Not on the top of the must see in Java Island, Malang is a good place to chill for a couple of days between the intensity of the Ijen and Bromo volcano and the cosmopolitan of Yogyakarta.
And Malang as a certain charm, with trees creating a comfortable shade in almost all streets, and with many building still area preserves the colonial style, of a city established by the Dutch in the end of 18th century. But despite this heritage, there’s a modern lifestyle in Malang that match smoothly with the muslim hijab, with the younger population hanging out in stylish cafes and modern style bakeries.
For a bit a local lifestyle there’s a big market, Pasar Besar where the food area opens very early in the morning offering a good opportunity to try some of the homemade local sweets, in one of the many booths inside the market. Later, as the pace and agitation of the market slow down, is time for the shops located in the alleys around start to open and show up their products on the sidewalks.
There is also a birds and pets market, the Pasar Senggo and a few meters away from the flower market, Pasar Bunga, located in a cozy and more humble area of Malang, where you can easily get lost on the small narrow streets of the Kidul Dalem neighborhood. This characteristic area, with small colourful houses along narrow streets, away from the traffic chaos full of friendly people was a grateful surprise in Malang where the smiles are not so common. Kidul Dalem is located around Jalan Aris Munandar, Jalan Kyai Haji Zainul Arifin and Jalan Pasar Besar. One of the entrances to Kidul Dalem neighborhood is just in front of the Dewan Kesenian Malang Art Centre. You just need to get out of the main roads, passing by one of the gates, and get lost in this laid back neighborhood.
How to go from Cemoro Lawang (Probolingo) to Malang:
- Bus to Probolingo: 35.000 Rp per person but if is not full (15 people) at departure time, the total cost of the ride will be divided by the number of passengers making the trip… but while I was waiting for the bus (there’s one around 9:30h) there was a private driver that was going town to Probolingo and I could manage a ride for 40.000 Rp.
- From the Bus Terminal Bayu Angga, there are several buses to Madang. The public bus cost 000 Rp and took 2 hours. You buy the ticket inside the bus. When you arrive at the Bayu Angga, don’t trust much on the people hanging around, as most of them are touts trying to catch people for private companies. Instead go to the place from where the bus departure, where there are signs with the destination of each of them. There manage with the driver or his helper.
- The bus drops you at the Terminal Arjosari, in North of Malang.
- When you get out of the bus, walk in the opposite direction of the gate from where the buses enter. Walk following the majority of the people, and if anyone asks where you go just say “mikrolet”. You’ll arrive at an open-air area with a lot of blue bemos, the local mini-buses. This mikrolet are organized driving along fixed routes; they don’t have a number but letters, corresponding to the origin, destination and middle stops… just ask the drivers that are waiting there and they will point you the right
- The mikrolet (local blue bemos) cost 5.000 Rp to the Train Station (just ask terminal), more or less the center of Malang. From there you cam walk on foot to your accommodation.
Where to sleep in:
One of the budget options in Malang is the Kampong Tourist. Nice accommodation located on the top of a hotel building, with three huts as also a big dorm, build in an original way. The place is comfortable, clean and with very good conditions but the sleep can be easily disturbed by the traffic noise that comes from the streets around.
A dorm bed is 60.000 Rp, hot shower and good wi-fi connection, but that doesn’t reach the dorm area. The breakfast is not included. The staff in not very warm but is efficient.
Where to eat in:
Definitively, Warung Kuning, delicious homemade food, very tasty and with many options, served with friendliness. Opens from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. As later you arrive, less choice you have, but is perfect for breakfast when all the food is fresh.
The Warung Kuning is located on Jalan Muhammad Husni Thamrin… just turn right as you come out from Kapong Tourist hostel and walk 10 meters.
The meals cost around 10.000 Rp but can be more if you add egg, meat or fish.
The Kampung Tourist hostel has laundry for 14.000 Rp/kg
If you have much stuff to wash, you have a few laundries as you come out of the hotel, and turn right on the Jalan Muhammad Husni Thamrin where to2 kg of dirty clothes come clean and fresh by 10.000 Rp.
How to move around in:
On foot, you can reach the train station and also the Pasar Senggo (birds market), the Kidul Dalem and even the Pasar Besar.
There are many mikrolet linking the main points of the city, but for short distances, the most traditional way to move around are the becaks, a local version of the cycle rickshaw, mostly driven by old men, that hang around the markets area as also in many city corners. The price is negotiable.
To visit the Ijen Boulevard (I didn’t) is better you use one of this becaks, as you support this tradition, and the drivers that are mainly old men.
How to go from Malang to Yogyakarta:
Is a long 360 km journey, so I choose the most comfortable way, the train.
There are several trains link these two cities, but just one departure in the morning, the Malioboro Expresss, that just have third (Ekonomi) and first (Eksekutif) classes, with this last one costing 250.000 Rp but making the 7 hours trip very confortable.
Both train station are located in the center of the city.
For train schedules and ticket check: https://tiket.kereta-api.co.id/