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.


Best Hotels in Malang

There are also many other good options to stay in Malang, despite it not being one of the most popular tourist cities. You will definitely find more locals visiting here and thus get a good dose of Indonesian hospitality. There are budget choices from guesthouses to luxury hotels.

Tugu Malang Hotel
This luxury hotel is the most famous in Malang. It is well known for its colonial design and it comes with an outdoor pool, spa and massages. The location is also great, with only 5 minutes walk from the Tugu Rail Station. The service here is also impeccable and the dining options are bound to impress.
Check out the latest prices at Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices at Agoda.com *

Hotel Santika
I have stayed here on my trip to Malang and it was a pleasant experience. Centrally located in the city, the rooms are clean and modern and the pool is well designed surrounded by palm trees and unique Indonesian sculptures. They have complimentary tea time and the place just feels like a first class family run hotel.
Check out the latest prices at Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices at Agoda.com *

Related articles:
Malang Travel Guide
4WD 4 days Mount Bromo Itinerary
Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo
Top 10 Things to Do in Java

Malang Travel Guide

Being one of the largest city in East Java, Malang serves as an important hub at this side of Indonesia. Malang tourism is quite popular for both the local Indonesians as well as international travelers. Locals love to come here for a respite from everyday bustle finding this place quaint and relaxing Malang city with many things to do. It is also a place for many universities.

It is located at East Java Indonesia, in between two mountains – Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java and Mount Bromo, the famous volcanic mountain.

Why go

Come to Malang as a pitstop to any of the two mountains – Mount Semeru or Mount Bromo, but you may also find it interesting itself with beautiful landscape and some cultural attractions like temples.

Map of Malang, East Java, Indonesia

Map of Malang, East Java, Indonesia

What to see

Singosari Temple in Malang, East Java, Indonesia

Singosari Temple in Malang, East Java, Indonesia

Ijen Boulevard
A nice place to walk down while enjoying the beautiful well tended bougainvillea along the road of old colonial structers. You will also find an old Catholic Church at the end of the road here. A truly historic part of the city Malang.

Singosari Temple
An ancient temple located just about 12km north of Malang, you may get here with a local mirkrolet (minivan) that would take you around with just 3,000Rp one way. this well-preserved Hindu temple dates back to 1300AD and is worth a visit.

Also, visit other temples like Jago temple, Badut temple and Kidal temple.

What to do

Go to Batu for a walk around the highlands, dip in hot springs or pick your own apples (petik apel) at Agrowisata.

Walk around and get lost in Malang to discover the real unseen sights and unbeaten path.

Check out the beautiful beaches
The most popular are the Balekambang beaches, which include Balekambang beach, Ngliyep beach, Goa Cina Beach and Sendang Biru beach. Also nearby there is Pulau Sempu (Sempu Island), which is an offshore island that can be reached by boat.

-> Read Top 10 Things to Do in Malang

Where to Stay – Best Hotels in Malang

There are also many other good options to stay in Malang, despite it not being one of the most popular tourist cities. You will definitely find more locals visiting here and thus get a good dose of Indonesian hospitality. There are budget choices from guesthouses to luxury hotels.

Tugu Malang Hotel
This luxury hotel is the most famous in Malang. It is well known for its colonial design and it comes with an outdoor pool, spa and massages. The location is also great, with only 5 minutes walk from the Tugu Rail Station. The service here is also impeccable and the dining options are bound to impress.
Check out the latest prices at Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices at Agoda.com *

Hotel Santika
I have stayed here on my trip to Malang and it was a pleasant experience. Centrally located in the city, the rooms are clean and modern and the pool is well designed surrounded by palm trees and unique Indonesian sculptures. They have complimentary tea time and the place just feels like a first class family run hotel.
Check out the latest prices at Booking.com *
Check out the latest prices at Agoda.com *

-> Find the best hotel deals in Malang at Booking.com *

What and where to eat

Your trip here will not be complete without trying out the famous Inggil restaurant that serves authentic and delicious local food!

Inggil Restaurant, Malang, Indonesia

Inggil Restaurant, Malang, Indonesia

How to get there

Airport in Malang is the Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport, serving flights from Jakarta everyday with Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Airt and Batavia Air. There is also flights from Denpasar, Bali on Wings Air.

You may also fly into Surabaya Juanda Airport that is not too far from Malang, where you can take a train or bus, and the journey is only about 2-3 hours via the Surabaya-Gempol highway.

Malang Airport, Indonesia

Malang Airport Hall


You may get buses from various points nearby or overnight trains from Jakarta or Bandung and day trains from Surabaya and the rest of the Java. The train station in Malang is central and a good choice if heading there.

How to get around

Malang city is relatively small to cover, you may walk some of the places but mostly you can get a becak for a slow ride around the city or take the many mikrolets (minivan) that covers everywhere for just 3,000 Rp one way.

Where to go nearby

Head to Mount Bromo from here, via Tumpat route. you would need to take a bus and then a 4WD to get to Ngadas, where you can after that head to Mount Bromo.

You can also visit Surabaya, an interesting city just 2-3 hours drive away.

Or take to the hills at Batu, for a refreshing and cooling getaway.

Ride a 4×4 truck to Mount Bromo and hike this famous volcanic mountain.

Head back west to Yogyakarta, for cultural dose of ancient temples, castles and local delicacies.

Photo credits from top: kenner116 and Marcel_Ekkel

Related articles:

Top 10 Things to Do in Malang
4 days 4WD from Malang to Mount Bromo Itinerary
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Top 10 Things to Do in Java