Batu is a city in East Java.
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The lower slopes of Mount Arjuna above Selecta, nr Batu, East Java. The high peak in the background is Mount Semeru
The cool, fresh hill town of Batu was a retreat for the Dutch in colonial days. Similarly, these days wealthy local business people from Surabaya and Malang have weekend houses up here whilst the less fortunate visit on a more casual basis. The area is also a major agricultural centre with apple orchards everywhere and a large number of orchid nurseries.
Until 2001, Batu was administratively part of Malang but since that time it has been a municipal town in its own right.
Batu and the nearby town of Selecta (specifically constructed as a tourism venue in 1928) sit on the slopes of Mount Welirang and Mount Arjuna (Gunung Welirang, Gunung Arjuna) about 20 km to the west of Malang. Batu, Selecta and the surrounding villages make for a charming place with much that will appeal to visitors and a couple of days exploring this beautiful area is a worthy part of any visit to Java.
The Batu area is at 800 to 1,100 metres so it is pleasantly cool here compared to lowland East Java. Typical day time temperatures are 17 to 20 °C. Night-time temperatures on the high peaks at 3,000m+ are regularly as low as 3 to 4 °C.
Tourist information Centre
- Batu Tourist Information Centre , ☎ +62 341 591706.
It is an easy 30 minute drive from Malang to Batu.
Regular shuttle buses and bemos ply the route, departing from Malang's Landung Sari bus terminal.
The better hotels in the area are open to arranging to collect you from Malang. If you are not driving yourself, try to get this as part of your accommodation package.
A word of warning that it does get very crowded in Batu at weekends and during school holidays with trippers from Malang and Surabaya. Avoid those periods if at all possible.
The area lends itself very well to walking. There are regular local bemo services and all of the better hotels offer tours and/or private transport to the main sights.
- Alun Alun, Batu (the centre point of Batu town). A small park in the middle of Batu town, where locals regularly take walks and idle about. The newly re-worked Alun Alun is adorned with representations of pretty much all of Batu's specialties: apples, strawberries, milk-producing cows, rabbits, etc. as booths, lanterns and statues. There is also a decent-sized ferris wheel with Rp.3,000 entrance fee.
- Coban Rondo Waterfall, (4km from Sebaluh village, west of Batu). A good waterfall on the slopes of Mount Panderman with a 30 metre drop. The road here from Sepalu village goes through attractive terrain with some nice views and passes a small Elephant enclosure. A nice excursion is to get dropped off at the turning at Sepalu and walk the 4 km to the falls.
- Mount Panderman, Songgokerto village. You can see Mount Panderman looming large from the centre of Batu. It is a good hiking and birdwatching area. If an organised hike is of interest you should be able to find a guide at Coban Rondo Waterfall.
- Punten, Punten village (3 km from Batu town centre). Hectare after hectare of apple orchards and orchid nurseries. Pay a nominal rupiah sum and pick and eat as many apples as you can manage. Other villages nearby have similar setups and include Sidomulyo and Pandanrejo.
- Songgoriti, (about 2 km west of Batu town centre). This is probably the single most attractive village in the area and a day or half day spent just wandering here will be time well spent. There are some nice hot springs to relieve tired legs and a notable Hindu temple dating from the Majapahit period in the 15th century.
- Taman Rekreasi Selecta, Selecta, ☎ +62 341 592379, . This landscaped park was established by the Dutch in 1930 and although very changed, it remains a charming place to visit outside of the school holiday seasons (when it is overrun with children). Nice swimming pool. Opportunities for some guided walks and horse riding. There is a hotel and restaurant attached to the park.
Mount Arjuna seen from the road from Malang to Batu.
Climb Mount Arjuna and Mount Welirang. This is a tough 3 day expedition for experienced trekkers only. These two mountains combine to form a volcanic massif. Dormant Arjuna is at 3,338 m and active Welirang at 3,156m and the two are joined by huge saddle ridge. There are several ways to approach the trek but the best start point is at Selecta, 4 km north of Batu. You will need a guide and these are best found in Selecta village. If you are staying in Batu your hotel may also be able to help with connecting you to a good guide. Plan for two nights on the mountains in temperatures which can approach freezing. There is no need to cart tents as there are simple hut shelters used by the local sulphur workers and all guides will know the locations. You will need a warm sleeping bag and appropriate clothing though.
The lower slopes are lush but this gives way to a high terrain which more recalls the Andes or Tibet than tropical Indonesia! The same is true of the basic shelters in which you will be sleeping. The route from Selecta tackles Arjuna first and the views from the top are stunning - the whole volcanic spine of East Java stretches before you. The following day, Welirang offers similar magnificence with the added thrill of a steaming, sulphurous active crater. Be very careful on Welirang and take no risks - this Mountain is classed as a very active A-type by geologists. This is a very rewarding trek with views as good, if not better, than from any of Java's volcanic peaks.
Walk. The area in and around Batu and Selecta is very scenic indeed and lends itself well to casual walking as well as more strenuous treks.
Eat apples. They are everywhere and you can hardly not.
Theme and amusement parks
- Jawa Timur Park, Jl Kartika 2 Batu, ☎ 0341-597777, .
- Batu Secret Zoo and Wildlife Museum, .
Apples again. This is the nation's major apple producing centre and aside from the delicious fresh produce, try:
- Dried apple chips. A real speciality here which are sold in bags so you can stock up. Healthy and truly delicious.
- A local apple cake known as Dodol.
There are good quality restaurants attached to all of the main hotels.
- Sate Hot Plate, Jl. Patimura No. 40, ☎ +62 341 593662, . Sate kambing (goat satay), and other sate, including beef and chicken. Steaks and many vegetable, noodle, tohu and tempe dishes are also on the menu. Rp 4,000-45,000.
- Sego Bancakan, Jl Puskesmas - Raya Beji Batu, ☎ +623415406951, . Sego Bancakan serves in Javanese rijstafel style, with fresh and healthy ingredients. Also featured are Jangan Lombok - an original Batu hot chili soup, and Ikan Bakar Lempung - clay wrapped baked fish.
- Pasar Senggol, (Around Alun Alun). A large array of local food and snacks, served in permanent makeshift tents that gives you truly local tastes and lifestyle. Most famous street food includes tahu brontak (deep fried stuffed tofu), pisang molen (banana wrapped in flour-based batter), pisang goreng (fried banana), ketan (sticky rice, served with ground soy bean and coconut), bakso (meatballs in soup), tahu lontong (tofu and rice cake in peanut paste), etc.
Unsurprisingly, there are several local variations on apple juice, both pure and laced with different syrups.
There are a lot of quite highly priced hotels in Batu these days which were set up to cater for the wealthy local weekend market. If you are visiting Batu on a weekday outside of the school holiday season you can very likely get a nice deal at one of these higher end hotels.
Simpler budget accommodation is also available and if you visit on weekdays without a reservation you will almost certainly find plenty of available options.
- Kartika Wijaya Hotel, Jl Panglima Sudirman 127, Batu,, ☎ +62 341 592600, . The most famous hotel in Batu and it is a grand old heritage building. It has seen better days though and there are many reports of disappointed visitors. Offers individual cottages as well as conventional rooms in the main building.
- Klub Bunga, Address: Jl Kartika 1, Batu, ☎ +62 341 594777 ([email protected]). A very modern hotel set in 12 hectares of grounds. Full service facilities, spa, massage, restaurant etc From Rp 450,000 to 2,400,000.
- Kampung Lumbung Boutique Hotel and Spa, JL Puskesmas Dalam 1 Raya Beji, ☎ +62 341 5025177 ([email protected]), . A 30 room boutique style hotel all built with re-used timbers in traditional East Java style, claims to be eco-friendly. You can also find vanishing East Java buildings architecture from old teak houses that are rebuilt for several villas in this hotel From Rp 450,000.
- Metropole Hotel, Jl Panglima Sudirman 93, Batu, ☎ +62 341 591759. Nice enough mid-range hotel which is popular with weekend trippers form Malang. From Rp 400,000.
- Royal Orchid Garden, Jl. Indragiri 4, Batu, ☎ +62 341 593083, . A swanky establishment with regular hotel and condominum sections. Two restaurants, two bars and private tennis courts. A notably good in-house spa here. From Rp 1,000,000.
- Hotel Sumber, Jl. Darsono 14, Batu 65311, ☎ +62 341 591467, . A 15 room hotel which was extensively renovated in mid-2009. Set in over 2,500 m2 of landscaped gardens. From Rp 200,000.
The telephone area code for Batu is 0341.
Internet connectivity is good and you will find public internet cafes in central areas of Batu.
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