Malang, Indonesia, is a small city situated in East Java province. It’s usually used as a stopover destination for travellers wanting to climb the mighty Mount Bromo. This means that sadly, it is often overlooked by visitors.
It really shouldn’t be though! Malang is home to a quirky rainbow village, vast tea plantation and one of the most magnificent waterfalls in the whole of Indonesia! These attractions mean that Malang has absolutely earned its spot on your Java itinerary.
Malang Map & Resources
Best Time to Visit Malang
Malang is located on the island of Java which has a similar tropical climate to neighbouring island, Bali. It boasts a cooler environment than other Indonesian cities and temperatures average around 25 degrees Celsius, with hot days and cooler evenings.
The best time to visit depends on what you want to do there. For example, if you’re a keen hiker and want to tackle Mount Bromo, you should avoid January and February which are the wettest months. Instead, opt for the dry season (April until October).
It is worth mentioning that although the dry season is better for most outdoor pursuits, there is still plenty to do in and around the area during wet season. For example, if you want to see the waterfalls at their fullest, wet season is perfect!
Where to Stay in Malang
The best place to stay in Malang is in the centre of the city! You’ll be close to all the amenities and there are several accommodation options catering to budget travellers. The following is our pick of the best hostels in Malang!
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This hostel benefits from a great central location and features a restaurant, free bike rentals, and WiFi. Shelter Hostel provides an excellent social area which is a great place to meet other travellers. In addition, the hostel can help travellers to book tours and you can enjoy a continental breakfast in the morning!
Located near Mada Plaza and Malang Plaza; Mador Malang Dorm Hostel offers affordable dormitories and private rooms. They also provide free bike rental, a shared lounge, and a garden for chilling out.
This hostel provides excellent service, comfy rooms, and a place to meet new people from around the globe! The staff are great at assisting with information about tours and the surrounding area. They also offer free-flow drinking water so you can preserve the life of your filtered water bottle! Bonus!
Things to Do in Malang
1. Take a Tour to Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo is an active volcano in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, which spans 800 square kilometres. It may be one of the smaller volcanos in Indonesia but Mount Bromo will be sure to take your breath away. Listen out for the mighty rumble coming from the crater!
Although it’s not technically in Malang, the city is a convenient base for travelling to and from Mount Bromo and hiking the volcano is one of the best things to do while you are there. There are several ways to visit Mount Bromo, the most popular being a jeep tour from Malang or you can travel there independently by hiring a motorbike.
Don’t miss trekking to one of the viewpoints (Penanjakan Hill or King Kong Hill) for sunrise. Admire the blend of pinks and reds over Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and watch Bromo puff out smoke along with a cluster of five other volcanos.
After this, you can head to the national park and take the reasonably easy hike across the desert to the crater. Be aware that the last bit of the walk is up some stairs!
2. Stroll Through the Batu Flower Garden
Batu Flower Garden is wonderfully maintained and offers exciting attractions, including hobbit houses similar to those in Yogyakarta. The views from the top of the park are fantastic, even if it is a relatively long walk through the gardens to get there.
However, the thing that makes this garden most worth visiting is the hidden waterfall! Make sure you come prepared as you’ll have to walk 45 minutes, wading through streams and mud to get there. Follow the signs to the waterfall on foot or you can pay someone on a moped to take you there and back (around 35,000 IDR/approx. $2.50USD).
3. Explore Jodipan (The Rainbow Village)
This colourful riverside village was once a slum area on the verge of being evicted by the government. They wanted to relocate the residents due to the poor living conditions there; however, the locals refused. Instead, they decided to upgrade the area by painting the whole village in rainbow colours to attract tourists – and, it worked!
Every inch of the tiny alleyways, steps and walls are painted in bright, colourful patterns. Look beyond the painted floors and you’ll see bright umbrellas hanging above you. Jodipan is a unique sight to see and well worth a visit, especially as it is only around 5,000 IDR to enter (that’s less than $1USD!). The entrance money goes towards growing the local economy.
4. Wander Through the Blue Village
Right across the bridge from Jodipan, this unique blue-painted village can be visited along with a trip to the Rainbow Village! It comprises a maze of narrow alleys and instead of rainbow colours, it’s been painted blue to honour Arema FC, the local football team.
As you wander through the alleyways, you will come across beautiful paintings and friendly locals who will be happy to talk to you about life in their little village. It is a great insight into the local community.
5. Visit the Stunning Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
Tumpak Sewu Waterfall translates to ‘a thousand waterfalls’, and it’s clear why! With thousands of water streams cascading down the side of the canyon and the view of active volcano Mount Semeru in the distance, this could well be the most picturesque waterfall in the whole of Indonesia!
There are two ways to view the waterfall, either from above or at the base of the canyon. Be warned though, getting to the bottom is quite a trek and a little dangerous in parts. You have to climb down some rugged steps and across and down a waterfall, which is slippery. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes and prepare to get wet!
Although it requires a fair amount of effort, the trek down is worth it – the views are as magnificent as they are from above.
6. Kidal Temple
On the way back from Tumpak Sewu Waterfall, visit the quiet Kidal Temple. It’s a small detour off the route back to Malang and well worth a visit. The temple is around 800 years old and is a brilliant spot to take some picturesque photos of the surrounding landscape.
7. Coban Rondo Waterfall
Just an hour from Malang, Coban Rondo Waterfall is nestled on the slope of Mount Banyak. The waterfall is located at 1,135 meters above sea level and stands 84 meters high. Its height, paired with the surrounding lush green tropical landscape make this a picture-perfect scene. Nearby is a labyrinth garden and pine forest, a great spot for biking, camping and outdoor activities.
8. Admire the Tea Plantations
You’ll find these exciting tea plantations at Bukit Kuneer in Batu, near Malang. During the Dutch colonisation, products like coffee, tea, and tobacco were introduced in the Malang area.
Visit the tea plantations to take in the beautiful surroundings. With a bridge to walk through the fields, you can take in all the lush green scenery and even sample the goods when you’re done! The entrance is just 12,000 IDR (around $1USD).
Food and Drink in Malang
Malang offers a wide variety of food and drink options to please your tastebuds! Restaurants are spread over the city and there is everything from swanky high-end eateries to traditional warungs (family-owned restaurants in Indonesia).
Depot Soto Kabupaten
This little place has a small but affordable menu, specialising in chicken or beef noodle soup. Costing around 13,000 IDR for a steaming bowl, that’s all the menu offers but you know what they say… if you’re going to do something, do it well!
Inggil Museum Resto
This restaurant could be mistaken for a museum with its quirky decor. Look out for the small room lined with cassette tapes and the huge dining room filled with all sorts of Javanese souvenirs! Inggil Museum Resto serves traditional Javanese dishes such as the delicious udang bakar (barbecued prawns) and ayam bakar (barbequed chicken).
Coffee addicts, make sure you head to Java Dancer. It serves the most delicious coffee brewed using various methods as well as incredible western comfort food such as pizza, pasta, and burgers.
This old-school style eatery is part of a chain that originated in Yogyakarta and has been a favourite among locals since 1930. The menu here offers tasty traditional Indonesian cuisine for as little as 30,000 IDR (approx. $2USD) or there are western options such as steak starting at around 85,000 IDR (approx. $6USD). To top it all off, they also offer refreshing cold beers!
Soto Ayam Lombok
This little local restaurant serves some of the best sambals in town and has been dishing up the same local favourite since 1955! Can you guess what it is? This is your clue… 🍗🍲
Café Bunga Bali
Delivering a wide variety of international food at lunch and dinner, this café offers some tasty fare, including pasta and soup. It also serves ice-cold beers, perfect after a long day trekking!
The Library Café
A popular hipster café on the city’s west side, this place offers excellent coffee, draft beer and serves a tasty long list of café-style cuisine.
How to Get to Malang
You can get to Malang by flying into Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport, 12 kilometres northeast of Malang, where flights connect from Denpasar, Jakarta, and Bandung. The nearest international airport is Juanda International Airport in Surabaya.
There is also the option of travelling to Malang via the main intercity bus terminal, Arjosari. Although buses are readily available and the cheapest option, they can be pretty uncomfortable over long distances so take this as your warning.
The best and easiest way to get to Malang is by train which connects many destinations all over Java. Booking your train tickets is easy, just head to 12goasia.com or Tiket.com but make sure you book in advance as the tickets sell out quickly.
Where to Go Next:
Yogyakarta: Head west to Yogyakarta, a city famous for its traditional art and cultural heritage. Don’t miss the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan!
Banyuwangi: If climbing Mount Bromo wasn’t enough for you, head east to Banyuwangi and tackle the extraordinary Mount Ijen and see the famous blue flames for sunrise! You can climb down into the volcano’s crater if you’re brave enough.
Jakarta: Why not check out the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta? Here you can visit some quirky museums or head to a range of national monuments before catching a flight to your next destination.
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