The Hotel Tugu Malang in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, is a perfect way to see the “non-touristy” side of Indonesia, but still experience first class service and one of the most unique properties we have ever stayed at. The hotel is situated in a beautiful mountain town in eastern Java that is very close to the spectacular and often active volcano, Mount Bromo. The hotel offers much, much more however, and is a great way to get a taste of Javanese culture that is sometimes hard to find in big cities like Jakarta. We spent only two nights at this lovely hotel, but will definitely return to continue our exploration of this culturally rich area. The hotel itself is filled with truly exotic works of art and furniture, including Ming Dynasty pieces that would likely be in a carefully guarded museum in the United States. During our stay, we took the “candi” or “temple” tour on the first day, and found it as a great way to view the surrounding countryside, as well as to see some really amazing Buddhist and Hindu temples built in the 1200-1300 AD period. The next morning, we took the traditional market tour and traditional cooking class which was really the highlight of our stay. After getting a personalized tour of a nearby traditional food market with the amazing array of fruits and vegetables native to Java, we finished the tour by preparing three traditional Javanese dishes under the careful supervision of the hotel cooking staff. The dishes turned out perfectly, and opened our eyes to the possibilities of traditional Indonesian recipes. For the quality of the surroundings and service, our stay was significantly cheaper than you will pay in the much more traveled locations like Bali or Jakarta. In short, it was a very unique and enjoyable experience, and probably ranks as our “best ever” hotel experience.

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