Surabaya is a city that gets better the more you get to know it. Surabaya has many quixotic corners of interest, such as its historic Arab Quarter – a fascinating labyrinth of lanes, and some interesting, though disintegrating, Dutch colonial buildings. The city also has one of Indonesia’s biggest Chinatowns.

History and Geography

Surabaya’s history is a compelling tale of maritime trade, colonial encounters, and a spirited struggle for independence. The city’s name, rooted in a legendary battle between a shark (sura) and a crocodile (baya), symbolizes its enduring spirit. Geographically, Surabaya is a crucial link between Java and the rest of Indonesia, making it a melting pot of cultures and traditions.

Local Attractions and Things to Do

Upon disembarking, visitors are greeted by the charm of a city that seamlessly marries the old with the new. A must-visit is the House of Sampoerna, a beautifully preserved Dutch colonial building turned museum, showcasing the city’s tobacco heritage. For a taste of local life, the bustling Pasar Atom and the colorful flower market at Pasar Bunga are perfect for soaking in the local vibes and picking up unique souvenirs.

The Surabaya Submarine Monument, a retired Russian submarine turned museum, offers a unique glimpse into naval history. The city’s iconic Red Bridge (Jembatan Merah), a silent witness to the battle for independence, is a poignant historical landmark.

Historical Places to Visit

History buffs will be drawn to the Majapahit Hotel, an architectural marvel that stands as a testament to Surabaya’s colonial past. The Heroes Monument and 10th November Museum, dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Surabaya, offer deep insights into Indonesia’s fight for freedom.


As the sun sets, Surabaya transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub. From rooftop bars like the Sky36 offering panoramic city views to the lively karaoke and live music scenes in the city’s many clubs and bars, there’s something for every night owl.

Must-See Restaurants

Culinary adventurers will find delight in Surabaya’s food scene. Traditional dishes like rawon (a rich beef soup) and lontong balap (a unique rice cake dish) are not to be missed. For a fine dining experience, the historic Zangrandi Ice Cream is a timeless choice, serving classic flavors in an Art Deco setting. For a taste of local seafood, Layar Seafood restaurant offers a sumptuous array of fresh catches.


In Surabaya, every turn reveals a new story, every street corner a different flavor, and every moment a unique experience. It’s a city that invites you to immerse yourself in its lively streets, resonate with its historical heartbeat, and indulge in its culinary wonders. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture vulture, or a foodie, Surabaya promises an unforgettable journey that will linger long after you’ve set sail.