Malang is one of those cities that a lot of people love. It’s easy to understand why. There are so many things to do in Malang. To give you some inspiration for your stay, here are 15 of the best things to do in Malang (I should probably say in and around Malang). The list includes beautiful national parks, beaches, volcanoes and temples.
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Let’s get started with the 15 best things to do in Malang. I’ll begin with some of the less famous highlights around the city. Let’s go.
1. Getting Lost in the Labyrinth Near Coban Rondo Waterfall
Coban Rondo waterfall is located on the slopes of Mount Panderman close to Pandesari village. The setting is quiet and tranquil. The waterfall tumbles 60 meters over the edge of the cliff into a deep pond. If you visit Coban Rondo you can also visit the elephant school and the Taman Labirin (Labyrinth Garden). Try not to panic in the labyrinth, there is a way out I promise 😉
2. A Day Out at Jatim Park
If you have kids or you’re just feeling like a kid then you should definitely visit Jatim Park. The theme park is well laid out and there are a good variety of rides, 35 in total, and activities that you can try. Next door to the theme park is Jatim Park 2, which has interactive exhibits for kids about science and other subjects.
3. Being Adventurous at Coban Sewu Waterfall
Coban Sewu waterfall is located in a small village in the highlands of Java, a two-hour drive to the East of Malang. To get to the waterfall you need to climb down a series of bamboo ladders into a deep ravine. It’s a tricky climb, but the view from the bottom of the waterfall is definitely worth the journey.
4. Hike the Heights of Mount Semeru
If you enjoy trekking then you will want to visit Mount Semeru. The volcano is a short drive from Malang and it’s the highest volcano on the island of Java. The name of the volcano comes from Meru or Sumeru, the home of the gods in Buddhist and Hindu tradition. Trekking Mount Semeru takes a minimum of two nights.
5. Watch Sunrise Over Mount Bromo
Mount Bromo is the most famous tourism destination in East Java. It’s most famous for sunrise over Mount Bromo and there’s a good reason for it. The view of Mount Bromo surrounded by mist as the first rays of sun climb over the horizon is breathtaking. Yet for me it is the varied landscape of the national park that is the real highlight of the visit.
6. Discover the Hidden Lagoon of Sempu Island
Sempu Island is famous for its hidden lagoon with crystal clear waters, which is surrounded by cliffs. To get to the lagoon you need to take a fishing boat to the island and then trek for an hour or more along muddy paths through thick forest. It’s quite an adventure. Make sure to hire the shoes that they rent in the village for the trek. If it’s been raining then trekking with regular sandals is next to impossible.
7. Relax at Balekambang Beach
Balekambang Beach is located 70 km from Malang. With a strip of beautiful white sand that stretches for miles, the beach is one of the hidden gems of East Java. Just in front of the Balekambang Beach is a small island with a Hindu Temple built on it. The temple is reminiscent of Tanah Lot in Bali.
8. Sample the Local Food
Malang is famous in Java for its local cuisines. You can buy it everywhere from small side street stalls to upmarket restaurants. Some of the local dishes and drinks you really have to try include Bakso Bakwan Malang, Cwie Mie, and Angsle. Your stomach will thank you for the experience.
9. Short Visit to Singosari Temple
Candi Singosari, or Singhosari as it is sometimes spelt, is a Hindu Buddhist temple located in the village of Candirenggo. The temple complex covers and area of 200×400 meters and there are several temples within the site. In the northwest corner of the complex is a pair of intricately carved stone statues that are each almost 4 meters high. The statues stand guard of Candi Singosari.
10. Explore Sumberawan Temple
Sumberawan Temple is located to the North East of Malang in the foothills of Mt Arjuna. The temple is Buddhist and dates back to the end of the 14th Century. The nearest settlement to the temple is also called Sumberawan. To reach the temple from the village you need to trek through rice fields and cross a river. It is believed that the natural pools at the temple have healing properties and many people come to the temple to bathe in the pools.
11. See Candi Jago
Candi Jago, or Candi Jajagu, is actually a burial site. The temple is believed to be the final burial place for King Wisnuwardhana, from the Singosari Kingdom, who ruled the area at the turn of the 14th Century. The temple is located 22 km east of Malang in the village of the same name.
12. Have Fun at Museum Angkut
Museum Angkut or Transportation Museum is relatively new (opened in March 2014). It is one of the prime tourist spots in the city. The Transportation Museum has a collection of more than 300 vehicles and 70% are still functioning properly. They display the collection based on countries or zones, for example: a zone for Italy, French, England, Chinatown and much more. My favorite zone was the Batavia zone, simply because it reminded me of Jakarta from my childhood. It is the kind of place you should visit if you are travelling with children.
13. Be Mesmerized by the Relief of Candi Kidal
Kidal Temple is located 24 km to the East of Malang in the village of Rejo Kidal. It is a Hindu temple that dates back to the 12th Century. Kidal Temple is a step pyramid that is shaped like a square. The temple is 17 meters high, though almost 5 meters of it lies beneath the surface.
14. Join the Tugu Hotel Tour
Tugu Hotel Malang is a boutique hotel in the center of Malang. Public tours through the hotel, which take one hour, are available to the public. The tour of the hotel feels a bit like a mix between exploring a museum with beautiful architecture. The hotel blends together influences of Chinese, Indonesian, Arabic and Western culture. Gaudi could have designed the courtyard at the back of the hotel. The restaurants have a grand colonial feel with beautiful wooden furniture, tables and desks. My favorite part of the hotel though is the ‘Endless Love Avenue’ which when it is lit up in the evening by colorful lanterns has the ambiance of a Moroccan souk.
15. Have fun at other beaches around Malang
In addition to Balekambang beach, there are many other beautiful beaches that you can visit from Malang. Watu Leter beach and Goa Cina beach are two examples, both of which are a two-hour drive from Malang. The two beaches are close to each other, both located in the village of Sitiarjo, Sumbermanjing Wetan. These two beaches are usually crowded with locals on the weekends.
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Do you have any plans to visit Malang soon? Have you visited any of these sites yourself? If you know other cool things to do in Malang, please let me know and I will add it here. 🙂