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10 things to do in Surabaya

Surabaya is Indonesia’s second-largest city, and also the capital of the province of East Java. As a bustling metropolitan hub, the city has much to offer: massive shopping malls, picturesque Chinatown alleyways, and one of the most stunning mosques in Indonesia. Let Skyscanner show you the top 10 Surabaya attractions, so you can start planning your visit.

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1. Masjid Al Akbar Mosque

Towering above the skyline, the Masjid Al Akbar Mosque is one of the largest Islamic mosques in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Built in 2001, the mosque is easily distinguished by its turquoise dome structure, contrasted with white walls. It’s also at this mosque that you can capture the best panoramic views of Surabaya, from the top of the visitor tower. For a country whose traditions are steeped in religion, visiting places of worship in Surabaya should not be missed.

Address: Jalan Masjid Al Akbar Timur No.1, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: Hop on any bus heading for the main bus terminal, and get off at Jalan Ahmad Yani. You can then walk or take a becak to Masjid Al Akbar Mosque.

2. House of Sampoerna

One of Surabaya’s top tourist attractions happens to be where Indonesia’s world-famous Sampoerna cigarettes are produced. Today, the House of Sampoerna doubles as a cigarette factory and museum. This historical site was originally a Dutch colonial-style orphanage compound built in 1862. After being acquired by Liem Seeng Tee, a Sampoerna cigarette company, this preserved historical site now educates visitors about the history of Sampoerna and demonstrates how their famous cigarettes are rolled and packed.

Address: Taman Sampoerna No. 6, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: Take a city bus from Terminal Purabaya to Jembatan Merah Plaza. You can then walk or take a becak to House of Sampoerna.

3. Ciputra Waterpark

Being the biggest water park in Surabaya and Indonesia, Ciputra Waterpark has lots to offer, with attractive pool themes and rides to cater to both the young and old, making it a favourite spot to spend some fun family time together.

Address: Kawasan Waterpark Boulevard Citraland, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: Taxi for around S$10 (IDR90,000)

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4. Mirota Batik & Handicraft Surabaya

Mirota Batik displays batik patterns from different regions of Indonesia. Batik involves applying wax to natural fabrics, which are then dyed and washed, and the pattern is made by the resistance of the dye to the wax. Watch as the traditional artisans weave their way through different designs. With over 2,000 pieces of batik in different patterns, it has come to be known as the greatest Batik House in Surabaya.

Address: Mirota Craft Centre, Ngagel, Wonokromo, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: Take a taxi from Tunjungan Plaza

Display of colourful batik fabrics.

Learn how to make batik at the Mirota Craft Centre.

5. Chinatown

Nicknamed Kya-Kya, Chinatown translates to "hanging around" in Hokkien dialect. Indeed, this charming neighbourhood provides an abundance of photo opportunities, with streets decorated with typical Chinese dragon figurines and red lanterns. Discover traditional shops, old warehouses and residential homes in this Chinese district, and you’ll be occasionally greeted with live entertainment from the locals.

At night, hundreds of food and beverage stalls come alive, selling food that runs the gamut from Chinese to European cuisine. These vendors extend their operating hours to 2 or 3 in the morning on weekends.

Address: Jalan Panggung, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: 20-minute walk from the House of Sampoerna

6. Mount Bromo

Standing proudly at 2,329 metres in altitude, Mount Bromo is famed for being the most active and most hiked mountain in Indonesia. Do not miss the sunrise atop the summit of Mount Penanjakan. Plan your hike well in advance, leaving at least 2 hours to be in time to catch the sunrise.

How to get there: From Surabaya, take a 3-hour bus ride to Probolinggo at S$5 (IDR50,000) per person. Then take a small bus from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang: this 1-hour ride should cost around S$3 (IDR30,000).

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Bird's eye view of the volcanic peaks of Mount Bromo.

Soak up the majestic beauty of Mount Bromo.

7. Eat traditional food

Don’t leave Surabaya without trying some of its traditional dishes. Rujak Cingur is a famous vegetable and fruit salad dish mixed with spicy sauce. Ingredients include cucumber, pineapple, young mango and kale. The sauce is made of fermented shrimp, giving it a dark and fishy taste. The highlight of the dish is the marinated cow snout or lips (cingur). It is usually accompanied with lontong, a boiled, compressed rice cake.

Lontong Balap is another traditional dish of Surabaya. This dish is a beef broth, made of lontong, bean sprouts, fried shallots, fried mung bean cake and fried tofu. The locals tend to pair this dish with soy sauce and chilli sauce to enhance its taste.

8. Bratang Flower Market

Once a small farmer’s market, the Bratang Flower Market is now the most comprehensive flower market you can find around Surabaya. This traditional flower market easily houses over 200 booths and 65 merchants. Be spoilt for choice at the smorgasbord of different tropical fauna indigenous to the Indonesian islands. You’ll be tantalised by the aromatic smells of the flowers as you take in the visually stunning displays of colour.

Address: Pasar Burung Bratang, Jalan Bratang Binangun, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: 20-minute taxi ride from Tunjungan Plaza

Bouquets of red roses on display.

Get your fill of flowers ar Bratang Flower Market.

9. Genteng Market

Genteng Market is a traditional market located near the Tunjungan Centre, selling fresh fruits, household necessities and souvenirs. It is the place to be for souvenir-hunting, given the wide variety of traditional snacks they sell, such as shrimp paste, lorjuk and sea cucumber crackers. With over 1,000 stalls in the market, be prepared to spend some time here.

Address: Pasar Genteng Baru Surabaya, Jalan Genteng Besar No.82, Jawa Timur, Indonesia How to get there: 10-minute walk from Tunjungan Plaza

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10. Tunjungan Plaza

Looking to satisfy your shopping addiction? Look no further than Tunjungan Plaza, the largest shopping centre in East Indonesia. With over 500 retail outlets, there is no lack of entertainment here; you’ll also find restaurants, cinemas, and even an arcade centre to keep the kids occupied.

Address: Jalan Basuki Rahmat No.8-12, Jawa Timur, Indonesia

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Published in April 2017. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.