Its name is often said to be derived from the Sundanese words of "Cai" (or river) and "Rebon" (or "shrimp"). (Indeed the main production of the city is fishery including shrimps.) The alternative Javanese derivation is from "Caruban", meaning "mixture"--a reference to Cirebon's complex mix of Javanese, Malay, Sundanese, Chinese and Arabic cultural elements. While Indonesians from outside of Cirebon pronounce the name CHEE-ray-bone, locals say Cher-BONE.
The city weather is hot and humid. Wear cotton clothes. You do not need long sleeves shirt, instead a T-shirt and knee-long trousers are comfortable. Some places like mosques (masjid) and temples require polite dress such as long trousers/skirts. Hot pants/mini skirts will attract people attention and might be considered impolite.
By rail from Jakarta (Gambir Station or Jatinegara Station) you can take the Cirebon Express for Rp 55,000 or Rp 75,000. It takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes. (In February 2010, I took Cirebon Express train at Rp. 95,000 for executive class, and when I returned from Cirebon to Jakarta, I took Argo Jati train at Rp. 120,000 per pax which is much more comfortable).
There are several ways of getting around the town of Cirebon.
By rented car - this is the most convenient way.
By 'Angkot' - this is the public van transport. However, they are not as comfortable as your own private car. Cost around Rp 3,000 for most journeys.
By 'Becak' - similar to a rickshaw. You hop on the 'wheeled chair' and the driver will cycle the becak around for you. It will cost you from Rp 5,000 to Rp 20,000. Prices are highly negotiable.
Local cuisines are: