07 October 2016

East Java Tour: Batu

This is part of my East Java Tour on 13th-17th August 2016 (4 nights 5 days):
There are many ways to go to Malang/Batu, and I chose by train from Surabaya because I hadn't been to Surabaya before, and my daughter hadn't taken train before. When the train started to walk, she stared blank and tried to process that new experience. We then sang a famous Indonesian children song "Naik kereta api, tut.. tut.. tut.." (The Train Ride). Since we're new in this Penataran Train, we didn't know how the seats and carts condition. One cart has 4 aircons so economy train is not hot anymore like it used to be. Each row has 5 seats: 2 and 3 seats divided by aisle. Thanks God we got the 2 seats row, because it looked more comfortable and spacious than 3 seats one. Every two rows facing each other, so not all rows facing to the front of train. Unfortunately we got a row facing backside. I couldn't really enjoy the view (not much to see tho) because it made me dizzy. In the first half of the journey we got the comforts to occupy 4 seats because the 2 seats in front of us were still empty so I could sit on the seat facing in front. But after several stops, the passenger who sat on that seat came, so we should sit back to our original seats. Because of the packed seats, it was not comfortable to open up our meals that we have prepared from Surabaya (Lontong Balap and Grilled Chicken), so we ate snacks instead. The fare ticket was very cheap, only IDR12,000 ($1) per person. If we knew the seat arrangement was like this, we would have bought tickets for 4 seats instead.

Naik Kereta Api, Tut.. Tut.. Tut...

Arrived in Malang, the city was very crowded because of Arema anniversary, the famous football club from Malang. The station is located in front of Alun-Alun (central open squares) filled with vehicles and people paraded in blue (the color of Arema). Fortunately there was one taxi passed by to drop a guest to the station, and we got on directly, off to Batu, about 1 hour going up from Malang by car. It cost around IDR100,000 to reach our hotel in Batu, should be cheaper if there was no Arema traffic. First thing to do after check in our room was having very-late-lunch (at 4pm). Since we were so hungry, our cold packed meals still tasted delicious!

After taking shower, at 5pm we walked to Museum Angkut (Transportation Museum), which was just 10 minutes walking distance from our hotel. The entrance fee is IDR 80,000 for the museum only, and IDR 90,000 for museum + flight simulator. I bought tickets with flight simulator one, because my husband likes airplane (you could also buy additional ticket for flight simulator inside the museum). Entering the main gate, we came to Main Hall Zone where displayed collection of antique cars and horse-drawn carriages. Going to the second floor, we entered Education Zone where displayed history of all kinds of transportation such as trishaws (which we could ride for taking pictures), bicycle, trains and ships. The third floor was an outdoor area for 3 flight simulators. Unfortunately it started to rain, so we ran from one plane to another plane, from private jet to helicopter.

After that, the exhibition became more interesting by displaying transporation around the world divided by areas/countries along with the unique decoration of each area. First one was Sunda Kelapa and Batavia Zone (old Jakarta) displaying trishaws, harbor situation and shophouses in the old Jakarta time. Next was Japan Zone displaying Japanese cars. Next was Gangster and Broadway Street Zone displaying cars in the old US time like in Gangster movies. After that, all people's favorite: Europe Zone, started from Italy, France (with Eiffel miniature), Germany, and then ended with British Zone displaying London Market Hall, Birmingham Palace AND Harry Potter's trolley to Hogwarts Express!! Oh I wanted to cry of joy! Next one was Las Vegas and Hollywood Zone. Tips: do not spend too much time in the first 2 zones, the rest of the zones are more interesting (to take selfie). We didn't know that, so when it got more interesting, we were already tired and the place was about to close. We even did not have time to explore Pasar Apung (floating market) on the way out of museum.

Going to Hogwarts

Then I called Taxi Citra Kendedes (the best and most reliable taxi company in Batu: Phone +62341599599) to order and pick us in front of the main gate of Museum Angkut. Not too long, the taxi arrived and took us to our next destination that still opened at 8pm. In fact, more late night the place becomes more crowded and fun: it's only opened in the evening; more late night, more crowded: Batu Night Spectacular (BNS). It opened from 3pm to 11pm with entrance fee IDR30,000 during weekdays, and from 3pm to 12am midnight with entrance fee IDR40,000 during weekdays. Children must love this place which has a lot of fun rides from slow to scary one. You can buy the ticket for each ride you want inside BNS (IDR10,000/ride), or purchase full ticket for all rides since the beginning in ticket counter in front (IDR100,000 including entrance fee). Since our daughter was too young to take any ride, we just purchased the entrance tickets. Then inside, after having dinner first in the food court, we bought one ticket for our child to play in toddler playground (IDR10,000/hour) while waiting the rain stopped. After the rain stopped, we went to Lantern Garden, by paying another tickets fee IDR15,000/person. There are lanterns shaped like animals and buildings, very beautiful. Around 10pm we called it a day and order Taxi Citra again to go back to Hotel. Each taxi trip from Museum Angkut to BNS and BNS to hotel cost us IDR30,000, the minimum fare for each ride even though the distance was quite close.

Lantern Garden

For the next day I already rented one Toyota Avanza car full day to go around Batu from Smart Trans Car Rental. It costs IDR300,000 include car and driver. Fuel fee would be around IDR80,000-100,000. I booked this car 3 days before by paying IDR50,000 deposit (they said I could transfer any number I wanted for deposit, just for the confirmation). At 9am, the driver already came to pick us at our hotel, as I requested. We also had just finished breakfast and ready to go when suddenly, if you had a child you must have experienced this, suddenly my daughter pooped and we all went back to our room to clean up and everything, and in the end we started to go out at 9.30am. Since we're renting a car, I wanted to go to quite faraway and isolated places that were not easy to call taxi there.
First destination was Coban Rondo, located around 12km from Batu town. There is a folklore about this waterfall. There was a newly wed couple named Dewi Anjarwati and Raden Baron Kusumo who traveled faraway to other area, even though it was forbidden to do traveling for newly wed couple under 35 days, according to Javanese old tradition. On the way, they met a stranger man named Joko Lelono who fell in love with Dewi Anjarwati on the first sight. He then asked Raden Baron Kusumo to duel with him to get Dewi Anjarwati (what a douche!). Raden Baron Kusumo asked his wife to hide inside a waterfall and waited for him. But in the end, Raden Baron Kusumo and Joko Lelono both died in the battle, and left Dewi Anjarwati as a widow. The waterfall where she hided was named Coban Rondo: Coban means waterfall and Rondo means widow. This waterfall is actually the lowest one of 3 sets of waterfalls in this area, and the easiest to reach. Another waterfalls are Coban Dudo/Tengah (Dudo means widower) and Coban Manten (Manten means wedding couple) which has 2 waterfalls located side by side like a bride and a groom. Those waterfalls are located higher than Coban Rondo and I heard quite hard to reach, especially when you travel with kids. So we just visited Coban Rondo this time. The entrance fee was IDR15,000/person. From the parking lot, we had to walk to the waterfall for about 50m. so refreshing and natural, and we could see many monkeys hanging on the trees around waterfall.

Waterfall Widow

Our next destination was Mount Banyak. Batu city view from this mountain is amazing, and it's famous as paragliding spot. I did not have a nerve to try paragliding nor any adrenaline sports, ever. The other attraction we could find in this mountain was Omah Kayu (tree house). The entrance fee for Omah Kayu was IDR5000/person. There were around 6 bungalows attached to trees inside this place. You can stay overnight in the bungalow (costs around $30-40/night) with basic amenities, or just take picture from the bungalow with the spectacular view as the background. There was a note on each bungalow that only 6 people can be there on the same time. So, if one bungalow is already occupied with 6 people, you should find another bungalows.

Paragliding @ Mount Banyak

Not Just Tree House

Next was lunch in Omah Kitir Cafe, they claimed The Most Romantic Place in the Town. The place seemed romantic only in the evening with a beautiful view upstairs and live music on its terrace, too bad we went there in the noon. Like a usual cafe, it served mostly western foods, nothing special. After that, we continued the journey to Selecta. It was a recreational park on the hill which had been famous since 1930s, one of Indonesia first President Soekarno's favorite holiday places, and surprisingly was still a great place. There were swimming pool, waterpark (at 3pm the water was really cold and I did not bring swimming suit for my kid but it did not stop her to go in there), dinosaurus park, fish pool (my kid's favorite too), and BEAUTIFUL flower garden. It really reminds me of Korea with all the cute love stand. The entrance fee was IDR15,000/person and opened from 6am to 6pm.

Beautiful Flower Garden

From Selecta we went back to Batu town and visited Brawijaya Istana Oleh-Oleh to buy some souvenirs for family and friends at home. Around 6pm we asked the driver to take us to Alun-Alun (city town square). I really like this city having a free nice public space like this town square. We could find many kinds of street traditional foods around this square. At first we tried the famous Pos Ketan Legenda (sticky rice). They have many variants of sticky rice like milk, coconuts, durians, red beans, and combination of them. Inside town square itself there were a lot of trees, seats, cute lanterns, and kids playground! My baby did not want to stop playing here, not until it was started to rain 1 hour later, and we went back to hotel.

The city public space, very crowded at night

The next day... was my daughter's 2nd birthday!!! Can't believe my baby was 2 years old already. This trip was for celebrating her birthday (and Mom's craving for picnic). Last year we spent money to make a small birthday party at home, while this year we traveled and made her experience so many new things.

We did not rent a car that day because we only went to 2 locations in Batu: Kusuma Agrowisata and Jatim Park 2. We checked out from our hotel in Batu but left our luggages in the receptionist because Jatim Park 2 does not provide luggage storage/lockers. First stop was Kusuma Agrowisata, a resort which has many fruits farms. Depending on the season, we could pick the fruits with our own hands. When I went there, the entrance fee was IDR75,000/person including 2 apples, 2 guavas, 2 oranges (all picked by ourselves with a guide), yogurt and some snacks in the end of trip. The guide helped us pointing the ripe fruits. It was a nice experience for my child as well. This place was located very near our hotel, about 400m but the road was going up so it took us around 10 minutes walking there.

Pick Orange

From Kusuma Agrowisata, I ordered a taxi to go to Jatim Park 2. Jatim Park 2 consists of Batu Secret Zoo, Museum Satwa, Pohon Inn and Eco Green Park, opened from 10am to 6pm. Around 11am, after purchasing Jatim Park 2 + Eco Green Park tickets (cost IDR85,000) in ticket counter in front of Batu Secret Zoo, the staff suggested us to go to Eco Green Park first because the next shuttle to go there, which ran every 1 hour, was about to depart soon. Honestly I still do not know until now what the concept of Eco Green Park is. There were insects museum, bird park, farm animals, recycled things, flower garden, ride to shoot hunters, upside down house, waterparks, trick arts, angry bird shoot, miniatures of Javanese temples, 4D short movie about Hanoman (legendary monkey hero)... so random right? But we had a lot of fun, not realized we spent almost 4 hours there (including lunch in its green-freshing food court). We wanted to try all the arenas but 2 more places were still waiting us to explore. When we went out, the shuttle bus to Batu Secret Zoo was just departed, so we walked instead.

Really had fun in this place

Batu Secret Zoo was big, nicely designed, clean and had many collections of animals. Not just seeing animals in the cage, we took kids ride like carousel, watched sea lions show, took 45 minutes train ride passing and feeding animals which went around our train (like in Taman Safari Bogor), and let our kid playing in toddler playground. Most of the explanations in Batu Secret Zoo were already in dual language (Bahasa Indonesia and English) which was good to booster foreign tourists. I think it was already in an international standard, comparable to Singapore Zoo and Sydney Zoo, with much much cheaper!

Being 'attacked' by Camel inside the opened train

It was 5pm, one hour before closing time, we were tired but we hadn't visited Museum Satwa yet! We then entered the museum filled with animal figures/statues. It reminds me of Night at Museum movie. We only spent 30minutes there, not because it's not interesting but because we're already tired. Really, 7 hours is not enough to explore Jatim Park 2 fully, even in weekdays when not so many people around. In this complex there is also Pohon Inn hotel, where we could stay and wakeup with monkeys and animals knocking the window. Maybe next time we should try staying in this hotel one night and go around Jatim Park 2 two days in a row, see if we can cover all the places.

(Almost) Night at the Museum

That was the end of our trip in Batu. I ordered taxi to bring us back to our hotel in Batu to collect our luggages then go to our hotel in Malang. See you again, Batu! I definitely come to Batu again, what a nice city for family holidays.

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