As Indonesia’s second most populous city, albeit a dynamic business town, Surabaya is often overlooked as a tourist destination. But the city’s importance in the nation’s history, stunning landmarks, and natural charms make it more than just a business destination. From heritage buildings to the beach, discover must-visit attractions in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Perhaps more than its functionality, this bridge is appreciated for its architectural beauty and constructional feat. Suramadu Bridge, which is the longest in Southeast Asia by far, connects Surabaya with the island of Madura. Not only can you cross over to the previously inaccessible island in about 30 minutes, you’ll also get to enjoy the scenic journey.
House of Sampoerna
This museum packs together national history, local economy, and personal stories and presents its collection inside a heritage building that’s a landmark in itself. It represents the story of Indonesia’s earliest and most popular clover cigarette (or kretek) brands, along with the owning family’s wealth and glam — we’re talking Rolls Royce collection and glamorous traditional heirlooms. Tourists can also sign up for their bus tour through the city’s historical landmark called Surabaya Heritage Track.
A building older than its home country, Majapahit Hotel was first established by the Dutch in 1910 as Hotel Oranje. The telltale elegant colonial architecture and manicured garden make this hotel a pleasant spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy being served like a Javanese royal. Even non-staying guests are coming in for high tea at the classic, charming establishment.
Cheng Hoo Mosque
Surabaya holds a huge Chinese population living and assimilating among locals. This cultural interaction begets unique customs and landmarks, including the Cheng Hoo Mosque, a stunning pagoda-style mosque with a very vivid oriental architecture and Muslim religious symbols. This mosque was built to honour the Chinese admiral who helped spread Islam in the country.
Sanggar Agung Temple
This temple, also known as Hong San Tan Temple, is eclectic in its style and function. As a house of worship for Buddhist, Tao, and Kong Hu Cu followers, this temple shows influences from Chinese, Javanese, Balinese, and Thai cultures in its architecture. The grand temple’s complex features a monumental statue of Guan Yin that’s 20 metres tall, supported by gigantic statues of dragons with the sea in the background.
Established in 1421, this is the oldest mosque in East Java, built by the revered Sunan Ampel, who is one of the nine clerics credited for the expansion of Islam in Java and whose tomb lies in the very complex. Other than its own impressive architecture, the area around Ampel Mosque has also become an Arab District, lined up with Middle Eastern buildings, shops, and food.
A massive submarine in the middle of the city is indeed an unmissable odd sight that sparks curiosity. The Submarine Monument is an actual warcraft, sourced from Russia and used by the Indonesian navy shortly after independence. Now that it has retired, the submarine serves as a popular tourist attraction that tells stories about the nation’s maritime history.
Ria Kenjeran Beach
Faced with a sprawling and dynamic urban area like Surabaya, people can easily forget the city also has splendid natural beauty. As a coastal town, Surabaya has its share of idyllic beaches, including the popular and well-developed Ria Kenjeran half an hour away from the city centre. Besides the magnificent sunrise and sunset views, the beach area also has various entertainment, rides, facilities, and accommodation.
Due to its importance in the movement for independence, Surabaya is nicknamed the ‘City of Heroes’. Not much of the independence struggles can still be seen in the modern city, but the Heroes Monument is an unmissable landmark dedicated to the people who fought for the country. Tourists can also visit the 10 November Museum in the lower part of the monument, commemorating the Battle of Surabaya on 10th November 1945, which is still celebrated nationwide as the Day of Heroes.
Mega-malls and modern shopping centres are in Surabaya’s every corner, but Atom Market still holds a special place throughout the city’s history. Established in 1972, many locals and tourists still prefer this market to get cheap and locally made goods, from fashion to electronics. The market also serves as a large culinary centre where tourists can sample all kinds of traditional sweets, snacks, and meals.