A few days after exploring and checking out the historical sights around Yogyakarta, we took the Malioboro Ekspres night train to Malang. This was a smooth ride of about eight hours and we arrived in Malang around five o’clock in in the early morning. Going by night train means you do not have to pay for an extra night of accommodation if that is a concern, but on the other hand you lose the amazing views that a train ride offers, because, well, everything is dark. I thought our train ride from Jakarta to Yogyakarta was already quite beautiful, so I am pretty sure the ride to Malang would be quite stunning as well.
Anyway, after arriving at Malang we walked from the train station to the Kampong Tourist hostel, which was about a ten-minute walk. Check-in time started at 7ish, so we had to wait for a few hours in the lobby.
Later that same day, after taking a rest, we set out to see parts of the town. Malang is a fantastic city. The weather there was beautiful, because the city is elevated and surrounded by mountains, and therefore has a very cool and refreshing climate. It was really nice to feel this cooling weather in the early morning and at night, especially since we just explored the very hot Yogyakarta. In that regard, Malang’s more temperate surroundings provided a welcome change. The city reminded me of Bandung, in that the streets are wide and decorated with huge trees and many buildings seemed to have been made in the beautiful Dutch colonial architectural style, which gives the town a lot of character.
From our accommodation we walked to a nearby restaurant and along the way we stopped (twice) at the park in front of the Balai Kota Malang (City Hall of Malang). It’s a small park on a roundabout, but it was quite lively and crowded and there was a fun atmosphere hanging in the air. People were having a coffee, kids were playing around, and others were just enjoying the evening.
The hostel we stayed at is named Kampong Tourist and was quite enjoyable overall. The staff was super-friendly and helpful in providing information about the city. They can organize tours for you as well and every once in a while there is a community event too. There is a very fun atmosphere hanging about the place and just good vibes all around. Most importantly, they run a very clean and well-maintained place for a very modest price. They are located in the center of town on the roof of the Hotel Helios and nearby the main train station of Malang. There are two types of accommodation available at Kampong Tourist; a shared dorm room or a private bamboo gazebo for two people. We opted for the gazebo.
The gazebo is quite simple but definitely has all your basic needs: good matrasses, a wall fan, some clothing hangers, and a lock. From the gazebo we had an amazing view of the city and mountains. Bathrooms are shared. There are a few of them around the hostel and they were cleaned regularly and had hot water, so that was no problem. And, depending on which bathroom you use, while in the shower you can see the mountains around town, which was great.
Overall, it’s a pretty nice place to stay, but there are some cautions you need to know if you want to stay there. First, if you are a light sleeper you might run into problems because the gazebo room has very thin walls. You can basically hear everything. Other guests can be quite loud at night chatting and joking around, which can affect your sleep. I can say that your enjoyment kind of depends who the other backpackers are in the hostel. Secondly, you can hear the traffic on the street down below as well. With some better sound insulation this would be so much better. So, just take this into account when booking.
3th floor Hotel Helios
Jl. Patimura 37
East Java – Indonesia
Tel: +62 (0)341 – 345797
Mail : [email protected]