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Surabaya Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1 day

Best Time: May- September. Read More

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"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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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.

Shopping in Surabaya

  • Surabaya boasts of South-East Asia's largest shopping malls.
  • Tunjungan Plaza and Galaxy Mall are two popular 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 during the day, for it can get crowded and unsafe in the evenings.
  • Pawar Genteng is another traditional Indonesian market, with eclectic fabrics and food.

Nightlife in Surabaya

  • Surabaya has a moderately active nightlife, with the 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.
  • The cheaper clubs include Colours Bar & Resto, which is also very popular.
  • Citilites Club and Bistro offers a breathtaking view of the Surabaya skyline.

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.

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.

Surabaya Customs

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

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.

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 .

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.

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How to Reach Surabaya

How to Reach Overview

Surabaya can be reached by air, train and road from Jakarta.

How to reach Surabaya by flight

Surabaya's Juanda Airport is the second busiest in the country, with very frequent flights to Jakarta and other major Indonesian destinations, as well as some direct international flights to destinations including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Taipei. Therefore it is very well connected by air.

How to reach Surabaya by road

Taxis are found everywhere around Surabaya, but the more reliable ones belong to the Blue Bird, OrenzTaxi, Silver and Express taxi companies. Tourists are advised to always insist on metered fare.

How to reach Surabaya by train

Surabaya has two main railway stations, Surabaya Pasar Turi and Surabaya Gubeng, with first and second class divisions. Reservations can be made up to 30 days prior to the journey. It is connected to Jakarta, Semarang, Bandung and Yogyakarta via railways.

How to reach Surabaya by bus

Surabaya is well-connected by bus routes to places around Java, and is well connected to Jakarta and Bali, for ltickets costing less than IDR 200,000.

How to reach Surabaya by waterways

There are daily ferry services from Surabayaês Tanjun Perak to different places around Indonesia.

Local transport in Surabaya

The preferred mode of transport for most locals is becak(bicycle driven cart), taxis and buses- Surabaya is like any other metropolitan city, with its own network of trains as well.

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FAQs on Surabaya

What is the 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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What are the places near Surabaya?

The top places near to Surabaya are Bali which is 284 km from Surabaya, Jakarta which is located 665 km from Surabaya, Lombok which is located 422 km from Surabaya, Nusa penida which is located 113 km from Surabaya, Bandung which is located 567 km from Surabaya

What are the things to do in Surabaya?

The top things to do in Surabaya are House of Sampoerna, Arab Market, Suroboyo Carnival Park, Bungkul Park, Suramadu National Bridge, Monumen Kapal Selam. You can see all the places to visit in Surabaya here

What are the top hotels in Surabaya?

There are 565 in Surabaya which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Surabaya are waterplace residence, Merry Waterplace Residence, Educity Studio 3 Ravahome, Elegant 2BR Apartment near to East Coast Center at Educity Pakuwon By Travelio, La Ritz Mansion Condominium Surabaya, Top of Surabaya @ Tunjungan Plaza. You can see all the hotels in Surabaya here

What is the best way to reach Surabaya?

Surabaya can be reached by air, train and road from Jakarta.
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What is the best time to visit Surabaya?

The best time to visit Surabaya is from May-September. Like other Indonesian destinations, Surabaya has a tropical climatic condition as it is located quite close to the equator. May - September is considered to be the dry months in the country and hence, is the peak season for travellers. During this time, there’s minimal rainfall, and the temperature is hot and humid, but comfortable enough for touring around the places during the daylight. October - April, on the contrary, are the wettest months in Surabaya and hence, exploring the places is a little challenging.

The warmest weather in Surabaya is generally mid-October when the average temperature is around 95.5°F (35.3°C) daily. So, to get the most out of your trip to Surabaya, make sure that you plan your holidays during the dry months of May-September.

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