Java, Surabaya

My Thai bank cards were useless outside of Thailand so we’d booked a flight via an agent on Gili Air from Lombok to Java with Lion Air for 1.2 million Rupiah (plus 15% agent commission). The ride to the airport took under an hour and by early afternoon we’d landed in a very wet and very traffic clogged Surabaya.

There was little else to do for the rest of the day but edit photos and crack on with the trip report; our hotel, and it seemed the entire city, was dry so I couldn’t even grab a cold one. The incessant wail of the muezzin from what sounded like every second building in the city at 5pm was enough to wake the dead – luckily the rooms were sound proofed!

Surabaya doesn’t really have anything to offer the traveller aside from being a stopover point for trips to Mount Bromo. Our only day there was spent booking the rail ticket, which took half of it, and walking around the Tunjungan Plaza for some rest bite in the a/c and a kebab at the food court. We also discovered it has some interesting wall art, a roof top half-pipe and a submarine.

Booking a train ticket in Indonesia is easy; you can do it online – providing you have an Indonesian credit card, so off to the central Gubeng station it was for us then. The first logical place to ask was the ticket counter where I was told I needed to fill in a form at another counter with my travel itinerary and passenger details, and take another numbered ticket for the queue to buy the ticket. Feeling like that guy at the end of the Beetle Juice movie with number 236 while 71 was currently being served, I settled in for the wait. Finally I was called to counter three and told I needed to go to counter one, “no need for queue ticket”, with our passports … this would not have looked out of place in a Monty Python skit. Eventually we had four seats on a train to Probolinggo, the closest town to the Bromo Tengger National Park, for 360k ($33 USD).

We all wanted out of Surabaya and looked forward to what would be the highlight of the trip …