Guide to Surabaya, East Java


Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia, and though not necessarily a popular place to travel to it is an important gateway to many attractions in Java, Indonesia. That is why Surabaya tourism is still one of the tops in Indonesia after Jakarta being an important international hub and Mount Bromo and Bali.

Where is it

It is located in East Java, north of Mount Bromo and to the west of Bali.

Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Surabaya Map

Why go

As an alternative to fly into Indonesia instead of Jakarta and being a good location to get to places in Java like Yogyakarta, Dieng Plateau and Mount Bromo. You may also fly or take a train and then boat to Bali and Lombok from here.

Chinatown, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Chinatown in Surabaya

What to see

There are a few tourist attractions in Surabaya worth for sightseeing:

Dutch Colonial buildings in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Dutch Colonial buildings in Surabaya

House of Sampoerna / Museum Sempoerna
– This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Surabaya, garnering many good reviews from fellow independent travelers.

Suramadu National Bridge

Tugu Pahlawan

What to do

Take the becak around the city and just soak in all the hustle and bustle.
Shopping in the many malls around Surabaya
Massage, pedicure and manicure and also all the self pampering packages you can choose from at a bargain.
Check out the old town area
Go to markets to mingle with the locals.

Where to stay

There are a lot of choices of where to stay in Surabaya, you can go from budget to high-end hotels.

Hotel Majapahit
Set in a historical builing, this art deco hotel is one of the best in Surabaya. The service is impeccable and well worth the splurge.
Check out the latest prices and reviews on *
Check out the latest prices and reviews on *

JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya
This is no doubt one of the most popular hotel in this city. It comes with its well known standard and quality of the Marriott. This modern and classy hotel also comes with its own swimming pool. Check out the latest prices and reviews on *
Check out the latest prices and reviews on *

Mid-range affordable hotels are Ibis * or Novotel *.

If you would like to go for budget, there are options of hostels or homestays like Krowi Inn * at Jalan Ciliwung.

How to get there

Fly into Surabaya Airport – Juanda, the second busiest airport after Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport. There are international flights flying here from places like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, Hong Kong and other places in Asia and Australia.

From the airport, you may take the official taxi (Prima Taxi) to get to the town, about 18km away, at the cost of 7-10USD.

If you want to get to Mount Bromo from Surabaya, about 70km away, you may hire a car or take the bus instead.

To get to the bus station (Bungurasih), you may take the Airport Bus Service, operated by Damri at only 15,000 Rp. Take note that the bus station is not near to the city and you may go there to catch connecting buses to for example Probolinggo (for Mount Bromo) or Malang.

Take note of domestic departures cost is 30,000 Rp tax while international departures cost is 150, 000 Rp tax.

Street people, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Streets of Surabaya

Where to go nearby

Head to Mount Bromo about 70 km away and the time to get there is around 4 hours due to heavy traffic and congestion. On the way, you would pass Probolinggo town which lies at the major highway across Java. Here is where most backpackers would usually share a transport to take them up to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National park.

You can also visit Malang just 2-3 hours drive away for its beautiful landscape and cultural attractions, and mainly also as springboard to Mount Semeru and Mount Bromo.

Or take to the hills at Batu, for a refreshing and cooling getaway, about 3 hours away.

If you love history and culture, you may get to Trowulan, which is known as the capital of Majapahit Empire in the 14th Century. Here you may find myriads of temples and some museums.

Head on east to the famous Ijen Craters for volcano acid lake and bl.

Fly to Bali or Lombok, the most famous destination in Indonesia to relax at the beach, immerse in culture and enjoy the food. You may also take the train to Banyuwangi and then boat across to Bali.

Night scene, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Night scene in Surabaya

Photo credits from top: Burmesedays, abdulrahman, batigolix and the rest abdulrahman

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