Top 10 Things to Do in Malang

When I decided to visit Malang during my trip, it was not because there were many things I want to do there. A good friend of mine happens to be there for work. Being a cheap backpacker, I was excited for the free accommodation while being a solo traveler, I was thrilled to have a companion. Much to my surprise, Malang turns out to be an interesting addition to my Java trip. This city is brimming with local buzz, giving it an authentic Indonesian experience. It is also filled with some interesting tourist attractions that may not be on a typical tourist’s radar.

Tugu Bundaran, Malang's monument, Indonesia

Tugu Bundaran, Malang’s monument

Explore the city center

Malang city center is relatively small and easily explored by foot. First, take your orientation with the famous Malang monument – Tugu Bundaran. This majestic monument stands in a middle of a waterlily filled pond. If you are staying at Tugu Hotel *, a highly recommended place to stay in Malang *, the monument is just across at the roundabout. From here take a walk around the city, taking in the buzz of the Indonesian life. Head on south-west to Malang’s Great Mosque Jami, another noteworthy tourist attraction in Malang.

Malang's Great Mosque Jami, Indonesia

Malang’s Great Mosque Jami

Walk along Jalan Ijen (street)

First off, take your time and wander around the city. Malang is small enough to comfortably, if you ignore the heat, to explore all over. When you walk around, you will see traces of Dutch influence here. If you go along Jalan Ijen (street), you will see colonial houses and palm trees lining up. Here you will feel somewhat transported to somewhere in Europe. Do not miss out the church here, St. Maria, a Catholic church that also boasts Dutch colonial features. The latest initiative here, since 2011, is the car free Sunday from 5 am till 9.30 am. At this period, you will find many locals come here for their morning walk, biking, skateboarding and gymnastics.

Colonial Ijen Street, Malang, Indonesia

Colonial Ijen Street, Malang

Eat the local food

In Malang you can find many famous Java local cuisines, from street stalls to restaurants. The Indonesian food that you must try here in Malang is fried gurame (fish), satay (grilled meat skewers), urap-urap (mixed salad with grated coconuts) and local dessert of fried banana. When I was here, my friend and I went to Inggil restaurant, not just for its delicious food but also its interesting atmosphere of various old trinkets and antiques inside a Dutch house. Another must try food is the local mie goreng (fried noodles) at a roadside stall.

Indonesian dishes at Inggil Restaurant, Indonesia

Indonesian dishes at Inggil Restaurant

Visit the traditional market (pasar) or the night market

There is a few traditional market in Malang that you can visit. A popular one is the Oro-oro Dowo and the Pasar Besar (big market). Here you can come in the day and shop together with the local for the freshest produces. If you are a night person, there are also the night market here in Malang at Jalan Kyai Tamin. This market offers a variety of local souvenirs and food vendors, though don’t expect too much for the quality of the food here.

Malang Inggil Restaurant, Indonesia

Inggil Restaurant interior

Take a becak ride

After refusing several times during my wandering times around Malang, I finally gave in for a ride on the becak. My friend wanted to also have the experience, so I thought it would be a good reason to also try it out. It turns out to be a cooling and breezy ride, a nice change from my slow walking around the city. With a ride on the becak, you may find a new perspective of the city and feel a little bit more like a tourist looking from the outside in.

-> Find places to stay in Malang at Booking.com. Free cancellation. *

Visit Candi Singosari temple

Candi Singosari, or also known as Singhasari, is a Hindu-Buddhist temple located in the village of Cendirenggo, 10 km from Malang. It is also a favourite of the local tourists, you will find many of them there. This ancient temple dates back to the Singhasari dynasty and is the funerary temple of its last King. The site of the temple is believed to be the center of the Javanese court of Singhasari. You can get to the Candi Singosari with public transport from the Arjosari bus terminal. The temple requires a donation of 2,000 IDR to enter.

Malang Candi Jago temple, Indonesia

Candi Singosari temple

Compare Candi Kidal and Candi Jago temples

Both of these temples lie about 24km to the east of Malang. You can visit both temples at the same time for convenience. Kidal and Jago are both Hindu temples, dating back to the 12th and 13th century. Although older, the Kidal temple is more intact than Jago. But Jago temple boasts a lot of intricate carvings on its remains.

Malang Candi Jago temple, Indonesia

Candi Jago temple

Go to Batu and pluck some apples

Batu is a city next to Malang and well known as “Apple City”. Hence, one must visit an Apple farm when one is here. I visited an Apple Farm here and paid for the apples that I picked. Besides apple picking, you can also tour the rest of the farm. There are various plants and fruits to be enjoyed while taking in the fresh cooling air. There are also always a cafe for a pit stop and rest for some fruit juices with a view.

Malang Kebun Apple Farm at Batu, Indonesia

Kebun Apple Farm at Batu

Check out the waterfalls in Batu

If you are a nature lover and enjoy some waterfalls, Batu city offers a few waterfalls to visit. They all take about 45 mins to 1-hour drive from Malang. One popular one is Coban Rondo waterfall, located in the middle of the forest. Come here during the weekdays to avoid the local crowds and to have more space and time to enjoy the place. Another waterfall to check out is the Coban Pelangi (rainbow), which lies to the east of Malang and at the fringe of Bromo Tengger National Park. This is the waterfall to visit if you are on the way to the famous Mount Bromo of Java.

One of the waterfalls near Malang, Indonesia

One of the waterfalls near Malang

Take a 4WD ride to Mount Bromo

Speaking of Mount Bromo, rent a 4WD in Malang and take the scenic route to Mount Bromo. If you are on a budget, you can try to share with other tourists who are going on the 4WD. Check out the hostels around and there should be one heading off the next day or so. Going with the 4WD is one of the nicer ways to access Mount Bromo. The drive takes you through highlands and greeneries with beautiful views. You will not be disappointed with this dramatic entrance into the amazing volcano mountain, one of the best in Indonesia.

4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo, Indonesia

4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo

As you can see, there are many things one can do in Malang, and I am surprised that the city is not yet filled with tourists. This place promises a more subdue traveling in Java and more interactions with the local Indonesians. Visit Malang for its Dutch colonial architectures, local Indonesian food, traditional market, local life and farms, ancient Hindu temples and nature with waterfalls and volcano mountain.

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Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Bali

Quickly becoming the top destination in Indonesia, and even in Asia, Bali has a lot of tourist attractions to offer. Since it is well trodden by tourists from near and far, the wonders here despite its crowd, are world class and definitely worth the hustle for. Here you can find a good range and variety of attractions, such as beautiful ancient temples, rice fields, romantic sunset dinners, traditional dances, mountains and beaches. What more can one ask for during traveling with choices from art to culture to nature that are sure to please every sense of wonder and exploration?

There are definitely more than just 10 attractions in Bali but here is a list of the top ones for you.

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Photo by Vladimir E

Pura Tanah Lot Temple

Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in Bali, Tanah Lot temple definitely lives up to its fame, with its dramatic setting. It is one of the six revered, cardinal temples of Bali and is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. Located at the edge of the rocks, it gives a breathtaking view and looks, especially during sunset. The temple itself is 100m offshore and is only accessible to the Hindus. It cannot be reached by anyone during the high tide. The cliff-side path to the north passes the Pura Enjung Galuh temple (behind which are the best views of Tanah Lot) and then some steps down to the beach and onwards to Pura Batu Bolong temple perched atop a rocky headland.

Kecak Dance at Bali, Indonesia, Indonesia

Kecak Dance at Bali. Photo by Meru Muhammad

Kecak Dance

Kecak dance is one of the traditional dance and musical drama in Bali that is enchanting and one of the top attractions to tourists. This dance is from the legend of Legong and Barong, a dance from the south of Bali, with a story of a never-ending battle between good and evil. It is more commonly known as the fire dance that is set to impress. The best place to watch it is on the temple grounds of Puri Dalem Taman Kaja, where you will find an authentic atmosphere and setting. Another popular place to watch this dance is at Tanah Lot temple, with a dramatic setting.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali. Photo by melburnian

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple

Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple is a famous Balinese sea temple in Bali. It is one of the nine directional temples of Bali meant to protect it from evil spirits. This spectacular temple is one to marvel with as it perched at the edge of the rock overlooking the sea as if on guard. The inner sanctum of the pura (temple) is perched at the edge of steep cliffs which tower over Bali’s legendary surf breaks at the south. Most travelers enjoy the view of this temple from two different vantage points, from both northern and southern part of the area.



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Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple

Lake Bratan’s temple, called Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and also known as the Floating Temple, is one of the most mesmerizing temples in Bali. The gorgeous volcanic lake of Danau Bratan is also the favourite of many local tourists but not as well known with foreigners, therefore relatively still unknown, it is a true gem to discover. What makes it truly special is that since it caters for the local tourists, weekdays here would be the best time to enjoy the lake and the park at peace.

Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali. Photo by whyyan

Rice fields of Tegalalang

The rice fields of Tegalalang near Ubud is one of the top attractions in Bali because of its beautiful landscapes. Lined with rice terraces, running through with brilliantly blue streams with dramatic limestones and valleys as a backdrop, the view is an unforgettable one. The best way to explore this area is on a motorbike so that you can feel the cool refreshing wind while you hear every sound and see every sight in person. At the northeast of Tegalalang, you will find the classic rice terraces that are so revered all over Asia. Riding here will keep you well entranced as you see the greeneries stretch out as far as the eye can see. If you are not keen on motorbike, then you may find one of the rice fields trekking tours that will take you around.

Rice fields terraces, Tegalalang, Ubud, Bali

Rice fields terraces

Ubud’s Monkey Forest

Thanks to its good location at the famous Ubud, Monkey Forest is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bali. This area of lush forest is perched at the bottom end of a busy shopping street. It is home to hundreds of cute but cheeky Balinese Macaques. Be careful though of your belongings as they can be menacing. Tickets to the sanctuary include a useful map with locations and explanations of the three temples located there. It is well worth a visit and noted for its good maintenance by the local community. The forest is also home to 115 species of rare plants that are used for religious and medicinal purposes.

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali attractions

Monkey Forest, Ubud. Photo by ValeriosVeo

Ayana bar on rocks

We had two temples on the cliff, and now we get to drink off a bar perched on yet another cliff at Ayana bar resort * in Bali. This bar is known as the best bar in Bali, having a long line of people daily trying to get in and have a drink or two with some bites (which is surprisingly good) while overlooking the sea crashing into the rocks below. Think about drinking, chilling and also dancing atop a cliff with the roaring sea stretching behind you to infinity while you watch white water crashed onto the side of the wall creating a spectacular natural show. If you decide which is the one bar you must go to in Bali, Ayana bar on the rocks is the place. You may get special access to the bar as a guest of Ayana Resort and Spa or RIMBA Jimbaran by Ayana *.

Bar on rocks @ Ayana, Bali

Bar on rocks at Ayana, Bali. Photo by Fabien LE JEUNE

Mount Batur

One of the more popular mountains in Bali, Mount Batur is an active volcano standing at 1700m, many travelers hike a do this short but can be quite tough 2 hours hike up the mountain to have a sunrise view over Bali and its surrounding islands. Getting here from Ubud might take some time but the climb and the view of the landscape and Lake Batur is all worth it in the end. It is also one of the popular activities to do when you are visiting Bali long enough to get bored of the beaches and sea and want to do some excursions.

Hike Volcano Mountain Batur, Bali, Indonesia

Hike Mount Batur, Bali. Photo by Kevin Poh

Kuta Beach

Further down the line from the city Kuta is the Kuta beach. Thanks to its location, this is definitely one of the beach that almost every tourist in Bali would visit. The waves are higher here and the currents are strong making it a perfect beach for surfers. The beach is always crowded with locals or tourist, mostly for the vibe and energy that circles around here. At night you can find the Kuta beach parties among the beach clubs that are guaranteed to entertain. The local Hard Rock Cafe Bali is situated here so you can eat, drink and party whole day and night. Best hotels with quick access to Kuta Beach would be either the famous Poppies Bali * at Kuta or D’Kubu Legian Hotel * at Legian.

Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia

Kuta Beach, Bali. Photo by Kojach

Sunset dining at Jimbaran

One of the most popular meal in Bali for every tourist is the romantice seaside dining at Jimbaran Bay. Walk down along this beach and you will find it dotted with warungs and candle-lit tables like mushrooms after the rain. Here you can dine on fresh seafood like prawns, squids and fishes fresh of the sea onto your table, almost literally. Couple it by feasting over the sun setting over the horizon make this authentic setting much more atmospheric. Unsurprisingly, as one of the popular area for people to stay, Jimbaran hotels * are people’s favourite.

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali, Indonesia

Seafood dining at Jimbaran Bay, Bali. Photo by Güldem Üstün

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Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Arguably the most popular temple in Bali, Tanah Lot definitely lives up to its fame, with its dramatic setting. It is one of the six revered, cardinal temples of Bali and is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. Tanah Lot means “Land in Sea” in the Balinese language.

Tanah Lot is located at the edge of the rocks, giving it a breathtaking view and look, especially during sunset. The temple itself is 100m offshore and is only accessible to the Hindus. It cannot be reached by anyone during the high tide. The cliff-side path to the north passes the Pura Enjung Galuh temple (behind which are the best views of Tanah Lot) and then some steps down to the beach and onwards to Pura Batu Bolong temple perched atop a rocky headland.

Nowadays, there are many souvenir stalls surrounding the area, catering to the tourists. There are also some eateries that will open up for sunset drinks and meals.

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Madeleine Deaton

History and facts

Tanah Lot temple was built back to 500 years ago by a Javanese priest and has been part of the Balinese mythology, venomous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple.

Where is it

Pura Tanah Lot temple is located in Tabanan at the north-west of the southern part of Bali, about 20 km from Denpasar or Kuta.

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Photo by Vladimir E

Why visit

Although overrun by tourists, Tanah Lot temple is worth a visit just for its architecture, location and its significance as a very important worship place in Bali. The stroll over ragged ocean stones and the sunset cast over the whole setting will be unforgettable.

When is the best time to go

Many people come here during the sunset to catch the sun’s setting magic but if you want to avoid the crowd, early morning (before 9 am) is also a good magical time to admire the temple in silence.

Kecak Dance is held here every evening after sunset at 6.30 pm for 45 minutes. There is also a ceremony held here every 6 months, check with the place you stay.

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Ken Marshall

Fees

The fee to enter the grounds surrounding Tanah Lot Temple is 60,000 Rp. (as of 2016). You’re not allowed to enter the temple except to pray. Parking fee for a car is 5,000 Rp. A guide is not necessary.

Opening Times

Open from 7am to 7pm for visitors. For worship purpose it is open for 24 hours daily.

Beach and sea, Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Beach and sea. Photo by Thomas Schlosser

Get in and get around

From Kuta or Seminyak – about 45 minutes drive
From Denpasar – public transport are limited and it is not available after sunset.

Where to stay near Tanah Lot

The nearest popular luxurious hotel you can find to Tanah Lot temple is the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort *. This would be a great choice if you want to keep catching the beautiful sunset by the temple. Besides, there are also affordable hotels nearby such as Villa Puspa and Kubu Kedungu *. If you are in a budget, then you are in for luck with this highly rated affordable inn called Kedungu Surf Camp *

-> Find the best hotel deals near Tanah Lot Temple *

Where to eat

Recommended restaurant here is Melasti Tanah Lot. It is on the headland just north of the temple and has one of the most beautiful settings for a restaurant. Here one can enjoy candlelight dinner of fresh seafood while enjoying the famous sunset view. The meal may be a little expensive and the prime view tables are only reserved for evening diners.

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple. Photo by koyne


Nearby tourist attractions

Taman Ayun temple at Mengwi – one of our top temples in Bali, this is more unknown but still a very beautiful royal temple.

Travel Tips

It is recommended to hire a car for the day in Bali for other excursions since all the tourists spots are far from each other. The road to Tanah Lot temple is also dangerous, so it is better to hire a car with a driver to take you there, or get a taxi and ask them to wait while you visit.

If you come early in the day, the paddy fields view along the way is worth the slow ride to take it in. A detour to the rugged beaches nearby such as Pantai Seseh is also recommended.

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Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali

Lake Bratan’s temple, called Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and also known as the Floating Temple, is one of the most mesmerizing temples in Bali. It is also one Bali’s most underrated temple compared to Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Uluwatu temples. Built over 350 years ago, this temple houses waterside gardens and meru shrines that are so well-known in Bali.

The gorgeous volcanic lake of Danau Bratan is also the favourite of many local tourists but not as well known with foreigners, therefore relatively still unknown, it is a true gem to discover. What makes it truly special is that since it caters for the local tourists, weekdays here would be the best time to enjoy the lake and the park at peace.

History and facts

This Hindu temple was built in the 17th century in honor of the lake goddess Dewi Danu, marking the significance of Lake Bratan as the main source of water in Bali. The history of the temple dates back to the Mengwi kingdom of that time. The 11 stories meru shrine here is dedicated for Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Ulun Danu itself literally translates to “head of the lake”. After several eruptions from Mount Batur, the temple has been shifted and rebuilt along with the village.

Pura Ulun Danu is the core of all the water temples in Bali. It is one of the main structure in the irrigation systems that draws the water from Lake Batur into Subak. This unique system is one of the many UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in Indonesia. It also serves as a symbol of social and religious unity in Bali.

Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali. Photo by whyyan

Where is it

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is located at Lake Bratan in Bedugul Highlands of Bali. The lake is also worth a visit to take in the breathtaking views.

Why visit

One of our top temples to visit in Bali but still relatively unknown to foreign tourists, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan has its own charmed with its interesting thatched roof layered with reminiscence of pagoda structure and located just at the edge of the temple, allowing chance of reflections of its grandeur.

Festival at Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali, Indonesia

Festival at Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan, Bali. Photo by alex hanoko

When is the best time to go

If you are lucky and here during one of the many festivals held here at the temple, you will be in for a real treat. If not, you will still have a good time marveling at the beauty of this Hindu temple that is unlike the others.

Get in and get around

There are public transports that take you here to Lake Bratan from Denpasar or Lovina. There is also shuttle buses between the southern beaches and Lovina, it takes 45 minutes to get to the Pura Ulun Danu temple from Lovina. From Ubud, it will take a 1.5 hours drive and from Kuta, a long 2 hours drive.

Fees

The entrance fees is 50,000 IDR (as of 2016)

Opening Times

Daily 9 am to 8 pm

Where to stay nearby

There are some hotels and resorts dotted along the beautiful Lake Bratan ranging from indulgent retreats to budget hotels. One of the popular and luxurious resort here is the Puri Candikuning and the nice budget options are Strawberry Hill Hotel and CLV Hotel and Villa *.

-> Find the best hotel deals near Pura Ulun Danu Temple at Booking.com *

Things to do

Taman Rekreasi Bedugul (Bedugul Recreation park) – one of the best places for water sports such as canoes, banana boating, parasailing and jet-skiing, minus the high waves and high prices compared to the southern beaches.

Souvenir shops – the many shops lined up here are a must to visit. It sells different brands of tacky stuff when shopping in Kuta or Seminyak and at fixed prices designed for the local Indonesians, hence no hefty tourist prices here.

Secret tiny temple – visit this one from the outside at the west-end of Pura Ulun Danu temple. Beware of the pesky monkeys!

Hike the walking path – there is a path that starts opposite the fruits stalls skirting the lake and heads along the ridge to the top of Mount Mangu. This is a six-hour beautiful return hike. Strawberry Hill Resort nearby the park can arrange guides for hikes to nearby waterfalls and vanilla plantations, and around Buyan and Tamblingan lakes.

Take a 15-minute speedboat ride on the lake, passing upmarket villas, strawberry farms and of course the temple itself.

Have lunch at Bedugul restaurant overlooking the lake and under the towering volcanoes. This restaurant is located at the southern end of Lake Bratan. Don’t forget to try fresh gurami (grouper fish) and udang (prawns) with various sauces.

Nearby tourist attractions

Try out the popular dolphin watching at Lovina.

Candikuning – sizeable Muslim community with farmers’ market.

Bali Botanic Garden – one of the only four in Indonesia and the largest, it houses the local flora and the famous Green Rose.

Wanagiri lookouts over the twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan.

Jatiluwih rice terraces.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bedugul, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bedugul, Bali. Photo by alex hanoko

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