Bucket List: Amazing Places to Visit in Surabaya, Indonesia
Surabaya, the third-largest city in Indonesia, is one of the country’s cleanest and greenest holiday destinations. It is bountiful in friendly people and known for its delicious Java food.
The city and its people played an important role during the Indonesian War against the Dutch empire. Surabaya has since been called the City of Heroes, or Kota Pahlawan.
According to legends, a 12th-century psychic king from the Hindu Javanese Kingdom prophesized a fight between a giant white shark and an enormous white crocodile. This fight was foreseen to happen in today’s Surabaya. This prophecy is commonly interpreted as foretelling a later event, where the Mongols invaded the said land.
The city’s name, Surabaya, hails from this encounter when their people courageously faced danger. In Javanese, ‘sura ing baya’ translates to “bravely facing danger.”
This is just one of the exciting things to know about Surabaya. Spending more time on its grounds will undoubtedly give you fun-filled memories. We’ve prepared a guide for you if you want only the best things to do in this stunning city.
Get to know the history of cigarette production in Indonesia.
The House of Sampoerna is an impressive Dutch-style edifice built-in 1932. It is used to house Sampoerna’s first and major cigarette production facility.
Today, it is a museum composed of three buildings showcasing its colorful history of tobacco production.
Relax at a park that consists of mini-parks
Surabaya is home to bountiful parks, and Bungkul Park is one of the most enticing and among the largest. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the calming vibe of this well-landscaped park. Besides a 360-degree view of nature, many wondrous sights await your discovery.
This vast park contains miniature parks where every visitor is bound to have fun. There’s an amphitheater to take pictures in, swings and slides to play with kids, and many opportunities to bike and skate.
There’s also a hub full of kiosks selling flavorful snacks and tea juices. If you’re up for a relaxing place that’s free of charge, this park is a great place to visit!
Spend a day at the country’s largest waterpark
Your trip to Surabaya is incomplete without visiting the biggest water attraction in Indonesia. The Sinbad-themed Ciputra Waterpark sits on a 5-hectare land area, guaranteeing a wide variety of water adventures to enjoy for visitors.
The Sinbad Playground, the 3,000-liter water drum, and the 1,800-meter wide Syracuse Beach are among the crowd favorites. This tourist attraction is also known for its state-of-the-art 480-meter artificial river.
Cross Indonesia’s longest bridge
Connecting the city of Surabaya and the island of Madura is the eclectic Suramadu Bridge. This 5.4-kilometer bridge is the longest in Indonesia, featuring stunning cable-stayed portions of 630 ft and 1,424 ft in length.
There are only a few iconic bridges globally, and they are stellar sights to behold. If you want to see one of Asia’s most beautiful land links, this is a must-see.
Tour the biggest underwater boat in Asia
The largest submarine monument in Asia can be spotted in the south of Indonesia’s Surabaya. This 249 ft-long Russian-built Surabaya Submarine Monument was used by the Indonesian navy between 1960 to 1990.
Today, you can tour the insides of this well-preserved submarine, including its crew quarters, control room, torpedo room, and even its periscope. This should be a go-to place if you want a unique museum-like tour.
Be greeted by Suro and Boyo.
Surabaya’s most iconic symbols are the white shark and white crocodile prophesized to engage in the strongest and most decisive battle.
The shark is known in Indonesia as Suro, while the crocodile is named Boyo. Together, Suro and Boyo greet locals and tourists through their famous Suroboyo monument in the middle of the city.
Whether you’re walking on foot or in transit by car, this stellar monument is hard to miss.
Commemorate the fallen heroes of Surabaya
The ‘City of the Heroes’ features post-independence public art. It is a way to honor the fallen heroes during the Battle of Surabaya. The Heroes’ Monument, also known as Tugu Pahlawan, is one of the most famous city center landmarks.
Apart from commemorating this city’s heroes, their weapon of choice has also made rounds since the iconic Battle of Surabaya dated November 1945.
The soldiers’ sharp bamboo to defeat the Dutch can be seen loud and proud in the middle of the Jalan Panglima Sudirman street. It is on this street that you’ll see the famous Bambu Runcing.
If you’re interested in a cultural trip to immerse yourself in the city’s triumphant times, these sets of monuments are a must-see for you.
Regain peace of mind through a bamboo park
Bamboos can be used in many ways, like building roads, making clothes and accessories, and scaffolding.
One of bamboo’s most natural and relaxing uses is undeniably before processing. If you’d love the calming effects of viewing a landscaped bamboo park with towering trees, the Bamboo Forest in Surabaya is a must-visit for you.
Here, the air is fresh, and the ambiance will encourage mindfulness, the perfect recipe for a more peaceful mind.
Shop until you drop
Surabaya is home to many antique shops and handicraft boutiques. You will find several exciting textiles, clothing, and accessories here. The Arab Market is among the most famous shopping places.
This quaint marketplace also sells various spices, perfect for cooks and foodies alike. If you’re a serial shopper, you will love the Pakuwon Mall, Gateway Mall, and Tunjungan Plaza.
Local and branded products in these shopping malls will be sold at competitive prices.
See Surabaya’s old neighborhood.
If you want to see the local neighborhood from years ago, seeing the actual scenery is better than any photos there. Fortunately, the city’s frozen-in-time Old Town is open for the public to see.
Don’t miss out on seeing famous landmarks like the city’s traditional post office and the iconic Mandiri Bank. If you’re up for a trip down the city’s memory lane, this is a recommended place!
Visit some of the most unique mosques there is
Many Indonesians are Muslims, which guarantees that you are bound to find stellar mosques in the country.
There are numerous unique mosques in Surabaya, and Masjid al Akbar is undoubtedly one of them. Whether or not you are a Muslim, the distinctive blue domes and the impressive 99-meter minaret will amaze you.
If this does not pique your interest enough, did you know of a mosque dedicated to Chinese Muslim people in Surabaya?
The Cheng Ho Mosque is located in Palembang, looking like a traditional Chinese edifice that is one of a kind. Traditional-looking mosques are usually Arabian architecture inspired.
Besides blue-themed and Chinese architecture-inspired mosques, Surabaya is also home to the oldest mosque in East Java. The Ampel Mosque was built in 1421 and also features the tomb of Sunan Ampel, one of the nine revered saints relevant to the spread of Islam in Java.
Run into varying temples
Although most Indonesians are Muslims, Indonesia is home to people of varying beliefs. There are Protestants, Buddhists, and Hindus in the country too. If you’re interested in running into temples, Surabaya certainly has excellent options for you.
Sanggar Agung Temple is a temple dedicated to Chinese deities and other Asian religious icons. Expect a Chinese-looking temple, which Mulan-enthusiasts will love.
Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong Temple is also a must-visit. Although this is primarily a Buddhist temple, it also hints at Confucian and Taoist influences, a spiritual gem and a culture mine.
If you want to see a temple, tomb, and bathhouse in one, the archeological site of Trowulan will amaze you. The ability of this site to captivate hearts and attention is not only a modern-day situation.
It has also graced some 14th and 15th-century Javanese poems. If you want to see more of the beauty Trowulan holds, you can also visit the Trowulan Museum.
This museum is home to the valuable relics discovered within this landmark’s vicinity. If you want the best-looking photos, a picture at the Wringin Lawang gate is a must-have.
Lounge at a rooftop deck
The Surabaya North Quay is a famous tourist attraction in Surabaya. It is a skyscraper rooftop deck capable of giving you the city’s best angle.
For a more cultural experience, you can order a cup of traditional coffee and a plate of their traditional dish.
Experience authentic Indonesian coffee and cuisine
Indonesia is one of the top coffee-producing countries, and its ‘kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. Their traditional coffees are usually on a darker profile and bolder flavor.
The prominence of an earthy taste is also observable. If you’re a more sensitive coffee drinker, you will taste a bit of spice and wood, featuring the finish of unsweetened cocoa.
The country’s dishes are also very delicious and sought-after. When visiting Surabaya, the Indonesian Satay, Beef Rendang, and their very own fried rice are a must-try.
If you are fond of Indomie, which is heavily exported abroad, then the authentic Indonesian version is also a must-taste for you.
See stellar seaside views.
Surabaya is home to many excellent tourist attractions, but Indonesia’s trip is never complete without seeing its pristine waters.
If you want the most idyllic beachside holiday, you should never miss the heavenly Kenjeran Beach, also known as Pantai Kenjeran. It features gentle waves, clear waters, and oil-painted skies. This is perfect if you want to relax by the seaside, go for a walk, sail a bit, and catch fresh produce.
If you want more iconic walks along the beach, especially for a fascinating video, Bentar beach is a must-see. It features a wooden deck that extends to the sea, offering fantastic scenery for videos, photographs, and genuine interactions.
You won’t run out of seaside options in Surabaya. You can also enjoy Delegan Beach, Boom Tuban Beach, and Nepa Beach.
Our Top Hotel Picks for Surabaya
Surabaya Travel and Tour Packages
To help you plan out your vacation to Surabaya, we listed places to visit and other amazing things to do in Surabaya, Indonesia. We also listed links to some of the best travel deals, tour packages, excellent flight deals, and accommodation options.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Surabaya hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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