Batu is a pleasantly cool and verdant hill station on the slopes of Mount Welirang (Gunung Welirang) in East Java. Batu, Selecta and the surrounding villages are a charming area worth a couple of days to explore, and more importantly to relax.
Batu is a very common Indonesian place-name element - Batu Gajah, Batu Ampar, etc. Sometimes these get informally shortened to “Batu”, but this place is Batu full stop. The word means “rock” or “boulder”, and is often applied to landing places, but in this instance it may indicate a royal retreat in a pleasant upland climate. In ancient times only the ruling elite could take themselves away in that fashion, with their grand entourages. Early modern times and the Dutch colonial period saw the growth of a mercantile class glad to escape from sweltering Surabaya, and Batu expanded as a hill station. The nearby town of Selecta was constructed as a purpose-built hill resort in 1928 on the slopes of Mount Arjuna (Gunung Arjuna), and city-dwellers acquired weekend houses here. The area had reached a population of 190,000 by 2010. The climate also suits the growing of apples and orchids.
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