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4.2 / 5 22 votes

Country rank: 6 out of 30 Places To Visit In Indonesia

Sub-Region: West Java


Ideal duration: 1 day

Best time: May- September. (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Surabaya (Check Flights)


"The city of Indonesiaês history."

Surabaya Tourism

The centre of the Indonesian freedom movement, Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia. With mixed Islamic, Chinese, Dutch and Indonesian culture surrounded by traffic and high buildings, this city is another unique mix of traditional and modern.

Surabaya, at first glance, may not seem appealing to any tourist, and most tourists just pass it as a transit point to Bali. The high buildings, the pollution and the appalling traffic may deter some tourists, but Surabaya has these pockets of rich culture that are bound to fascinate many tourists. With 21st century development and quickly growing technology, and its eclectic Javanese culture, Surabaya displays an interesting mix. The highlights of this city include its sprawling botanical gardens, the immaculately maintained Sampoerna Museum, beautiful churches, mosques and large markets. Therefore this place becomes a must-visit hub of Indonesian culture that no tourist wishing to explore Indonesia can miss.

Hotels in Surabaya

Top Hotels in Surabaya

  • OYO 384 Omah Pitu

    IDR 150,000 /night onwards

  • OYO 388 Raka Residence Syariah

    IDR 208,999 /night onwards

  • OYO 376 Ramayana Indah

    IDR 151,691 /night onwards

View All Hotels in Surabaya >

More on Surabaya

Most citizens speak a unique dialect of Javanese called Suroboyoan. This is in addition to Bahasa Indonesian, which is also spoken commonly. English is also spoken here to a large extent, for many European nationalities also live here.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Surabaya was a sultanate and a major political and military power in eastern Java. The expanding East Indies Companies took the city in the 18th Century. During the World War period, Surabaya was captured by the Japanese and bombed by the Allies, after which Indonesian nationalists took over the city. The English and the Dutch objected, which led to a long-drawn freedom struggle. The Battle of Surabaya was one of the most important battles of the Indonesian revolution, after which Indonesia gained freedom from its colonial masters. This gives Surabaya great historical significance, for it was the epicentre of Indonesiaês freedom struggle.

Surabaya has a moderately active nightlife, with most expensive bars being at hotels, and the cheaper bars scattered around the city. Blowfish and Shangri-La are the expensive variants, with clubs and expensive drinks, while the cheaper club variant is Colours Bar & Resto, which is also very popular. Citilites Club and Bistro offers a breathtaking view of the Surabaya skyline.

Surabaya boasts of South-East Asia's largest shopping malls. Tunjungan Plaza and Galaxy Mall are two important must-visit malls, with a large variety of shopping options. For souvenirs, tourists may visit Rood Brug Sorebaia. Pasar Ampel is a large colourful Arab market, with unique food options. But it is advisable for tourists to visit this market in the day, for it is dingy and unsafe in the evenings. Pawar Genteng is another traditional Indonesian market, with eclectic fabrics and food.

Rupiah is the official currency of Indonesia, and is exclusively used everywhere, therefore all currency must be compulsorily exchanged, for foreign currency is not valid in Indonesia. Credit cards can be used at modern establishments, but for most markets in Surabaya, cash is advisable. Any ATM around Surabaya can be used to withdraw cash with cards around the globe.

Since there are a lot of unreliable sources in Surabaya, the safest place for exchanging currency would either be at the airport or at commercial banks.

For the traveller on a shoestring budget, about IDR 300,000 is the daily budget, including food and travel expenses. Comfortable travel would require a budget of about IDR 500-000-1,800,000, and luxury travel would reach upwards of IDR 20,00,000 .

Most citizens in Surabaya follow Islam, with other prevalent religions being Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Buddhism. This is also the home of the Archdiocese of Indonesia, and many old churches and mosques.

In Indonesian culture it is generally taboo to touch heads, no matter what the age of the person. It also taboo to use the left hand to make payments or eat or do anything important. Therefore tourists must be careful about these small scruples. Also, conservative dressing and appropriate respect for Indonesian traditions is also expected of every tourist.

Surabaya is famously home to rujak cingur, a local salad with tapioca-peanut sauce and various types of meat and vegetables. Another popular dish is satay kelp, or chicken satay with coconut sauce, which is commonly found in Jalan Wallikota. Other must-try dishes include pecel (green vegetables in spicy peanut sauce), gado-gado (cooked vegetables in a spicy peanut-based sauce), semanggi, bakso (meat-balls) and various desserts including shaved ice (ice kacang and cendol).

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How to Reach Surabaya

Surabaya can be reached by air, train and road from Jakarta. (Read More)

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