Thursday, December 01, 2011

BROMO Trip and a glance of Surabaya City (English Version)

Sitting in the balcony of my bording house, boring about this weekend and I remembered my trip with my colleagues back to almost end of July 2010 (about 23rd to 25th) that we had decided to visit one of the active famous volcano mountains in Indonesia located in East Java called Gunung Bromo (Bromo) (near by Pasuruan City and Probolinggo City) with additional culinary track in Surabaya City (Surabaya).
We left Jakarta to Surabaya by plane on Friday morning and had to return to Jakarta on Sunday evening.
For this trip I got help from my high school friend who runs his own travel agent business. So she helped me to rent her Elf unit (SUV for 12 passengers including the driver) as our ride from Surabaya to Bromo Villages with friendly rates included driver and fuel but excluded driver’s tips and driver’s meals (less than Rp 1million with no Pasir Putih Beach track). 
A couple days before the D day , the Elf’s driver called me and offered to make an advance booking for HardTop (jeep which took us from Bromo Villages to Bromo Crater and Penanjakan – mountains above Bromo Crater). Considering that the D day to Bromo is a weekend and Bromo would be crowded with thousands of tourists and the rates offered was standard, about Rp 300.000,- per car (for 6 passengers including the driver), so we decided to say “YES” and booked in advance for 2 HardTop. Well you could also use the same hardtop to visit other attractions around Bromo with additional charge Rp 50.000,- per additional destination.

We also booked an APV (SUV for 8 passengers including the driver) for culinary track in Surabaya from our friend Elly (less than Rp 500.000,- per day included driver and fuel (excluded driver’s tips). The rented car made our trip in Surabaya easier and more efficient than using taxis, moreover I’m not recommended to use public transportation, like angkot for those who do not know Surabaya directions.

In this trip we also decided to respectively put deposit for a petty cash for groups’ expenses, such as for meals, highway fees, parking, etc. it would be easier to calculate the expenses and more effective especially for meals expenses which were paid after the bills settled.
For hotel accommodation, we chose a budget home stay located in Ngagel Jaya Barat Street (about Rp 150.000,- per day for two persons included simple breakfast) with private bathroom and air conditioner. Even the condition of the home stay is very average, the location of the home stay is strategic, in the heart of Surabaya which made us easier to go anywhere for our culinary tracks.

We waited for less than an hour until all participants were complete then walked into Terminal 1-B Soekarno Hatta International Airport (Soetta), checked in, then waited for boarding call. Well, some of us waited inside an Executive Lounge coz our platinum card was not enough to cover all of us in that lounge. Meanwhile, the others went straight to the boarding waiting room and had their own fun time with cameras hahahaha and I was afraid we disturbed others around us hehehe. About an hour after, we had landed in Juanda International Airport (Juanda) and…em…still photo sessions continued, kind of tacky, but who cares, right?! Hehehe. 
Not too long of wait, the APV came and took us to our first destination. What is it? Lunch, of course! And, the chosen one was Nasi Udang Bu Rudy in Dharmahusada Street with their signature dish – Nasi Udang (steamed rice with fried shrimp and other side dishes and of course the legendary sambal bawang/onion chilly) and other Javanese menus. Unfortunately, the driver who was supposed to be our driver in Surabaya was absent and substituted by the driver who was not familiar enough with Surabaya’s direction. Well, I had to force my memories when I lived in Surabaya for eight months four years ago. One funny thing happened when we ordered our lunch in Nasi Udang Bu Rudy. My colleague who is a Jakarta native was ordering Pecel Ayam which is in Jakarta a fried chicken, steamed rice, fresh vegetables and sambal, meanwhile in East Java, Pecel Lele also means Pecel (mixed steamed vegetables with peanut sauce), steamed rice and a fried chicken. She was confused and thought that the waitress got her order wrong. It’s a little bit hillarious when we knew that she didn’t like Pecel hahahaha. Before the main course served, we tried their famous appetizer, tahu pong petis (fried tofu with hole inside with shrimp paste) and bakwan jagung (fried corn patty) with fresh green java chili. Bakwan jagung in East Java is different from bakwan jagung in Yogyakarta or Jakarta. Instead of using many flour patty with a bit of chopped corn, bakwan jagung in East Java is using corn paste made from fresh corn. Please mind when you order beverage here because there are two size of glasses, the large one is a glass with about 20 cm tall and the other is about 8 cm diameter. 

After we settled the bill, we continued to my colleague’s uncle house for couple-of—hour refreshment before going to the meeting point for the Elf’s driver who would took us to Bromo. Yes, we did not book any room today because we arrived in Surabaya in the afternoon and continued our trip in the evening to Bromo. So, it was just a waste of money to rent a room for today.

It took a while to find the uncle’s house because the driver didn’t know the street direction, moreover, I had never been there and people gave us different direction. We were completely lost searching for the complex until the uncle came by and lead us to his house. Arrived in uncle’s house, he gave us plenty of cold drinks for our choices, and already made a refreshment space for us in his house on the second floor. After we were done refreshing, we decided to go for a dinner and then directly went to the meeting point for the Elf’s driver. So we gave our thanks and bid our farewell to the uncle and he gave us many breads for snacks on the way to Bromo, what a lovely host.

On the way to dinner place which is Nasi Pecel Bu Kris in Bratang Street, we stopped by in IGOR Bakery & Pastry to buy some puddings and had them delivered to the uncle’s house for a bit return of his and wife’s nice hospitality. IGOR has been my favorite bakery since my past time living in Surabaya, my high recommendation to try the pastry and bakery here. 

Meanwhile in Bu Kus we ordered their signature dish which is nasi pecel (steamed rice and mixed steamed vegetables with peanut sauce and peanut chips) and some side dish like ayam goreng (fried chicken with no flour). Done with our dinner, we had to go to the meeting point in Mc Donald’s in front of Tunjungan Plaza (one of the mall icon in Surabaya). About the time that we agreed to meet, the driver and the elf showed up and made us still waiting inside Mc Donald’s restaurant because it was too early to go to Bromo, so we had to wait for another hour before we could start our journey to Bromo at 10 pm.

It took about 5 hours to reach the Bromo Village and was still quite early (about 3 am) for us to go to Penanjakan area (the highest area in Bromo Mountains Complex. So, we parked the Elf in the yard of Bromo Complex Chief’s house and used their bathroom for free. The weather was so chilly, I guessed below 15° Celsius and that’s quite an extreme weather for us who live in Jakarta with average weather is about 30° Celcius. 
Not waiting for too long, our booked HardTops arrived and ready to carry us to our first destination to Penanjakan. The road to Penanjakan was very smooth with many twisting road and took about 30 to 45 minutes to reach parking lot in Penanjakan area and we had to continue by walking in ascended path. On the way to the top of Penanjakan area, we made time to stop by in the Chief’s cafĂ©, bought some snacks and hot tea before continuing to the sunrise viewing area. 
When we arrived in that area, it was crowded already with hundreds of tourist (domestic and foreigners). It was dark with many camera blitz and yes it was difficult to find a good spot with chairs but lucky us, we found one. 
Just before sunrise, the foggy slipped away and made the sunrise clear beautiful as it could be. When the sun was coming up, it was getting not so crowded anymore, so we could take some pictures nicely. The picture with Bromo Crater and other mountain like Gunung Batok, etc in background is very famous and became an icon picture in Bromo Complex. That was my 3rd trip to Bromo and 2nd time to Penanjakan and still memorized by the sunrise and the view from Penanjakan to Bromo Crater. Never had enough to take pictures in Penanjakan Sunrise viewing area, we had to go to Bromo Carter or the sunshine would be getting hot and Penanjakan was almost empty. So we continued to next destination which was Bromo Crater. 

Contrary to the road to Penanjakan, the road to Bromo Crater (from Bromo Village) was very horrible, dirt twisting road not on asphalt combined with full of rocks and many holes. Felt so pity to local government who doesn’t have any concern about this while Bromo Crater is one of important tourist attractions in East Java, both for domestic and foreigner tourists. The road condition made travel time became longer and uncomfortable. For us, who rode HardTop 1, the trip to bromo Crater was getting worse because of its machine got often stop having problems.  Thank God, the drivers knew his ride well enough, so it didn’t slow us down much. When we passed the sea of sand, we made a time to stop and took another beautiful sea of sand picture with Penanjakan Cliff in background. Some of my friends thought that my picture was taken in Europe hahaha. 
What about HardTop 2? Well HardTop 2 was way behind us because one of my colleague was pregnant and she just knew it a day before flight to Surabaya hehehe, so the HardTop 2 had to go very slow especially when the road became rocky and holy (about 8 months later, we were welcoming Baby boy G born healthy and cute). At last HardTop 2 reached meeting point (Crater parking lot) about a couple of hundred meters from crater stair.

We had to walk through sea of sands or riding a horse (for about Rp 30.000,-) and some mound to reach crater stair which brought us to top of the crater (there’s almost 300 ladder-steps). 
While six of us decided to go to top of the crater, I, who have been to the top of the crater decided to stay at HardTop accompanied by my pregnant friend. Please do not panic when you get lost in crowded tourists, as there’s some kind like podium where you can ask the officer there to call your friends who are lost or who have been searched for by a huge loud speaker so people around parking lot and nearby can hear the announcement. Well, actually one of my friend who got separated from the group on the way back to parking lot used that service, hahaha kind a little bit embarrassing me, because the officer screamed my name and my company to pick up my friend, so people around who heard it would know my name and where I work. 

On the way back to chief’s house, what we were afraid of became reality. The HardTop 1 suddenly stopped and could not be restarted. The driver tried hard to start the engine, but the engine was still not on it. Lucky us that the HardTop 2 stopped by and helped trying to fix the machine, but it did stand still unfortunately. So, we (8 persons plus the driver) had to ride one HardTop back to chief’s house and yes it was a cramped car.
Arrived in chief’s house safe and sound hahaha, we gave HardTop 2’s driver an additional tip for his generosity. Again we used chief’s bathroom for a quick refreshment (well if you want to use chief’s house facility for free of charge, you have to order some breakfast/snacks to Chief’s wife hehehe) before we went back to Surabaya.

The Elf was quite quiet on the way back to Surabaya. We were fallen asleep until reaching Surabaya. It took about same duration and the driver drove us directly to guest house which booked already from Jakarta in Ngagel Jaya Barat Street. it was perfect because we checked in smoothly and the APV already stand by in front of guest house with the exactly driver who truly expert for Surabaya Direction hahaha. It took about 3 hours for refreshment and we continued our culinary adventure in Surabaya.

First stop was Ayam Penyet Bu Kris in Kayoon/Kayun Street. Ayam penyet means fried chicken and served with sambal balacan. This restaurant is a family business and has become a famous restaurant in Surabaya (one of culinary icon), Malang and Jakarta. Please mind about level of sambal balacan: not hot, medium hot, hot, very hot, mad hot hahaha (for me, I always order my sambal in mad hot level). They are served with many dishes in their menu like rawon (beef stewed with black seed), empal (traditional fried beef), bakso goreng (fried meat ball), udang (fried baby shrimp), etc and of course, ayam (fried chicken) as their signature dish. Don’t worry about confusing order because they also offer you a package (a small quarter ayam with a little bit of empal, bakso, telor (boiled egg or omelet) and fresh vegetables), so you can taste most of fried dishes. In the end of our culinary adventure in Surabaya, we agreed to put Bu Kris in the top of the best culinary in Surabaya so far hehehe. 

Moved from Bu Kris, we proceeded to Ice cream Zangrandi in Yos Sudarso street for a dessert, surely. This ice cream shop has already been open since I could remember. Well, actually this shop was built way before I was born. This ice cream is also one of culinary icon in Surabaya for Ice Cream, the ice cream are homemade and has their unique signatures. My favorite always Macedonia with a giant single scoop of ice cream (I always order for Rum raisin) and a shot of liquor (rum), it was so refreshing in the middle of hot weather in Surabaya (about 30° Celsius). Didn’t want that night over so soon, we decided to go to Pakuwon supermall and Surabaya Town Square. Wee, Pakuwon Supermall is just an average mall for our opinion and Surabaya Town Square (Sutos by locals) is just too crowded than Cilandak Town Square (Citos) in South Jakarta.

Woke up, packed our bag and walked about less than 100 meter to our breakfast tent which serves Soto Ayam Lamongan (chicken stew in turmeric soup ala Lamongan/name of city is East Java). Located in hook of intersection between Ngagel Jaya Barat Street and Ngagel Jaya Utara Street, it was very cheap but still yummy.
After out, we moved to our first destination which is Pasar Atom (one of the oldest malls survived in Surabaya and still be one of Surabaya Icons). Pasar Atom located in north of Surabaya and you will find anything inside the mall. For me, Pasar Atom has one of the largest culinary place in Surabaya with various menu offered by many chefs, start from pastry, snacks, beverage to main course beside hundreds boutiques and shops surround. One of my favorite snacks in Pasar Atom is Cakwe Udang (Chinese fried cake with shrimp patty in it) and please eat while it warm with sweet hot spicy dipping sauce.

Moved from Pasar Atom, the APV’s driver drove us to Pasar Genteng which is one of the largest gift (snacks or packaging dishes) complex in Surabaya. The complex is full with many gift shops and located in opposite of Traditional Market, called Pasar Genteng. You can choose one of the shops and start to shop for various snacks or any kind of packaging dishes. 

Our culinary adventure continued to Walikota Mustajab Street to a restaurant, called Sate Klopo (beef satay with coconut spice). Sate Klopo in Walikota Mustajab Street is one of the famous culinary in Surabaya and well known by locals. I’m not the big fans of beef meat, so I don’t really like this dish because the beef is a little bit chewy for me and limited side dish for this dish. 

Our culinary adventure ended in Sate Klopo but before we moved to Juanda, we tried to see and pass through the newest Surabaya icon which is Suramadu Highway Bridge (Suramadu means Surabaya Madura). The bridge is a highway connecting Surabaya City (Java Island) to Madura Island (still in the same province – East Java) and the longest bridges in Indonesia. You had to pay Rp 30.000,- one way trip for highway fee per car and took about 15 minutes to reach the opposite gate. It was difficult to take a picture there, because there’s no rest area or viewing spot that we could stop our car.

Well, time showed that we had to go to Juanda and flight back to Jakarta. It was a short adventure yet fun as it could be.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to try these Surabaya’s culinary:
-     Pecel Pincuk, located in front of BONET Supermarket in the morning.
-     Rawon, located in Pasar Pucang area, opening start at 09.00 pm.
-     Nasi Empal Pengampon, located in Pengampon 1B Street in the morning (some of the menu is non kosher).
-     Es Degan Leci (sliced of young coconuts with lychee), located in Pegasus Workshop in Ngagel Jaya Street 
     (in the hook of intersection Ngagel Jaya Street with Ngagel Jaya Utara Street) in the evening.
-     MOI Restaurant, located besides BONET Supermarket serves Hakka Chinese food – non kosher.
-     Mie Makassar / Mie UP (Ujung Pandang) beside Kebon Bibit Area in  Ngagel Jaya Selatan Street in Pink Tent and only open in the evening.
-     Pecel Keputran, located in Pasar Keputran area and only opens in the evening.
-     Bakmie Gili, located in Kertajaya street, and many more.                                                                       
-     Sate Babi (pork satay), located in Dharmawangsa Street in a tent nearby intersection with Kertajaya street and only opens in evening.

Special thanks to Resviana for my English translation review


  1. Bromo Tanjung Pondok Tani
    Dalam rangka memperkenalkan “Tengger-Bromo" dari segala aspek, menginap di pondok tani tanjung-tosari, ^*DI HARI KERJA CUKUP MAMBAYAR DNG SUKARELA (TANPA TARIF)*^
    * rute: pasuruan-warungdowo-ranggeh-pasrepan-puspo-tanjung KM 99.(Tanjung Pondok Tani) -> (Baledono-Tosari)
    @.kamar los + 2 km mandi luar, dapur, teras serba guna, kapst: 8 s/d 16 orang. Rp.250.000,-/malam.
    @.kamar utama + km mandi dalam + perapian, kapst: 4 s/d 6 orang. Rp.150.000,- /malam.
    @ fasilitas:.dapur,. kulkas,. ruang makan,. teras serba guna (4 x 12 m),. halaman api unggun,. tempat parkir unt 6 mobil,. kebun sayur.
    # hub per sms/tlp: *081249244733-085608326673 (Elie)*-* 081553258296-081385458993 (Dudick).
    # Informasi di Facebook dengan nama : Bromo Tanjung Pondok Pertanian

  2. What a good blog you have here. Please update it more often. This topics is my interest.
    rent car and driver jakarta | car rental services for jakarta airport