Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 9 January 2014 • Itinerary
Our trip to Malang and Batu was done in June, 2013
Most people in Indonesia would pick Bali for their honeymoon trips, if not Paris for those fortuned. Diyan and I wanted something different, simple, yet affordable. It didn’t take us long to decide on having a honeymoon in Malang and Batu of East Java. Diyan had always wanted to go to Batu for the zoo and Malang because he’s never been, and I had always wanted to stay a night or two at the legendary Tugu Hotel in Malang. The city is also easy to access from Jakarta and doable for a 3-day trip before Diyan had to go back to work again!
Although this is a note of my honeymoon, you won’t find anything rosy and lovey dopey, ‘cos that’s just how unconventionally romantic we are. But, honeymoons are never what you do or where you go, it really is about whom you’re with 😉
This simple-shaped Hindu temple is just one of the many old temples scattered in Malang. As it turns out, Malang used to be the central of great kingdoms in the first decade of Anno Domini, before there was even Indonesia. Though the word “badut” in Indonesian means clown, there was nothing funny about the temple. So what was it like to visit the not-so-funny clown? –> Here’s my story.Entrance fee: none. But you’ll be expected to donate some money.
History lovers, this is where you should go when you’re in Malang. Find out how Malang was formed geologically and historically, how the Javanese people lived, and what important events took place before the independence of Indonesia, in our post specifically about Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe –> here.Entrance fee: IDR 10,000 – 25,000.
Don’t you love knowing a secret? I know I do. Especially when it’s a fun one! Just like Batu Secret Zoo, which is a part of the huge complex of Jatim Park 2. Themed parks with sequels, isn’t that something? Make sure you don’t miss my version of fun –> at Batu Secret Zoo.Entrance fee: IDR 90,000 – 150,000; depending on which package.
A small amusement park enough for the locals of the small town Batu and tourists who are out there just to have a simple fun at night. A carousel, sky bike, lantern garden, ghost palace and many more entertaining rides looking over the city of Malang from Batu highland. What is it really like? Find out –> here.Entrance fee: I forgot the exact price, but it was less than IDR 15,000 / person. Additional charge for each ride, IDR 7,000 – IDR 12,000 / person / ride.
Located next door to the Museum Malang Tempo Doeloe, Inggil Restaurant is also a museum that displays historical and cultural items of Java and Indonesia in general. The food is not be missed, as they provide a lot of Indonesian food, like the grilled chicken, corn rice, and tempe penyet that Diyan and I gobbled while sitting in an indoor hut with thatched roof. Here’s the complete story of our experience –> Inggil Restaurant and Museum.Prices: IDR 12,000 – 40,000 for food, IDR 3,000 – 15,000 for beverages.
Malang is most known for its bakso or baso (meatballs) dish. For this specific dish sold outside of Malang, people call it bakso Malang (Malang’s bakso). We didn’t have much time for lunch stop, so we chose to have bakso in a location that our driver thought was convenient as far as the route to Batu goes. Bakso Bakar Pahlawan Trip it was.
This carport-turned-to-diner offers not only the dark and spicy bakso bakar (grilled meatballs), but also the regular bakso with clear soup. I had the grilled bakso because I’ve had the regular bakso many times in Jakarta or Bandung as they are ubiquitous. And I loved it, it’s spicy and sweet from the soya sauce, pepper, fried garlic and god knows what else they put in the dish.
The diner was almost full house because it was exactly lunch time, and it’s already known among locals and Indonesian tourists. And I didn’t have any complain on the service, either.Location: on Jalan Pahlawan Trip, close to the iconic Gereja Ijen (Ijen Church). Prices: I thing it was about IDR 10,000 – 15,000 per portion of 5 meatballs.
I’ve wanted to stay in Tugu Hotel for ages. So I was super excited about our stay at the boutique hotel full of Chinese-Javanese details for 2 nights, a week after our wedding. It was a dilemma between spending time at the hotel all day long and going out and about in Malang and Batu. We ended up doing half and half..teehee. And here’s what I thought about Tugu Hotel –> just click.Room rate starts from US $ 80 – 892 (!!!!)/ night for online booking, tax exclusive.
I stayed at Harris Hotel in a previous trip to Malang, which was courtesy of Harris Hotel for their grand opening. Though the trip was all paid-for, I can honestly say to you that the hotel was awesome. It’s affordable for Indonesian middle-class workers, it’s got facilities suited for family and business trips, and the BBQ dinner on Saturday nights (alternating with steamboat dinner every other week) was yummo!
The only downside for me was that the hotel is located quite far from downtown and tourist attraction, and getting there might be a hassle if you didn’t hire a vehicle. It’s further in an elite housing complex in Singosari area, taking pictures in the neighborhood is in very limited access. But it’s a nice area for jogging and biking in the morning! Check out –> my review.Room rate starts from IDR 498,000 nett.
Once you’re in Jakarta, Malang is accessible by plane. Garuda Indonesia, Citilink and Sriwijaya Air have services between Jakarta and Malang. So do Wings Air, Kalstar Aviation and Express Air, if I’m not mistaken.
Malang is also often accessed through Surabaya, the capital city of East Java, which is only about 2 hours drive away, by hired cars or buses. You can also go there by train, accessed from several cities in Java. Night trains from Jakarta to Malang could probably take 12 hours.
Batu to Malang is like Ubud to Denpasar (Bali) or like Bandung to Jakarta. Malang is the bigger city, Batu is the small highland town with cooler air where the big city people like to relax every weekend.
Most tourists in Batu go there for the relax ambiance and the fun parks, but stay in Malang for accommodation and culinary hunt. Batu is only 1-2 hours drive from Malang, depending on the traffic, and about 3 hours drive from Surabaya’s international airport.We hired a car and driver for IDR 500,000 / all day.