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Surabaya - East Java

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Where is it

The Gateway to the East

Over the last ten years, Surabaya has grown to become a major industrial and commercial centre which is beginning to challenge Jakarta's position as Indonesia's business capital. This rapid development should come as no surprise, however. Prior to World War II, the East Java capital was the archipelago's main centre of commercial and industrial activity, a position it seems determined to regain. East Java itself was the focus of Javanese civilization for several centuries after the eruption of Mount Merapi destroyed the Mataram Empire; and it was here that the Hindu court culture reached its apotheosis in the Majapahit Empire, which held sway over most of the Indonesian archipelago for over a century.

Surabaya's current impressive performance has been fuelled in large part by the phenomenal success of East Java's economic development, increased investor awareness and the large-scale expansion of infra-structure. The province, with a population of around 33 million, is home to a diverse range of human resources. Boasting low costs, a modern sea-part and airport, and a local enterprise culture keen to expand business, Surabaya has been successful in increasingly congested Jakarta. The province offers hotel and conference facilities representing some of the highest standards in the country, consequently becoming regarded as the "Gateway to the East" among much of the business community.

There are plenty of excursions available to make East Java a worthy destination for any visitor. Other worldly volcanic craters, deserted beaches, remote wildlife reserves, well-preserved temple complexes and friendly, colorful and diverse people make East Java a prime "soft adventure" destination. As a convention centre, East Java in general and Surabaya specifically offer everything the MICE (Meeting Incentive Convention-Congress-Conference and Exhibition) industry needs, from world class facilities to exquisite recreational attractions.

The Sights and Sounds of Surabaya

Surabaya is a busy city, filled with busy people. The streets are lined with shops, the roads hum with traffic and throngs of pedestrians crowd the sidewalk. However, until the turn of this century, Surabaya's role as a commercial centre was overshadowed by Jepara, Kudus and Semarang, and in 1900 it had a mere 100,000 inhabitants. The explosive pace that has marked its development began in 1910, when the construction of a new harbour began at Tanjung Perak. With the larger steam ships dominating the trade routes, older ports without deepwater facilities slipped into irrelevance, and the rapid expansion of trade and commerce in Surabaya resulted in a boom that quadrupled the population within 30 years.

History is a living force here and the old trading quarters of the Dutch are fully functional even if occupied by new tenants. Buginese and Makassarese sailing boats share the harbour with freighters whose size defies the imagination. Mosques and temples that have been used for 500 years continue to receive pilgrims. In other cities, the old and the new stand in stark contrast; in Surabaya, they represent a continuum. The people of Surabaya have been working hard and playing hard for centuries, and visitors are welcome to join them.

How to get there

By Plane

The average visitor to Surabaya is likely to arrive at the airport. Situated 30 minutes from the city's centre, Juanda Airport has international airport status, and visitors from most countries are eligible for a two-month, visa-free entrance at this point. Surabaya now handles direct flights to and from Singapore, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is aslo a major hub for domestic air traffic with flights leaving daily for Jakarta, Bali, Semarang, Yogya and many other points.

By Train

A high-speed rail service connects Surabaya to Semarang, Yogya, Solo and Jakarta, and is an excellent way to travel . Unlike the airports, the train stations in all these places are conveniently located in or near the centre of town. The premium-grade Argo service allows the traveller to appreciate the beauty of the Javanese countryside in air-conditioned comfort. Besides using the most modern and up-to date engines available, these trains have priority at junctions and are very rarely delayed. They leave from Pasar Turi Station in Central Surabaya and arrive at Gambir in Jakarta nine hours later.

By Car

A major highway connects Surabaya to Jakarta, to Banyuwangi in the east and Malang in the south. Priority has been given to the development of freeways connecting Surabaya to the outlying towns of Gresik along the coast, and Mojokerto, on the road to Jakarta.

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