The Majapahit Dynasty was established in East Java, then, dominated the entire Indonesian archipelago, the Malay peninsula and part of the Philippines for hundreds of years. The Majapahit era was the beginning of profitable trade relations between Majapahit empire and China, Cambodia, Siam, Burma and Vietnam. Some traces of the Majapahit Empire?s glory still remain in the East Java Province, for example in Trowulan, the ancient Majapahit capital.
Nevertheless, East Java has a variety of attractions, ranging from temple sites to unspoiled beaches, stunning volcanoes, extraordinary highland lakes, resplendent marine parks and fantastic wildlife reserves. Magnificent mountain scenery includes the crater and legendary sea of sand at Mount Bromo, the ?sulfur mountain? of Welirang and the rugged Ijen Plateu. The island of Madura, famous for its bull races, is also part of the province and it has its own traditions, culture and language.
Surabaya is the capital city of East Java Province. It is another importance city for commerce after Jakarta. It is also the most industrialized province in the nation with the strong economy based on agriculture (coffee, mangoes and apples) fisheries and oil.
According to the local folklore the name of Surabaya originated from a battle between a shark, ?sura? and a crocodile ?buaya? which took place in this city. Now the fighting shark and crocodile become symbol of the city. The statue of the two can be found outside of the Surabaya zoo. But, some said that Surabaya originally coming from Javanese ?Sura ing Baya?, meaning ?Brave when in danger? which certainly befits the region?s military prowess.
A booming city of over 7 million people and fast economic development, Surabaya offers many good hotels, shopping centers and plenty sources of entertainment.
TROWULAN ? PANDAAN ? TRETES
Trowulan village and its surrounding area are believed to be the site of ancient capital of Majapahit. Archaeological excavations in the area have recovered many terracotta ornaments, statues, pottery and stone carvings which are displayed at the Trowulan Museum. The map in the museum is a guide to nearby sites of historical interest.
The Candra Wiwatika open-air theatre in Pandaan, 45 km south of Surabaya presents classical East Javanese ballet performances on each full moon night from June to November. The performances are based either on the Ramayana stories or East Java?s legends and folklore. The backdrop of Mt. Panangungan makes the performances an enchanting experience. Ten km from Chandra Wilwatika is Tretes, one of the most beautiful mountain resort in East Java.
For years Tretes was the preferred weekend retreat for hardworking Surabayans. This beautiful resort just south of Surabaya has much to offer, with bracing mountain air, mountain walks, splendid scenery and three very pretty waterfalls. Tretes is located high up on the northern slopes of Mount Arjuna
Malang is now developing into a popular resort city. Surrounded on all side by volcanoes, Malang is ideal as a base for day trips to temples or to the surrounding mountains.
20 km from Malang on the southern flank of Mt. Arjuna, are Selecta and Songgoriti, popular hill resorts with hot springs. Nearby Batu is famous for its apples and flowers. Sport facilities at Selecta include horse-riding, swimming and tennis.
Purwadadi Botanical Garden founded in 1941 for the research and study center of plants growing under relatively dry conditions. Purwodadi Gardens is in the northeast of Malang, just off the Surabaya-Malang main road.
Many local and foreigner travelers trek to experience of watching the sun rise from the crest of the Bromo volcano. A pony ride from the village of Ngadisari can be used to go down to the sea of sand on the foot of the volcano. Ascend the 50 steps to reach the rim. On the vast expanse of sand, formerly a caldera, there are two volcanoes: the extinct Batok which is the perfect cone and Brome. Volcanic sulphur fumes and smoke still emanate from the depths. A mystical culture perfumed by the people anytime the Bromo show its activity by sending their offerings to the God of Bromo. The annual offering ceremony of Kasada is held on the 14th day of Kasada, the twelfth month in Tengere calendar year. It is a dazzling event where villagers from the surrounding areas bring their humble offering to holy volcano.
BALURAN NATIONAL PARK / WILDLIFE RESERVE
Baluran National Park is located on the tip of East Java, just off the Surabaya ? Banyuwangi main-road. It is dry country side of open forests and scrubland, bordered by marshes, swampy groves and white sand beaches.
Beside Baluran, wild life reserve can also be found in Sadengan wildlife reserve and Meru Betiri Reserve.
SUKAMADE TURTLE BEACH
Sukamade Turtle Beach is about 78km south of Banyuwangi. The beach is known for its deep turquoise waters and 250 kg sea turtles which come to lay their eggs on this beach.
There are three temples found in Singosari which is believed as the remnants of the 13th century Singosari Kingdom. They are Jago Temple, built in 1268 - one of the most enchanting temples in East Java, and Kidal temple was completed in 1260 to honor one of the kings, and is gem of Singosari temple art. Another temple is Penataran temple, a well-preserved temple in the Singosari-Majapahit temple complex, dating from the fourteenth century. The temple terraces are decorated with Ramayana relief.