Versi Bahasa Indonesia:

Written by Junanto Xu
Co-written and edited by Beverley Lennon

In mid-2019, we journeyed through East Java. From the wild and crazy city of Surabaya, we embarked on an exciting road trip all the way to find peace and solitude in Bromo. With the help of our local friends, we also made a few stops at lesser-known areas, which we truly believe are real hidden gems!

One of those places is Prigen. This is where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, just 1.5 hours drive from Surabaya to bask in chilly weathers and fun, family-friendly attractions.

As we spent three days here, we got to explore the region’s natural wonders and also signed up for exciting activities like a drive-through safari, breakfast with giraffes or best yet, challenging ourselves with South East Asia’s longest zip line!

With these 11 top things to do in the chilly highlands, we concluded that Prigen is that magical little kingdom to go to when you just want to escape the madness and share real quality time with your loved ones; it’s also the perfect stopover while you journey through to reach Malang and Bromo.

Read more:

47 Best things to do in and around Malang (2 hours drive from Surabaya!)

4D3N Scenic adventure itinerary from Surabaya to Mount Bromo: Things to do, where to stay and how to reach this active volcano!

5D4N Affordable family itinerary in the scenic highlands of Prigen, Batu and Bromo (safari, mountains and more)!

13 Hidden Cold Places In Indonesia Where You Can Escape The Tropical Heat

Getting to Surabaya

This post is made possible by Indonesia Tourism Board

From SingaporeFrom MalaysiaFrom Jakarta

Total cost: From SGD 174

Step 1: Take a flight from Changi Airport Singapore via Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar, Scoot, SilkAir or Singapore Airlines  to Juanda International Airport Surabaya. Flight duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes. Return flights from SGD 149.

Step 2: The most efficient way to reach Prigen from Juanda International Airport  Surabaya is by taking taxi or renting a private car. Trip Duration: 1.5 hours. Taxi fee from SGD 25

Total cost: From RM 527

Step 1: Take a flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport via Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia or Citilink, to Juanda International Airport Surabaya. Flight duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes. Return flights from RM 452.

Step 2: The most efficient way to reach Prigen from Juanda International Airport Surabaya is by taking taxi or renting a private car. Trip Duration: 1.5 hours. Taxi fee from RM 75.

Total cost: From Rp.  2,277,800

Step 1: Take a direct flight from Jakarta Soekarno Hatta International Airport via Citilink (also available at Halim Airport), Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, or Sriwijaya to Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport Malang. Flight duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes. Return flights from Rp. 2,127,800

Step 2: The most efficient way to reach Prigen from Abdul Rachman Saleh Airport Malang is by taking taxi or renting a private car.Trip Duration: 1 hours. Taxi fee from Rp. 150,000

This story would not have been possible without the support of Indonesia Tourism Board. For more information, check out Surabaya’s official website.

Best time to travel

Avoid visiting Prigen in December to April which is the local wet season. June to October is a good time to visit since the city transits to its dry season, making it suitable to explore Prigen’s amazing natural attractions.

TripCanvas’ Tip:
We were there during the Ramadan season and thoroughly enjoyed exploring around with no crowd!

1. Uncover a resort full of mystery – Kaliandra Resort & Organic Farm

We dropped by this resort with the intent to find a resting spot, but we ended up discovering an expansive sanctuary hidden in the forest of Pasuruan.

Sprawling over 40 hectares at the foot of Mount Arjuna, Kaliandra Resort is an enchanting mysterious resort where you can immerse in traditional culture and architecture all while being set in the pristine nature of Prigen. Room categories here range from classical European style to traditional Javanese house so it’s quite like taking a trip around different colonial eras!

Photo Via Jessicajayaputra

We were actually quite impressed by the size and unique ambience that we spent a couple of hours to relax and get inspired at one of their restaurants, Roro Ireng, where we found comfort in hot drinks and traditional snacks.

One thing we did miss out on is their iconic Enzyme Detox Spa – a body treatment method that originated from Japan where you have to bury your body in a mixture of soft and fragrant ground cedar and rice bran with living enzymes.

Before leaving the resort, we made a quick stop by the main hall and discovered a grand building adorned by an array of antiques. We were also told that, Kaliandra is a social enterprise built by Atmadja Tjiptobiantoro (famous Indonesian architect) to support local communities and protect the natural resources of Mount Arjuna.

Photo Via Kenesandari

Kaliandra Resort & Organic Farm

Rates: From USD $23 (Approximately Rp. 321,505)
Address: Dusun Gamoh RT.7/RW.12, Area Sawah, Dayurejo, Kec. Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157
Contact: +62 31 568 2912 / +62 855 4950 0001 (WhatsApp)

Check Rate on Agoda

2. Plunge into endless green views – Wonosari Tea Plantation (or Wisata Agro Wonosari)

Explore Wonosari tea plantation – a sprawling 950-hectares tea plantation that sits peacefully on the chilly slopes of Mount Arjuna – now is where you’ll feel like in Cameron Highlands!

This green oasis is a perfect spot for travellers to rejuvenate their tired mind and soul after a long and intense travelling. After all, what can be more therapeutic than breathing in refreshing crisp air and gazing at such magical endless ocean of green?!

Photo Via TripCanvas

You can drive around the plantation, or take a tour but we truly recommend you to walk down to Bukit Kuneer, where you’ll find a long wooden bridge overlooking the vast tea plantations. It is quite a rugged landscape so be ready to jump up and down as you drive.

Photo Via TripCanvas

Wonosari Tea Plantation

Entrance fee: Rp. 10,000 (Approximately USD $0.70) on Weekdays; Rp. 15,000 (Approximately USD $1.05) on Weekends
Address:  Bodean Putuk, Toyomarto, Singosari, Malang, East Java 65153 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 7am – 5pm
Contact: +62 852 5845 4470 / +62 812 3368 5380


3. Meet Simba from The Lion King at this magical safari adventure – Taman Safari Prigen

What better way to explore a safari than by driving through the animal kingdom yourself? Giving it a thought – I believe this is what made our trip there quite a remarkable experience. You’re in the comfort of your car with only your friends and family, so it makes it very intimate and enjoyable.

The safari is divided into different zones, where you can find animals from different continents. You’ll have zebras by your window when in the African zone, and you can feed the enormous bison in the American/European zone, and admire the elephants in Asia.

Photo Via TripCanvas

They also have a “carnivore” zone featuring animals that could gobble you up in a few seconds (for this zone, you’ll be required to close all windows and doors).

Photo Via TripCanvas

After the safari adventure, we settled down at their Tiger Cave Restaurant. Sighting a tiger in a jungle is a dream for many, so when we heard we could have lunch with tigers surrounding us, I have to say that we were pretty excited! Besides the thrill of enjoying the sight of tigers up-close, we also thoroughly loved the food at the restaurant, it was delectable and beautifully plated! There’s plenty of options, ranging from Asian to Western dishes too.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

We then explored the Aquatic Land to meet fellow little penguins who happened to be hungry as well. We joined the staff there to feed the penguins with some delicious raw fish (at least for them). And hear me when I say that the penguins will do anything to get to their food — that also means stepping on you and even sliding into the pool. Let’s just assume that they’re quite impatient in nature, to say the least.

To end our day at the safari, we were entertained by The Adventures of Jack & Kelsey. We watched happily as orangutans, birds, cats and dogs did their show in all harmony; it was very well coordinated so I cannot imagine the amount of hard work putting this together. You’ll have pure moments of laughter and admiration for what those animals can do!

Taman Safari Prigen 

Entrance fee: From Rp. 160,000 (Approximately USD $11) *Inclusive of Safari Adventure, Baby Zoo, Aquatic Land, 4 Animal Show, Dolphin Show, Temple of Terror*
Tiger Cave price range: Rp. 40,000-90,000 (Approximately USD $2.80-6.30)
Penguin feeding fee: Rp. 50,000 (Approximately USD $3.53)
Jack & Kelsey showtimes: 12pm and 2pm. More showtimes here
Address: Desa Jatiarjo RT.12/RW.06, Prigen, Pasuruan, Jawa Timur 67157, Indonesia
Contact: +62 343 6743 000 / +62 811 3624 088 (Whatsapp)
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 4.30pm; Sat – Sun, 8.30am – 4.45pm


4. This is where you can share your breakfast table with giraffes – Baobab Safari Resort

At Baobab Safari Resort, you’re in a prime location to spot African wildlife! The resort lobby itself expands to the outdoor area where you’ll find the pool and the animal park – it is quite a spectacle; our eyes were glistening like real kids as we walked through what would be our ultimate “African Safari Lodge”.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

While there are various room categories (all of them with unique safari feels) at the resort, you sure want to opt for their Premium Safari room to wake up overlooking the most exciting members of the animal kingdom! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing animals roaming around freely as compared to what I have seen before in many countries in Asia (where the poor creatures are caged).

Photo Via TripCanvas

Get your binoculars ready for an animal experience of a lifetime – from petting elongated beauties at your breakfast table to lounging poolside with striped species, feeding Simba’s best friends and more!

Photo Via TripCanvas, Alfonsushuntadi
Photo Via TripCanvas

Baobab Safari Resort

Rates: From  Rp. 851,069 for Deluxe Hill View King Room (Approximately USD $60). Note: Kids under 10 years old are free from charge
Address: Gunung Princi, Jatiarjo, Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157
Contact: +62 343 674 3888

Find out more:

Check Rate on Agoda

5. A 1-km zipline (longest in Southeast Asia) made for the daredevils! – Tretes Treetop Adventure

First things first – this activity isn’t for the faint of heart, it isn’t your usual playground flying fox. Honestly, we have to confess that we were already shaking with fear as the team at Tretes Treetop Adventure helped to put our equipment on and give us some instructions. We then drove off to the departure point – this is it; we are going to fly 80 metres above the ground for a good kilometre!

Photo Via TripCanvas

The zipline has two stages and eventually, the only way to get back to the adventure park is by taking up the second (and longest) course. I personally really enjoyed the first stage as the view was amazing, there was even a river underneath! The second stage is the longest and you get to pass through trees and branches and admire the surrounding valleys and forests. It was a memorable experience, to say the least.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

Once we made it back to the adventure park, we challenged ourselves with their treetop adventure with exciting challenges like spider nets, suspended bridges and even more zip lines! Slowly but surely, we conquered them all! I’d say it can be a fun experience if you’re travelling with a group of adventurous friends, that way you can race through the obstacles!

We ended our day here by relaxing on hanging hammocks which were between two to three metres above the ground, overlooking the beautiful panorama of Prigen’s agricultural landscape.

Photo Via TripCanvas

Tretes Treetop Adventure

Entrance fee: Rp. 10,000 (Approximately USD $0.72). Flying fox at Rp. 150,000 for Indonesian (Approximately USD $10.73) and Rp. 240,000 for foreigners (Approximately USD $17). Check full price list here
Address: l. Raya Trawas, Desa Lumbangrejo, Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +62 31 548 4484
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 8am – 4pm


6. Dare put a hundred of bees on your face?! – Wisata Petik Madu Lawang

We always thought bees would sting no matter what but looks like when you’re gentle enough, they’re kind to you to – yes to the point of letting you hold a whole bunch of them! When in Malang, we dared to hold hundreds of warm and furry bees in our bare hands! You can even choose to place them on your face or anywhere else!

Yes, having hundreds of warm and furry bees swamping on your hand may sound like one of the challenges from Fear Factor, but we actually tried (and survived) this nerve-wracking experience! In fact, nothing to be worried about as you’ll be guided by bee experts from Wisata Petik Madu Lawang! The secret is to always be gentle and not do any sudden movements around the bees.

Aside from getting up real close with the bees, we also enjoyed learning all about honey production and even tried out the waxing process! It’s quite a fun place to check out and they also sell various kinds of fresh pure honey, while you can even try some of their honeycomb! We’ve eventually packed some home!

Photo Via TripCanvas

Wisata Petik Madu Lawang

Entrance: Free. Honey from Rp. 55,000 – Rp. 200,000 (Approximately USD $3.85 – $14)
Address: Ruko Puri Kencana, Jalan Doktor Wahidin No. 8, Kalirejo, Lawang, Malang Regency, East Java 65215
Contact: +62 851 0616 1000
Opening hours: Sun – Mon 8am – 4pm

7. Dine among mountains ranges – D’Gunungan at The Taman Dayu

Hidden up high at Sagamore Hills, D’Gunungan is a one-of-a-kind dining venue offering 360° views of the surrounding majestic mountain ranges.

We came here at brunch time but decided to stay longer for the mesmerizing panorama. While the food was nothing exceptional, we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and climate here.

Photo Via TripCanvas

We ordered their D’Gunungan Chowder and fried noodles which felt very comforting since we were in the chilly highlands. They have an open-kitchen so you get to see them prepare your dish.

Photo Via TripCanvas

The restaurant also features a beautiful pool that overlooks the stunning scenery so that makes it ideal for those visiting with friends or relatives!

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

D’Gunungan at The Taman Dayu

Price range: Rp. 40,000 – Rp. 165,000 (Approximately USD $2.86 – $11.80)
Address: Kawasan The Sagamore Hills – The Taman Dayu, Jl. Raya Surabaya-Malang KM 48, Pandaan, Pasuruan, East Java 67156
Contact: +62 813 3511 7779
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat – Sun & Public Holiday 10am – 10pm


8. A waterfall with romantic tales – Putuk Truno Waterfall

An exotic oasis hidden not too far from the city center – Putuk Truno Waterfall is where you can wash off all your stress and awaken your every senses while on a road trip across East Java.

Relishing water fiercely gushing down from a 45-metre-high cliff is surely a sensational sight, but the beauty is nothing compared to its legendary love story.

Photo Via Fikri.abdulhalim, Jeffricahyono
Photo Via Azkingnorgay, Arekpasuruann

Legend has it that long time ago, two love birds known as Joko Taruno and Sri Gading Lestari had a forbidden love affair due to their status differences. Sri Gading was the daughter of King Arya Wiraraja while Joko Taruno was a mere commoner.

When the king was told about his daughter’s love for Joko Taruna, he kept her away from him and sent her to Coban Baung (a waterfall in Purwodadi), where she was trapped. However, it seemed like nothing could stop the two love birds from seeing each other. The determined Joko Taruna seeked for help from a deity and transformed himself into a snake.

This is how Joko Taruna was able to be reunited with the love of his life at the waterfall. Since then, the waterfall was named Putuk Truno, after Joko Taruna (‘putuk’ meaning ‘snake’ and ‘Truno’ as a short form for Joko Taruna).

Photo Via Vinawijayantibridal, Azkingnorgay

This is why the waterfall is also known among locals as the ‘eternal waterfall’! Locals believe that people who have plunged into the water here will soon find their forever partner. So if you’re on the lookout for true love, you know where to drop by ;)!

Photo Via Mila_collage, Dittaalfianto

Putuk Truno Waterfall

Entrance fee: Rp. 10,000 (Approximately USD $0.72)
Parking fee: Rp. 2,000 (Approximately USD $0.14) for motorbikes and Rp. 5,000 (Approximately USD $0.35)
Address: Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 7am – 4pm

9. Conquer East Java’s third highest mountain – Mount Arjuna

It’s not all about Bromo in East Java – for the locals from Batu, Malang and Prigen, Mount Arjuna is considered as a real guardian!

You need a minimum of two days to be able to make it to the top of Mount Arjuna and we would definitely not recommend this if you’re travelling with kids.

Your adventure will start at Tretes base camp where you will have to walk for seven to eight hours to reach Lembah Kijang – which translates to ‘the valley of the deer’. Along the way, you will have the chance to meet friendly locals and pass through dense jungles filled with exotic fauna and flora.

Once you reach the base camp, you can then start to set up your tent as this is where you’ll be spending the night before the ultimate hike to the top!

Photo Via Naturehunterz, Sholahyazid, Sanvischa

It’s advised to start your hike to the peak as early as 1 am, especially for beginner trekkers. It will take you some good three to four hours of rough hike to reach the summit. Although the journey to the top might be challenging, remember that you’ll be rewarded with the most stunning views!

Photo Via Deennyy739, Labiebwildan
Photo Via Muhammad_zm_akim, Hendrik_jruxz_setiawan

As you finally step on the peak, you will be standing 3339 metres above the sea level. What will welcome you next is a thick sea of cotton clouds dancing around the mountain peak, waiting for the sun to pierce through with its mystical rays. Now, time to sit and relish the magical sunrise views…

Photo Via Anil_t_prabhakar, Deennyy739

Mount Arjuna

Entrance fee: Rp. 20,000 (Approximately USD $1.43)
Address: Gunung Arjuna, Pecalukan Barat, Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java
Recommended tour: Adventure Indonesia

10. Enter a mosque in disguise – Muhammad Cheng Hoo Mosque

We drove past this religious place several times while in East Java and always thought it was nothing but just a usual Buddhist temple until one of our colleagues pointed out that it is in fact a mosque in disguise!

Yes; this mosque in East Java is designed as a temple and features Chinese-style architecture. I personally find it so unique as it shows how diverse Indonesia is and how everyone lives together in harmony.

Photo Via Pasuruanapik, Vee.oey_
Photo Via Delineatta, Kanigyakadiso

In here, you get to feel Indonesia’s iconic slogan “Unity in Diversity”. Indeed, this is a great example on how locals live and respect each others religion and culture.

Photo Via Nurwulanintanmandasari22, Relungfajar

Muhammad Cheng Hoo Mosque

Entrance fee: voluntary
Address: Jl. Raya Kasri No.18, Petung Sari, Petungasri, Kec. Pandaan, Pasuruan, Jawa Timur 67156
Contact: +62 343 637677

11. A local’s scenic hideout – Bukit Watu Tumpeng

Come sit with the locals at their favourite hangout spot as you get to bask in the infinite beauty of Prigen’s night views!

Perched atop a hill, Bukit Watu Tumpeng is perfect for you to unwind after a tiring day of adventure. Not only do you get to be far away from city madness but you can also soothe your senses with the glittering views of the city.

Photo Via Ridwancharizma, Riskaarisintia

There is nothing too extravagant on top of this hill, you’ll only find a quaint (but popular) wooden coffee house serving hot coffee for those in need of comfort due to the chilly weather. The coffee house is well-known among locals as it is known to be one of the best around Prigen. What’s best; they only use Indonesia-made coffee beans!

Photo Via Ranaistiqosa, Ana_manis71
Photo Via Jacquelinemsa, Andinidewishandayani
Photo Via Adhany_f, Izachan7583

Nur Mukhidin, the mastermind behind this popular spot, sources his coffee directly from the coffee farmers from all over Indonesia, hoping this small gesture can introduce authentic coffee to locals as well as appreciate small farmers hard work.

You can support his cause by ordering a cup of Kopi Jancuk (which literally means ‘f*ck coffee’). With beans coming from Aceh, Papua, Flores, Bali and Medan, you might give up on commercial coffee after having tried the ones here!

Bukit Watu Tumpeng

Price range: Rp. 10,000 – Rp. 22,000 (Approximately USD $0.72 – $1.57)
Address: Jl. Bukit Watu Tumpeng, Area Sawah/Kebun,Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +62 812 3029 3788; +62 812 3349 5447
Opening hours: Mon – Sun 9am – 2am


12. Witness history frozen in time – Candi Jawi

Located on the side Prigen Main road is a syncretic Hindu Buddhism temple, Candi Jawi, which has a history dating back to the late 13th century.

Taking photos around this ancient temple is a must, however, don’t forget to find out about the unique history of this temple too!

Photo Via B_rekob, Ithewy

Candi Jawi

Entrance Fee: Free or voluntary donations
Address: Jl. Raya Prigen, Candi Wates, Prigen, Pasuruan, East Java 67157. Coordinates here
Opening hours: 7:30am – 4pm

13. Satisfy your hunger for food and likes – Wapo Resto Taman Dayu

We don’t know about you, but even taking photos makes us hungry. Make a stop at this picturesque restaurant, where the industrial-inspired design will give you a chance to produce more Instagram-worthy pictures. There’s even a carousel just outside the restaurant that’s just begging to be snapped!

Photo Via Ilokatp, Rahmameong12, Eka818181
Photo Via Nik_en_nau, Miratsaniaa

After you’ve satiated your hunger for photos, give your tummy a treat with Wapo Resto Taman Dayu’s generous meal portions, perfect for a famished traveller! The must-tries here are Nasi Goreng Wapo and Sop Kikil.

Photo Via Zahra_hay4ti
Photo Via Ekalistari, Andra.okemedia

Wapo Resto Taman Dayu

Price: Rp 20,000 – Rp 40,000 (approximately USD $1.60 – 3)
Address: Jl. Raya Surabaya-Malang No.28, Karang Jati, Pandaan, Pasuruan, East Java
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm
Contact: +62 343 6743300

Where to stay in Surabaya

(tried and tested by our team!)

If you happen to spend an extra night in Surabaya before or after your trip to Prigen, we know the ideal place to stay!

Ciputra World Surabaya is where we found comfort before heading on our adventure in the chilly highlands. There are a few reasons we stayed here more than once –  not only is it located pretty close to the airport, this apartment complex is also connected to a world-class mall where you can easily find a wide choice of dining and entertainment options!

Since we were traveling in a group, we opted for a three-bedroom apartment and it was extra homey! We thoroughly enjoyed the city views from the expansive living room which features floor-to-ceiling windows.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

Book your Surabaya stay here

Ready for chilly weathers and adventures? Know of any more things to do in Prigen? Let us know below and share this with your friends and family!

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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