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Best Time: May- September. Read More

Ideal duration: 1 day

Nearest Airport: Surabaya Check Flights

"The City of Indonesia's History."

Surabaya Tourism

Known fondly as 'The City of Heroes' for the pivotal role that the city played in the Indonesian freedom struggle, Surabaya is one of Indonesia's most enigmatic cities. The country's second-largest urban settlement, Surabaya today reflects the influences of its many occupants. Arab Quarter, with its mazy grids of lanes, one of Indonesia's largest Chinatowns, and the remaining vestiges of classically beautiful Dutch colonial-era buildings all make up Surabaya's heritage. 

Undeservedly left off of most tourists' itinerary of Indonesia, Surabaya has much to offer any visitor that chooses to walk through its historic streets. 21st-century developmental projects aimed at alleviating the city's traffic and pollution troubles aim to elevate Surabaya to a major tourist destination. Surabaya's pockets of rich heritage, sprawling botanic gardens, the immaculately maintained Sampoerna Museum, beautiful churches, mosques, and markets make Surabaya a hidden-gem amongst Indonesia's more illustrious tourist destinations. 

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Language of 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.

History of Surabaya

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.

Nightlife in Surabaya

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.

Shopping in Surabaya

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.

Currency in Surabaya

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.

Exchanging Money in Surabaya

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.

Daily Budget for Surabaya

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 .

Religion of Surabaya

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.

Surabaya Customs

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.

Restaurants and Local Food in Surabaya

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.

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