4D/3N Backpacking Bromo & Ijen Without A Tour (Part 13) : 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. 😛

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
Some of the aggressive and persistent men/touts who turned away when I took this photo of them 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. This time, we booked our stay at Krowi Inn through Agoda.com 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 we backpacked for 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 at Krowi Inn, Surabaya – 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 at Krowi Inn 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.


Our Japanese-inspired bento meal (priced at Rp. 24,000 per set) 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 treat for two at Starbucks (total Rp. 180,000), 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, Erika & Eva Toh Travels. 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)

6 Comment

  1. Ted Hee says: Reply

    Hi Erika, so have u calculated how much is the total expenses for the trip for Bromo & Ijen? Including transportation accommodation entrance fee tour guide

    1. Hi Ted,

      The total cost of our 4D/3N Bromo-Ijen backpacking trip per person as mentioned in my blog post…


      …is about Rp.2,000,000 (inclusive of accomodation, transportation, entrance fees, tour guides fee, food, extras). Total expenses for 2 pax is about Rp.4,000,000.

      Tour operators charge about Rp.3,000,000 per person for the same trip. By doing our way, we saved about Rp.2,000,000.

      Do plan in advance and travel during the high season for a much lower cost/expenses. Else you’ll have to pay more just on transportation itself should you need to charter the entire vehicle (bison ride) to yourself.

      Hope that helps. Safe travels to you and enjoy your trip! 🙂

      Best regards,

  2. thank you for the information, the place is pretty good and the standard stay price, but why you choose a Blue Bird Group taxi, what are the advantages ??

    1. Hi Sri Dewi,

      I chose to travel with Blue Bird Group taxis because according to the reviews shared by many travellers, it’s a reliable, reputable and affordable taxi company in Surabaya. It’s also one of the largest and most common too.

      From my personal experience, it was a pleasant experience. However, it’s always good to not let your guard down and be alert at all times to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous taxi drivers in disguise out there.

      Hope that answers your questions. Safe travels to you. 🙂

      Best regards,

  3. LeeZ says: Reply

    I will only arrive in Surabaya airport around 8pm on a Thursday. And I only have until Sunday noon for my flight back to KL. What will the best itinerary if I want to cover these two places within that time.

    Hope you can give advice to me ASAP. Thanks.

    1. Hi LeeZ,

      It seems that you have a very limited amount of time to cover both Bromo and Ijen, to which you’ll most probably be exhausted by the end of the journey. Because of that, I wouldn’t advise you to travel by public transport unless you’re sure you’ll be able to make it in time, and provided that things goes as planned. Keep in mind that sometimes, things doesn’t go the way you intend them to be (e.g. train delays, etc) that might screw up your plan.

      Your best option would be to hire a private car/driver to drive you all the way from Surabaya to Bromo, and Ijen and back to Surabaya again just to make the most of the time you have. That way, you’ll save time and energy while travelling and could visit both Bromo and Ijen within the time you have.

      Should you wish to take the public transport, visit either Bromo or Ijen, and add another nearby destination for example Madakaripura Waterfall to make your visit worthwhile. Do research on the places of interests that you can visit along the way and check for the latest train/bus schedules before you embark on your journey.

      I hope that helps. Happy planning, enjoy your trip and safe travels to you! 🙂

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