This Malang Travel Guide will provide you with everything you need for your visit here. Malang tourism is quite popular among local Indonesians and international travelers. Locals love to come here for a respite from the everyday bustle finding this place quaint and relaxing Malang city with many things to do. It is also a place for many universities.
Being one of the largest cities in East Java, Malang serves as an essential hub on this side of Indonesia, alongside Surabaya and Yogyakarta. It is also a popular starting point to get to the famous Mount Bromo.
Where is Malang
Malang is a city located in East Java, Indonesia. It is situated in the southern part of East Java, approximately 90 kilometers south of Surabaya, the provincial capital. Malang is nestled between the volcanic mountains of Mount Semeru to the east and Mount Arjuno to the west, offering breathtaking natural beauty and a pleasant climate.
The city is easily accessible by various modes of transportation, including flights, trains, and buses, making it a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers. It is also close to the famous volcanic mountain of Indonesia – Mount Bromo.
Why visit Malang
Many come to Malang as a pitstop to any of the two mountains – Mount Semeru or Mount Bromo. But traveling to Malang is worth it for its other stunning natural beauty, such as the many Malang waterfalls.
Malang has a fascinating history and cultural heritage. The city blends Javanese, Dutch, and Chinese influences, evident in its architecture, culinary delights, and traditional arts. It offers delicious culinary delights and a welcoming atmosphere with friendly locals.
It is also home to several ancient temples and heritage sites. One of the must-visit temples is Singosari Temple, an impressive 13th-century Hindu temple complex. Another notable site is Jago Temple, known for its intricate stone carvings. These historical landmarks offer a glimpse into the region’s rich past.
An excellent place to walk down while enjoying the beautiful well tended bougainvillea along the road of old colonial structures. You will also find an old Catholic Church at the end of the road here—a truly historic part of the city Malang.
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.
It is an ancient Hindu temple near Malang, East Java, Indonesia. Built-in the 13th century, it showcases impressive architecture and intricate stone carvings. The temple’s unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences makes it a popular historical attraction. Surrounded by serene rice fields, it offers a picturesque setting for exploration and photography.
You can visit at the same time as Jago Temple as it is nearby. Kidal Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located in East Java, Indonesia. It is known for its intricate stone carvings and historical significance, dating back to the 13th century during the Majapahit Kingdom. The temple showcases stunning architectural details and is a popular destination for history and culture enthusiasts.
Things to Do in Malang
Explore the city center – Malang city center is easily explored on foot, starting with the iconic Tugu Bundaran monument and then heading southwest to visit the impressive Great Mosque Jami while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Indonesian city life.
Walk along Jalan Ijen (street) – Explore the small and walkable city of Malang, filled with Dutch colonial influences, including colonial houses and the picturesque Jalan Ijen street, and don’t miss the chance to visit St. Maria church and join locals for the car-free Sunday morning activities.
Eat local food – Malang offers a wide range of famous regional Javanese cuisines.
Visit the traditional market (pasar) or the night market
Take a becak ride – a refreshing experience, providing a new perspective of the city.
Visit traditional markets in Malang like Oro-oro Dowo and Pasar Besar for daytime shopping with locals, offering fresh produce. At the same time, night owls can explore the night market on Jalan Kyai Tamin, known for local souvenirs and food vendors, although the food quality may vary.
Go to Batu for a walk around the highlands, dip in hot springs, or pick your apples (petik apel) at Agrowisata.
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 is Pulau Sempu (Sempu Island), an offshore island that can be reached by boat.
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 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 has 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.
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I stayed here on my trip to Malang, which 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 feels like a first-class family-run hotel.
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What and where to eat in Malang
- Bakso Malang: Malang is famous for its flavorful meatball soup, known as Bakso Malang. It typically includes beef or chicken meatballs, noodles, and a flavorful broth.
- Nasi Pecel: This traditional Javanese dish consists of rice served with a variety of steamed vegetables, peanut sauce, and side dishes like tempeh and tofu. It’s a popular and healthy choice.
- Rawon: A rich and savory black beef soup, Rawon is made from black nuts, spices, and tender beef. It is usually served with rice and topped with bean sprouts and fried shallots.
- Sate Ayam: Grilled chicken skewers, known as Sate Ayam, are a popular street food in Malang. The chicken is marinated in a flavorful sauce, then grilled to perfection, and served with peanut sauce.
- Lontong Kikil: This dish consists of rice cake (lontong) served with kikil (tendon) in a flavorful soup. It’s often garnished with fried shallots, and celery, and served with a side of sambal (chili sauce).
- Rujak Cingur: A unique salad dish that combines various fruits and vegetables with sliced cow’s nose (cingur), served with a tangy shrimp paste sauce.
- Rujak Petis: Another variation of the fruit salad, Rujak Petis includes a mix of fruits and vegetables dressed in a sweet and spicy petis (shrimp paste) sauce.
- Cwie Mie Malang: This is a popular noodle dish in Malang, featuring chewy egg noodles, bean sprouts, meatballs, crispy wonton, and a flavorful broth.
- Bakpao Telur Asin: These steamed buns filled with salted egg yolk are a popular snack in Malang. The combination of fluffy bun and savory salted egg is a delightful treat.
- Pisang Goreng: Don’t miss trying the local version of fried bananas, called Pisang Goreng. These ripe bananas are coated in a crispy batter and deep-fried to perfection.
How to get to Malang
The airport in Malang is the Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport, serving flights from Jakarta every day with Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Air, and Batavia Air. There are also flights from Denpasar, Bali on Wings Air.
You may also fly into Surabaya Juanda Airport, which 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.
You may get buses from various points nearby, overnight trains from Jakarta or Bandung,, and day trains from Surabaya and the rest of 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 places, but you can mostly get a becak for a slow ride around the town 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 the Tumpat route. You would need to take a bus and then a 4WD to get to Ngadas, where you can head to Mount Bromo after that.
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 west to Yogyakarta for a cultural dose of ancient temples, castles, and local delicacies.
Malang Travel Tips
Respect the local culture by dressing modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or places of worship is also customary. Help preserve the natural beauty of Malang by practicing responsible tourism.