Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific  oceans. It consists of over 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea. Indonesia is the world’s largest island country and the 14th-largest country by land area, at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 sq miles). The island nation is home to 167 volcanoes, far more than any countries and have some of the largest remaining tracts of tropical forest in the world. With more than 270 million people, Indonesia is the world’s 4th most populous country and the most populous Muslim- majority country. Java, the world’s most populous island, is home to more than half of the country’s population. It has 34 provinces. The country’s capital, Jakarta, is the world’s 2nd most populous urban area. The country shares land borders with Papua New GuineaEast Timor, and Malaysia. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity.


I took my family of 4 for short vacation at Surabaya in 2015, Surabaya is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Java and the second-largest city in Indonesia. Located on the northeastern border of Java island, on the Madura Strait, it is one of the earliest port cities in Southeast Asia. The city has a population of 2.87 million. 

Mount Penanjakan

Waiting for sunrise at Mount Penanjakan

We book an organized jeep tour, including stops at the viewpoint of Mount Penanjakan (2,770 m or 9,088 ft) for the sunrise view. I set my phone’s alarm at 3 am that day. The place is super cool in the morning. I went directly to the bathroom only to learn that the water was like ice water. We get ready prepared for the jeep ride hike to Mount Penanjakan, the most popular viewpoint to see sunrise at the entire Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. At 3.30, a red jeep parked in front of the lodge to pick up four of us heading to Mount Penanjakan. The sights on Mount Penanjakan can also be reached on foot in about two hours. About half an hour after going through dark steep uphill road, we finally arrived at a car park on the slope of Mount Penanjakan.

Once we reach Mount Penanjakan, the sun just started to rise but the weather is super cold. You have to tuck both hands inside your pockets or wear gloves. There are many people on the mountain top, all waiting to catch a glimpse of sunrise. Also many shops selling T- shirts, gloves, caps and souvenirs as well as food.

Bromo Volcano

Bromo volcano spectacular view at sunset
Click for real effect, this Bromo volcano is still alive, blowing out steam 24/7
There are about 250 stairs leading to the top of Bromo volcano

Our second itinerary was Bromo volcano (8km from Mount Penanjakan) is an active somma volcano and part of the Tengger mountains, in East JavaIndonesia. At 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but the most famous. The area is one of the most visited tourist destinations in East Java, and the volcano is included in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name Bromo comes from the Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. A typical way to visit Mount Bromo is from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang.

More than 300 Toyota Jeep here, without them its hard to climb the very steep hill. some up to 50 degree slope to Mount Penanjakan and Bromo

As you can see from above, the ground is all black sands, due to volcano ashes from many years. After reaching here in the jeep, we continue on horse ride to the mountain foothill. You can opt out horse ride also by walking close to 1 km but the soft black volcano sands would fill up inside your shoes

After the jeep uphill journey, continue with horse ride to foothill of Mount Bromo
My boy riding horse to Mount Bromo : Shivering cold in the early morning at Mount Penanjakan
Another 250 steps up before you reach the volcano

Pasopati Submarine

Pasopati is an ex-Soviet submarine S-290 is now a retired subs of the Indonesian Navy.

You won’t miss this big subs if you are at Surabaya town,  it was the first submarine owned by Indonesia. Pasopati is one of twelve vessels delivered to the Indonesian Navy in 1952.  Pasopati was involved in Operation Trikora in 1961 she was used to transport marines and arms to the Indonesian army in West Irian and during those operations she was badly damaged. She was retired in 1994 after more than 30 years of service, disassembled and moved to a spot near Plaza Surabaya before being reassembled and turned into a museum which opened in 1998.  We can go inside the submarine, then see and explore what’s inside It’s really fun, enjoyable, and recommended. Especially for people who loves submarine and history. Entrance only IDR 10,000 or Rm3

First time experience inside a submarine, torpedo missile inside the sub, each can launch a missile weight 2 ton !!

General characteristics:
Type : Diesel-electric attack submarine
Displacement (Surfaced) : 1,050 tonnes (1,030 long tons)
Displacement (Submerged): 1,340 tonnes (1,320 long tons)
Length : 76 m (249 ft 4 in)
Beam : 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)
Speed (Surfaced) : 18.25 knots (33.80 km/h)
Speed (Submerged):13.1 knots (24.3 km/h)
Armament: 12 torpedoes.

The shark and crocodile fight (hence the name Surabaya) Guan Yin on the waterfront, dedicated to Guan Yin Bodhisattva of the South Sea.

Surabaya gots its name from the words “sura” (shark) and “baya” (crocodile), two creatures which, in a local myth, fought each other in order to gain the title of “the strongest and most powerful animal” in the area. It was said that the two powerful animals agreed for a truce and set boundaries, that the shark’s domain is in the sea while the crocodile’s domain is in the land. However one day the shark swims into the river estuary to hunt, this angered the crocodile that went territorial. Shark argued that the river is a water-realm which means it is shark territory, while the crocodile argued that the river flows deep inland, so it belongs to crocodile. The fight resumes ferociously as the two animals biting each other. Finally the shark was badly bitten and fled to the open sea, so the crocodile finally rules the estuarine area that today is the city

Having our dinner with my friend/driver (in red) that drives us around, He keep on calling me ‘bapak’ which I am not use to.

So this was my short trip, there are many other places to visit in Indonesia like

1. Bali,  Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. The island is home to religious sites such as cliffside Uluwatu Temple. Here are 10 Best Beaches in Bali

  • Nusa Dua.
  • Padang Padang.
  • Jimbaran Beach.
  • Seminyak.
  • Sanur Beach.
  • Geger Beach.
  • White Sand Beach.
  • Lovina Beach.

2. Borobudur, –  Probably the most visited place in Indonesia, considered to be one of the world’s seven wonders. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple in Magelang Regency built by Sailendra dynasty between AD 780 and 840 for glorifying Buddha and pilgrimage spot to guide mankind from temptation into enlightenment and wisdom with Buddha teaching. A total of 504 Buddhas in meditation pose with 6 different hand positions represented throughout the temple.

3.Gili Islands – 3 small islands just off the northwest coast of Lombok, are tropical paradise where you can do surfing with uncrowded beaches, makes it a hotspot for backpackers as they can also trek the Rinjani volcano mountain and its photogenic crater lake but make sure you are fit as this is not a small task.

4. Komodo National Park – was initially established to conserve the unique Komodo dragon  founded in 1980 to protect the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard that can reach up to 3 meters long. In 1991 the national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Komodo National Park has been selected as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Entrance ticket at 150,000 rupiah($11)

5. Tana Toraja (Torajaland) – is a landlocked regency of South Sulawesi fill with rice fields, bamboo-clad hills and limestone peaks inhabited by Toraja ethnic group which have a fascinating culture. Torajans built massive peak-roof houses and have a gruesome funeral rites where a death person body is kept for several years until the actual ceremony that last for few days. Only then, the deceased is buried in a small caves or in a hollow tree.

6. Kalimantan, Borneo is a great adventures into its vast and legendary jungles, abundance of fascinating wildlife, pristine natural landscape, enchanting well preserved traditional cultures, and a whole lot more amazing experiences like Orangutan, Proboscis Monkeys, Honey Bears, Long tailed Macaques, Arowana Fish, Hornbill Birds, Kancil Deer, Wild Boars, and a whole lot more.  You can discover the fascinating Dayak tribes traditional way of life, the indigenous people inhabiting the dense tropical rainforests of Borneo. They still retain age old traditions and ways of life wearing their colorful costumes, live in traditional longhouses, their enchanting music and dances, as well as cultural ceremonies

7. Lake Toba, –  is a largest lake in Indonesia and the largest volcanic lake in the world measuring about 100 km long and 30km wide, formed by a big eruption some 70,000 years ago. Samosir island in the middle is the largest island with 2 lakes, here is a good place to sit back and relax and enjoy volcanically warmed water

8.  Mount Krakatau – is part of a volcanic island group (Krakatoa Archipelago) comprising four islands: two of which, Lang and Verlaten, are remnants of a previous volcanic edifice destroyed in eruptions long before the famous 1883 eruption; another, Rakata, is the remnant of a much larger island destroyed in the 1883 eruption.

9. Raja Ampat – (meaning Four Kings)  is made up of four major jungle-clad island surrounded by turquoise lagoon and beaches with thousands of smaller island in an archipelago located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula. Here is the most sensational diving destinations because of its underwater coral reefs and rich marine life. The Lagoon here provides protection from the wind with shallow blue waters and fine white sand making it a special place to relax in paradise.

10. Flores Island an incredible scenic beauty island with Kelimuthu volcano caldera which has 3 lakes fed by volcano gas that change color depending to oxidation in the water. The 3 colored lake provides a spectacular view from the top of volcano at sunrise.

For food lovers, Indonesian is never short of choices

  • Indonesian Satay. Satay is marinated meat skewers that are cooked over coals – usually the meat choices are chicken, beef, and lamb but one of the extraordinary meat I discover here is Satay Kuda (horse meat). I didn’t try it
  • Fried Rice. I think this dish doesn’t need any further introduction. …
  • Beef Rendang. This dish originating from the Minangkabau region in West Sumatra, Indonesia. It has spread across Indonesian cuisine to the cuisines of neighbouring Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines.
  • Nasi Rawon –  is a popular Javanese dish usually sold at Malay stall consists of Rice with the Rawon soup made from buah keluak which is the main spice. The buah keluak is grounded with shallots, garlic, ginger, candlenut, red chilli, turmeric and salt and sauteed with oil. The sauteed ingredients into boiled beef stock with diced beef slices.  Lemongrass, galangal, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves are added as seasonings
  • Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup) –  is made with beef tails; no specialized stock of beef animals are used and tails may come from bovines other than oxen
  • Siomay – is an Indonesian steamed fish dumpling with vegetables served in peanut sauce. It is derived from Chinese Shumai. It is considered a light meal that is a type of Chinese Dim Sum, but is cone shaped
  • Indomie – is a brand of instant noodle produced by the Indonesian company Indofood. Indofood itself is the largest instant noodle producer in the world with 16 factories. Over 15 billion packets of Indomie are produced annually. Indomie is also exported to more than 90 countries around the world
  • Nasi Uduk –  is a Melayu Betawi style rice cooked in coconut milk dish, which originated from Batavia.

Lookout for flights to Indonesia