Exploring Surabaya: A Guide to Unforgettable Experiences

Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, is a vibrant metropolis known for its rich history, diverse culture, and bustling atmosphere. From historic landmarks and cultural attractions to culinary delights and outdoor adventures, Surabaya offers a wealth of experiences for travellers to discover. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, Surabaya has something to captivate every visitor. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the top things to do in Surabaya, ensuring that your visit to this dynamic city is filled with unforgettable moments and experiences.

Discover Surabaya’s Historic Landmarks

House of Sampoerna: Step back in time at the House of Sampoerna, a museum and cigarette factory that offers insight into Surabaya’s tobacco industry and Dutch colonial heritage. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, watch live demonstrations of traditional cigarette rolling, and learn about the history of Sampoerna, one of Indonesia’s largest cigarette companies. For more information, you can visit this link:Β 


Heroes Monument (Tugu Pahlawan): Pay tribute to Indonesia’s national heroes at the Heroes Monument, a towering landmark commemorating the Battle of Surabaya during the Indonesian National Revolution. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument for panoramic views of Surabaya and learn about the city’s role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence.

Surabaya Submarine Monument: Dive into history at the Surabaya Submarine Monument, a decommissioned Russian submarine turned museum. Visitors can explore the interior of the submarine, learn about its history and significance, and gain insight into Indonesia’s naval heritage.

Ampel Mosque: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Ampel, Surabaya’s oldest Muslim quarter, and visit the historic Ampel Mosque. This revered mosque dates back to the 15th century and is a pilgrimage site for Muslims from across Indonesia.

Immerse Yourself in Surabaya’s Culture and Heritage

Chinatown (Kampung Arab): Wander through the bustling streets of Surabaya’s Chinatown, also known as Kampung Arab, and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage. Explore vibrant markets, sample authentic Chinese and Arabic cuisine, and admire ornate temples and mosques.

Surabaya Carnival Night Market: Experience the excitement of Surabaya’s Carnival Night Market, a lively bazaar featuring street food stalls, live music performances, carnival games, and entertainment for all ages. Indulge in local delicacies, shop for souvenirs, and soak up the festive atmosphere of this vibrant night market.

Surabaya Zoo (Kebun Binatang Surabaya): Explore Surabaya Zoo, one of the oldest and largest zoos in Southeast Asia, and discover a diverse collection of wildlife from around the world. Home to over 3,500 animals, including endangered species and rare Indonesian fauna, the zoo offers an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.

Cultural Performances: Attend traditional Javanese dance performances, puppet shows, and cultural events to immerse yourself in Surabaya’s rich artistic heritage. From classical dance performances to modern interpretations of traditional art forms, Surabaya offers a vibrant cultural scene that showcases Indonesia’s diverse cultural heritage.

Indulge in Surabaya’s Culinary Delights

Soto Ayam: Sample Surabaya’s signature dish, Soto Ayam, is a fragrant chicken soup infused with spices and served with rice, fried shallots, and lime. Head to local eateries and warungs (food stalls) to taste this comforting and flavorful Indonesian classic.

Rawon: Try Rawon, a traditional Javanese beef soup made with black nuts (keluak), aromatic herbs, and spices. This rich and savoury dish is typically served with rice, bean sprouts, and shrimp crackers, offering a hearty and satisfying meal experience.

Rujak Cingur: Indulge in Rujak Cingur, a unique Surabayan salad made with a combination of fruits, vegetables, and beef snout (cingur) topped with a tangy and spicy peanut sauce. This refreshing and flavorful dish is a popular street food favourite in Surabaya.

Lontong Balap: Savor Lontong Balap, a delicious street food dish consisting of rice cakes (lontong) served with bean sprouts, fried tofu, lentil crackers (tempered), and a savoury soy sauce dressing. This flavorful and satisfying dish is a must-try for food lovers visiting Surabaya.

Explore Surabaya’s Outdoor Attractions

Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park: Embark on a scenic adventure to Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, home to the iconic Mount Bromo volcano and the stunning Tengger Caldera. Visitors can hike to viewpoints for breathtaking sunrise views, explore volcanic craters, and immerse themselves in the park’s natural beauty.

Taman Bungkul: Relax and unwind at Taman Bungkul, a popular urban park located in the heart of Surabaya. This vibrant green space offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling city, with landscaped gardens, jogging tracks, playgrounds, and food stalls serving local snacks and refreshments.

Suroboyo Carnival Park: Enjoy family-friendly fun at Suroboyo Carnival Park, an amusement park featuring thrilling rides, carnival games, and attractions for visitors of all ages. From roller coasters and water slides to bumper cars and carousel rides, the park offers endless entertainment and excitement.

Kenjeran Beach: Escape the city heat and soak up the sun at Kenjeran Beach, a popular seaside destination located on the outskirts of Surabaya. Visitors can relax on sandy beaches, swim in the clear waters of the Java Sea, and enjoy water sports such as snorkelling, diving, and jet-skiing.

Practical Tips for Exploring Surabaya

Transportation: Get around Surabaya easily with a combination of taxis, ride-hailing services, and public transportation options such as buses and becak (cycle rickshaws). Consider renting a car or hiring a driver for convenience and flexibility when exploring attractions outside the city centre.

Weather: Surabaya has a tropical climate with hot and humid weather year-round. The best time to visit is during the dry season from May to September when rainfall is minimal, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Currency and Language: The currency in Surabaya is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), and Bahasa Indonesia is the official language. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, but learning a few basic Indonesian phrases can enhance your travel experience and help you communicate with locals.

Safety: Surabaya is generally safe for tourists, but it’s essential to take precautions and practice common sense safety measures, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night and keeping valuables secure.


Surabaya offers a wealth of experiences for travellers seeking cultural immersion, historical exploration, culinary adventures, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re exploring historic landmarks, indulging in local delicacies, or soaking up the sun on sandy beaches, Surabaya promises an unforgettable journey filled with exciting discoveries and memorable moments. So,Β  whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an outdoor adventurer, Surabaya invites you to explore its vibrant streets, immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage, and discover the wonders that await around every corner.

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