractions. However after visiting myself, I can safely give you the lowdown on why this is an easy kid friendly holiday in Asia (especially if like me you have little tots).
We were approaching another term break and I was hustling for a holiday destination that ticked all my boxes- a quick flight (simply because my 2 year old cant sit still for long), a child friendly hotel (kids clubs’ to the rescue!), kids activities (suitable for a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old) and last but not the least some shopping and spa time for those much needed adult breathers.
We divided our time between two hotels located in different parts of the city. Our first leg was at the Padma Hotel which had a lovely hill view, an on call butler service, a petting zoo, a kids play area, mini golf, horse riding, a flying fox and a daily schedule of in house kid’s activities. Suffice to say, my boys were well occupied at all times. The Restaurant (yes, that’s the name) had a lovely terrace and if it wasn’t too chilly we always tried to grab a table outdoors. Great ambience for our nightly cocktails too!
We spent the second half of our stay at the Hilton, Bandung which true to the Hilton brand had a more luxurious feel to it especially since we were upgraded to a suite. The kids were happy at the kids club and the breakfast was delicious especially the traditional fare. TIP- Don’t miss the ‘Bandrek’ Mamas… this hot, sweet and spicy beverage made with ginger, palm sugar and cinnamon is native to the Sundanese who live in West Java and was my go to drink each morning!
– I should start with Dusun Bambu since this was quite a highlight with my boys. Dusun Bambu (translated to Bamboo Village) has a wonderful Rabbit Wonderland where visitors can interact with cute little rabbits. Alongside Rabbit Wonderland is a well maintained kid’s play area and an art and crafts zone. There is also a kid’s train ride, boating, horse riding, dining in bird cages and a hammock climbing area. Rest assured the little ones will be very happy for at least half a day!
– The Farmhouse, Lembang, is a lovely black and white colonial style structure which for some reason exuded European charm. This together with the dutch costumes for rent had us instantly reminiscing about our trip to Amsterdam. The highlights here were of course the animals. There were loads of sheep and goats amongst other smaller animals. All well sheared and clean and it was a riot to watch the kids trying to feed them whilst being a bit apprehensive at first since they were only used to feeding tiny animals prior to this. A cute little cafe within The Farmhouse serving up crepes and other casual bites for our lunch pit stop.
– On we drove on to Rumah Stroberi. This is a lovely place for the kids to go strawberry picking. We were welcomed by rows and rows of juicy strawberries. A basket and scissors were provided to each of us and twenty minutes later we were weighing our loot. You can either choose to take the strawberries home or have them prepare a fresh juice / milkshake for teatime. We did the latter and really enjoyed our drinks supplemented with fresh strawberries and fresh strawberry ice cream.
– Another good option to keep the kids well occupied is De’Ranch, Lembang which has pony rides and other kid friendly activities. We skipped this one as our resort had pony rides too and the kids were happy with a couple of rounds every morning.
– Instead, my research lead us to The Lodge Maribaya, which I wouldn’t really categorize as baby friendly except for the playground and the loungers where we relaxed with a lovely view but the long journey there was worth it for some instagram worthy pics and my five year old had a great time on the flying fox, the floating bicycles, the glamping tents etc. Try to avoid a meal here as the food was passable. Instead, as far as restaurants in Bandung go (aside from dining in our two hotels and enjoying roof top happy hours in the club lounge ofcourse!) our shortlist was as follows:
– Kampung Daun for delicious Sundanese food where tables are laid out in thatched houses amidst a lot of greenery and waterfalls. The kids enjoyed ringing the gong outside of the thatched houses to summon the staff… small pleasures!:)
-Braga Permai which served a mix of local and some really tasty international food. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Bandung and not surprisingly, it was buzzing with tourists as it’s located on the busy Jalan Braga (Braga street).
-The Valley Bistro Cafe is perfect for drinks at sunset with a lovely view of the city. The food was again a mix of local and international and we were all happy with our choices. A video game arcade right near the restaurant provided ample entertainment for my boys so much so that they didn’t want to leave and I was subsequently late for my “post kids in bed massage appointment; ) “. There’s a row of restaraunts near The Valley offering a similar view so you will be spoilt for choice here.
– Another good find was the Atmosphere Resort Cafe. I’d say this is largely targeted to tourists but the food and ambience was good and we enjoyed another round of the famous creamy ‘Zuppa soup’ topped with a layer of crisp puff pastry.
There you have it mamas. Another super convenient and well priced getaway option especially if you have little ones who are restless travellers on long flights. Happy planning!
Hilton Bandung pool image sourced via Facebook. All other images courtesy of the author.