If you’re visiting Surabaya as part of your Indonesian holiday, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to spend two or even three days in this relatively unknown city.
Well, you can stop, because we’ve put together an incredibly detailed itinerary for Surabaya that spans three full days. Activities, meals, and even coffee breaks – we’ve got it all covered.
Using Wyndham Surabaya as an inner-city base for exploring, you can wander between upscale restaurants, historic attractions and grungy street markets without missing a beat.
If you’re not a Surabaya local, chances are that your first day in the city comes on the heels of an overseas flight – you’re probably tired, jet-lagged and looking for a quick pick-me-up.
In our experience, food is the best medicine, and there’s nowhere better to have a quick, yummy feed than at Tangerine. One of Wyndham Surabaya’s four on-site restaurants, Tangerine boasts an extensive buffet guaranteed to satisfy any palate – try cereal, toast or chef-prepped Indonesian and International dishes, before washing your meal down with a glass of fresh juice or hot coffee.
Morning: The Heroes Monument/10 November Museum and the Suro and Boyo Statue
An 8-minute cab ride from Wyndham Surabaya.
Erected to honour the pro-revolution soldiers who died in the Battle of Surabaya during the Indonesian National Revolution, the tall, white-washed spire of the Heroes Monument is an unmissable city attraction.
Learn about the events of the 10th of November 1945 by visiting the 10 November Museum, located directly beneath the Monument.
Afterwards, catch a taxi and head 18 minutes south until you hit the Suro and Boyo Statue. The city’s name is said to have been derived from ‘suro’ and ‘boyo’, which mean ‘shark’ and ‘crocodile’ in the local dialect.
According to the prophecy of Javanese king Jayabaya, the two animals battled each other for supremacy, and modern Surabaya has honoured their legacy by erecting a huge statue of the two predators locked in combat.
A 7-minute cab ride from the Suro and Boyo Statue.
Head back to Tangerine for another exciting buffet – this one’s a lunch menu, with a flavour-packed ‘East meets West’ theme.
Encompassing a broad variety of European and Asian influences, you’ll be able to choose from dishes as diverse as beef stroganoff, pasta of the day, gado-gado (one of Indonesia’s national dishes), and Surabayan favourite rujak cingur (beef served with mango, cucumber and pineapple, soaked in a black petis sauce).
Early Afternoon: House of Sampoerna
An 18-minute cab ride from Tangerine.
The headquarters of Sampoerna, Indonesia’s largest tobacco company, the House is also a museum that details the history of the business. Learn about the Sampoerna family, see how tobacco was manufactured, and visit a shop dedicated to Surabyan souvenirs and Sampoernan cigarettes.
Outside, admire the House’s beautiful, Dutch-inspired façade and take a picture of the museum’s 1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.
If staying indoors isn’t really your style, explore the city with the Surabaya Heritage Track (also run by the House). Guided tours with different themes are available all through the week, and are one of the best ways to get a sense of Surabaya’s fascinating history.
Coffee Break: Tanamera Coffee
1 minute’s walk from the House of Sampoerna.
Get a caffeine boost after you’ve finished learning about tobacco at Tanamera Coffee. A staple in the Indonesian café scene, Tanamera consistently provides excellent brews packed with the powerful flavours of Java. Relax in their modernist dining space and enjoy a long black made with genuine Tanamera beans.
Late Afternoon: Sunan Ampel’s Tomb
A 15-minute cab ride from Calibre Coffee Roasters.
Sunan Ampel’s Tomb, also known as Ampel Mosque, is the oldest mosque in East Java. Built in 1421 CE, the mosque complex features a number of different courtyards; it also includes the tomb of Sunan Ampel himself, an Islamic saint credited with spreading Islam through the region.
Although the tomb is open to tourists, it’s also a religious site that attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims every year, so remember to be respectful. The area around Ampel Mosque is known as the ‘Arab Village’, and functions like a Middle Eastern Chinatown – browse Muslim clothing stores and Arab restaurants, and visit Pasar Ikan Pabean, Surabaya’s oldest traditional market.
A 20-minute cab ride from Sunan Ampel’s Tomb.
Your day’s almost over, so head back to Tangerine for a delicious dinner loaded with Surabayan and Western dishes.
Select your meals from an à la carte menu that includes ayam pelalah (spicy Balinese shredded chicken salad), penyetan suroboyo (fried chicken/duck with an Indonesian sauce) and buntut istimewa (oxtail with vegetables, steamed rice, sambal and emping crackers), as well as sirloin steak, grilled salmon and spinach tagliatelle.
Finish it all off with one of Tangerine’s five amazing desserts, and then head up to your room for a cosy Netflix session.
Sunrise: Ria Beach Kenjeran and Sanggar Agung Temple
A 26-minute cab ride from Wyndham Surabaya.
As Surabaya’s own strip of beach, Ria Kenjeran is primed for tourism, and features a diversity of rides, entertainment and amenities designed to accommodate visitors’ needs. The beach has particularly beautiful sunrise views; you can get some great photos from the beach’s brightly-painted wooden piers. If you’re one of those people who can’t function on an empty stomach, grab a breakfast box from Tangerine before you head out.
Once you’ve had your fill of sandy fun, take a 4-minute taxi trip to visit Sanggar Agung Temple. Also known as ‘Hong San Tang’, the temple is dedicated to Chinese deities; it features two large statues, as well as a formidable sea gate, which features a number of intricately-wrought icons. A massive gold-painted stupa houses the largest statue of Pha Phrom in Indonesia.
Morning Tea: Soto Ayam Lamongan Cak Har
A 17-minute cab ride from Sanggar Agung Temple.
Serving traditional soto soups like soto ayam (chicken soup with coconut milk), this bustling joint is popular with both locals and tourists alike. There’s nothing like dining in a proper soto hall to make your Surabaya holiday feel authentic, but think twice before you mix your rice with your soto – although it tastes yummy, it’s a culinary faux pas that might make regulars look at you askance.
Morning: Hutan Bambu
A 7-minute cab ride from Soto Ayam Lamongan Cak Har.
Surabaya’s own bamboo forest, Hutan Bambu is an oasis of natural beauty in the middle of the city. Located in Keputih, visitors are able to wander through the massive stands of bamboo, taking photos and admiring the on-site flower garden. It’s the perfect way to restore your tranquillity after the hustle and bustle of Ria Kenjeren.
Lunch: Depot Bu Rudy
A 17-minute cab ride from Hutan Bambu.
Eat Surabaya-style in this casual depot-cum-eatery; Depot Bu Rudy is quick, delicious Javanese done right. Try sambal-laden dishes featuring dumplings, fried chicken and grilled fish, along with finger-food appetisers and flavourful riverine soups. There’s few better places in the city to experience a cheap, fully authentic lunch.
Early Afternoon: The Surabaya Submarine Monument
A 13-minute cab ride from Depot Bu Rudy.
One of the city’s most bizarre attractions, the Monument is actually a decommissioned Russian submarine (KRI Pasopati 410), and the largest submarine monument in Asia. Watch videos about the submarine’s active-duty past, listen to live music, or jump into the public swimming pool.
Coffee Break: Caturra Espresso
A 9-minute cab ride from the Surabaya Submarine Monument.
Caturra Espresso’s Instagram describes it as the best coffee shop in Surabaya, and, we’ve got to admit, it’s a very strong contender. This specialty coffee shop is the perfect place to get a caffeinated pick-me-up; try its hot, iced, blended or manually-brewed coffee, and grab a post-lunch snack from a menu that features Australian, Indonesian, Italian and French influences.
Late Afternoon: Cheng Hoo Mosque
A 13-minute cab ride from Caturra Espresso.
While this Muslim-Chinese mosque isn’t ancient (it was only constructed in 2002), it’s still a neat dose of Surabayan culture that you shouldn’t miss. Its architecture is inspired by the Niu Jie Mosque in Beijing, which was built in 996 CE, so it still has a historic feel; admire the multi-tiered dome and antiquated statues as you explore the mosque’s red-painted interior.
A 12-minute cab ride from Cheng Hoo Mosque.
You know those ultra-luxe restaurants you see in the movies, the ones with the fancily-folded napkins and stylishly-appointed bars? That’s Hi-So.
Located on-site at Wyndham Surabaya, it’s a fine dining experience that you won’t forget, with international and Indonesian dishes available from an a la carte menu. Complement your meal with a line-up of premium wines, beer and spirits, or sample specialty cocktails handcrafted by Hi-So’s resident mixologist.
If you’re visiting Surabaya with your partner, why not treat them to a Hi-So romantic dinner? With fusion dishes like cured salmon, tenderloin steak and glazed chicken soya on offer, it’s the perfect way to make your evening even more memorable.
After Dinner: Clubbing/Exploring
Maybe you’re travelling with little ones, and the only thing you want to see more of is that soft hotel mattress.
But maybe you’re not. Maybe, fuelled by a delicious dinner and some truly excellent cocktails, you’re looking to hit up the clubs and explore Surabaya by night.
Most of the best nocturnal areas fall near the river between Kampoeng 61 and Chinatown. Get out on the dance floor at Penthouse’s International Business Club and Club 360 Surabaya, or see how much beer you can drink at COLORS and Foreplay Club.
Breakfast: The Sky Lounge
With panoramic views of Surabaya, the Sky Lounge is the exclusive way to eat brekkie.
Because the Lounge offers a private dining experience for Wyndham guests, you can enjoy an international breakfast from 6am to 10:30am, as well as a line-up of coffees, teas and juices. It’s located on-site at Wyndham Surabaya, so you won’t need to go far – just jump in the elevator, and head up to the 25th floor.
Morning: Mangrove Tour Wonorejo and Pucang Anom Traditional Market
A 37-minute cab ride from Wyndham Surabaya.
Head out of the city to the Wonorejo Mangrove Ecotourism Office. Designed as a sustainability project, the mangrove tour lets visitors wander among Surabaya’s mangrove via a wooden boardwalk. Although it’s not exactly heart-pumping, it’s a relaxing experience that lets you experience Indonesia’s natural world.
After you’ve finished your boardwalk adventure, migrate to Pucang Anom (35 minutes away). Known as pasar in Indonesian, traditional markets are a hybrid between the practical food items stocked by farmers’ markets and the cultural knick-knacks you often find at lifestyle markets.
Pucang Anom is famous for its selection of fresh fruits; buying directly from local farmers is always a great idea, as you’ll get to meet the locals and learn a little bit about Surabayan culture. You can also find a number of small shops nearby that offer more ‘touristy’ items, like antiques and handcrafted goods.
Lunch: Sate Kelopo Ondomohen Bu Asih
A 13-minute cab ride from Pucang Anom.
Vegans, this one probably isn’t for you. Sate Kelopo Ondomohen Bu Asih is one of Surabaya’s best satay joints, featuring different types of meat skewers and a line-up of tasty satays. The skewers are sprinkled with coconut, roasted on an open-flame grill, and then served with rice cakes. Be warned: this restaurant is very popular, so it might be quite busy.
Afternoon: Suramadu Bridge and Chinatown
A 21-minute cab ride from Sate Kelopo Ondomohen Bu Asih.
Suramadu Bridge is Surabaya’s most iconic work of architecture; this sprawling cable-stayed bridge connects Surabaya with nearby Madura. Once the sun sets, the bridge comes alive in a blaze of neon lights. Feel free to walk across it, or just take some awesome photos from a distance.
After you’ve scoped out the bridge, take an 18-minute cab ride back into Surabaya to explore Chinatown. Unlike the cultured, carefully maintained Chinatowns of the West, this one feels excitingly authentic – wander through tiny alleys crammed with locals, explore quiet cul-de-sacs, or visit the area’s array of Chinese-influenced temples.
5 O’clock Drinks: LJ’s Lounge
A 12-minute cab ride from Chinatown.
Located on-site at Wyndham Surabaya, LJ’s Lounge is a casually chic meld of funky taproom and cosy café.
Patterned carpets and cushioned chairs lend the Lounge a warm ambience; get a freshly-made cocktail, mocktail or coffee from the bartender as you relax and listen to live music with your family. If you’re still hungry after your satay-fest at lunch, tuck into the Lounge’s array of tapas, pastries and sweet desserts.
Dinner: de Soematra
A 5-minute cab ride from Wyndham Surabaya.
De Soematra is the fine dining experience you’ve been waiting for. Housed in a Dutch colonial building and boasting a suite of rave reviews on TripAdvisor, this restaurant’s Western/Italian fare is truly excellent.
Relax in beautifully appointed rooms, marvel at the historic décor, and devour your exquisitely plated meals. Although the dishes are pricey, the quality of the end result makes splashing a little extra cash definitely worth it.
After Dinner: Genteng Night Market
A 10-minute cab ride from de Soematra.
Genteng Night Market, also known as Pasar Genteng, is the perfect way to wrap up your last night in Surabaya.
Although there is an actual market operating in the same area during daylight hours, the night market springs up with the onset of evening – dozens of tiny food vendors ply their wares under the wash of the street lights. Sample local dishes at deeply affordable prices, and get a taste of the market’s lively, local atmosphere.
Bonus: The Grand Odiseus Spa
Your Surabaya itinerary is probably looking pretty full, but we know there’s always room for a little more ‘me time’, especially when you’re on holidays.
Experience Indonesian culture in an intimate, hands-on manner – the highly-trained therapists at the Grand Odiseus Spa offer a range of traditionally-inspired skin therapies, massages and facials designed to offer holistic mind-and-body restoration.
Try the signature Grand Odiseus Massage, or decompress with Jet Lag Massage acupuncture. If you want to explore Surabaya feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, this should be your first stop. The Grand Odiseus Spa is located on-site at Wyndham Surabaya.