Beyond Mt Bromo: Day trips to take out of Surabaya

While the hype over the active volcano’s scenery is real, Indonesia’s second-largest city is a gateway to so many other stunning sights in East Java.

Underwater Gili Labak Island
  • Cheong Kamei
  • February 2020

From an enchanting waterfall to a rainbow-hued village, here are some of the most beautiful attractions beyond the city limits of Surabaya.

Madura Island

Arosbaya Hill
Arosbaya Hill is a working stone quarry, so don’t be surprised to see local miners carving away blocks of limestone during your visit.

Despite being easily accessible from Surabaya via Suramadu Bridge, Indonesia’s longest, the island of Madura remains off the beaten track. Must-visits include Arosbaya Hill — with dramatic limestone formations that look right out of an Indiana Jones movie, it’s no surprise this attraction has become more popular among young travellers seeking shots for the ’gram.

Madura has its fair share of beautiful beaches like Rongkang Beach in Bangkalan and the popular Lombang Beach but Gili Labak Island is for those who want to get off the grid. You won’t find hotels or tourist shops on the island barring a few stalls selling fresh coconuts and grilled fish — just you, powdery white beaches, crystal clear waters and coral reefs teeming with fish.

READ MORE: 7 surprising facts about Surabaya

Kampung Warna-Warni Jodipan, Malang

Kampung Warna Warni Jodipan
The village’s experiment was so successful that it inspired several similar projects throughout Indonesia, including the neighbouring Kampung Tridi.

Most travellers will pass through Malang on their way to Mt Bromo but the city’s famous multicoloured village is worth a trip on its own. The once-polluted slum was given a major makeover when students who were inspired by the favelas of Rio came up with the idea to revitalise the local community by transforming it into a massive work of art. The project hasn’t only resulted in tourist dollars, but also instilled pride in the residents to keep their surroundings clean and beautiful.

Madakaripura Waterfall

Madakaripura Waterfall
The waterfall is believed to be the final meditation place of Gajah Mada, the military leader of the Javanese kingdom of Majapahit.

After a three-hour drive from Surabaya and a 20-minute trek across rivers to reach the foothills of the Tengger mountain range, you’ll catch a glimpse of the second-highest waterfall in the country. Walk through the water curtain to hike to the jaw-dropping sight of water flowing down the high walls of a tube-like amphitheatre into a turquoise-coloured rock pool.

Meru Betiri National Park

Turtle on Sukamade Beach
Green turtles and olive ridleys are the most common types of turtles found on Sukamade beach.

Brave the six-hour drive from Surabaya and be rewarded with unspoilt nature rich with wildlife. One of the most memorable experiences you can have is at Sukamade Beach where you can witness endangered turtles swimming up to the beach to lay eggs.