Surabaya travel guide: what to do in Surabaya

The capital of East Java, the second-largest city in Indonesia, and the city of heroes. Yet, few people are familiar with this city, let alone visit it when in Indonesia. What a shame… because we found this to be a very enjoyable city. It may not have romantic streets or exceptionally unique landmarks, but the city has its own charm. You’ll discover numerous trendy eateries and shops here.

After a week in Karimunjawa, it was secretly quite nice to be back in the inhabited world. Indulging in decadent dining, no more sand everywhere, and being surrounded by people again. The pleasant variety and diversity of Java. We decided to take some time here to enjoy the luxury, savor good food and drinks, and, of course, relax.


Surabaya is the main port city of the island and is located at the mouth of the Mas River. The Java Sea lies to the north and east of the city. With a population of 3 million, the city is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups.

In dit artikel over Karimunjawa

What to do in Surabaya

In Surabaya, there’s plenty to experience, but we opted for a laid-back approach. Days of strolling through the city, indulging in massages, and savoring delicious food. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect plan?

The main attractions of Surabaya:

  • Take a walk on the Suramadu Bridge
  • House of Sampoerna: a must-visit museum
  • The traditional Kalimas port, where the lively hustle and bustle embrace you.
  • Surabaya Zoo, proudly claiming the title of the largest zoo in Southeast Asia. A true paradise for animal lovers!
  • The impressive Surabaya Al-Akbar Mosque, leaving a grand impression as one of the largest mosques in all of Indonesia.
  • Tunjungan Plaza, the shopping haven of East Java. Here, you can indulge your shopping desires in the largest shopping center in the region.
  • And then we have the Chinese temples, a collection of spiritual beauty in Surabaya.
  • Kelenteng Sanggar Agung, a serene place immersing you in the rich culture of the Chinese community.
  • Gredja Boen Bio, where architecture and history converge in this fascinating Chinese temple.
  • Hong Tiek Hian Temple, a breathtaking stop for those wanting to immerse themselves in the mystique of Chinese temple art.
  • surabaya

Hotspots & food in Surabaya

Surabaya is filled with fantastic hotspots where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or drinks.

Dining at Arumanis Restaurant

You won’t believe it, but dining at this buffet is truly a great recommendation. During our stay in Karimunjawa, a Dutch couple recommended it to us, and we’re still grateful. At the Bimi Hotel in Surabaya, you’ll find the Arumanis hotel, where a delicious buffet is served three times a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And it’s not just a small, simple buffet. They have everything, and everything is top-notch! Sushi, Satay, numerous desserts, Western and traditional food—it’s a must-try. The cost is approximately 10 euros per person.

Tutto Bono Italian Restaurant

Craving Italian? Head to Tutto Bono Italian Restaurant. We haven’t come across many good Italians in Indonesia, so this is a fantastic recommendation.

The Buro

Next to Historica and just as trendy is The Buro. The place for an evening drink, especially on student nights.

Sushi Tei

We were in the mood for sushi and had heard good things about Sushi Tei. It’s located in a shopping mall, so it might take a bit of searching, but once found, you’ll be delighted. The sushi is delicious and reasonably priced.

La Cafe Gourmand Special (breakfast)

Finding a breakfast spot like we’re used to isn’t always easy, but we eventually discovered La Cafe Gourmand. WOW. It offered a fantastic breakfast with delicious coffees and a choice of various French breakfast options.

Citilites Skyclub & Bistro

If you’re looking for a sky bar in Surabaya, Citilities is the place to be. Super trendy with a stunning view over the city. It’s an extra special place for me because, after 11 years, on the exact same day I met my boyfriend, I was proposed to here.

Best time to travel to Surabaya

The best time to visit Surabaya is from May to October. The months of July and August can be a bit busier, so if you have the chance, we recommend avoiding these months.


Transportation in Surabaya

The best way to get around Surabaya is with Grab. Grab is the Asian equivalent of Uber. While Uber is often available as well, Grab tends to be faster and more cost-effective. You also have the option to book a scooter, which is not only quick but also more budget-friendly.

Which budget do i need in Surabaya?

Traveling to Surabaya doesn’t have to empty your wallet. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect in terms of budget:


For budget travelers, there are simple guesthouses and hostels starting from around €10-€20 per night. If you prefer a bit more comfort, mid-range hotels are available from €30-€50 per night.


Grab is the king of affordable transportation in Surabaya. Scooters are a cost-effective choice for short rides. Expect an average of €1-€5 for short Grab rides and €5-€10 for longer distances. Public transportation is also budget-friendly, with bus tickets starting from €0.30.


Many attractions in Surabaya are accessible at a friendly price. Entrance fees for popular places like Surabaya Zoo often range between €1-€5.


Street food is the tasty and budget-friendly choice in Surabaya. Local warungs offer meals for just a few euros. Restaurants are slightly more expensive, but you can still enjoy a delicious meal for around €5-€10.

With smart choices, you can explore Surabaya without breaking the bank. Happy travels!

Practical information about Surabaya

  • Money: Carry cash for small purchases, use a credit card for larger expenses.
  • Clothing: Wear light, breathable clothing; dress respectfully for religious sites.
  • Drinking Water: Consume bottled water to prevent stomach issues.
  • Electricity: European plug standard.
  • Transportation: Use Grab for rides, exercise caution when crossing streets.
  • Language: Knowing some basic words in Bahasa Indonesia can be helpful.
  • Health: Check vaccinations, bring mosquito repellent, and sunscreen.
  • Culture: Show respect for local customs and behavior, especially in religious places.

What are nice places to stay in Surabaya?

Travel further to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *