Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 25 March 2014 • Blog
Toko Oen, Batu and the themed parks, and Bromo, are some of the things people do when visiting Malang. But you’re all ‘been there, done that, want more’ or fancy for something else, we might have a few alternative things to do in Malang.
There’s something about bikes that just thrills us. It might be because it’s something different to our current daily lives. It might be the fact that we can get more coverage of a destination with a bike rather than by foot. It might be a nostalgic thing for me personally, as I used to ride bikes almost every afternoon as a child. Could be because it’s good exercise on the road. Whatever it is, seems like my face lights up to the sound of a bike tour.
That afternoon, we were ready to enjoy the cool air of Malang on a bike tour provided by the Tugu Hotel. Vira had the flu but she just couldn’t be a good girl and rest (see? We like bike tours). We were excited about it when it was mentioned by Pak Sebastian, one of the General Manager of the Tugu hotels (not too sure which one, we had some mixed information about it). Anyways.
“We’ll have the bikes soon and then we’ll start,” Pak Seba, short for Sebastian, said in a short sleeve shirt, cargo pants, and slippers. He wasn’t wearing the suit the morning he mentioned bike tour.
“We? You mean you’re going with us? Wait! Is that your bike?” I pointed at a worn mountain bike parked in the lobby entry.
“Yes. I’ll be showing you around,” Vira and I looked at each other and mouthed ‘crazy’. The receptionists and staff smiled seeing us dumbfounded that ‘the boss’ would be our ‘guide’. Turns out, Pak Seba is developing the bike tour program and is still hands on. Another Oyestein moment; guided by a foreigner.
Our bike tour runs through the city, on main roads, in between narrow alleys, and around housing complex. Semeru alley took us down to a humble settlement divided by a creek. The artificial walls had stood since the Dutch days, along with some of the houses on the banks. We biked through the ‘Taman Hutan” or forest park in the middle of the city. Pak Seba also took us around some of the housing complex, which seemed to be around since the colonial days judging by the architecture.
I’ve learned much from Pak Seba’s perspective of the city. I saw a glimpse of the charm he sees, may it be for the neighborhood, the markets, etc. Malang is a nice city. It’s a mix of the old and new that seems like it’s not developing fast. Many of the roads were well shaded. The strangers were also nice, especially to the westerner in front of us that had lived in Indonesia for 10 years! Oh the irony, LOL! It was some experience to be guided by Pak Seba. Not because he was ‘the boss’, but because he knows the nooks of the city and isn’t afraid to take us there. One thing I realized was I’ve come accustomed to seeing Dutch houses on the main road, but I hardly noticed them in smaller housing complexes. This led me to my hunt in smaller parts of Riau street in Bandung.
It was quite adventurous considering we had to use much of our breaks, crossing main roads, and had to walk the bike a few times up steep roads. That might sound easy, but you’d think again knowing Malang is a town dominated by moped riders. Not to mention the trucks, and we were biking without any protective gears. Pak Seba has gone too local and we love him for that! Nonetheless, it was loads of fun and it took the flu out of Vira. It’s as good as chicken soup. Recommended!
Vira has been a fan of cooking classes the past few years. Not too sure why exactly, but I can understand especially when you get to eat some good food once you’re done. So she had stars in her eyes once she knew Tugu Malang Hotel had a cooking class. That day, we were accompanied by Handy, as our cooking concierge leading the class from shopping, cooking, and eating.
Cooking starts with ingredients, which commonly comes from the local market. So, a becak ride away, we arrived at the Oro-oro Dowo Market, which is considered to be the cleanest and oldest market in the city. By the looks of it, it’s very organized too. There are signs that differentiate each area, kinda like a supermarket. But the prices? Still traditional.
We looked for purple cassava and bananas. We also did a little shopping on the side. Naturally, being the capital of ‘tempe’ or soy bean cake and wife to a tempe-lover, Vira bought some tempe and local variant, which was a nut tempe. I bought some local snacks, a bunch of colorful sweet goodies bathed in shredded coconut and liquid palm sugar. Couldn’t resist!
Back at the hotel, a table was set beside the pool. Ingredients were ready. A young chef was behind the table, Anita, preparing everything. She looked very professional aside to her monster-decorated shoes.
“I hate Noah (local Indonesian pop band). I like rock better!” she says. Personality.
The task was to make one savory snack and one sweet snack. To save a lot of time, some of the ingredients were pre-prepared, so all Vira had to do was mix, pour, and cook. The recipe was so easy and doable within 1-2 hours, but the outcome was delicious. We had some of it, and still had more to bring home. Abundant and delicious. It was abuncious!
Of course, I was the boss. Bossing around. Well, somebody had to level up to this labor activity. Kidding. Somebody had to take pictures, so considering this is Vira’s liking, I decided I let her have all the fun. And see, we have pretty pictures 😀
When traveling, it’s fun to check into a cooking class. Why? Because you learn much of the cooking process, you learn about the locals. You get to know the ingredients and what the local ground can grow. In the end, you’ll know a bit of what the local people like based on the taste of the food. It’s also an activity during traveling aside to the usual shopping, sleeping, and reading a book; one that can enrich your knowledge.
These activities are available at the Tugu Hotel Malang and are open to the public, not only for the hotel guests.
Vira here, taking over. Roger.
It’s nice to spend a weekend in Malang because there’s a Sunday market! My eyes glowed upon seeing a shopping place, woohoo! The market, which in local name called Wisata Belanja Tugu (Tugu Shopping tour), stretches long until the intersection with Ijen Street, if I’m not mistaken. Of course, it’s held on every Sunday. It’s closed for any vehicle, though it’s not like motorbikes can go through the sea of people anyway. It was crowded but neatly organized, in front of the rows of upscale houses.
We indulged in some traditional snacks sold in many of the stalls, it was hard to choose which ones. There were also stalls with tables and chairs where you can eat your rice dishes, satays or grilled fish, stalls that sold Japanese snacks, huge teddy bears, calligraphy paintings, even curtains and carpets! Who knows, I might’ve missed a stall that sold helicopters! 😛
Some buskers were playing from stall to stall, some were stationed at intersections, but they weren’t bothering at all. I remember one of them was singing and playing guitar very well, we happily handed out some Rupiahs.
You can ride a motorbike to the Sunday market, which is located outside the Gajayana Stadium, as they provide parking space just outside the market area. Becaks are also available, they’re parked among the motorbikes, ready to take you back to the hotel.
The Sunday market Wisata Belanja Tugu is open from 6 to 10 a.m.
The Ijen Street, which is one of the main avenues in the city, is also closed for vehicles (we call it “car free day” program) from 5.30 to 10 a.m. There’s really no reason to not exercise when you’re in Malang… possibly while munching the yummy snacks! Hohoho!
We were invited to the Tugu Hotel Malang and they can manage things to do in Malang, but the opinions are my own.
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