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

4 days 4WD Mount Bromo, Java Itinerary

Q: I am planning a trip to Mount Bromo with my cousins, around 10 people. We have only about 4 days, in and out of Indonesia, as it will be near Chinese New Year 2014. Do you have any itinerary suggestions? Thanks!
-Lyn

Answer:
I would personally recommend to go via the Ngadas-Tumpang route from Malang to Bromo because it is just so amazing and full of adventure for the scenic 4WD ride to Mount Bromo via the crater.

For Bromo 4WD adventure, I would suggest itinerary like this:

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Kai Seidler

Day 1 – Surabaya to Malang

Fly into Surabaya as this is the nearest airport you can find that serves international flights. From here, head straight to Malang via bus, the journey will take around 3 hours. It would have helped to have booked a 4WD beforehand since your time is short, but if not, quickly shop around the hostels and tours around Malang city when you got there to book one. My advise would be to book well ahead since it is a popular tour.

4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo, Indonesia

4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo

Day 2 – 4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo

Take the 4WD ride from Malang to Mount Bromo today. On the way, you would normally do a pit stop at a beautiful and majestic waterfall. It is well worth a short break and trek down to have some cool refreshing mist. The ride to Mount Bromo is definitely one to remember with rolling hills and dramatic landscapes.

Catching sunrise @ Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Catching sunrise. Photo by Schristia

Day 3 – Sunrise hike and visit the crater

Wake up really early for your hike to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo. After that you would catch a quick breakfast before continue to trek onwards to the crater rim and for an up close experience. There is also a Hindu-Buddhist temple along the trek. After that, come back in time to catch the minibus down to Problinngo at noon and then a public bus from there to Surabaya.

-> Check out our Complete guide to hiking Mount Bromo
-> Check out Where to stay at Mount Bromo

Horses and The Poten @ Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Horses and the Poten. Photo by Yv

Day 4 – Surabaya

Do a quick day trip around Surabaya before your flight out. Few popular things to do here are massages and shopping.

-> Check out our Surabaya Travel Guide

Related articles:
Itinerary for one week from Jakarta around Java
Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo
Malang Travel Guide
Top 10 Things to Do in Malang

3 Weeks Travel Itinerary in Indonesia

Q – I am traveling as a solo female traveler to Indonesia and plan to travel for about 3 weeks. Where would you recommend that I go to which is safe and also good?
– Kayla

Answer:
So far Rachel had also traveled as a solo female traveler across Java in Indonesia, therefore that would be recommended by me, and also off to the nearby tourists’ sites that are popular and well traveled.

In trying to cover the top 10 must-visit places in Indonesia and play around with our 2 weeks travel itinerary, you may have a few nice additional places.

Day 1 to 4 – Yogyakarta

Fly into Yogyakarta, if you are coming via Jakarta, you can either take the scenic train ride or also fly connecting to here. This city is home to the largest Buddhist temple Borobudur and the grand ancient Hindu temple Prambanan. Besides, Yogyakarta is also rich in arts, culture and history as well, a really good mix of a lot of things. You should stay at least about 4 or 5 days in Yogyakarta.

-> check out our Top 10 Things to Do in Yogyakarta

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

Borobudur at Central Java Indonesia

Borobudur at Central Java

Day 5 to 8 – Mount Bromo

After that move on to Mount Bromo at Eastern Java, one of the a must visit places in Java. Here you will hike for a sunrise view over the famous Bromo volcanic crater. After that, get down have some breakfast and then trek onwards to the mouth of the crater. There is also a Hindu temple to visit on the way there. From here, head on to Banyuwangi to catch a bus to get over to Bali.

-> check out our Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo

-> Find places to stay at Mount Bromo on Booking.com *

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Kai Seidler

Day 9 to 19 – Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands

Spend up to 10 days here to explore Bali’s must visit places. Here you can relax at some of the best beaches of Bali, eat the best foods, catch the famous Kecak Dance performance, visit some of the best temples in Bali and also any of the top activities in Bali.

-> Check out our 10 days itinerary in Bali

-> Find Bali hotels deals at Booking.com. Free cancellation! *

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali. Photo by melburnian

If you want, you can also split the days with Lombok or Gili Islands, which are recommended if you are looking to dive. Lombok is the sister to Bali but minus the tourist crowds. Gili Islands would be your remote paradise islands, with no motorized vehicles on land and untouched seas for you to explore.

-> Find Lombok hotels or Gilis Islands hotels at Booking.com. Free cancellation! *

Beach view at Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia

Beach view at the Gili Islands. Photo by andre ramayadi

Day 20 to 21 – Jakarta

Fly out from Bali, Denpasar international airport back to Jakarta. Spend the last 2 days checking out what this mega city is about (select from our 3 days Jakarta Itinerary) and squeeze in some last minute shopping. You may want to check out Jakarta’s vibrant nightlife and do not forget to catch some spa and massages before leaving.

Along with adding days of travel between places that would take you up to about almost a month with buffer times for wherever you want to sidetrack or stay longer. From the itinerary above you can basically cover the city, cultural and historical, beaches and nightlife in Indonesia, though only Java, Bali and Lombok region. Indonesia definitely has more to offer but you would have to return for the rest of the 17,000 islands!

Related articles:
3 Weeks Itinerary for Islands of Indonesia
2 Weeks Travel Itinerary in Indonesia
1 Month Travel Itinerary in Indonesia

Author: Pearl

Living in Jakarta for more than 20 years now, she still have not manage to cover the tip of Indonesia’s diverse destinations, people and even food! Pearl loves shopping as much as enjoying luxury but she knows all these have to be done sensibly and on a budget. Therefore you may find the best scoop and offers in Jakarta and beyond with her.

Guide to Hiking Mount Bromo, East Java

Mount Bromo which stands tall at 2329 m is the most iconic and the most hiked mountain in Indonesia. This is one of the top 10 things to do in Java and rightly so. The mountain beckons majestically despite having the entire top blown off and with a crater inside that keeps spewing off white sulphurous smoke.

Mount Bromo is still one of the most active volcanoes in the world and there are areas that are blocked off from tourists due to its imminent danger. It sits inside the massive Tengger caldera (volcanic crater with a diameter approximately 10km), surrounded by the Laut Pasir (sea of sand) of fine volcanic sand.

After an easy hike, travelers are awarded a breathtaking and ethereal landscape during the sunrise.

-> Check out Where to Stay at Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo @ East Java, Indonesia

Ethereal Mount Bromo. Photo by Share the word


Myth has it that Mount Bromo is significant to the Tengger people who believe that the site is where their brave prince sacrificed his life for his family. To appease the Gods, the people will offer food and money by throwing it into the crater of the volcano once a year during annual Kasada (or Kasodo) festival.

Where is it

Mount Bromo is situated inside Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, beside Mount Semeru at East Java, Indonesia.

Map of Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Map of Mount Bromo, Indonesia. Map by Burmesedays

Why go

To be awe in nature’s best combination of beauty and danger, an active volcano that can be so foreboding and desolate yet so beautiful. The view itself is almost out of this world and be the reason enough to go there!

Upclose with Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

Up close with Mount Bromo. Photo by Schristia

When is the best time to go

June – August where there is less rain but more tourists. August is also the month for the Kesada / Kesodo festival for the Tengger people if you are interested.
But that being said, Indonesia being a fairly mild weather of just rain and shine, anytime is a good time to go Mount Bromo, only check out for local weather when you are there for the best clear sky for your sunrise experience. If you do not have many days then hope for the best when you are there.
Also try to avoid weekends if you do not want the crowd.

What to see

Tengger woman @ Mount Bromo, Indonesia

A Tengger woman. Photo by Trekity

Mount Bromo of course.

Tenggerese houses which is unique to its kind, while take some time to understand the fine Tengger people.

A Tenggerese Hindu temple known as The Poten that sits nearby Mount Bromo, looking both eerie and peaceful on the sea of sand.

What to do

Trek to Mount Bromo's Crater

Trek to Mount Bromo’s Crater. Photo by borderlys

Hike up Mount Penanjakan in time to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo. It takes about 1-2 hours hike to the first vantage point. Sun rises at 5.30am, therefore usually you have to plan when to start hiking depending on your fitness level. Maps and information are readily and easily available at one of the many official locations. An extra tip is that you may want to hike earlier to avoid the crowd and get a good spot as you may find a lot of people crowding the vantage point to view the sun rising over Mount Bromo. If you have the time and energy, there is another less-crowded vantage point higher up with an unobstructed view of the sunrise. Find and scale the slope behind the shelter to get to the higher flat land.

Trek down Mount Penanjakan and up to Mount Bromo summit. Here you can trek down and then across 3km sand of sea and then upwards to summit the caldera of Mount Bromo. It takes about 1-2 hours again depending on your fitness level.

Road through Sea of Sand to Mount Bromo's crater

Road through Sea of Sand to Mount Bromo’s crater. Photo by dhodie

Where to stay at Mount Bromo

You may find various guesthouses and basic hotels located around Mount Bromo, as that place is popular for tourists. Try to stay nearby so that you can do the morning hike up to catch the sunrise easily. Lots of guesthouses or hotels are situated at the crater rim. Take note that all the prices here whether hotels or guesthouses or homestays would be higher than your usual Indonesian ones as it is a popular tourist area.

Cemara Indah
I stayed here myself, it was an overall pleasant stay with a direct view of Mount Bromo. Most important of all is that it is located right behind the trail to start trekking up for the sunrise. Recommended for those who wants to do their hike for sunrise independently themselves. After that come back straight down for the breakfast provided before trekking onwards to the crater rim. Budget to mid range with prices starting at 50 USD. Check out the latest prices and reviews at Agoda.com *

Jiwa Jiwa Bromo
One of the popular hotels at Mount Bromo, with a beautiful garden for sitting out and enjoying the scenic mountain views. The surroundings of the place are well loved by guests and to top it off, they have really good coffee! Luxury with prices starting at 120 USD. Check out the latest prices and reviews at Agoda.com *

-> Find more places to stay at Mount Bromo on Agoda.com *

If you are coming from Surabaya, you are most likely to go via Probolinggo. There are also some options to stay * in this town and take a day trip up to Mount Bromo, such as the good for value Clover Homestay *.

If you want to access Mount Bromo via 4WD drive, then it is recommended to stay at Malang *, where you can enjoy the unique and luxurious Tugu Hotel *. I stayed at the mid-range Hotel Santika Premier * here with good experience.

What and where to eat

Every lodge, guesthouse or hotel normally serves food as well for travelers. There are also few independent eateries around to choose from such as Bromo Corner Café and Waroeng Basuki, or you may just head on to simple roadside warungs and enjoy basic local Indonesian food. You should also try out the hot Javanese coffee (kopi panas). All restaurants will open by 3am as that is when most people start to wake for the hike to catch the sunrise.

Catching sunrise @ Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Catching sunrise. Photo by Schristia

How to get there

Horses and The Poten @ Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Horses and the Poten. Photo by Yv

Fly into Juanda international airport at Surabaya. There are direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Jakarta and Bali. If you are flying domestic from Jakarta, you may take Sriwijaya that flies twice weekly. Take note of domestic departures cost is 40,000 Rp tax while international departures cost is 200, 000 Rp tax.

Distance from Surabaya airport to the Mount Bromo national park is about 70km and the time it takes is around 4 hours due to heavy traffic and congestion. On the way, you would pass Probolinggo town which lies at the major highway across java. Here is where most backpackers would usually share a transport to take them up to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National park. Or get a complete overnight sunrise tour from Surabaya to Mt. Bromo and back.

How to get around

If you are able, then trekking or walking is the best way to experience Mount Bromo but you may take ponies or horses across the sea of sand to the bottom of the steep stairs that leads to the crater.

Where to go nearby

Malang – Cultural capital of East Java
Ijen crater – 6 hours drive away. Magnificent turquoise sulphur lake that exudes flames, blue fire at night and smoky white in the day.

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia

Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, Java, Indonesia. Photo by Kai Seidler

Tips

Bring a jacket and gloves as it may get chilly up there. In a pinch, you can rent a jacket at around 25k rupiah and buy a glove at 20k rupiah.

Related Articles:
4 days 4WD Mount Bromo Itinerary
Top 10 Things to Do in Java
Guide to Ijen Crater
Top 10 Things to Do in Malang