Celebrate Indonesia - - SURABAYA -


7°15’55’S 112°44’33’E






(+62) 31 With a large nat­u­ral har­bour, Surabaya was one of the ear­li­est port cities in South­east Asia and ri­valled both Shang­hai and Hong Kong through the 18TH and 19TH cen­turies in terms of global im­por­tance. It was the largest city in the Dutch East Indies un­til sur­passed by Batavia in 1920, as well as be­ing the cen­tre of much of its trade from the Spice Is­lands and the plan­ta­tions of Java. Its lo­ca­tion at the edge of the Straits of Madura also made it a port of sig­nif­i­cant strate­gic mil­i­tary value and it was home to the Dutch East Indies fleet.

To­day, af­ter a long and of­ten vi­o­lent pre and post-colo­nial history, Surabaya is the cap­i­tal of the In­done­sian province of East Java and is a vi­brant me­trop­o­lis with mod­ern sky­scrapers tow­er­ing over both tra­di­tional and mod­ern Ja­vanese homes, canals and a se­lec­tion of colo­nial build­ings, some like the Ho­tel Ma­japahit in the cen­tre of Surabaya be­ing clas­sic legacy build­ings. Like most port cities, Surabaya has a thriv­ing Chi­na­town and Arab Quar­ter that ex­panded as the traders, sailors and mi­grant work­ers set­tled and added their own flavour to the city. To­day it re­mains a melt­ing-pot of cul­tures, styles and cuisines. The dining and nightlife in the city is a re­flec­tion of city’s peo­ple and, with a large Mus­lim ma­jor­ity, nat­u­rally there are huge numbers of ha­lal cafés and res­tau­rants serv­ing both lo­cal and Ara­bic food. There is also a plethora of in­ter­na­tional op­tions, with some out­stand­ing Ital­ian, In­dian and Can­tonese res­tau­rants in par­tic­u­lar.

Surabaya is full of com­mem­o­ra­tive stat­ues and in­ter­est­ing ref­er­ences to the In­done­sian bat­tle for in­de­pen­dence. The city is of­ten re­ferred as Kota Pahlawan, or the city of he­roes, a spe­cific ref­er­ence to the role of the Bat­tle of Surabaya which, although the In­done­sian side were heav­ily beaten, acted as a cat­a­lyst and gal­va­nized sup­port for the in­de­pen­dence move­ment both at home and abroad; a piv­otal mo­ment in the wider strug­gle. For the more ad­ven­tur­ous traveller Surabaya is also the gate­way to the Bromo Teng­ger Se­meru Na­tional Park, Java’s most recog­nis­able and beau­ti­ful vista and home to the Teng­gerese, who claim to be the di­rect descen­dants of the Ma­japahit princes. The pop­u­la­tion of roughly 100,000 is found in just 30 vil­lages in the iso­lated higher reaches of the park, where they prac­tice a unique mix of Hin­duism in­fused with An­imism and Bud­dhism.

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