Surabaya Mini Guide
The Heroic City
Always known as the heroic city, in mythical times crocodiles and sharks fought for control of the area – crocodiles are “sura” and sharks “baya”. Following on from this it was officially named in 1293 when it defended it self against Chinese troops and it is still known as the “City of Heroes” today after the Battle of Surabaya took place during the struggle for Indonesian Independence in 1945. Nowadays it is also known as the “Gateway to Bali”, the nearby holiday destination.
A Diverse Range of Cultures
Most of the population of Surabaya (around 3 million) are Moslem, however, due to the influx of immigrants over the years there are also many Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindu's living in the area, so there is a wide selection of religious buildings including, churches, mosques and temples to visit.
Shop Till You Drop!!
One of the main attractions in Surabaya is the shopping, again this is very diverse depending on what you want to buy. There are large modern malls and plazas with western style goods on offer or you can the visit the local street markets and practise haggling to lower the price.
Kayoon Flower Market & Park
Despite having the same name, these are actually two different places, the Kayoon Flower Market is located in Kayoon Street and is a must for all flower enthusiasts as it is the largest and most complete flower market in Surabaya, with all kinds of tropical plants and flowers on display. It also has a restaurant offering local food from East Java.
Kayoon Park is located along the west bank of the Kayoon River, it is normally visited in the evening as a recreational park by both locals and tourists alike. Many watersports take place along the Kayoon River including canoe racing, and sailing and there is a food centre selling traditional East Java food if you get hungry. Just to the north of the park is Kayoon Market selling beautiful tropical orchids.
Kalimas Tradional Seaport
This traditional seaport lies east of the Kalimas River about 10km west of Kenjeran Beach. It is a living history of the maritime heritage of Surabaya with its harbour filled with brooch-beamed Phinisi schooners and fishing boats amongst other craft.
Heroes Monument & Surabaya Sepuluh November Museum
This monument and museum are dedicated to the fighters for the independence of Indonesia in 1945. The first stone for the monument was laid by the first President of the republic. The museum is housed in a building, which during World War II when the country was under Japanese occupation, was used as the headquarters of the Kempetai or Japanese Military Police.
Although a huge and sprawling city, Surabaya has more to offer than just the gateway to the holiday island of Bali. There, with a hire car you can visit several sights which were key to colonial days and the struggle for independence. You can also visit some unusual attractions including the speed cigarette rolling demonstration at the House of Sampoerna.
At night, amble down G-Walk where street vendors sell hot and spicy food from their stalls interspersed with bazaar style shopping with almost everything you could need. With the colours, sounds and smells it’s quite an experience!
If you're renting a car in Indonesia
you can pick-up in Surabaya and return elsewhere, our one-way rental fees are displayed in our rates for transparency.