Batu

Batu is a city in East Java.

Understand

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.

Climate

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 3,000 m+ are regularly as low as 3 to 4 °C.

Tourist information Centre

Get in

It is an 45 minute drive from center 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 possible.

Get around

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.

See

Do

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 3,156 m 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 you find 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

Buy

While it is not exactly a shopping mecca, there are interesting souvenirs one can take away from Batu.

Eat

Apples again. This is the country'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.

Drink

Unsurprisingly, there are several local variations on apple juice, both pure and laced with different syrups.

Sleep

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'll likely get a good deal at a 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.

Connect

The telephone area code for Batu is 0341.

Internet connectivity is good and you will find public internet cafes in central areas of Batu.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.