Malang is the second largest city in East Java with a rapidly growing population of about 1.2 million. This is a city of great historical significance. The oldest existing record of Malang as a regency is from the 8th century when it was the seat of government of the ancient Kanjuruhan and Singhasari kingdoms. The city officially became part of the all encompassing Javanese Mataram kingdom in the 17th century which by that time was controlled by the Dutch colonialists. Unsurprisingly given that history, there are several interesting Hindu relics in this area. The city quickly became very popular with the Dutch due to its cool climate, very attractive rural surrounds and easy reach from the main trading port city of Surabaya.
Modern day Malang, although significantly urbanised, has retained much of its historical character, remains vibrant and is regarded as by far the most attractive large city in the East Java region. Malang Regency is located between two groups of mountains with Mount Semeru, the highest mountain on Java, and Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park to the east. The biggest attraction here must be the beautiful landscape, in addition to which there are some temples not far away.
Malang’s Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport (MLG) is a small airport with a few flights every day mainly from Jakarta on Garuda Indonesia , Sriwijaya Air , and Citilink . Regional airline Wings Air (subsidiary of Lion Air)  also flies to Denpasar, Bali. Prepaid taxi from the airport costs (March 2015) Rp 75,000 to the city center.
Alternatively, Malang can be reached via Surabaya Juanda International Airport (SUB), served by many domestic and international flights. From Surabaya airport, you can reach Malang using a private shuttle service (Rp 80,000-100,000/pax), public transportation (DAMRI airport bus to Bungurasih bus terminal, then an intercity bus to Malang, see the main Surabaya article), or taxi. A 100 km journey will take 2-3 hours or more, depending on traffic and mode chosen.
In a city of such great cultural and historical significance there are lots of cultural attractions and any visitor to Malang should dedicate some time to exploring these. There are also a number of beautiful sights in the rural areas surrounding the city.
- Balekambang Beaches (about 60 km south of Malang). There are actually three beaches here: Balekambang, Ngliyep and Sendang Biru. All three are quite beautiful, are close by to each other and locals most often refer to all 3 as just Balekambang. It is best to visit on weekdays as this is a very popular weekend escape and it can get crowded. It is not safe to swim here but these are great relaxation beaches which offer some stunning coastal scenery. There is an offshore island called Pulau Sempu which can be visited by chartering a boat from Sedang Biru beach. At Balekambang beach there are three little islets just offshore which are attached to the beach by walkways. Of the three beaches, Balekambang itself is perhaps the most attractive but all three are worth visiting. The beaches can be easily visited as a da-trip from Malang in a car but for the adventurous there are basic places to stay at and around all three.
- Ijen Boulevard, Malang. This is a quite beautiful street. It is lined with well-tended bougainvillea against a backdrop of old colonial structures. The street houses a number of interesting buildings including the Brawijaya Army Museum, the Catholic Church and the city library. Usually every Sunday, there is an event called “Car Free Day” when almost all of Ijen Boulevard is free of motorised vehicles. There is also a “Pasar Minggu”, a traditional market which offers a wide range of items to buy, from traditional foods to clothing, even pets. It starts from 06:00 to around 10:00, depending on the number of events held. You should take in this area as part of a becak or walking tour of the historic downtown area
- Padepokan Seni Mangun Dharma (Mangun Dharma Art Centre), Desa Tulus Besar Tumpang, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Arts centre dedicated to the research, promotion and performance of traditional East Javanese art forms including dance, batik, shadow puppetry and carving. Superb place. Dance performances can be arranged on demand and are of excellent quality as the dancers are trained from childhood.
- Purwodadi Botanical Gardens (Kebun Raya Purwodadi, Pasuruan), Jl Raya Purwodadi (about 20 km north of Malang), e-mail: email@example.com. Opened in 1941, This is one of the four official botanical gardens in Indonesia (the others being the headquarters at Bogor, Bedugul in Bali and Cibodas in West Java. The 85 hectares of gardens house an impressive collection and the splendid Baung waterfall
- Singosari Temple (Candi Singosari), Singosari, Malang (about 12 km north from Malang). This well preserved Hindu temple dates from 1300 AD and is a reminder of the great Hindu kingdoms that ruled East Java before the arrival of Islam. A visit to the nearby bathing pools at Ken Dedes combines perfectly with Singosari Temple. Ken Dedes was the wife of the first King of Singhasari (later Singosari) and these bathing pools are believed to have been part of the royal court. There are some quite wonderful statues here. The whole area has some other fine relics from the early Hindu kingdoms including Candi Jago and Candi Kidal. Ask your guide or at Singosari Temple for further directions
- Batu – nearby hill town. Very cool, fresh and visually extremely attractive, with
- Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park – active volcanoes and unearthly scenery
- Wendit – a little lake with woody place full of monkeys, nice to see and to swimm
- Sengkaling – a place for swimming with crystal clear water
- Semeru – the highest mountain in Java island
TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRES
- East Java Tourist Office, Jl Jendral Basuki Rachmat 6. ☎ +62 341 323966.
- Indonesian Guides Association, Jl Semeru 4. ☎ +62 341 366852.
- Malang City Tourist Office, Jl Tugu 1. ☎ +62 341 327661.
- Malang Tourism Center, Jl Jenderal Basuki Rachmad 11 ☎ +62 341 7570999
- Bromo Tourims Center, Jl Panglima Sudirman 92. ☎ +62 8564 910 0851
- Malang Travel Guide, Jl Raya Candi . ☎ +62 8233 469 9923