In my previous blog I spoke about the sunrise trip to Mount Bromo. To get to Mount Bromo we chose to stay in Malang, you can reach this destination from Surabaya or Bali, however Malang is an ideal place to stay if you are here just for a short trip. It’s located right in the middle of Mount Semeru and Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, therefore less travel time is needed when it comes to chasing sunrise.
Malang is a historical town that still displays strong evidence of the Dutch occupation way back in the 17th century. The city is much cooler and cleaner than Jakarta and is a very pleasant place to stay. The CBD has been very well planned and the roads are well maintained. The city centre has several Dutch buildings which make it quite unique for an Indonesian city. This place is a popular stop for the Europeans when they come to visit Indonesia.
We visited the local Pasar Burung or Bird Market which is located along the river. If you are an animal lover, this place could break your heart. There are too many cute and pretty animals such as exotic cats and rabbits in a very small cages. But don’t worry, they are all healthy looking.
At night we walked around the Alun Alun Merdeka located on the main city centre square. A popular spot for the local families, you can find kids playgrounds, a few food stalls and some instant shops. Apart from an opportunity to mix with the locals, it’s not worth going a long way out of your way for.
One lunch time, we rode a becak (ricksaw) to a unique art restaurant house called Rumah Makan Inggil. Do not miss this restaurant if you ever come to visit Malang. From the outside it looks just like a normal old house, but if you enter and pass through the main living room you’ll find a collection rooms that make up a small art gallery. continue on from there and you will encounter an open-air indoor courtyard where a dining arrangement is surrounded by a host of other items of art. The food here represents true Indonesian flavours, if you ever want to be inspired with Indonesian cooking this place will tickle your taste buds. There are also a couple of other art museums located next door for art lovers.
We had lunch and ice cream from the legendary restaurant Toko Oen. Here they have preserved an old method of dutch influenced cooking for centuries. Upon tasting their food, you will be instantly taken back to an older era. Do not expect anything modern or fancy, the reason why this restaurant has become such an icon is because of it’s strong history. It’s not the type of place you will find anywhere, it was quite an experience.
For coffee and snacks we sat in Java Dancer Coffee, a cosy Javanese cafe serving modern food. We shared a pizza which we really enjoyed, and ordered coffee made from local Indonesian Arabica coffee beans which was of a quality we were well pleased with. Built by passionate coffee lovers, this cafe knows how to make great coffee. We wish we could keep coming back here everyday for lunch.
BATU, MALANG, APPLE TOWN
When in Malang, you are likely to hear of a nearby town called Batu, located just a 45 minute drive away.
To get there, we stopped a taxi which took us out there for a day trip. You might think we’re crazy, letting the meter run for a day trip!? We spent over 6 hours at this town with the cost of the taxi amounting to a mere $20AU, taxi’s are quite a comfortable yet affordable way to get around in Indonesia and around this part of the country are your best option.
Batu is a town surrounded by hills and mountains. and a proud producer of a locally grown apple. Indonesia isn’t known to be a strong producer of apples, but here, the locally grown apples are a celebrated success and are sought after. We bought a few kilos of them whilst in the area, as you won’t find them any cheaper than from where they are grown. The apples are smaller than what we are used to in Australia and to our taste buds they’re more on the sour side. You can improve the flavour by cutting and soaking them into salt water in order to preserve it’s white colour, then storing them in the fridge. Besides apples, they have all sorts of fruit pickles. Anything that can be pickled is pickled, from papaya to mangoes, to guavas and oranges. You name it.
Whilst in the area we also visited the Coban Rondo Waterfalls. The road to the waterfalls is hilly and windy, but once there it’s only a short walk from the car park and the site provides easy access to the waterfalls. It’s a pleasant spot, quite cool and the water is freezing. Out at the car park there are plenty of eateries and souvenir shops.
For Java, Malang is such an attractive and unique city. The people are so friendly and are not pushy. It’s such a relief to be in an Asian country where you can be left alone and not stared by the locals. The residents are mainly Javanese, and the Javanese are famous for their gentle and polite nature. The climate is much cooler and the landscapes are spectacular. There is so much more to explore here if you are a nature lover, and yes, we would love be back again in Malang for more cosy adventures!