The region is primarily mountainous, with rich green valleys hugging lofty volcanic peaks, many of which surround the capital of West Java province.
The enchanting land of Sunda stretches from the Sunda Strait in the West to the borders of Central Java in the east. The region is primarily mountainous, with rich green valleys hugging lofty volcanic peaks, many of which surround the capital of the province, Bandung. The history of West Java is a story of trade, spices, and the rise and fall of powerful kingdoms.
In the late 1500s, the region was ruled from mighty Cirebon, which still survives as a sultanate today, although a shadow of its former glory. West Java was one of the first contact points in Indonesia for Indian traders and their cultural influences and it was here that the Dutch and British first set foot in the archipelago.
West Java stretches from the remote islands of the Ujung Kulon National Park (last Javan home of the one-horned rhino) in the west to the sweeping beaches of Pangandaran in the east. In between, you can visit the infamous offshore volcano of Krakatau; surf in the chilled coastal resorts, Cimaja and Batu Karas; experience local culture in Cianjur; and stroll through Bogor’s lush botanical gardens.
The ancient kingdoms of Tarumanegara, Pajajaran, Banten, and Cirebon would make interesting studies for the student of archaeology. Cirebon is located on the border between West and Central Java, having a mixed culture originating from the ancient Cirebon and Banten kingdoms, resulting in similar customs and dialects of the two people, although Banten is located at the extreme western part of the province.
West Java province its self, is formed based on the Constitution number 11/1950 on the establishment of West Java. With the issuance of Constitution number 23/2000 on Banten Province, West Java Governor Assisting Territory I Banten was inaugurated as Banten Province with its territories comprising Serang Regency, Pandeglang Regency, Lebak Regency, Tangerang Regency and Mayoralty, and Cilegon Mayoralty. After the change, at present West Java consists of 18 regencies, nine mayoralties, 584 districts, 5,201 villages, and 609 sub-districts.
The capital city of West Java province is Bandung city. Bandung is situated 180 km southeast of Jakarta. The city gamed fame in 1955 as the venue for the first Afro-Asian Conference, which brought together the leaders of 29 Asian, and African nations with the aim to promote economic and cultural relations and take a common stand against colonialism.
Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung is the main airport entrance and connected to major Indonesian and a number of neighboring countries. Air Asia serves direct flights from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as well as Singapore to Bandung. Silk Air also flies Singapore to Bandung and Malindo Air from Kuala Lumpur to Bandung. On domestic flights, Bandung is served by direct flights from Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang, Bandar Lampung, Bali, Surakarta, Pekanbaru, Banjarmasin, Kualanamu (North Sumatra), Palembang, Pontianak, Yogyakarta, Balikpapan, Batam, Makassar, and Pangkal Pinang. With operated modern Kertajati International Airport at Majalengka in June 2018, access to Bandung and its beautiful surroundings will become a whole lot faster and much more convenient.
From the capital city of Jakarta, Bandung is also accessible via a toll road that allows you to reach the city in just a little 2.5 hours drive (barring traffic jams). Aside from renting a car, there are a number of shuttle minibus services at various points across Jakarta and at the Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Tangerang that will take you directly to Bandung in air-conditioned comfort.
Places of Interest
The highland city of Bandung is only a short 2.5 hours’ drive southeast of Jakarta via a toll road and is the overwhelming destination of choice for Jakarta residents to get away for weekends and long holidays. Lately, it has also become a favorite holiday resort for tourists from Singapore and Malaysia, who come here in droves to shop and enjoy its nature and fabulous foods. And with its popularity, an abundance of hotels have sprouted offering business facilities to luxurious service or also budget rooms, and eateries galore serving yummy local dishes to old-style Dutch cuisine. Meanwhile, the adjacent cool town of Lembang and other scenic areas now also offer a wide variety of attractions and entertainment for the whole family, a haven for Instagrammers.
Bogor is located 60 km south, or a mere one hour by road from Jakarta. Once known as Buitenzorg meaning ‘free of care’, Bogor is at the foothills of Mt Salak. It has high, year-round rainfall and a much cooler climate compared to metropolitan Jakarta. Bogor itself is a pleasant town, and home of Indonesia’s Agricultural University and the Zoological Museum, where is displayed the last stuffed rhino found in the Bandung plateau.
From Bogor the road climbs up passing picturesque mountain resorts all the way to the Puncak, or the Peak. The Safari Park is located on this beautiful but winding route. Further beyond Puncak before reaching Cipanas is the Cibodas Park just at the foot of Mt Gede-Pangrango, laid out for the study of temperate plants, where Java coffee was originally cultivated.