Dream and Dine - - Story Of Surabaya -

Surabaya is a bustling metropoli­tan that's full of life and ac­tiv­i­ties. Traf­fic jams are com­mon­place, and some even con­sider it not so far be­hind the in­fa­mous cap­i­tal city of Jakarta in terms of traf­fic. Com­pared to the tran­quil set­ting of East Java, Surabaya is a very lively place to visit.

Look­ing be­yond the typ­i­cal big city sit­u­a­tion, you will find that Surabaya has its own hid­den points of in­ter­est that might just be worth your while. Its his­toric Arab quar­ter is fas­ci­nat­ing: a labyrinth of in­ter­twin­ing lanes lead­ing to a his­toric mosque that's a place of pil­grim­age. Surabaya also has one of In­done­sia's big­gest Chi­na­towns and a ros­ter of im­pres­sive, though dis­in­te­grat­ing, Dutch build­ings.

For most for­eign vis­i­tors, the city is merely a place to change planes, trains or buses. For locals, how­ever, Surabaya is closely linked to the birth of the In­done­sian na­tion, as it was here that the bat­tle for in­de­pen­dence be­gan. To them, Surabaya is Kota Pahlawan (City of Heroes), and stat­ues com­mem­o­rat­ing in­de­pen­dence are scat­tered all over the city.

Sights & Ac­tiv­i­ties

In ad­di­tion to the elab­o­rate Arab quar­ter and im­pres­sively sprawl­ing Chi­na­town, Surabaya has a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal ar­eas. The House of Sam­po­erna is un­doubt­edly the city's best-pre­sented at­trac­tion in the form of fac­tory and mu­seum. Home to one of In­done­sia's big­gest cig­a­rette man­u­fac­tur­ers, the mu­seum is a shrine to the Sam­po­erna em­pire that holds an in­cred­i­ble col­lec­tion of cig­a­rette lighters, hold­ers and cases from Europe, Ming dy­nasty china and a vin­tage Hei­del­berg print­ing press.

Surabaya is a city with loads of history, and even though much of Surabaya's his­tor­i­cal cen­tre is lit­er­ally fall­ing to pieces, the old city area with its crumbling Dutch architecture, strong Chi­nese in­flu­ences and Arab quar­ter, makes for a very charm­ing sight rem­i­nis­cent of the days of yore. A good place to start ex­plor­ing the old city is Jem­batan Merah, the so-called Red Bridge that saw fierce fight­ing dur­ing In­done­sia's bat­tle for in­de­pen­dence. The en­tire length of Jem­batan Merah road, run­ning south of the bus ter­mi­nal along the canal, is a grungy replica of Am­s­ter­dam. Al­though un­for­tu­nately not well taken care off, there are plenty of ex­am­ples of Dutch architecture to be seen along the road.

Why not make your visit a worth­while culinary jour­ney? With all the life and ac­tiv­ity, Surabaya is teem­ing with unique and de­li­cious eater­ies from lo­cal del­i­ca­cies to in­ter­na­tional sig­na­tures. An ex­am­ple would be Soto Am­ben­gan Pak Sadi Asli, which is set in the orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion of a chain of soto ayam (chicken soup) eater­ies with sev­eral branches across Surabaya. If you pre­fer in­ter­na­tional fare, visit Casa Fontana, one of the best Ital­ian eater­ies in town, serv­ing up grilled meats, seafood, pasta and pizza in an in­ti­mate sur­round­ing of can­dlelit ging­ham table­cloths and dap­per set­ting.

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