When you think of Indonesia what do you think of? Bali? Surfing? Volcanos? Well – whatever it may be – I am sure that it isn’t rainbow towns.
Welcome to Old Town Malang – the most colourful town you will lay eyes on.
I first noticed this town while taking the train from Yogyakarta to Malang, on Java Island. As I was approaching Malang, looking out the window, I saw colours whizzing past my window. It was the last thing that I was expecting. I had wanted to yell at the train to stop so I could jump out and see what was out there!
Luckily, the train stopped shortly after at my destination – new Malang – which is walking distance from this rainbow town.
Apparently this area was slum until the government turned it around by giving it a phenomenal makeover in an effort to attract more tourism – and tourism it attracted! This place was packed with people when I went. However, it was an Indonesian holiday when I went and the only people there were Indonesian, so it may not be as crazy if you go another time.
If you do go on a busy day be prepared to be bombarded by people asking to take your pictures if you are foreign. I literally had a line up of people wanting to take pictures with me so I was happy to pose with them. However, once I said yes to one person the people just kept coming. It got to the point that I had to say no – and literally run away – because otherwise I would not be able to go anywhere.
However, this can be a good bargaining chip for you. When people ask for you to take a picture with them ask if they can then take a picture for you – after all there are so many great photo opportunities here! Some of the walls are even painted with pictures meant for people to stand in front of in order to look like they are part of it.
There are two sides to this town because there is a river running through it. In order to reach the other side you will have to exit the first part of the town and then walk across the bridge. The bridge offers some amazing views of the town – you will want to take some time here to appreciate it.
As this town now serves as a tourist attraction, there are a few cafes and restaurants here as well as vendors selling drinks and snacks. I had eaten before I got here but I wished I hadn’t because this would have been an unbelievable place to sit and have lunch – while taking in the vibrant view.
Overall, the town can take as little or as much time as you would like to explore it. You can get lost in the colourful walls – and I really do mean lost – for hours. You can also just take in the view from the bridge with a little quick meander down into the town.
This is by far one of the coolest towns that I have ever been to and I hope you get the chance to check it out for yourself!