Surabaya is the capital of East Java, and the second largest city in Indonesia. It is mainly an industrial city, with many factories scattered around its outskirts. Although the city is historically important - it's been a trading port for hundreds of years, and it was here that Indonesia's battle for independence was begun - there is not a lot for the tourist to see in the city itself.
However, there is a lot to see in East Java, and Surabaya can make a good base to see most of them. One of East Java's major attractions, the active volcano Mount Bromo, is just a couple hours' drive from Surabaya. Although Surabaya itself doesn't have much in the way of beaches, the island of Madura is just a 30 minute ferry ride away. Madura boasts several white sandy beaches that are excellent for swimming. If the beach isn't your scene, head south to the hill town of Malang. Just 90 kilometers south of Surabaya, Malang is a cool and comfortable escape. There are many ancient Hindu temples in the area, dating back to the thirteenth century.