Eid al-Fitr, better known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia, is fast approaching… meaning it’s time for some serious shopping! It’s never too early to do so, especially if you don’t want to get unfashionably famished during Ramadan shopping (with the fasting month and all). Our Indonesian writer Ari heads over to shopping capital Bandung for a quick getaway and Ramadan shopping spree, where he happily shares his list of favourite spots around town – complete with a killer shopping map to boot!
Words by Ari Fajar
Bandung is the best place to go for Raya shopping. Not only does the small city boast cool weather with charming old colonial ambiance and blessed with many natural attractions like Tangkuban Parahu and Kawah Putih, the city is also well-known as one of the cheapest places in Indonesia for fashion items because 70% of textiles in Indonesia are made in Bandung. I gathered my local posse (Bandung is after all, my second hometown) and headed off for our Bandung shopping experience.
*Click here to download the map, print it out and use it to navigate around Bandung’s hottest shopping spots!
Distribution Outlets (Distro)
Great for: Indie merchandise, casual wear, shoes, bags, accessories
First stop, we went to some distros looking for casual clothing. These are the garbs we’re going to wear as we hop all over town visiting friends and relatives during Raya, so comfort is key.
There were just loads of cool t-shirts, jackets, jeans and accessories. Two of my younger friends, Lily and Anton, ended up with way too many shopping bags with them. Really kids, it’s too early to be spending all of your money. I haven’t even had my second breakfast yet!
Distribution outlets are backed by independent designers aimed at the younger shoppers (and the young-at-heart). They design, produce and sell their own indie-punk-nineties-skateboard-graphic design bits and pieces. Most distros sell casual wear with heavy inclination toward the guys, but there are a few that defy the norm by venturing into hipster mom/dad/kid t-shirt combo. Are you into Bauhaus? Black Metal? B-boy? Get your freak on in our favourite distro haunts around Jl. Trunojoyo, Jl. Tirtayasa, Jl. Wira Angun-angun and Jl. Sultan Agung.
- Airplane Systm Spaceshop, Jl. Sidomukti No. 87
- UNKL347, Jl. Trunojoyo No.4
- Ouval Research, Jl. Sultan Agung No. 3A
- Invictus, Jl. Pager Gunung 13
Muslim Fashion Specialty Shops
Great for: Hijab, praying dress (telekung), Muslimah cosmetics, casual and formal wear, accessories
After I’ve had my fill of casual clothing (and I got tired pretending to be young), I asked my friends to point me to something more mosque-friendly. My cheerful friend Kika gave Lily some Muslimah-wear suggestions as well as teaching her new ways to drape her hijab (headscarf). Many shops stocking Muslim fashion boast their own unique styles and shop attendants are typically more than happy to share their draping techniques.
The best part about shopping in Bandung is the very attentive shop attendants who will go the extra mile to help you pick out your best outfit (as well as put up with the crazy antics of my loony bunch). Kudos to them!
We left the Muslim-wear shops happy campers – Kika got a flowy pink kaftan with matching hijab (perfect for open house parties), Lily a cute and simple top (cute and chic), and Anton absolutely loved his short-sleeved taqwa shirt and embroidered songkok (practical for Salat al-Eid).
Hijab fashion is up and coming in Bandung, and the city’s Muslim-wear establishments are sprouting up like mushrooms after rain. From quaint small shops to chic boutiques, there are many choices for Ramadan:
- Shasmira Moslem Factory Outlet, Jl. Burangrang No. 24
- Zoya, Jl. Burangrang No. 40
- Shafira, Jl. Sulanjana No. 28
- Rabbani, Jl. Dipatiukur No. 45
- Alifa Muslim Shopping Center, Jl. BKR No. 63
- Zenitha, Pasar Baru Trade Center, Jl. Otto Iskandar Dinata No. 70
- Alisha Fancy Shop, Jl. Salendro Utara No. 27
Pasar Baru Trade Center
Great for: Fabric, praying dress (telekung), casual and formal wear, shoes, bags, accessories
I parted ways with Kika, Lily and Anton (they ran out of money) to meet Ayu, who was looking to purchase some kain (fabric). Meeting in Pasar Baru, I assumed that she was going to look for fabric to make a kebaya, though she doesn’t quite strike me as a traditionalist. I followed her through arrays of the most beautiful laces and silks, till she finally made a stop in one of the stores selling cotton fabrics for t-shirts. As it turned out, she wanted to make her own Star Trek costume. I guess that would really make her stand out during the Raya dinner with her family.
However, if you do want to make your own kebaya or dress, Pasar Baru is the place to be– reels of textile for your slim pickings, including cheap ready-to-wear clothes, shoes, and bags—all in one big complex. My Malaysian friends loved the fact that you can buy three headscarves for the price of one back home. Laces seemed to be a favourite among Malaysian shoppers, and for a good reason. Those of good quality can be bought for only MYR 40-60/metre, but they would cost around MYR 150 in Malaysia. Better quality laces which you would buy around MYR 500/metre in KL are only MYR 80-150 here. Likewise, you can get an intricately hand-embroidered praying dress (telekung in Malaysia, mukena in Indonesia) for around MYR 40-60 here but KL is priced about MYR 200.
Special item found here: cheap Muslimah swimming suit – they cost below MYR 100! Buy it here and show if off in Sunway Lagoon .
- Jl. Otto Iskandar Dinata No. 70
Great for: Bed sheet, jeans, fabric, casual wear, accessories
Ayu still wanted to find more alternatives, so we enlisted the help of Johannes who is known for being cheap…err I mean, frugal. He led us to Gang Tamim, a small alley behind Pasar Baru Trade Center where they sell fabric per metre here from jeans to chiffon – for cheap! We were an easily-distracted bunch, so instead of looking for t-shirt fabric, we were obsessing over custom-made bed sheets. I learned a lot from Johannes. For example, you can buy your jeans material for MYR 12 and have it tailored for MYR 8. Total expense is only MYR 20 and you get the best fit since it’s tailored specifically for you!
- Gg. Tamim (behind Pasar Baru Trade Center)
Cibaduyut Shoes Centre
Great for: Leatherware, shoes, bags, accessories
There was still one more essential item missing for Raya–footwear. A pair of slippers or sandals works best for Salat al-Eid (Eid prayer) as you would need something airy after you take your wudu (ablution), but you can also find platforms, boots and every imaginable footwear here. Jalan Cibaduyut is famous for bags, shoes and everything leather. Find your favourite footwear among the many stores found along the street, or order a pair according to your taste. Do the bargaining game right, and you can get a pair of pretty pumps for just around MYR 25. More often than not, the attendant will do the lighter fire test to prove to you that it’s genuine leather. Johannes found himself a pair of his dreams and haggled furiously for them that sent the shop attendants to tears (nah, I’m just exaggerating). That is how you do it here, and Johannes played this game all too well.
- Jl. Cibaduyut
More shopping spots
Need more pointers on where to go shopping in Bandung? Scroll down to see more specialized shopping spots.
1) Cihampelas Jeans Street
The so-called jeans street has lost some of its past magic where you can buy cheap quality jeans, but you can still find hidden treasures here if you look really hard. I love the array of superheroes and other uncanny characters on the storefronts.
- Jl. Cihampelas
2) Factory Outlets
Want branded items without paying a bomb? How about rejected grade B products or over-quota grade A products instead? Ladies, dump your husbands/boyfriends in the food courts and spend hours shopping through the outlets! Look real careful and you might find yourself a really nice designer blouse for no more than MYR 20! There are also specialized stores for men and children. Factory outlets are located all around town, but mostly are concentrated around Jl. Riau (Jl. L.L.R.E. Martadinata), Jl. Dago (Jl. Ir.H. Juanda), Jl. Dr. Setiabudi and Jl. Sukajadi.
- Rumah Mode, Jl. Setiabudi No. 41F
- Heritage, Jl. L.L.R.E. Martadinata (Jl. Riau) No. 63
- Grande, Jl. Ir.H. Juanda (Jl. Dago) No 118
- Formen (specializing in menswear, d’oh), Jl. L.L.R.E. Martadinata (Jl. Riau) No. 36
- Anakecil (specializing in childrens’s wear), Jl. Cimandiri No. 32 Bandung
- Terminal Tas (specializing in bags), Jl. LLRE Martadinata (Jl. Riau) No. 32
3) King’s Shopping Center
Cheap shirts, trousers, shoes, watches and accessories can be found here. Discounts are given sparingly during holiday seasons.
- Jl. Kepatihan
4) Cigondewah Fabric Centre
Fabrics of many colours and qualities are sold at very cheap price in southern Bandung near Cimahi, where many textile factories are located. You can buy them per metre or by the kilogram.
- Jl. Cigondewah (Jl. Caringin)
5) Binong Jati Knit Centre
At first glance, the area looks like any other residential areas in town, but soon you will notice the people busy knitting in the houses. This is the place to get a bargain on all things knitted, as you can buy them right out of the workshops. From the knitting needle into your shopping bag, how about that?
- Jl. Gatot Subroto
6) Skoci T-shirt Centre
From plain t-shirts to customized ones, you can find them all here. A standard t-shirt will only cost you MYR 6. Even the famous distro brands place orders from the shops here. Have your own design in mind? Customize your own t-shirt here for a reasonable price!
- Jl. Surapati
I’m done. How about you?
My Ramadan shopping is now done! I walked away with many sets of Ramadan clothing just perfect for the occasion for only a fraction of the price back in Malaysia. Now, it’s time to get yours done as well! Don’t forget to download the map to make navigating between Bandung’s shopping spots easier for you. Happy shopping!
Do you have any favourite shopping spots? Share with us in Comment box below!
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