A common travellers’ lament is that they don’t stay long enough in a place to really explore it. Such was my lament about Malang. We arrived here by train from Surabaya. This was our second long distance train trip in Java; the first being Yogyakarta to Surbaya. Indonesia does trains well: they are efficient, punctual, comfortable and cheap. Eksekutif class travel was the princely sum of $A4. Other positives were the incredibly helpful staff and serene views of rice paddy after rice paddy.
Malang is set high and enveloped by mountains, so the weather is very comfortable; a welcome relief from the typically high Indonesian humidity.
Walking proved the easiest way to see the sights and given the mild weather, we spent time taking in Malang’s Dutch colonial history which is on show everywhere. Tree lined streets, town hall (see feature photo), churches, food and monuments – it’s all here and so very easy to digest. Malang is also a university town.
That’s Malang’s City Hall in the feature photo and it was a hive of activity when we visited. A function was taking place inside and we waited patiently for guests to enter, enjoying the pomp and ceremony. One lady in the contingent made her way over to us, welcoming us to Malang and asking if we were enjoying the town. Of course we were. It’s on the train line, there’s some good sightseeing, the pace is relaxed, the air is cool, the coffee is good. She laughed. We went inside to enjoy the art gallery which was excellent.
Also, on show is the town’s impressive mosque – a showpiece in itself.
Plenty of cafes serve up rich Malang coffee. The photo below was taken inside the cafe at Hotel Tugu in the old town.
We stayed in a guesthouse that we could not fault. Run by a group of young men who were very laid back and casual, they kept the place clean and tidy, managed to throw together a reasonably decent breakfast and promoted their local airline with this confidence boosting claim, ‘Well we haven’t lost one [a plane] recently. I flew once and survived.’
The scenery on takeoff for our one hour flight to Bali was stunning – green rolling mountains. And yes, we survived!