The hill town of Batu offers so much to see and do that what started as a weekend playground for the locals and tourists has gained fame across Indonesia
A cool mountain breeze greets my arrival in Malang after a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Surabaya, the coastal capital of East Java. The apple orchards that dot the city have given Malang the moniker, the “City of Apples”. With the presence of historical buildings through the city, Malang truly creates a sense of Europe.
I feast my eyes on the beauty of the mountains, hills, rivers, plantations and gorgeous flowers along the way to my destination — a lovely town up in the hill of Malang named Batu.
Literally meaning “stone” in English, Batu is located between 680 and 1,700m above sea level with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 17°C; here one can find numerous beautiful places to escape the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan living.
The town’s striking natural beauty and clean mountain air reminded the Dutch colonials of Switzerland and they dubbed the place “De Kleine Switzerland” (Little Switzerland). Today, a holiday in Batu is still well spent with fun activities in the present-day town.
As I’m really into a sustainable green living, I decide to start my journey with a visit to Kusuma Agrowisata, a 65-acre plantation nestling 1,000m above sea level.
The ambience is wrapped with greenery, which soothes me as I contemplate the abundance of apples, strawberries, oranges, guava, dragon fruit, and vegetables growing on the plantation. Here, I also learn about the planting process while sampling the fresh fruits grown in this peaceful green space.
The beautiful cottage accommodation attracts those seeking a completely green holiday. There’s also a bunch of activities such as ATV (all-terrain vehicle) fun rides, flying fox and paintball games. It’s awesome!
Selecta Garden is another must-visit place. Some locals briefly shared with me its history. A Dutchman named Royter Dewvild built the garden in 1928 as a place where nature and fun meet. Much fun for the whole family has been designed around the flower garden and water park, against a backdrop of majestic mountains.
Since its existence, Selecta Garden has become known for its dazzling flowers; I feel like I’m walking across the rainbow among them.
Pump Up Your Adrenaline
Batu is also a good place for those with an adventurous soul. Raft Brantas River with Kaliwatu Rafting. The powerful rapids make my heart pound while adrenaline rushing out of my body. Other challenging activities to try include the tempting mountain biking at Klemuk Mountain.
For an evening that breathes excitement, I go to Batu Night Spectacular (BNS). This offers a picture-perfect night view of Batu and games as well as rides to enjoy, from a flying swinger and trampoline to go-karting. Since the place is open from 3pm to midnight, you have plenty of time to experience everything once.
Fun Jungle Living
To get the feel of jungle living, I step into Batu Secret Zoo, one of the three places that make-up the 30-acre Jawa Timur Park II. The other two places are Pohon Inn, a hotel with a jungle concept, and Museum Satwa, an animal museum.
I am surprised by the animals featured at the zoo. I wouldn’t think that I could see peacocks along with rare animals such as albino kangaroo and a white tiger.
No less interesting, the savannah area at the zoo allows me to see some large African animals. If you want to gain more knowledge of animals and their natural habitat, just head to Museum Satwa that features various types of animal dioramas.
Want to blend into the jungle? Stay at Pohon Inn. Designed in the shape of a tree, the hotel offers magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and hills. Its Jungle Resto lets you dine out in a jungle setting.
By Muna Sungkar. Published in Jetstar Asia Magazine, Nov. 2012.