Surabaya City

Skyscraper city, multicultural markets and ethnic dining

Long grown rich on the back of trading sugar and tobacco in the 18th and 19th centuries, Surabaya City sits on the Brantas River. Dubbed the “City of Heroes” for its role in the fight for Indonesian independence in 1945, today it’s the economic powerhouse of East Java.
Contrast is everywhere. Take a ride round hectic backstreets and past ever-multiplying downtown skyscrapers in a becak pedicab, or zone out to the tranquil backdrop of lazy waves on Kenjeran Beach. Plunder glossy mega-malls, but be sure to dip into the cheerful chaos of Atom Market for batik T-shirts and Chinese lanterns.

Thanks to its backstory as a bastion of Dutch colonial trade, Surabaya is a truly multicultural city. Indonesia’s largest Chinatown is a melange of pop-up markets and incense-filled temples, the labyrinthine Arab Quarter an appealing jumble of coffee bars and perfume shops resounding to the beat of Middle Eastern music.

 

The Buddhist Sanggar Agung Temple, with its monumental statue of Guan Yin supported by dragons, co-exists happily with the pagoda-shaped Cheng Hoo Mosque, a marriage of Chinese architecture with Islamic symbolism.

Modern impacts on ancient too. The elegant Suramadu Bridge soars across the Madura Strait to once-remote Madura, an island community that has preserved its centuries-old traditions in art and language as well as the colourful, annual Karapan Sapi bull run.

 

Culinary adventures might include gourmet dining, but for a real taste of Indonesia, join the milling crowds at Genteng Night Market as they tuck into spicy black soup, bakso meatballs and rujak fruit salad.

Our hotel in Surabaya City

Discover also

Bandung

Bandung

Surrounded by mighty volcanoes and tea plantations, Bandung mixes laid-back charm with an edgy creativity. From art deco landmarks to cool boutiques and nature parks, West Java’s capital city is a gem waiting to be rediscovered.
Jakarta

Jakarta

With its futuristic horizon and determination to succeed on the world stage, ever-growing Jakarta is a Goliath of a metropolis. But look beyond its noisy exterior and you’ll soon recognise a city of enormous charm and vitality.
Medan

Medan

Sumatra’s main economic hub, Medan is an effervescent city with a raw edge best experienced in its lively markets and Dutch-era buildings. Volcanic highlands fringe its suburbs, providing ample opportunity to connect with
Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta

While many see “Jogja” as a base for visiting the Borobudur and Prambanan temple ruins, this lively city at the foot of Gunung Merapi volcano offers much more. It is the commercial, intellectual and cultural heart of central
World Map

Looking for inspiration?