It was my first time to Surabaya and we had only a few hours to see what Surabaya had to offer once we left the cruise ship. It was time for a quick decision and I decided that visiting a submarine parked smack in the middle of the city seems like a good idea. That, and that there are a couple of shopping malls where we could spend our time afterwards made the decision easier to make.

After a 15 minute taxi ride from North Quay where our cruise ship was berthed, to the city center, I could see the hulking shape of a submarine rising above the trees. Locally known as Monumen Kapal Selam, or Submarine Monument, this is a decommissioned Russian submarine from the cold war era that has been turned into a museum.

Named the “KRI Pasopati 410”, this is a Russian Whiskey Class submarine which was used by the Indonesian Navy in the country’s fight to liberate West Irian from Dutch control.

The submarine was built in Vladivostok, Russia in 1952. The Indonesian Navy bought it in 1962 and was the first submarine owned by the country. In 1995 the submarine was decommissioned and transported here to be assembled as a museum. The entrance fee is IDR 10,000 or SGD 1, really cheap if you ask me. The ticket covers entry into the submarine itself. You climb up the stairs near the front of the submarine and exit at the rear. It’s quite straight forward until you realize how cramped the inside of the submarine is. If you have claustrophobia, this isn’t the place for you.

Here are some quick facts about this submarine

Length: 76.6m
Width: 6.3m
Weight: 1,340 tons
Crew: 52
Speed: 13 knots
Endurance: 166 hrs submerged
Propulsion: 2 diesel electric motors
Armament: 12 torpedoes

Once you enter the submarine, you notice straight away the 4 steam powered main torpedo tubes.
As you walk towards the rear of the submarine, you will pass by various sections like the crews’ quarters, communication room, captain’s quarters, mess hall, etc. Honestly, I can’t imagine 52 people being squeezed into this small space for long periods of time.
Now comes the part where we had to squeeze through these round hatches to continue on the tour.
I’m amazed how a submarine crewman would be able to understand how to operate the numerous dials, wheels and controls here. You can still see the Russian language labels on the instruments.
The periscope control where the captain could look out for enemy ships while underwater.
More hatches to get through. Only thing this hatch was a bit smaller and lower than the others which made it harder to get through.
Once we reached the rear of the submarine, there are 2 more torpedo tubes. It does make sense that a submarine should be able to shoot backwards instead of turning around to fire the front torpedoes.
Stepping out of the claustrophobic confines of the submarine, we found ourselves staring at the propellers that would have moved this war machine through the water.

There is a small water park for kids just beside, but we did not visit it. If you have a short time in Surabaya, this could be an interesting place to visit especially if you are crazy about military vehicles. The park itself is rather lacking so don’t expect too much in terms of facilities for visitors. For ourselves, we spent about 30 minutes here and continued to the nearby Surabaya Plaza and Grand City Mall for lunch and some shopping before heading back to North Quay.


6 thoughts on “In a Little Submarine

  1. I got on a submarine in New Zealand once and am amazed at how everyone could have lived on such a small and limited space not just above ground but also UNDERWATER. It was just crazy to imagine especially when places like the bunks and the kitchen was so small. The submarine that I was on had 3 levels of bunk beds so the space was REALLY small. I was really amazed by it all, really.

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