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15 Best Things To Do in Surabaya 2024

15 Best Things to Do in Surabaya

The city of Surabaya in East Java is not as well known on the tourist trail as other places in the country although it is actually the second largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta. It is also one of the most important parts of the country historically and there are a range of interesting attractions that make it worth spending some time here if you are travelling around Java.

 

One of the key reasons to come to Surabaya is for the chance to check out an authentic slice of city life in Indonesia away from the major tourist hubs and you can also spend time eating your way around the city which is known for a clutch of signature dishes such as spicy soups and curries.

 

Surabaya is also a port and with that in mind you can enjoy sweeping vistas across the water and also enjoy a walk along the waterfront where you can look across to the famous bridge that connects the city with neighboring Madura. All in all, Surabaya is well known as a tourist destination on the domestic market, but unfortunately the international market has yet to catch up despite the myriad charms of this city.

 

Let’s explore the best things to do in Surabaya:

 

1. Surabaya City Tour (Day Tour)

The Surabaya day tour package covers the main places to go in Surabaya. You can choose 1 itinerary to see the sights and sounds of Indonesia’s 2nd largest city. This tour is suitable for families, friends, co-workers and lovers. It is available everyday including public holidays. 

 

Hotel pick-up and drop-off in central Surabaya is provided. Surabaya airport and train station pick-up and drop-off can be arranged.

 

If you are organising for bigger groups over 10 pax, chat with us and we are able to assist you.

 

Inclusions

  • Pick-up and drop off from/to Surabaya Hotel (any hotel in Surabaya city) or Juanda Airport or Surabaya Train Station
  • Private air-conditioned transportation
  • English/Bahasa speaking tour guide

2. Take a tour to Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo

One of the main highlights of East Java is Mount Bromo which is a volcano that is technically still active. The smoldering mountain lies in the wider Bromo Tengger National Park and one of the easiest ways to get here is to take the famous Bromo Midnight Tour that leaves from Surabaya.

 

As the name suggests, you will leave around midnight in order to get to the volcano in the early hours of the morning where you can watch the majestic sun rise over the lip of the crater.

 

If you visit Surabaya then this is a one day trip that you shouldn’t miss and for many, is the highlight of their trip to Java.

 

3. Take a tour to Mount Ijen

The tree near the crater of Ijen with its iconic blue waters

The Kawah Ijen volcano and crater lake in Banyuwangi is hands down one of the world’s most spectacular sights. Don’t leave Indonesia without seeing it, especially if you’re already visiting Bali!

 

The lake at Mount Ijen is the biggest acid lake in the world, and it’s also famous for a crazy phenomenon known as the ‘Kawah Ijen blue fire’, where you can see hot blue flames burning like lava in the dark!

 

The good news is that the Kawah Ijen lake is pretty easy to visit from Bali and other parts of Indonesia. Most people either visit Mount Ijen on an overnight tour from Bali, or do it as a road trip combined with Mount Bromo and other epic sights in East Java.

 

4. Tour Monumen Kapal Selam

Monumen Kapal Selam
You may not imagine that you would find a Russian submarine in Surabaya but this is exactly what is on show at the Monumen Kapal Selam. The submarine was used by the Indonesian navy until it was decommissioned in 1990 and then set up as a museum in the city. As such you can now climb aboard and tour the submarine which sits in the wider harbor and is a great way to learn some of the history of Indonesia’s navy.

 

5. Walk around Chinatown

Surabaya Chinatown
Surabaya Chinatown

Indonesian cities are often difficult to navigate on foot so if you get the chance make sure to head to the Chinatown area of Surabaya which lends itself well to an afternoon stroll.

 

This part of Surabaya got its name thanks to the influx of Chinese owned restaurants and shops in the area and you can still find a wealth of local architecture here that leads off the main road which is called Jalan Karet.

 

6. Have some food at G-Walk

G-Walk
G-Walk is a part of CitraLand in the west of Surabaya and this is the place to come if you want to try some of the best food in the city. There are a wealth of food stalls here as well as nightly bazaars. Upscale restaurants also flank one side of the walkway.

 

Surabaya’s youth flock here often. This is a great spot if you want to people watch and sample some of the local fare.

 

7. Have afternoon tea at Majapahit Hotel

Majapahit Hotel
Majapahit Hotel is one of the most famous old landmarks in Surabaya and was built in 1910. The hotel is built in the colonial style and is surrounded by stunning lush gardens and you can come here to drink in the old-world atmosphere and enjoy a classic high tea which features little sandwiches, cakes, and other finger food.

 

Tea is served from 12 pm until 6 pm and this is one of the best upscale dining experiences in Surabaya.

 

8. Go for a stroll at Taman Bungkul

Taman Bungkul
Taman Bungkul

If you want to take in some of the scenery in Surabaya then head to Taman Bungkul which is one of the few green spots in the city.

 

This park is a welcome relief from the congested traffic and frenetic pace found elsewhere in the city and you can go for a walk and enjoy the local flora and fauna. Note however that it can get quite busy in the evenings when amorous couples wander around so go in the afternoon if you want to beat the crowds.

 

9. The Suramadu National Bridge

Suramadu National Bridge
Suramadu National Bridge

The Suramadu National Bridge is one of the longest bridges in this part of the world and connects Surabaya with the neighboring island of Madura.

 

If you walk along the waterfront in the city you can take in the majesty of the bridge and one of the best times to come here is after dark when the bridge is illuminated with a variety of colourful lights.

 

10. Visit the Surabaya National Monument

Surabaya National Monument
Surabaya National Monument

No visit to Surabaya is complete without a trip to the Surabaya National Monument. The name Surabaya comes from two ancient Sanskrit words, namely ‘sura’ which means whale and ‘baya’ which means crocodile.

 

These two animals are said to represent the difference between war and peace. At the national monument you will find two sculptures of the animals that are the national motif of the city. The story goes that the city was founded after an epic battle between a crocodile and a whale and you will find more echoes of these fighting motifs in other spots all over Surabaya.

 

11. Take a bus tour around the city

Bus Tour
If you visit the House of Sampoerna Cigarette Factory, make sure to take advantage of its other key attraction in the form of a free bus tour.

 

The bus leaves from the factory at 9 am every day except for Monday and will take you around the city and show you all the main sights for free. If you are just stopping off in Surabaya and don’t have much time to explore the city, this is one of the best ways to visit everything quickly.

 

12. Try the food at Pasar Atum

Pasar Atum Mall
Pasar Atum Mall

One of the main reasons why people come to Surabaya, particularly the domestic tourists, is to try the delicious food.

 

The main area of the city to try some of the famous Surabaya culinary delights is Pasar Atum. One restaurant in particular stands out in the form of Kartiko Restaurant which is known for its traditional food. The food here is cheap and offers you a quick taste of some of the best flavours in the city such as flavourful curries and a range of both sweet and savoury snacks.

 

13. Visit the Cheng Hoo Mosque

Cheng Hoo Mosque
Cheng Hoo Mosque

Many people may not realize that Surabaya has a large Chinese population who originally came here as traders and then settled in the area. As a result, the Cheng Hoo Mosque is one of the key religious sites for Chinese Indonesians in Surabaya who converted to Islam but still retained much of their heritage. This is a top spot to visit to see some of the culture firsthand.

 

Make sure to check out the vivid red, yellow, and green decorations all over the mosque as well as the traditional pagoda which is a blend of dragon and lion carvings.

 

14. Catch a game at the Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium

Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium
Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium

Indonesians love football and no more so than in Surabaya which is the home of the Persebaya Football Club. The club play out of the Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium which can seat up to 50,000 spectators at one time and if you want to see one of the most exciting sporting events in the city, make sure to catch a game while you are in town.

 

15. Have a bowl of soup at Rawon Setan

Rawon Setan
Rawon Setan

Rawon Setan is probably one of Surabaya’s best known dishes and is basically a kind of very spicy soup which is not for the faint of heart. ‘Setan’ literally means ‘Satanic’ in Indonesian which tells you everything you need to know about the spice levels used here! The restaurant is so popular that it is open 24 hours a day.

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