A road trip from Jakarta to Bandung is so easy after the opening of the Purbaleunyi toll road in 2005. Presently, this is the fastest and the most direct road trip to Bandung. Depending on where you exit in Bandung, the distance is approximately 130 kilometers. You drive on Jakarta Cikampek toll road until you reach km. 66, then you enter Purbaleunyi toll road. There are many established rest areas along the way. Every rest area has plenty of restaurants, a gas station, a mosque, and restrooms.
Due to the heavy traffic on Jakarta - Cikampek toll road, the elevated toll road was added (from km.11 to km. 47). This elevated toll road is only for small vehicles; neither bus nor truck is allowed there. It is more than five meters above the ground, without any rest area. It means once you go up, you can not stop until you reach the next rest area, which would be km. 57 if you drive to Bandung or km. 7 if you go to Jakarta.
There isn't much to see during the first 50 kilometers of Cikampek toll road, mostly are industrial parks on either side of the toll road. Once you enter the Purbaleunyi toll road, the view changes, especially during rainy seasons.
Perhaps you wonder, why rainy season? Because during that time the fields are all green: the paddy fields, the grass, the tea plantations, and the pine forest. Sometimes it is foggy, which enhances its beauty. Near km. 115 you will pass a classic railway bridge. It was built circa 1905, during Dutch settlement. It is one of my favorite views at Purbaleunyi toll road, especially when a train passes it.
However, you must be cautious all the time, since this toll road is passing several mountains and crossing several long bridges. It is the only toll road I know that is not flat: it keeps going up and down. You must be extra careful when it is raining because it would be challenging to see what lies ahead.
There are five entrances to Bandung: Pasteur, Pasirkoja, Kopo, Mohamad Toha, and Buah Batu toll gates. You should exit at Pasteur or Pasirkoja if you want to go to downtown and northern Bandung, such as Dago and Lembang.
A new toll road at Pasirkoja is called Soroja (Soreang - Pasirkoja). It connects the city of Bandung to the south towards small towns such as Ciwidey, Banjaran, and Pangalengan.
The next exits are Kopo, Mohamad Toha, and Buah Batu. Currently, the end of Purbaleunyi toll road is at the Cileunyi toll gate. Then, it merges into the provincial roads that lead you to towns such as Sumedang, Cirebon, Garut, Tasikmalaya, and Pangandaran beach. This road also leads to Central Java.
Rent a car and drive through Cikampek and Purbaleunyi toll road is only one option for a road trip to Bandung. If you are a solo traveler, it might be more economical to catch a bus or shuttle bus. Alternatively, take a road trip through Puncak Pass, then you can explore some of the many places of interest in Puncak.