Madura Island, Pattaya Overview

Madura Island, also called Pulau Madura, is an island off the north-east coast of Java in Pattaya. It has varying topography such as rocky cliffs and sand-dune beaches in the north and shallow beaches and lowlands in the south. Madura Island is the land of gorgeous waterfalls, large caves, historic temples, and small islands that are perfect for water sports making it a great destination for history buffs and water-sports junkies who’d like to discover new waters

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Madura Island Attractions

Bull Racing Competition: Madura Island is most famous for its bull-racing competitions called karapan sapi. In this age-old sport, a boy stands on a wooden plough called kalele and is pulled by two huge bulls. This sport is hugely popular, drawing hundreds of teams from around the island and the winner receives ‘piala president’ or trophies from the Indonesian president. It is held throughout the year but the most popular racing season is August and September. 

Suramadu National Bridge: Since its construction as the country’s longest bridge, Suramadu National Bridge has become an attraction. Inaugurated in 2009, it connects Surabaya to the island. Once the sun sets, the bridge lights up with gorgeous twinkling, making it a gorgeous sight that you can see all along the Strait of Madura. 

Sumenep Royal Palace: Also called Kraton Sumenep, the palace has a fine, high- arched entrance designed to allow large carriages to pass through. It is painted yellow to match the yellow mosque on the opposite side of the square. The palace contains wood carvings, tours of the royal chambers, and ceremonial canons. On some evenings, cultural performances like gamelan are conducted. 

Ratu Ibn Tomb: This is a historical complex containing the remains of Islamic tombs, including the Queen Mother. Dating back to the 15th century, the tombs depict Hindu- Buddhist architecture, such as the large steps leading up the tombs, the three separate entrances, and the use of beautifully carved white stone. 

Beaches: Madura Island is blessed with beautiful beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and relaxing. Some of them are Sambilan Beach and Rongkang Beach in Bangkalan, Lombang Beach and Slopeng Beach in Sumenep, and Nepa Beach in Sampang. 

Shopping: Madura Island is known for its handicrafts as well, particularly batik madura. Batik Madura uses bright colours like reds, greens, blacks and blues amongst sea-inspired motifs of fish, shrimps, boats, and seaweeds from life on the island. It’s fascinating to visit the villages and watch the Madura locals create their crafts from scratch.

Madura Island Cuisine

Madura Island has a similar cuisine to other parts of Java such as soto Madura (spicy beef stew served with rice) and sate ayam Madura (chicken satay with peanut sauce) but it’s said to have spicier and saltier food than the rest of Java.

The most popular dish from the island is satay Madura. Made from mutton or chicken, it has a signature black sauce of soya sauce and palm sugar, mixed with shallots, shrimp paste, candlenut and sauce. Traditionally, chicken satay Madura is served with peanut sauce while mutton satay Madura is served with the black sauce. It is eaten with rice or rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves. 

Other foods to try are rujak (salad made from cucumber, peanuts, cassava chips, and a peanut sauce) and Jamu Madura (herbal aphrodisiac drink). Jamu is found very easily in roadside shops all along the island.

Best Time to Visit

The months from July to October see the least rain, making it the ideal time to visit Madura Island. However, this is also the period of higher prices for hotels and homestays than other parts of the year. The months to avoid are January to March when the island sees the most rainfall. 

Tips

As an island with a predominantly Muslim population, alcohol isn’t easily found here. It isn’t necessarily illegal, but it’s ideal to avoid carrying or drinking alcohol here out of respect for the locals.

How To Reach Madura Island

Car: Take the Suramadu National Bridge. There was previously a one-way toll of IDR 30,000 for cars but the toll has been abolished.

Bus: Buses are available from Bangarasih terminal in Surabaya to Sumenap in Madura for around IDR 10,000. It takes only 10 minutes to cross Suramadu National Bridge.

Ferry: Ferries operate from Tanjung Perak in north Surabaya every half an hour on all days. During holidays and weekends, the line for these ferries can be long. They are priced at IDR 7,000 per person and and IDR 57,000 per car on the ferry. The ferry takes at least half an hour to cross to Madura Island.

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