Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indonesia Trip '08 – Day 04 : Shopping in Bandung

After spending the whole morning at the Kawah Putih Crater lake, we decided to head back to Bandung to get some lunch before going on our shopping trip. For lunch that day, we decided to test out one of the guidebook’s recommendation and try the Sundanese food at Warung Nasi Mang Udju (Jln Dewi Sartika). Finding it proved to be a little bit harder than I expected for a place listed in the guidebooks as it was only listed with the street name but we did eventually find the place after a few missed turns. The place was less impressive looking that what I had expected to be included in the guidebook but the moment we tasted the food there, I instantly understood why it got the mentioned. We decided to try a little of almost all the dishes offered to get a taste of authentic Sundanese food and it was really tasty. At 85,000 Rph for the 4 of us, it was also a cheap but satisfying meal.

Note : For obvious reasons, we didn’t take many pictures during the shopping trip (too busy trying to find that one perfect outfit to buy .. heheheh) so there will be no pictures for this entry.

After finishing with our lunch, it was off for our shopping excursion in Bandung. Our first stop was Rumah Mode which was recommended by a friend who goes there whenever he comes to town. Set in a resort-like setting, Rumah Mode felt more like a boutique instead of an upscale factory outlet. They carry mostly clothes, bags, shoes and other leather goods for men, women and children. Many have those famous labels that you wouldn't even dream to owning unless you were really well off which definitely didn’t include us. We spent some time browsing for items to buy there but I have to say that I was not overly impressed by the selections. Prices are a bit on the high side but I didn’t really feel that the quality of the products were any different from the ones you can get at the factory outlets back home.

A lot of the labels available there were definitely from those that you would not find in your average factory outlet back home. While it might definitely appeal to the label conscious set among us, I’m always wary of going just for the label without knowing if the shoes or clothes were actually from that designer line. Why commit the ultimate faux pas of parading around something that profess to be from a famous designer label only to be told later that it’s a cheap knock off with just the label sewn on. A lot of the items with the more famous labels did have the look and feel of being just an overseas knock off rather than an overstock of the real thing so buyers would definitely do well to beware while shopping her. Having said that, there were quite a few gems to be found at Rumah Mode if one were patient enough to go through all the items.

After spending time at Rumah Mode, we decided to visit the famously renowned “Jeans Street” or more officially known as Jln Cihampelas. The place was basically a narrow street with huge shops selling locally made denim jeans, t-shirts and every other type of clothing imaginable on each side of the road. Another claim to fame for the area were the huge eye-catching plaster statues of pop culture and comic book icons above every store selling jeans in the area. Looking around I could see characters like “Rambo”, “Superman”, “Spider-man” and even “Catwoman” being used on store fronts to sell jeans. It was a pity that it was slightly drizzling when we got there or I would have had a blast trying to take a picture of each plaster statute in the area. Instead, we took cover in the shops to browse their goods. I didn’t plan to buy any jeans there but I did buy myself a really tight-fitting long sleeve round neck shirt which in hindsight wasn’t that good of an idea as I am now wondering when the heck I am going to wear it.

After unsuccessfully trying to reign in my impulse buying habit, we decide to walk down to Cihampelas Walk which was just around the corner from where we were for some JCo doughnuts (again … we basically stuffed ourselves silly with JCo every time we get) and some coffee to ward off the chill. Cihampelas Walk was basically a collection of restaurants and shops not unlike the one we find in KL where a lot of people like to hang out. Since we had an early day the following morning and still had a few hours to kill, we decide that we would send our stuff back to the homestay first before going out to Dago street to check out what was there. I had noted a Café Oh La La at one of the malls there the night before and knew that it would be opened later than the other shops in the area. We left Cihampelas Walk with that plan in mind but not before spending more rupiahs at a nearby street cart vendor who was selling locally designed T-Shirts with quite amusing captions printed on it.

We drove next to Plaza Dago when me and another of my fellow traveler got off while the other went back to the homestay to stow away the bags of items that we bought that day before rejoining us at Plaza Dago. Since I had to reconfirm our tour reservations with the homestay that we would be staying in our next destination, the first thing that I had to do was to look for an internet café to get on line. Not finding any at Plaza Dago, we started to walk down the darkening streets (with street lights on this time around – thankfully) for a warnet (what the locals call an internet café). Fortunately for us, we found one just a block away from where we were and we settled down with some Internet time. The computers and transmission speeds were good enough for me to shoot off some emails, update my Facebook profiles and even chatted with a few friends on YM while waiting for the other companion to arrive. It was also quite cheap as I think I only spent about 4,000 Rph for the ½ hour of using their computers.

We rejoin our companion in front of the Dago Factory Outlet where we went in with the intention of buying some new socks to replace the once that we were wearing since they started to stink from repeated wearing. We ended up buying everything else except the socks that we planned to buy. Dago Factory Outlet carried the less branded items than Rumah Mode but were from brands that we were more comfortable buying and of course wearing. I ended up buying several Urban Outfitter cut-off shirts with naughty captions, a few Echo Park shirts and one Burberry T-shirt. Unlike Rumah Mode, the items at Dago Factory Outlet felt more like line over runs rather than knock offs of the real thing. Given the range of items and availability of many sizes, I would definitely recommend Dago Factory Outlet over Rumah Mode to visitors to Bandung. It may not be as flashy at what you can find in Rumah Mode but it makes more sense to shop there especially when you’re on a tighter budget.

After swiping my credit card for the first time on the trip at Dago Factory Outlet, we proceeded to Café Oh La La for some supper and drinks. While the place did get more crowded as the night progressed, it was no where as exciting to hang out at as their Jakarta establishment. Unlike the meat market at the Jakarta establishment, the crowd there was definitely on the younger mixed set who were there mostly to hang out with their friends. We had typical pub grub of pizza and sandwiches for supper which was fairly uninspiring but was adequate as a meal. After paying 105,000 Rph for the food and drinks, we left Plaza Dago at 10pm to go back to out homestay by taxi since we were not sure if we can identify which angkut to take to get back. Once we got back, we started to repack our bags (Roll not fold! The secret to successful packing!) to include all the items that we bought and turned in early since we had another early start the following morning.


M@x said...

Thanks for the shopping tips. Is credit card widely accepted? I don't wanna walk around with wads of millions cash...:)

Nickxandar said...

Credit cards are mostly accepted in the bigger shops in Bandung but they definitely prefer cash as payment.

Plus, they will add a 3% service charge to the bill if you use credit card.