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How to Get to Malang

Most participants will probably choose to travel by air, but trains and busses provide additional options for domestic transportation within Indonesia.

Air

There are two ways of getting to Malang by air. Malang itself has a small airport, served by just a few domestic flights. Alternatively, a couple of hours away is the major airport of Surabaya, with lots of domestic flights and a reasonable choice of international flights as well.

Malang airport (Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport, MLG)

Malang airport is served by daily flights from Jakarta, operated by Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batavia and Lionair, plus a daily flight from Denpasar, operated by LionAir.

Malang airport is east of the city, and a cheap and easy taxi ride from your Malang hotel. Shoestringers also have the option of traveling by mikrolet (shared minibus).

Surabaya airport (Juanda Airport, SUB)

Surabaya is the second busiest airport in Indonesia, with frequent daily flights to Jakarta and many other destinations within Indonesia. In addition, there are also direct international flights to Surabaya from Singapore (AirAsia, SilkAir, China Airlines), Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia, Merpati), Penang (AirAsia), Bandar Seri Begawan (Royal Brunei), Bangkok (AirAsia), Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific, Garuda), Taipei (China Airlines), and possibly other locations.

For late arrivals, there are lots of hotels right near the airport; until about 2200 hrs there is a hotel booking office at the airport that will find you a room; after that, just hire a taxi and ask them to find you a nearby hotel in your price range.

Getting to Malang from Surabaya airport

The easiest way to go is by taxi, directly from the airport to your hotel in Malang; typical travel time is about 2 - 3 hours, though it can end up either less or more, depending on traffic conditions. Official taxis, which are comfortable and presumably more reliable, go for a fixed price of 336,000 Rps (as of March 2011). Alternatively, if you're so inclined, you can knock a bit off the price by bargaining with one of the touts.

A mid-range option is to go by "travel", which is a minibus with about 6-8 reasonably comfortable seats, at 70,000 per person. They leave the airport when full, and drop each passenger off at his or her destination, so it's like a taxi, except that you have a potential wait before departing, and a potential lengthy free tour of Malang suburbia at the other end if you're (un)lucky enough to be dropped off last. Finally, budget travellers can catch the Damri bus from the airport to the Sidoarjo bus terminal, from which busses are available to Malang.

An important thing to note is that Surabaya airport is located south of the city on the road to Malang, so unless you have some particular reason to visit Surabaya, there is no reason to go into town first in order to get to Malang.

The Sidoarjo mudflow

About 45 minutes out of Surabaya airport on the road to Malang, on the left hand side, is one of Indonesia's more bizarre tourist attractions, the Sidoarjo mudflow. From the main road, all you'll see is an earth dyke running parallel to the road, with a series of small shelters perched on the top with footpaths leading up, and anxious touts waiting for their prey. If you're travelling by taxi, you can ask your driver to stop for 5 minutes (you won't want to stay much longer) and scramble up to the top of the dyke to take in the desolate view of a huge mud lake. The touts will pursue you for their 5,000 or 10,000 Rps; if you're lucky, the first tout you pay will keep the others away from you.

Online Booking

It is slowly becoming easier to book domestic flights within Indonesia, though airlines' websites are often klunky, and payment procedures tricky. Most people's experience is that AirAsia and LionAir are the easiest to book online, though some have reported success with Batavia.

Train

It is also possible to travel to Malang by train from various locations in Java. In addition to a variety of slow economy class trains, there is also an overnight train, the Gajayana, with business and executive class service from Jakarta to Malang, stopping at Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Solo, Madiun, Kediri, Tulung Agung and Blitar. The journey from Jakarta takes 15:30 hours, and is an excellent option for those traveling from Central Java especially.

Bus

Frequent buses run from most cities in Java to the Arjosari Bus Terminal in Malang. Many go through the Bungarasih Terminal in Surabaya. Direct buses are available from Surakarta ,Yogyakarta and Jakarta. There are a variety of options, ranging from local, non-air-conditioned buses which make frequent stops, to bis Patas, which are air-conditioned and run between the major cities only.

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Page last modified: 4 April 2011, Sydney