Wandering about the streets of Malang unassumingly, many tourists will be pleasantly surprised by the sudden bursts of bright colors in the most unlikely neighborhood of Jodipan, the amazing rainbow village of Java, Indonesia.
The humble origin
Just a year ago, this riverside village was a slum area on the verge of eviction. The local government had decided that the living conditions of this village were atrocious enough to call for total relocation of residents. That’s when a group of students from Muhammadiyah University of Malang resolved that perhaps a little splashy color may just change everything—and it did.
After forming a partnership with a local paint distributor that agreed to support the project, the group gathered about 30 painters and local artists to do the magic.
For years, Jodipan has been a somewhat uncomfortable everyday sight seen while passing by the busy Brantas Bridge. The vital location made this village a strategic move for promoting creative initiatives that are pertinent in developing countries like Indonesia to resolve real issues like poverty, housing, and quality of life.
Upon the total makeover, every corner of the village got a new, vibrant touch. Every house, every dingy alley, every wall.
Divided by the Brantas River, there are basically two areas.
Beyond painted walls, the sky is also “colored” with bright umbrellas that will not only protect you from the tropical heat but will also please the eyes.
Immersing yourself in the gleeful atmosphere of the flashy village will be as easy as walking around and observing your surroundings.
And if you think this is just a flashy village with bright paint, wait until you see traditional figures like the Javanese wayang showcased alongside present-day characters like a cartoon Minion.
The rise of tourism in this village has also spurred local economy. More people can make ends meet by selling goods and foods to tourists.
The unbelievably cheap entrance fee (about $0.5) even includes a locally made souvenir, such as a key chain or other handmade good.
Fully embracing this visual era we’re living in, Jodipan transforms previously stern corners into beautiful backdrops for gorgeous pictures.
Visual gems keep showing up in the most unassuming and unpretentious spots, like the walls of a typical home.
The two villages’ areas are connected by an equally dashing yellow bridge with a glass floor.
From this bridge, tourists can enjoy the view of both sides of the village and cross from one to the other.
Obviously enough, it’s also one of the most popular selfie spots.
One side of the village, also known as Kampung Tridi, specializes in epic 3-D paintings.
Creative tourism in Indonesia
Mesmerizing as it is, Jodipan isn’t the only colorful village in Indonesia. Over the past year, the country has seen the rise in tourism. Likewise, the “color effect” can be seen in more than 10 (and counting!) villages across the archipelago.
More than just an eye candy or a bunch of stunning selfie spots packed together, these villages demonstrate the nation’s value of togetherness in diversity. Jodipan, among others, was built with the help and support from the local community and authorities.
This seemingly trivial physical change painted a sense of hope and optimism to the whole village as the environment changed and economy grew.
So when you have the opportunity to visit one of these awe-inspiring villages, take time to interact with locals and help the local economy by purchasing from their little businesses.