We don’t know why it took us so long to travel to Surabaya, East Java. We’ve visited the other capitals of the Java island, some repeatedly, but there is no answer why we haven’t traveled to Surabaya. Aside to the fact that not a lot of people consider it a place worth the time, we also didn’t have a certain purpose to visit it. We’re glad that we eventually did, even though it was one of those ‘we’ll get there first and see what we can do there later’ cases. Surabaya has so many interesting corners to explore, from the old city, the food, and its people, of course. With the help of the Hifatlobrain gang, we were able to enjoy this city to the fullest. How much did we enjoy it? We pretty much agreed that Surabaya is one city we can consider living in aside from Bandung and Ubud. That good?
Surabaya’s Old City
Being one of the oldest port cities in Indonesia, Surabaya has a section where the remains of the colonial days remain standing. Tons of history displayed through many of its buildings. Some are reused and maintained nicely by newer residence. Some, are left abandoned and have aged with style within the old city area. To see more of our trip to this part of town head here.
House of Sampoerna
Sampoerna is one of the biggest cigarette companies in Indonesia with a vision having a museum of their history and beautifully maintained till today. The House of Sampoerna is the museum on their ‘kretek’, which are cigarettes containing cloves, and issaid to be a signature taste from Indonesia. To see our visit to it, drop by here.
The dr. Adhyatma, MPH Health Museumwas where we became crooks and snuck in the museum when it was actually closed. The museum consists of health items in Indonesia, from modern to “alternative”ones that are still used till today. Aren’t you curious to see? We were, and here we are.
Sloki Cafe – Sidewalk DJ
Sloki Cafe is a sidewalk venue with live DJ and cough syrup booze of some sort. It’s a great place to meet the locals that are looking for a good time, as did Lukman Simbah and I when we inaugurated Vira as a lobrainer. Wanna see how much fun Vira had? More of her story here with more of her moves here.
Surabaya parks are where everybody’s at. From kids to elderly, vampire or not, they prefer hanging out at night when the air is chiller. Surprisingly, the parks have Wi-fi connection amongst other things. Have a peak about our short visit to some parks.
Majapahit Hotel is THE hotel to see. It was where Indonesia declared its national flag in 1949 and it is a very beautiful Dutch building to the least. We had a little ‘fun’ there no thanks to our Surabaya friends, but all is for the spice of the trip. Our glimpse here.
‘Tahu tek’ is tofu, rice cakes, bean sprout, and diced cucumber, crackers, bathed with a sauce made of grind peanuts, chili, garlic, and ‘petis’ which hints of Vegemite What am I talking about? Here!
For more and more food in Surabaya, head to our Eat tab.
I also stayed at the old Pavilijoen Hotel, which had a friendly staff (if you are friendly too), made from an old Dutch building and has that old 80s feel to a hotel. It’s also located in the middle of Surabaya.
We stayed at the Andita Family Hotel located in the middle of Surabaya. The hotel can accommodate a nice sleep and shower, especially if you’re on a budget.
Check out our Sleep tab
There are many flight options from Jakarta to Surabaya such as Citilink and Lion Air (what we used for this trip). Ticket prices are about IDR 350,000 / pax one way, depending on various aspects such as time of booking and national holidays.
There are also the option to take the train with tickets around the same price.
We used the public transportation, walked or under the mercy of our friends’ vehicles. What are friends for, right? There’s also the option of taking becaks, eerr…
Tahu Tek Pak H. Ali
I also proved that the myth is true… ‘petis’ tasted like Vegemite Now how did the commonwealth inherit this to the East Javanese? Or was it the other way around? How did it taste like? Here are my notes.
Zangrandi Ice Cream
Well, there isn’t much to say when it comes to ice cream than to try it. Zangrandi parlor is one of the few old ice cream venue in Indonesia. While in Surabaya, why not have some desert? Where can you find it? Head here.
Vira loves her meat. I haven’t been as big of a fan as she is considering I still had my braces on not too long ago and it has helped me avoid meat just because it was too much of a hassle to pick the ones stuck to the wire. I was, however, also tempted to try the ‘iga bakar penyet’ or squished grilled ribs that Café Garden offered. It was another recommended venue from Lukman Simbah and it was a good one.
The ribs were grilled just right with some crispiness to it. The meat was tender and you can taste the marinated sauce within the meat. The chili paste? Oh the chili paste! The sensation was a lip smacking one, as in like someone had really smacked me on the lips. It was a good burn! Hahaha… .
This venue had a lot on the menu. Their beverages were as good. The Es Campur (ice mixed with basically jelly and other additions like fruit) and Es Kopyor (ice with coconut and syrup) were pretty good. The meal overall was a tummy rub of goodness.
Palupi Fried Duck
Apparently, Surabaya is known for its duck dishes. I’m too sure why but I don’t think we need a reason to like a duck dish. There are many venues that serve duck in Surabaya. Fried duck at Palupi is LukmanSimbah’s interpretation of a good duck dish. Can you hear us disagree?
Nope. We agree. It was good! It was a basic fried duck with choice of tempehor tofu of your likings. The duck was crispy, tasty, and cooked right (it didn’t have that off odor that comes form a wrongly cooked duck). The chili paste was friendly for me (I can hear Vira ‘hosh’ing beside me) and it was an affordable dish. The venue? A local resto where we felt like we were like everybody else.
A portion of duck with rice costs about IDR 15,000.
Palupi Fried Duck
Sate Klopo Pak Mat Djami’i
Ayos, of Hifatlobrain, took me to one of his favorite ‘Sate Klopo’ which was Pak Mat Djami’i. Surabaya has a distinct satay of itself which is served with shredded coconuts in the sauce which enriches the overall taste of the dish. You can add a few slices of chilli according to your likings. This satay overall was yummy. I could hint a richer taste because of the coconut but I failed to really get the kick out of it.
The best part of course was the fact that it was street food. I was literally sitting on a mat on the sidewalk with the traffic passing by me.
Sate Klopo Pak Mat Djami’i
We stayed at the Pavilijoen Hotel located in the middle of Surabaya. The hotel can accommodate a nice sleep and shower, especially if you’re on a budget. This hotel is pretty old. Some of the old room still had that 70-80s feel to it from the bed, furniture, and bathroom. However, the main building itself seems to be from the colonial days. It looks like the hotel was part of the ‘old city’ of Surabaya.
I spent about IDR 260,000 / two nights in their cheapest room. Considering the location, this hotel is a good deal. It’s located near the Genteng Market or Pasar Genteng where you can find a lot of local food to munch on.
The chicken and duck eatery just outside of the hotel tasted good too.
Hotel Andita (Family Hotel)
We found this hotel in a printed media to which I can not recall. It’s an OK hotel located not far from the city center (and by center we mean near the town hall, the biggest mall within the province, and ice cream parlor). It only took us a ride on the public transportation. The hotel is a 3 story building. It has a relatively small room, with a inclusive bathroom. Aside the fact that I can sleep almost anywhere, the bed at Anita Hotel was a bit worn but still fairly good. I have to say, it was one of my most luxurious stay because I’ve never slept in Dior sheets .
Since it is a family hotel, there are a few rules that abide its occupancy. Sorry smokers, you can’t lie in bed and smoke think what you should eat in this strange country. But the middle of the hotel is open so you just need to step out of your room for a smoke. Couples, you’re gonna have to be married. Documentation of your marital status might be asked upon check in. I think this applies to foreigners but I’m not sure. So, this might not be the hotel for everyone, but it was very decent and located in a great part of the city.
Oh, and stairs.
Getting There & Around
There a many optional flights from Jakarta to Surabaya such as Citilink and Lion Air (what we used for this trip). Ticket prices area about IDR 350,000 / pax one way depending on various aspects such of time of booking and national holidays.
There are also the option of taking trains from economy to executive class. Night trains are available as are day trains. Train or plane, it’s a matter of choice because executive train tickets cost around the same as plane tickets.
We used the public transportation or walked or under the mercy of our friends vehicles. What are friends for?
But then again you can use the becaks that are dispersively distributed around town.