The province of East Java sits just a short distance to the west of Bali, across the strait. Most famously known as home to the magnificent Mount Bromo, during the 14th Century, it was home to the Majapahit kingdom, one of the most powerful empires in South East Asian history. Today it’s home to the second largest city in Indonesia, Surabaya, as well as a rich history, breathtaking natural vistas and an exciting mix of culture and tradition.
With our pilot tour to East Java set to take off this July, we wanted to shine a spotlight on a few of the unique places you can explore in two of the vibrant cities it will visit, Surabaya and Malang.
There’s plenty to explore in Surabaya. Start with the sprawling Pasar Atum, aka Atom Market. Built in the 1970’s, Pasar Atum is not like modern malls; There’s no air-conditioning, and parking is a nightmare. But it’s still visited by thousands of people every day, and it’s got a roof-top pool. There’s something unique about the Atom Market, it’s a bustling fusion of the cultural diversity of Surabaya, where you can find just about anything. Most of the shops here have been family-owned and run since the Pasar was built, and it’s also home to some great places that serve delicious local cuisine.
For those looking to delve into a bit of history, the Majapahit Hotel is a must. This colonial-era mansion has maintained its old-world charm and aesthetic. With impeccably manicured lawns and marble bathrooms, it still serves a high tea in the afternoons between 12 and 6.
And for lovers of architecture, there’s Cheng Hoo Mosque. A fascinating building that synthesizes the cultural complexity of Surabaya and its history. It was built to honour the great Chinese explorer, Cheng Hoo, a devout Muslim who visited Java during his exhibitions.
Malang too has its fair share of sights to see.
There’s the cheerful village of Kampung Tridi, filled with murals of public art and off-the-wall places with kitsch décor, it’s a great spot for shutterbugs. There’s also Jodipan Village, a cluster of colourful houses perched on the side of a hill and packed full of funky local art and craft shops.
There are remnants of East Java’s grand history here too, like the Singhasari temple, or Candi Singhasari a 13th-century temple about 10 kilometers north of the city of Malang. The temple is home to two giant dvarapalas, or Guardian statues. These detailed stone monoliths guard the former royal cemeteries in the west of the temple complex.
Our Adventure in East Java gives you plenty of free time in Malang and Surabaya to explore the places we’ve mentioned here, with 5 nights accommodation, and 6 days across the province, as well as heaps of tailored, inclusive experiences. Enjoy a spectacular sunrise tour of Mount Bromo and explore the beauty of the Javanese mountainside in Batu City, picking fresh apples, and a refreshing dip in the cangar hot spring.
If you’re ready to immerse yourself in all the excitement East Java has to offer, check out the full itinerary of our next pilot tours here and book your real Indonesian experience!