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 essential 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 Surabaya

Surabaya is located in East Java, north of Mount Bromo and to the west of Bali. It serves as the capital of the East Java province and is the second-largest city in Indonesia. Positioned strategically along the Java Sea, Surabaya boasts a bustling port that has contributed to its reputation as a major commercial and industrial hub. With its vibrant urban landscape, rich cultural heritage, and proximity to stunning natural attractions, Surabaya offers visitors a captivating blend of modernity and tradition to explore and enjoy.

Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Surabaya Map

Why visit Surabaya

As an alternative to flying into Indonesia instead Jakarta and being an excellent 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

Things to do in Surabaya

Walk around Wisata Mangrove

Visit Surabaya Zoo

Chill at Surabaya beach – Pantai Kenjeran (Kenjeran Beach)

Refresh yourself at Hutan Bambu Surabaya (Surabaya Bamboo Forest)

Take the Majapahit Hotel Heritage Tour

Shopping in Kampong Arab

Take pictures in Kampong Bulak

Take a look at Suro & Boyo Statue

Ride a trishaw around Surabaya city

Visit the Monkasel (Submarine Monument)

Enjoy the sunset at Suramadu National Bridge

Connect with Surabaya Heritage at Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument)

Dutch Colonial buildings in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Map

Dutch Colonial buildings in Surabaya

Where to stay in Surabaya

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 building, 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 to Surabaya

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.

You may take the official taxi (Prima Taxi) from the airport 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 that 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 visit nearby Surabaya

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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