Home » Practical Information » Expat Living Outside Jakarta

Expat Living in Malang, East Java

East Java FriendsWelcome to East Java! We're glad that you found us and hope that you will come for a visit so we can get to know you. Are you interested in visiting to explore for a new home or maybe just a tourist visit? Contact Joe Kirk at joeandratih@gmail.com and let us know what questions you have. See you soon!


Our community stretches from Blitar and Gunung Kawi to Malang, Lawang, and Batu, with many places in-between. They're all home to us, and we welcome new arrivals. East Java Friends is a community of international citizens who live in East Java that support each other in adjusting to Indonesian culture and complying with Indonesian law. There are currently 141 families from 24 countries.

We are an active community. We meet weekly for lunch and have monthly family gatherings and special occasions. In addition, there was an annual community festival featuring a parade, a picnic meal, and fireworks. For 2023, it will be on Saturday, September 2.

You'll find many good neighbors in our community that will help you adjust to the laws and culture and solve everyday issues.


Malang and Batu are large enough to have the amenities you need but small enough to enjoy living here. There are good schools, medical facilities, and shopping in a city environment that makes it accessible, not traffic jammed. Malang has domestic air service, while Surabaya offers international air service, just 2 hours away from Malang. There is a train service from Malang to the rest of Java. Government services for Immigration, Civil Registry, and Police are helpful and encourage "self-service" and not agents. Malang is a "resort area" with theme parks, rafting, restaurants, mountains, and beaches.

Getting here

Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport (MLG) serves Malang with scheduled flights between Malang, Jakarta, and Denpasar. Being a city airport in the mountainous area of Malang, it is subject to closings due to weather conditions and volcanic activity. However, Bandara Juanda, Surabaya (SUB) is a 2-hour drive from Malang for those who prefer regional airports.

PT. Kereta Api has several trains with service to Jakarta-Gambir, Yogyakarta, and Bandung with connections to cities along those routes with executive and economy-class services. In addition, there is executive class service from Malang on those routes less expensive than air travel. Therefore, for less stress, I prefer the train over driving between Malang and Surabaya. I prefer the train over driving between Malang and Surabaya for less stress.

East Java FriendsExpat Life

Malang's big attraction is the moderate weather and slower pace, as Malang is cool and quiet. For recreational activities, play a round of golf, hike in Malang's mountain ranges, visit Agrowisata Hotels in Batu, make a trip to the south or north coast beaches, explore the Bromo - Bertiri National Park or the Baluran National Park, experience local waterfalls, go white-water rafting or tour the tea plantations near Singosari and Lawang. East Java's landscape offers many possibilities for a day trip and many culturally exciting places such as ancient Hindu temples. Search www.holiday-or-living-in-malang.com for more information about day trips and guest houses. Explore some villages and discover the Indonesian home industry, where they produce leatherware, stone reliefs, statues, bronze statues, or furniture.  There are many wedding receptions, Javanese ceremonies, city festivals, Wayang-Kulit, or dance performances that you can attend. Life in Malang is more integrated with the Indonesian people's community life than in larger Indonesian cities.

If you are interested in living in Malang and want additional, specific information, contact Joe Kirk at joeandratih@gmail.com. If you are an expatriate living in Malang, contact me at that email. We will provide information about joining East Java Friends (EJF), a social network for international citizens living in Malang.

Temporary Housing

Check one of the rating websites, like Tripadvisor, for your favorite hotels or guesthouses with reviews and more information. I have a couple of favorites; Hotel Tugu www.tuguhotels.com and The Shalimar Hotel www.theshalimarhotel.co.id, both owned by friends and have been in Malang for many years. Tugu is a traditional Javanese and features an extensive collection of antiques and several choices for dining while also having an array of activities that will introduce you to the culture of Malang. The Shalimar is a Javanese boutique hotel with friendly and attentive staff in an area with several excellent dining choices. Both have swimming pools and warm and courteous staff, and glad to help you find your way around Malang.

If you would like something more like home, try a guest house that offers fewer services but a more intimate setting. There are many Guest Houses in Malang, and each has its charm. Again, check rating services such as Tripadvisor for reviews and more information.

East Java REast Java Housingesident Housing

You can find what you are looking for here, whether a large villa or a private home in an orchard, as we have members who have done just that. There are available lots in Malang and Batu and the surrounding area. You'll find plenty of guesthouses, apartments, hotels, and rental houses. East Java has a mild climate that makes living here enjoyable.

Resident housing is much like you would find anywhere around the world. For example, some ex-pats live in a large house with a spacious garden while some prefer a home with a swimming pool. A good selection of homes is available for rent or purchase in Malang or the Batu area. In addition, there are housing communities (perumahans) such as Istana Dieng, Araya, and Tidar that feature various conveniences. For example, Istana Dieng features paved streets, underground utilities, a clubhouse with a café, a swimming pool, a children's play area, an Atlas gym, and indoor tennis. Most rentals are by the owner and not real estate agents, so the best method of locating houses for rent or sale is to drive through a housing area that you like and look for "sewa" or "dijual" signs with contact information. Rental contracts are typically two years, with full rental payment in advance.

International school in Malang



There are two international schools in Malang; Wesley School (WIS) and Bina Bangsa School. Wesley School, Jalan Simpang Kwoka 1 Phone 586-410, email at wesley@wesleyinterschool.org, website at www.wesleyinterschool.org, is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has a curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12. Bina Bangsa School, www.binabangsaschool.com, at Jl. Ahmad Yani Utara Riverside Blok AA No. 1, Malang 65125, is an English-based school with Mandarin and Indonesian. In addition, Charis National Academy is a national SPK school that offers classes for preschool through grade 12.

For playgroups and kindergartens, there is My Little Island, Oasis, Wonder Bridge, Happy Kids, Smart Kids, and Kidsland. These have an excellent curriculum and offer varying levels of language introduction, such as Mandarin or English.

Learning the Local Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Living in Malang is enhanced if you can speak some Indonesian language since many locals don't speak English or other foreign languages. Several good language schools in Malang can accommodate your schedule; Rumah Bahasa, Language Exchange, Worldbridge Language Center, ILP International Language Programs, and Universitas Negeri Malang.

Health Care

You can find adequate professional service in Malang for routine health care issues. Some members schedule exams and periodic checkups while in their home country on holiday or vacation. For more severe cases, some use the more extensive facilities in Surabaya, Jakarta, or Singapore. We rely on personal recommendations and use "second opinions" for more severe cases.

Following are contacts for your starter list:

Hospital Emergency Rooms: Panti Nirmala 362-459, Baptist in Batu 594-161, RKZ366-033 and Syaifal Anwar 362-101
Pediatrician: Dr. Chandra, Jalan Raya Dieng 26, 568-247
Ear-Nose-Throat: Dr. Andrew Halim, WA 0815-5022-999
Dentist: Dr. Ilham Setiabudi, Jalan Istana Dieng Raya II #15, 0813-3007-0055.
Orthodontist: Dr. Chandra Wigati, Jalan Burung 51, 363-415
Medical Lab: Prodia Lab, Jalan Merbabu 10, 366-042, 6am-9pm
Pharmacy: Pelita Sari, Jalan Letjen Sutoyo 31A, 493-625, 495-271.

Doctors' schedules vary, of course, but it is not uncommon to see a doctor after 7 pm, and some schedule their regular office hours as 6-11 pm.


Malang features two malls, Malang Town Square (MATOS) and Mal Olympic Garden (MOG), that will handle a significant portion of your shopping needs. Fore your convenience, there are also local plazas, such as Cyber Mall and Araya Plaza. Fruits, vegetables, and good quality spices are available in the local markets. The best traditional market for fresh vegetables, fruits, chicken, meat, and fish is Pasar Oro Dowo, at Jalan Guntur and Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi. Hypermart in MATOS has a good selection of fresh fish. For those "hard to find" grocery items, Lai-Lai Fruit Market on Jalan Semeru has made its reputation on providing for the ex-pats and UD Sukses Jaya at Jalan Bandahara 7 is a great addition. Sukses Jaya is a meat and supplies distributor to restaurants and offers baby back ribs, Australian beef, and frozen foods to private customers. Ranch Market, Jalan Semeru No.80, provides a similar service. Indoguna Meats, phone (031) 911-70493, is a delivery service from Surabaya that supplies hotels and restaurants and takes individual orders for meat, cheese, and spices. Holland Bakery is at Jalan Wilis, and other convenient locations.

Clothing is not a problem in Malang. If your size is unavailable in the stores, you can get it tailor-made in sound quality using a clipping from a magazine. However, swimsuits and shoes for ladies in bigger sizes can be a problem.

There are several large bookstores in Malang, of which Gramedia (books, newspapers, stationery, sports, music) is the leader and has several locations. If you want a newspaper in English, Jakarta Post offers subscriptions and delivery.

There are many shops for building supplies, but there are several Ace Hardware stores, if you want something more familiar. Depo Bangunan at Jalan Raya Karanglo 69 and Sentral Bangunan at Jalan Raya Karanglo No.131 are large building supplies stores that carry tools, home repair materials, and home accessories.

If you need household items, stationery, toys, school supplies, sandals, and shoes, try Toko Lancar Jaya on Jalan Danau Toba in Sawojajar. The vast selection changes frequently, and their prices are unbelievably lower than most other stores.

Are you looking for Malang-specific items? Then, try PKK Corner, Jalan Tangkuban Perahu 1 in the Kartini Imperil Building, for jewelry, batik, ceramics, leather goods, masks, toys, and snacks. PKK Corner is a great place to shop for those souvenirs for your visit back home.

If something is not available in Malang, try Surabaya, which is a 2-hour drive. Many expats go to Jakarta or Singapore for business reasons, and these trips are always an excellent opportunity to stock up on missing necessities.

Culture, Recreation and Entertainment

Part of the advantage of living in Malang is exploring the culture, and these excursions will make family memories for a lifetime. If interested in "things to do" in Malang, check out www.holiday-or-living-in-malang.com, a website by a friend with information about Malang from a local's viewpoint. You can also check TripAdvisor.

Malang has facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, and aerobic exercise. Several expats blend fitness with their daily schedules and use bicycles as their primary means of transportation. Klub Bunga, a Batu resort, provides a gymnasium, pool, sauna, spa, massage, tennis courts, basketball court, and beach volleyball field. Batu has Jawa Timur Park www.jawatimurpark.com, Batu Night Spectacular, and Museum Angkut, all excellent family recreation venues. There are golf courses in Malang at Araya, in Padaan at Taman Dayu, and Fina Golf & Country Club. Prestige Fitness Malang has aerobic, step, and yoga classes in the mornings and evenings. Hash House Harriers has several Malang groups so that you can choose the most convenient time during the week or on weekends. Contact Pak Poedji, Jalan Jagung Suprapto 7, and phone 325-888 or 361-996 for more details.

Malang BeachThe beaches are 2-3 hours' drive to the south coast; Sedangbiru, Balekambang, and Ngliyep. Unfortunately, there are only the necessary accommodations available, and you cannot find a nice restaurant. If you go, prepare for a picnic on the beach. Swimming can be dangerous on the south coast, so ask the locals for a safe place to swim.

The Hawai Waterpark in Malang at Jalan Graha Kencana Raya will provide hours of wet enjoyment for your family. Outside of Malang, there is Waterworld, a modern water park in Citraland, Surabaya, and Taman Dayu, halfway between Malang and Surabaya.

There is a children's playground next to MATOS. It is an extension of the Derumah housing complex but is open to the public. They have two swimming pools for small and older children, plenty of kiddies' rides and indoor football fields, and a playground with white beach sand.

Malang has several movie theaters with a choice of 3-4 films.

Want to try something a little different or new for your family? Make an evening of karaoke with the family. Get a private room and enjoy singing and being together. There are many family karaoke facilities in Malang.


Restaurants are abundant in Malang, and you can make a quest out of finding that special place to eat. Check restaurant rating services such as TripAdvisor to see their reviews.

Several places are favorites for us and others in Malang:

AB Kitchen, a European-style restaurant, has a warm and cozy atmosphere, serves tasty steaks, specializes in Swiss Roesti, and has live music on weekends. La Regina, an Italian restaurant, is part of Hotel Shalimar and quickly became our favorite. Inggil's, a Javanese restaurant, features local food, atmosphere, and entertainment with their specialties of grilled or fried fish, sate' and fried rice, and while the portions are ample, the price is very reasonable. Niki Kopitiam is a restaurant resulting from its successful catering business. Located at Jalan Bondowoso 8, it features Indonesian and Chinese cuisine. Batavia has fresh seafood, Chinese and Javanese dishes in a comfortable setting. Malibu features wood-fired oven pizza but has a variety of other recipes. Try their onion rings. Harmoniis a family-oriented restaurant with a children's play area and tasty local food. KDS is the most well-known Chinese restaurant in town and offers traditional dishes at reasonable prices. Taman Indie River View Resto features a romantic location and good Indonesian food. Kantri, a Javanese restaurant at Jalan Raya Singoasari, features excellent beef, chicken, and goat sate'. Also, there are two large dining tables with chairs, a record-sized wooden wall screen, and antique carriages to see while there. J Co and Starbucks at Malang City Point feature coffee and snacks with a relaxing sitting area. Try Rotiboy in Mal Olympic Garden (MOG) for a unique pastry bun.

The larger hotels, Hotel Tugu, Shalimar, Santika, Harris, Regent's Park, and Kartika Graha, have dining facilities.

Are you looking for something fast and familiar? Try an American chain restaurant: McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dunkin' Donuts, or Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut has an extensive pasta menu in addition to its famous pizzas. For extra convenience, most of these have a delivery service.

Personal services

While you will want to find the personal services best for you for convenience and price, we recommend a few places. For salons that offer a full range of services such as hairstyle, manicure, pedicure, and makeup, try Pacific, Jonathan's, Tinara, or Gester. For a great hairstylist, there's Hengky's Salon, Jl. Simpang Bondowoso 15-17. For a gentle massage, there's Djemari at Jl. Raya Tidar 40 or Zen Pijat.

If you need help in finding specific goods or services in Malang, contact Joe Kirk at joeandratih@gmail.com.


Last updated July 31, 2023