In East Java there is a city that should be visited by travelers, and even locals, located between the highest mountain in Java and an active volcano — that city is Malang.
If your’e like me, outdoors and hiking are the best part of travel. But when I can explore ancient ruins or temples along with that? BONUS! Malang holds a rich history, dating back to the 8th century and was the capital city of the Singhasari Kingdom in 1200 AD and has ancient temples to show. But it also has modern charm, influenced in part by the Dutch and expansion of the railway in the 1800’s fusing Indonesian and European architecture and charm. With mild temperatures year-round and an ongoing government supported preservation of the culture and colonial history, this makes Malang a favorite spot for many Indonesians and Europeans alike.
After all, there’s a reason why they call it the “Paris of East Java”.
Here’s is a mock itinerary and a taste of what Malang has to offer, and why everyone interested in Indonesia should visit.
Want Temple hopping and History?
One spot for the Laura Croft and Indiana Jones types is Singhasari Temple located just 10km north of Malang is a quick taxi or moto ride away. The site around the temple is believed to be the official court of the ancient Singhasari Kingdom’s Javanese court. It is also believed to be a funeral dedication to the last Singhasari King, partially unfinished, with Shiva and kala or lion-like heads adorning the structure. If you like history, make rent a motorbike or hire a driver and explore here.
Gear Up For Glorious Hikes and Mountains!
Mount Semeru and Bromo Semeru dominate the horizon around Malang, being that the city is surrounded by these mountains and connecting national parks. If you’re an outdoors lover or like hikes, can you imagine anything better than a trek above the clouds 3,700 km on East Java’s highest peak? Mount Semeru has a diverse flora and fauna, surrounded by pines and lakes, and has camping availability or village stays and can be hiked round-trip in 4 days time.
Are you daring enough for a crater climb? Mount Bromo, connected in the same national park, can be a bit intense to hike due to the altitude and sulfur from the active volcanos in the region. But one can rent horses for the trek up, or there is a staircase that takes you 250 steps up to the base of the ancient crater giving you spectacular panoramic views of the mountain and the exhilaration of being atop a volcano!
Is it the Beach Life for You?
Indonesia is quite famous for its beaches, and I’m sure after a day of exploring temples and mountains you’ll need a little R&R. Balekambang beach is a hot spot for its white sand beaches stretching over 2km, but the main attraction is Ismoyo Temple, an ancient Hindu temple perched on a rock in the sea battling time and the endless waves. Relax in the sun, take a swim to cool off in the clear blue ocean, and cross the connecting bridge and take in a sunset at the temple.
Headed to Malang? Here’s how to find a great place to stay!
Given Malang is a tourism hot spot for Europeans and Indonesians alike, the guest houses and hotels have stepped up their game. Hotels like the Everyday Smart Hotel Malang make for a modern and comfortable stay while providing all the assistance for tips and trips in the area, with free wifi and 24 hour check-in. Before you head off to explore beautiful Malang, check out Traveloka to book your flights and stay and save the hassle of searching when you arrive!