Monday, July 31, 2017

National Park of Bromo Tengger Semeru and Malang

Taman Nasional Bromo Tengger Semeru

Malang is situated on the eastern part of the most populated island in the world, Java, Indonesia. It is a regency, as what locals would call it, surrounded by mountains. The climate is cool from late afternoon until the mid morning. There are many places to visit in Malang especially if you are a nature lover. Falls and forests are scattered all over while a stretch of a less touristy beaches are in the south.

Pine trees at Coban Rondo

Malang is a serene place full of greenery. This is home to the only locally grown apple in Indonesia but there are other fruits and vegetable farms as well. Traffic only happens during rush hour but it may not take that long. The main city is still quite organized and you can walk along the streets safely and breathe fresh air in the city. My guide told me that people here are the most polite compared to other regions of Indonesia.
Coban Rondo

Flower farms at Coban Talun

Alun Alun Kota Wisata Batu 

On mountain sides, you will find water falls of different sizes. It is locally named "coban" ( c is pronounced ch ). Coban Rondo is arguably the most famous of it all. It is frequently visited by local tourists as it is quite easy to get to. A mere 500 meters walk from the parking lot and you will see the water falls which about 4 storeys high. Coban Talun, on the other hand, is a man-made falls which is surround by different flower farms.

There are not many places to see in the main city aside from churches and mosque and the Alun Alun, the central park of the city. You may stumble upon old colonial house and some art deco-ish styled buildings downtown. The most decorated street is Jalan Ijen. Decorated, in a sense, with the posh houses built in old Dutch colonial style and still serves as vacation home from people we do not know. My guide mentioned that some of the owners of these houses are not from Malang. I also chanced upon Pasar Burung Splendid. A street where a number of bird and pet sellers do their daily business. It was quite saddening to see caged birds of different local species lined up in the streets.
Malang Railway Station

Java Dancer Cafe

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church

Gajayana Football Stadium

Owls being sold at Pasar Burung Splendid

Pasar Burung Splendid

The main attraction that foreign and local visitors see in Malang is the national park of Bromo Tennger Semeru. These are mountains which is about 3 hours drive from Malang city. As I chose to stay in the city, one has to leave around 12 midnight from the city to travel to the Bromo. IT was a steep drive. I joined a local tour group and we had to take a mini van for the first two hours. Then we stopped at the car exchanged point as we need to transfer to a 4x4 hard top jeep that will get us to the foot of the mountain.

Throngs of tourists awaiting for that sunrise view

Sunrise view with Java Sea at the background

Bromo National Park

Savana Block at Bromo National Park

Bromo National Park

Sand dunes near Mount Bromo

My companion for the Bromo tour

We first arrived at Mt Bromo Viewpoint 2 Seruni to wait for the sunrise. It was 5:35 AM when the rays of the sun begin to shine upon the Java sea horizon. As it begin to light up all the way to the mountains of East Java, the ridges of Mount Bromo, Tengger and Semeru begins to tone up with orange. It was a dramatic and stunning view to look at at this time of the day. After about 30 minutes, we drove down to the gray sand dunes that surrounds this active volcano. We had a closer view of the mountains which hues has changed by the sun around 7:00 in the morning.

There is nothing similar to these part of Indonesia. We did not have to do any rigorous hike to reach this high and enjoy a 4 degrees C weather. If you have time, make sure to stay at lodges or hotels near Bromo to enjoy the serenity of this area. Joining a group may not give a maximal time to hike or spend some time to enjoy this natural wonder.

Driving down south of Malang to get to its beaches, it will take you about two hours from the city. Roads are less crowded and well-paved roads were built to access most of the main thoroughfare. But I decided to visit 2 beaches which are less travelled, Pantai Sendiki and Pantai Tiga Warna located at the Cilungup Mangrove Conservation. Click on this link to see more information and pictures about my trip to Malang beaches.

Indonesia is best known for its food as it has an array of spices used in every culinary delight. Malang is mostly famous for its bakso. For a good tasting bakso, try Bakso Presiden or Bakso Kota. A famous old style dish is also available at downtown Malang called Hok Lay, it serves a mix of local and chinese fair since 1946. Do not forget to try the local apples. If you are in the high lands of Batu, make sure to buy "apel manalagi" it is greenish and sweet and it will only cost you 10,000 rupiah per kilo if you buy near the apple farms. Also, make sure you vist one of the most historical hotel in MAlang, The Tugu Hotel. You can get a free tour of the hotel if you are a guest or you dine at the Melati Restaurant.

Lunpia Semarang

Hok Lay Restauranta

One of the lavish dining areas inside Tugu Hotel

Melati Restaurant

Masjid Agung Jami Malang

Malang, East Java, Indonesia
July 23-27, 2017

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