upside down world bandung

Upside Down World Bandung: Photoshoot in the World without Gravity

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d3960.9523756716785!2d107.61481131477272!3d-6.896299995016838!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x2e68e65212a87041%3A0xcd6e130647905f56!2sUpside%20Down%20World%20Bandung!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sid!4v1609848142654!5m2!1sen!2sid

Could upside down world on earth happen for real, or nothing more than just Hollywood movies? Actually, if you go to Upside Down World, you don’t have to be out of space to experience the world without gravity.

ABOUT UPSIDE DOWN WORLD

Upside Down World is a photoshoot destination, using a residential house as its main concept. Just like houses in general, it consists of rooms aka studios with various themes, such as bathroom, living room, bedroom, study room, dining room, pool room, kitchen, yard and warehouse in upside down position. In other words, all furniture and its attributes are hung on the ceiling.

ups
the original look of the studio without editing

Inspired by Upside Down World movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess in 2012, a Malaysian entrepreneur visualizes the idea into life. Finally, Upside Down World opened for the first time in 2016, having flagships in Bandung, Bali, Medan, Alam Sutera and Yogyakarta. At that time, it was a big hit following the emerging trend of posting selfies on social media and craving for more “likes”. Nowadays, unfortunately, most of them are already closed for good, except those in Bali and Bandung. In Malaysia itself, Upside Down World operates in Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh.

To be honest, a photo studio is definitely not my first choice to be a travel destination no matter how instagrammable it is. Nonetheless, I decided to make it as a meeting point with an old friend of mine since its close to Dipati Ukur station, where the Jakarta-Bandung mini bus I took parked there. I was pretty sure that we would like to take pictures together after not seeing each other for years. Upside Down World seems like a unique location to do that.

I’d to ride my bicycle
shower time

The entrance fee to Upside Down World is Rp. 80.000 ($6) on weekdays and Rp. 100.000 ($8) on weekends for adults, and Rp. 50.000 ($3) for kids. For Indonesian standard, the rate is quite high, especially the building is not that big and has lack of lighting, in my opinion.

upside down world bandung
glued in the kitchen – my favourite pic!

However, hiring an experienced interior designer for a challenging project and the difficulty in executing the project to ensure the safety of its visitors contribute higher construction costs. Heavy furniture, a bed for instance, requires an additional thick and very strong rope to attach properly on the ceiling.

hello kitty bedroom. cute huh?
upside down world bandung
doraemon inspired study room

LET YOUR IMAGINATION RUN WILD

Situated on H. Wasid No. 31, Lebak Gede, Coblong District, our visit started with doubts when we arrived at 10.30 am and no one was around. Well, there were a couple of foreigner entering the studio before us, but moments later they left. Fortunately, the ticket counter staff managed to convince us that the best visiting time is when it’s still quiet because there’s no need to be in line to move from one studio to another. Also, there will be plenty of time to improve our poses to get good results without being distracted by other visitors, who may impatiently wait for their turn.

It took some creativity to create poses that match various scenes. We could have used the same pose for different spots, yet it wouldn’t turn out as dramatic as we expected. And honestly, we started running out of ideas after the 4th scene. Fortunately, the reference from previous visitor’s pictures placed on wall helped us finding suitable poses. We also asked for an advice from the staff to orchestrate more poses other than what they normally do.

thrown to trash

I was happy with the final results of the photoshoot, as they look unconventional and surreal! To achieve such results, you only need to do some simple editing before posting them on social media by using basic features, such as rotate, crop, brightness, contrast and saturation as a finishing touch. No worries about my remark that the studio has lack of lighting because you can make a few adjustments as easy as one, two, three into perfection.

FACILITIES

Upside Down World provides photo printing service, mirrorless camera and costume rental, e.g. a kimono to match with the Japanese style dining room as a background, with additional price apart from entrance fee. I personally don’t think you need a specific costume to get good pictures. On the other hand, you really need the studio’s camera if you have a pretty bad (smartphone) camera.

upside down world bandung
printing center and snacks
Japanese style dining room

It’s recommended to keep all your personal belongings inside the locker provided during the visit, which is free of charge, so you don’t have to watch them all the time. It’s also can safe you from theft when it’s crowded inside. FYI, you need to take off your shoes prior to entering the studio and put them in a designated shoe rack.

lunch time

THE MORE THE MERRIER

Although posing in front of camera is not really my thing, I had a great time during the photoshoot. It gave me freedom to be as playful as I can, using my imagination of what I could do if I lived in the house without gravity. With a little help from the staff, who served us sincerely, and a close friend, who lighted up my day with laughter, anything’s possible.

All I can say is that Upside Down World is one of the destinations which is not so fun and memorable to visit without friends and family. And there’s no need to fly to the moon to experience zero gravity, at least in pictures.

Kawah Putih: Venturing Mysterious Beauty on a Pre-Wed Location

Usually, there’s nothing much to say about a yearly trip with co-workers, as games, door prizes and selfie matter more than the place of interest itself. Until the trip we had some weeks ago to “Kawah Putih”, or White Crater situated in Ciwidey, south Bandung, West Java.

“Kawah Putih”, that has been officially opened for public since 1987, didn’t gain much popularity until the recent trend of pre-wedding photography in Indonesia, especially the best pictures will be displayed at the couple’s venue. Shooting location is undoubtedly one of the important elements to achieve fantastic results. I admit, it makes me curious how the site looks like in my naked eyes.

Nonetheless, looking back to the past, the area around Mt. Patuha surrounding the White Crater, was a taboo place to visit because the locals believed that it was where the kingdom of demons resided. Dr. Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn, a German – Dutch botanist, didn’t buy the story that much. Therefore in 1837, he went inside the forest of Mt. Patuha to find the truth behind the myth and unexpectedly discovered a stunning view of turquoise water, with hints of white, before him. He also later found out that no animals wanted to pass by or fly in the sky above the lake because of the pungent smell of sulfur, that has nothing to do with mystery and death.

After the bus arrived at the parking lot, we took a 20-minute-ride with “ontang-anting” to reach “Kawah Putih”. “Ontang-anting” is a minibus lookalike that accommodates about 12 people, whose windows and rear doors are replaced by hand rests on both sides of the seats as partitions to protect passengers from falling sideways. The open air concept of the traditional vehicle permitted us to feel the mountain breeze along the way from top to toe freely.

It was the best option to go up to the peak as it only costs Rp.15.000 ($1) per person round trip, apart from the Rp.18.000 ($1.5) entrance fee, while foreigners Rp.50.000 ($4). Moreover, bringing your own car is much more expensive, as it takes another Rp.150.000 ($10), while bus another Rp.500.000 ($45), to sustain the local inhabitant earnings. Just remind the driver for not speeding since it passes a narrow, sharp bends and the back seats don’t have seat belts.

The sulfur smell and the masker vendor greeted us as we got off from “ontang-anting”. Bear in mind that it is not allowed to bring food and drinks on site and no food stalls so-called “warung” around the area, except in the parking lot below. Anyways, the scent of “rotten egg” may ruin your appetite.

kawah putih ciwidey

Descending to the main attraction, the overall landscape looked like a beach without palm trees at a glance. The distance between the crater lake and the land was just a stone’s throw, where both lied on the same eye level. Unlike other crater lakes, we could easily walk the letter “U” sandy limestone path to be in the middle of the sulfur containing lake water. That’s where visitors were heading to for selfie and group pictures. Make sure you don’t touch or even swim on it for your own safety.

kawah putih crater lake

The whitish-bluish-greenish lake water was the most eye-catching view of “Kawah Putih”, where the sulfur concentration, weather and temperature define its tone. The combination of limestone sand, greenish sulfur sand, lake water and blue sky created contrasts within the blue-green group of colour, delivering natural beauty in its own way. It’s no surprise that you may overlook Mt. Patuha circling the crater lake.

Unfortunately, my time management was quite bad as I concentrated too much in certain spots for pictures. I failed to be in the middle of the lake and missed an ongoing pre-wedding photo shoot. What a fool could I be!

kawah putih

Despite that, I succeeded capturing the other side of the lake with bald twigs and nearly dead trees. Their presence totally changed my impression from soothing and peaceful to mysterious and eerie, that reminds me of a horror movie scene. When I changed the film simulation in my camera to sepia and black and white, the overall landscape was instantly more creepy than ever.

kawah putih different moods

Though vandalism was really against the house rules, the huge rock demonstrated otherwise. Visitors marked their presence by writing their names on it with a marker, a pen or a sharp object. So there you go, you’re on rock of fame!

rock

I believe pictures from the camera are the most important travel souvenirs. Nonetheless, perhaps sulfur powder and rock are something you can take home. Sulfur is believed to eliminate blemishes, heals itches, wounds and other skin problems. I haven’t tried yet, though. Gemstones are available as well, suppose you want to add more jewelry collections or to re-polish and resell them.

the sulfur vendor

We were glad to come on a weekday. No jostling each other for the sake of selfie and photography aficionados. But perhaps, peace and silence at the crater lake didn’t signify a traditional lute, or “kecapi” player’s fortune. He dived his notes himself all alone under the shade facing the parking lot. Since all visitors on that day took “ontang-anting” to go up, nobody parked their own car there. Automatically, nobody noticed his presence and he didn’t get much tips.

To be honest, nothing romantic about this place and it doesn’t remind me of wedding related stuffs. But yes, it’s indeed a fantastic location for a photo shoot no matter what the occasion is. I’m glad I finally witnessed its enigmatic beauty myself and its cleanliness was well-maintained regardless popularity and crowds.