Monday, December 27, 2010

Malang, East Java, Indonesia - Discrete, Nonchalant and full of surprises

Originally our trip to Malang was intended more as a stopover to getting to Bromo. Lonely planet doesn't give too much information on this city. So we thought we would spend just a couple of hours in this city before we head on to Surabaya to catch another train to get to Bali.

We arrived at Malang and just walked out of the station to get to the reservation counter and Neha was like "the sleepy town of Malang". Well this town did throw up a lot of surprises for us.

The first one was at the railway station. We frantically were as usual eying to get someone to understand what we wanted to do when we went to the customer care office at the station (wow, they have these in all stations in Indonesia and it looks good).

Anyhow we walked in and we started talking to this girl at the office. We were surprised with her amazing command over English. And she spoke with a very negligible accent! All through our Indonesia experience until now, this girl had the vest command over the language. Her name is Natalia.

We spent time with her explaining our plans to leave to Surabhaya by the next available train. In fact, we also booked tickets on some open train to get there. Natalia kept telling us that there would be nothing to do at Surabaya and that it's a huge city that's very warn and filled with rude people! She seemed to really hate the place and at the end of our discussion we actually agreed to stay on in Malang instead of going to Surabaya immediately. In fact Natalia also offered to come along with us after her shift was over to show us around the place. This was really kind and generous of her to take time of to be with us. This was truly a very touching experience.

We then went to have breakfast at a restaurant called "Toko OEN". This one is opposite to KFC and Mcdonalds at Malang. This place is filled with expats since they have an extensive menu and a decent ambience.

What we saw at Malang?

1. Bird Market
2. Coban rondo waterfall

Bird Market - I think this place is not given it's due credit and attention in lonely planet. This was another lovely surprise. Imagine walking through streets of what looks straight out of a Harry potter movie? Just as the name mentions they had all kinds of birds for sale. And when I mean all, I mean a really large variety. There were sparrows, parrots, owls, ravens ( looked cool) and what not. They even were selling live feed for these birds - worms and some other bugs that looked disgusting. Apart from birds they also had other animals like rabbits, lizards, mice and monkeys. The biggest surprise of them all was a shop that was selling SNAKES! Yep, that's right - a shop filled with snakes, bats and lizards. Never seen anything like this in my life. The guy was actually playing with a snake in his hand. Check out the pictures attached.

Coban rondo waterfall - this place was amazing too! Another good surprise. It's about a good one and a half hours away from the city proper but it's a ride well worth it. We rented a car once again. Cost us around 40 dollars for ten hours. The journey to the waterfall was similar to our Indian hill stations. We went through some beautiful hill vegetation and the climate got cooler and cooler as we moved higher. The actual waterfall area was beautiful with the water falling from a large height hence cooling the entire area with the water droplets splashing of. Check out the pics. We later thought that it would have made sense to stay overnight at this place ( there are rooms available). Check out my pics.

We got back and boarded a bus to take is to Surabaya so that we can catch our next train to Denpasar, Bali.

Truly, this nonchalant town of Malang warned it's way into our hearts for the kindness of it's people through Natalie, for the crazy bird market and the beautiful water fall/hill.

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