4D/3N Backpacking Bromo & Ijen Without A Tour (Part 12) : Krowi Inn Boutique Backpackers Hostel in Surabaya City

        So far, our East Java backpacking journey by public transportation has seen us taking the Prima airport taxi (read the story here), the Sri Tanjung and Mutiara Timur Siang train (read the story here and here), a yellow angkut and a green bison (read the story here), as well as the PATAS express bus (read the story here). The next mode of public transportation we took in Surabaya was the Blue Bird Group taxi.

Blue Bird Group Taxi – The Traveller’s Choice

        From Bungurasih Bus Terminal, my sister and I made our way to the taxi terminal located just beside the bus terminal. As I mentioned before in my previous post on travelling in East Java, one will always be persistently approached and aggressively persuaded by many locals to take up their services and tours especially in Probolinggo, and Surabaya as well as we experienced. Find out what are the Top 5 Scams in Probolinggo @ East Java that you should know here.

        At the taxi terminal, it was not long before a swarm of men come tailing us, trying to convince us to board their taxi. They were very persistent and aggressive in selling their services to us no matter how many times we declined their offer. At one point, it got rather annoying as we tried to get rid of them off our backs without being rude. To the unwary traveller, one might find their behaviour rather shocking and intimidating.

        My sister and I were prepared to face such an unpleasant situation. Prior to our arrival in Surabaya, East Jaya, we already made our research and were told that the best and most reliable taxi to take in Surabaya, East Java is the Blue Bird Group taxi. Most visitors/travellers to Surabaya prefer to take a Blue Bird Group taxi because their taxi drivers are known to charge passengers according to the meter, and are trustworthy too. From our experience, this is proven true. Well, the fact that I took photos and noted down his ID and registration number might help a bit. :-P

        We declined the services of other taxi operators and headed straight to the Blue Bird Group taxi stand in the taxi terminal. It was rather easy to locate it because like its name, the taxi was blue in colour. Without a moment to lose, my sister and I boarded the taxi and off we went in the direction of our hostel in Surabaya, East Java.

A Blue Bird Group taxi stand at the taxi terminal, Surabaya city

The aggressive and persistent men/touts at the taxi terminal, Surabaya city

We noted his ID and registration number and kept our eyes on the meter throughout the journey as a safety measure

Traffic congestion at Surabaya

Krowi Inn - The Boutique Backpackers Hostel in the Heart of Surabaya

        We arrived at Krowi Inn, Surabaya from the taxi terminal in about 20 minutes. The city was bustling with activities and the traffic, congested. Jakarta is not the only place in Indonesia that has bad traffic with hundreds of motorists on the road, we find Surabaya equally similar as well. My sister and I were happy to have a break from all the chaos and arrived safely at our hostel. From the outside, Krowi Inn looked rather plain and simple, but it was a whole different story when we stepped foot inside the hostel.

        Inside, the hostel reception and common room was spacious, bright and clean. We were greeted by the caretaker of the hostel and were given the key to our room without much hassle. We booked our stay at Krowi Inn through Agoda and got a good price of Rp.270,000 for our standard double room with shared bathroom. We then made our way to our room to wind down before going out later that night.

        Our standard double room with shared bathroom was on the ground floor. It was bright, spacious and clean with adequate storage for our belongings. We loved the bed the most as it was huge and comfy! The first thing we did was to throw ourselves onto the bed and lie there motionless, leisurely soaking up the good vibes as we rest and relaxed – just the thing we needed to do after backpacking 3D/2N to Kawah Ijen and Mt. Bromo, East Java. The room had a sink, air-conditioning and the largest set of windows I ever had in a room! It was a lovely feature because it allows natural lighting into the room, making it cosier. The large curtains provide the privacy we needed at our convenience.

Various eateries by the road in front of Krowi Inn, Surabaya

Welcome to Krowi Inn, Surabaya

Look out for this sign for Krowi Inn, Surabaya city

The reception/common area of Krowi Inn, Surabaya

The reception/common area of Krowi Inn, Surabaya

Our standard double bed with shared bathroom at Krowi Inn

Our private room at Krowi Inn was spacious, comfortable and clean

Large windows provide an excellent view and natural lighting into the room - I love it!

You'll find these standard 2-pin power sockets all over East Java and Indonesia

A Stay of Convenience & Comfort in Mind

       The shared bathroom was nearby – equally spacious and clean, with hot/cold shower. Next to our room was the kitchen where light cooking is allowed. Complimentary simple breakfast of mie goreng (dry instant noodles) with egg and coffee/tea is provided to all guests. Another feature we love about Krowi Inn is its indoor courtyard. This allows fresh air to circulate within the building, creating a soothing and pleasant ambiance. The green trees not only provide shade, but inject a fresh and inviting look to the setting of the hostel. There are many sets of tables and chairs around for guests to chill and do their thing.

        There are several city tours and travel tips available at the reception upon request. Finding food was easy as Krowi Inn is located nearby various food stalls (serving nasi pecel, nasi lodeh, nasi campur, rawon, and bakso), fast food outlet (24-hour KFC and fried duck/chicken) and a convenience store (Indomaret). For those looking for a place to hang out for a cup of coffee or beer and do some shopping, Sutos Mall is just a stone’s throw away! That night, my sister and I walked and visited that trendy mall. Also, the Surabaya Zoo is just 10 minutes walk away from the hostel. To sum it up, Krowi Inn was a good hostel for guests to stay in Surabaya. My sister and I simply love it to bits for its strategic location, convenience, affordability and comfort!

The shared bathroom was spacious and clean

Krowi Inn's kitchen where light cooking is allowed

Our favourite place in the hostel, besides our room (on right side of the  kitchen) at Krowi Inn

Eva and Erika looking and feeling extremely tired, but happy and contented after our 3D/2N adventure at Kawah Ijen and Mt. Bromo, East Java

Complimentary simple breakfast of noodles (mie goreng) with egg and coffee/tea by Krowi Inn

A pleasant welcome to the eyes - fresh shades of green at Krowi Inn, Surabaya

And much space to chill and relax at Krowi Inn, Surabaya

Simple things like these add a touch of uniqueness to the hostel @ Krowi Inn

Surabaya City Sightseeing & Chilling at Sutos Mall

        As mentioned earlier, after having a good rest at Krowi Inn, my sister and I decided to explore the city. We walked to Sutos Mall that was about 10 minutes away by foot. Along the way, we passed by all the food stalls mentioned above. We had a pleasant surprise when we decided to have our dinner at KFC for on the menu was a selection of Japanese-inspired bento meals!! Without hesitation, we ordered a set each and devoured the mouth-watering food with glee.

        With a full stomach and happy heart, we continued our journey to the very impressive Sutos Mall. There is a wide variety of retail shops, cafes, bars, and open-air restaurants at the mall. After our walk, we had our favourite Java chip frappuccino at Starbucks, chilled on the sofa listening to music and simply watched the world go by. We did nothing more than that and made our way back to the hostel before 10pm for a good night’s rest.

        The next day, I had the opportunity to meet the friendly and lovely owner of Krowi Inn, Ms. Rona. She shared tales and travel tips of her New Zealand adventure with me, inspiring me to embark on a Lord of the Rings adventure of my own in the future. She helped us to book a Blue Bird Group taxi to Juanda International Airport for our flight back home. With a heavy heart, my sister and I bid farewell to her and made our way to the airport.

Japanese-inspired bento meal by KFC in Surabaya

The Town Square of Sutos Mall, Surabaya city

A water fountain and decorative lights decorated the mall beautifully

The atrium of Sutos Mall, Surabaya city

You can have a cup of Indonesia's famous civet poop coffee (kopi luwak) at this cafe

Retail stores and restaurants galore at Sutos Mall, Surabaya city

Java chip frappuccino for two at Starbucks, Sutos Mall :-)

The owner of Krowi Inn, Ms. Rona and Erika
In a Nut Shell

        That marked the end of our 3D/2N Backpacking Bromo & Ijen Without A Tour journey – an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime! I will not hesitate to do it all over again, that is for sure! Now, if anyone asks is it possible to do Bromo & Ijen without a tour, backpacking via public transportation? You and I both know the answer to that question. My sister and I did it and you read it here, at my humble travel blog, ErikaToh – Backpacking in Style. May the information shared here benefits travellers in their East Java adventure. Happy and safe travels to all! ;-)

Krowi Inn
Address: Jl. Ciliwung No.66, Wonokromo, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60241, Indonesia
Phone:+62 853-3035-1800, +62 853 3035 1900
Office hour: 8 am - 9 pm (GMT +7)

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