Welcoming the world to East Java for hundreds of years, the port city of Surabaya stands sentry over eastern Indonesia. Considered more by tourists as an entry point to the more popular destinations of Bali and Mount Bromo, its charms are aplenty, albeit slow to unravel.

The usual tourist will opt to spend a day or two in Surabaya and escape to the beaches and mountains further east. But whether you are here on transit, a business trip or a full vacation, it has some interesting spots to keep you entertained. One of the largest and most comprehensive animal and plant collections in South East Asia can be found in Surabaya Zoo. 37 acres in size, the botanical zoo contains many different species of fauna showcased amidst an impressive selection of the tropical flora that used to cover these Javanese islands. Originally started under Dutch rule in 1917, the zoo has become a major tourist attraction as well as a safe haven for some species of animals that have become endangered due to human activities in the region, such as deforestation. The Jalak Bali or Bali Starling and Orang-utans are endangered species that are making a comeback due to the breeding programme at the Surabaya Zoo.

The Zoo gives you the opportunity to see the rare Sumatran Tigers and Komodo Dragons, animals that play a key role in the culture and stories of the Indonesian people. Only 3 km from the city centre, it’s never too far from any place of accommodation in Surabaya. It is also within easy distance from the city’s other attractions making it a perfect inclusion for a day of sightseeing in the city. Include the colonial Dutch buildings of the Old Town area, the Balai Pemuda, Masjid Al Akbar Surabaya – a large mosque that offers views of the city from its tower, and even the Chinese architecture of Cheng Ho mosque in a day of sightseeing. Explore the naval heritage by peering inside a Soviet submarine or shop in some of the largest malls in Indonesia.

For visitors, luxurious comfort and modern facilities can be found at Somerset Surabaya Hotel and Serviced Residence. Whether on an extended stay or a day tour, business and pleasure travellers can experience a pleasant stay in this apartment Surabaya offers. This accommodation in Surabaya is only steps away from the sophisticated East Java surroundings that offer the perfect break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+