Surabaya is one of the key cities of Indonesia and second most populated next to Jakarta. It’s the gateway to Mount Bromo and usually considered only as a stopover before heading to the national park. We intended to take a Bromo tour, but our budgets decided not to. On a goal to keep some of our rupiah in preparation for our expenses in Yogyakarta, we availed budget stay in Surabaya.
If you’ll try to sweep all hotel booking sites, one of the cheapest and best recommendations for a backpacker place are two properties: My Studio Hotel and Livinn Hostel. The two sites are both located just a 5-minute walk from Surabaya Gubeng Station, perfect location if you’re heading to Malang, Yogyakarta, Bandung, and other parts of Java.
We arrived in Surabaya via plane in Juanda International Airport which is quite far from the city center. If you’re alone, taking the DAMRI bus from the airport (IDR25,000) to Purabaya Terminal and then another bus (IDR10,000) to Tunjungan Plaza is the cheapest option. However, if you’re traveling in a group, availing a taxi service or booking using Grab or Uber (IDR100,000-150,000) is more convenient.
MY STUDIO HOTEL
After dealing with pushy drivers and car rental operators at the airport, the airy lobby of the hostel provided a fresh feeling upon our arrival. Wooden table expands on two adjacent sides of the working space. The middle table, on the other hand, can still accommodate up to 8 persons.
Once the front-office staff confirms your reservation, you need to provide a IDR100,000 deposit fee for the keycard. After that, they’ll hand you your towel and a bottle of mineral water. The mini-mart, a meter away from the counter, offers instant noodles, chips, and biscuits if ever your tummy craves for something at wee hours of the day.
My Studio Hotel has three floors of accommodation with bunks either a single or double bed. Going to our assigned bed was a challenge as we weren’t advised about the labeling of beds. The first digit on your key card corresponds to your assigned floor, the second digit is the bunk; 1 if lower and 2 for upper, and last digits will be your bed assignment. It was confusing at first and there were a lot of travelers checking different floors searching for their pods.
Bunk beds are spacious enough for you to move around and even sit. It has a foldable working desk good to accommodate a laptop. Lockers are located under the lower bunks and the ample space perfectly swallowed my 32L bulky backpack. Every floor has one toilet and bath, and a separate sink. More toilet and shower areas are on the 4th floor. My only issue with the bathroom is the unavailability of hooks or lines where you could hang your shower essentials and clothes.
Compared to My Studio Hotel, Livinn Hostel recently opened its door for travelers and still has minor improvements up to this date. The two hostels are managed by a single brand so you can expect similarities between the two. Evident similarities are room and common areas’ layout as well as the light breakfast being offered. All freebies you receive from one, you can also avail from the other.
Speaking of breakfast, a light meal is included in the booking rate and this provides coffee or tea, and bread with spreads like green tea matcha, chocolate, and butter. Not an extravagant meal but enough to provide you energy to find your next big meal.
In terms of difference, the major thing I noticed is that mattress in Livinn Hostel is thinner than the beds in My Studio Hostel. Also, take note that the latter still has no lockers which means deposit fee is not needed upon check-in. It is also located in a residential area near the convention center. Apart from the common area, the hostel has an open space near the shared toilet and bathroom where they installed a table tennis board.
What I liked about these two properties is their accessibility to shopping malls and numerous cheap local restaurants. If you’re heading to other parts of Indonesia via train, its distance from Surabaya Gubeng station is also a good consideration. For around IDR150,000 per night, these accommodations are indeed lovely for budget travelers making a stop in Surabaya.
Budget Stay in Surabaya
My Studio Hotel
Jl. Sumatra 20 C, Surabaya, Indonesia
Contact No.: +6231-504-2111
Jl. Gubeng Pojok No.5, Surabaya, Indonesia
Contact No.: +6231-9924-5515