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Why Madura Island is special ?
Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java. The island comprises an area of approximately 4,078.67 km² (administratively 5,168 km² including various smaller islands to the east and north). Madura is administered as part of the East Java province. It is separated from Java by the narrow Strait of Madura. The administered area has a density of 702 people per km², while the island itself (3,630,000 people in 2012 count) is higher at 817/km².
Beside the main land mass, however, there are 67 more small islands and islets, 66 of which lie to the east of Sumenep and are a part of that district, while one island belongs to Sampang.
What to explore at Madura Island?
Bull Racing (Kerapan Sapi): This is the most famous attraction in Madura. Every August and September towns and villages across Madura hold races and the winners compete for the Presidential Trophy in the grand finals in Pamekasan in late September. This is a major event in Madura and it is taken very seriously indeed with all sorts of intrigue surrounding the raising of champion bulls, use of mysterious herbal tonics and the harnessing of dark magic to cripple opponents.
Kangean Islands are an archipelago of about 30 islands 120 km to east-north-east of Madura. The key attraction here is marine life and there is good snorkelling close to shore off many of the islands.
The north coast road of Madura is very much worth driving and is quite unlike anywhere else in the region. You can drive this road in either direction between Bangkalan and Sumenep. Fishing villages are scattered all along the north coast and you will see lots of attractive little outrigger boats called perahu. There are ancient royal tombs just to the north of both cities. The Ratu Ibu Tomb is just off the north coast road at the village of Arosbaya, 16 km north of Bangkalan. At the opposite end of the island the Asta Tinggi Tombs are 4 km north of Sumenep on the road to the villages of Manding and Dasok.
The hills of Madura and marvel at the skill of local farmers who find a living here. Traditional crops you will see are corn, tobacco and cloves.
How to get to Madura Island?
By road: The Suramadu Bridge
The Suramadu Bridge (Jembatan Suramadu) was completed in June 2009 after a rather tortured history of stop-start construction, lack of funding and industrial accidents. At 5.5 km it is Indonesia's longest. It connects connects northern Surabaya in Java to Bangkalan in Madura. The one way toll is Rp 30,000 for a car or van and Rp 3,000 for a motorbike.Cyclists are not allowed to cross and have to take the ferry. It is perfectly possible for visitors to cross to Madura independently using a car or motorbike rented in Surabaya. You should though tell the hire company that you intend to drive the vehicle to Madura.
The classic way to get to Madura involves taking a public ferry from Tanjung Perak, north Surabaya, to Kamal which is 10 km south of Bangkalan. These run every 30 min 24 hr every day. The queues at weekends and during holiday periods can be unbelievably large (remember that more than 10 million ethnic Madurese live elsewhere in Indonesia). Avoid public holidays and the Ramadan period altogether. Since the opening of the bridge, travellers are perhaps better off avoiding the ferry altogether.
For the adventurous, there is another ferry route into Madura from Jangkar in the Situbondo regency of north eastern Java. The crossing takes about 5 hours and the schedules are weather dependent and by no means certain. This ferry service arrives in Kalianget, about 10 km south east of Sumenep in eastern Madura and it makes sense if you are coming from the Baluran National Park area.
Buses from Bungarasih terminal in Surabaya run very regularly to Sumenap (and other points on Madura in between) over the Suramadu bridge.
- Beautiful Island
- Beat the heat
- Good place for kids on holiday
- Historic island
- Clean and fresh atmosphere