Saturday, November 8, 2008
Bandung: City of Shoppers #1
Ask any visitors of their reasons for visiting Bandung, and chances are that shopping and eating are high on their list. Bandung is indeed considered by many as a top shopping and culinary destination in Indonesia and even in Southeast Asia. To local visitors at least, Bandung is well known for its many fashion distros (distribution outlets), FOs (factory outlets), cozy cafes and restos.
Distros and FOs are a kind of shop that sells fashion and apparel products directly from factories. This marketing model that cuts short the distribution chain (and hence significantly reduces the prices of commodities) began to emerge in the early 1990s. Now you can find them in many parts of the city, with those on Jalan Dago (Dago Street), Jalan Riau (LRE Martadinata), Jalan Cihampelas, and Jalan Dr. Setiabudhi being the most popular.
Bandung shopping experience, however, does not stop with distros and FOs. In fact, they may be just the beginning of it. For those of you who like high-end, branded merchandize, Bandung also has a large number of internationally branded chain shops to choose from. Or, if you are the kind of person who enjoys adventure and does not mind haggling/bargaining, the various specialized traditional markets and the streets are the way to go. Not only do these markets offer the same range of merchandizes you can find at distros and high end branded chain shops, they also offer them for much much less.
I took the above photo of colorful t-shirts and blouses at King's Shopping Center on Jalan Kepatihan (Kepatihan Street). And how much do they cost? At the current rate, they cost US$5 or less. Very cheap indeed for well-made and beautifully designed blouses like those.