10 Good Reasons to Visit the City of Heroes: Surabaya, East Java

A vast metropolis and the second largest city in Indonesia as well as being the industrial centre of the archipelago, Surabaya is not frequented by tourists as much as the city administration would like. But, the city has a virtual plethora of attractions and historical places that make Surabaya worthy of a few days stopover. Not only that, there are an immense amount of places outside the city and within driving distance that many travellers would find interesting, for instance, Mount Bromo, the southern city of Malang and Gunung Lewu to mention just a few. Surabaya has an enormous amount of great restaurants and warungs as well as a great selection of accommodation to suit most budgets. Being a coastal city and port, the island of Madura is only a few hours away by boat. The city is great to explore on foot or by using cheap, public transport. You will still find traces of the Dutch occupation in the architecture of many historical buildings and each one a treasure in its own right.

The array of attractions varies from beaches to museums and art galleries, monuments, temples and other places of worship. Here are just a few:

Mpu Tantular Museum

The museum houses a small but very interesting collection of historical and archaeological artifacts. The museum is actually in the residence of the former Javaasche Bank and located on Jl Taman Mayangkera opposite the Surabaya Zoo.

Loka Jaya Srana Museum

This is basically a naval museum housing a collection of all things naval including equipment from the Indonesian Navy. Great for military buffs and located in north Surabaya.

Hero’s Monument

The monument, though simple and not ornate, is dedicated to the tragedy that occurred on 10th November 1945 and commemorates the bravery of the youth of Surabaya during the infamous Battle of Surabaya. It is from this actual battle that Surabaya is known as the City of Heroes. Every November 10th, the monument becomes a centre of major attention as the day in 1945 when Surabaya commemorates those heroes who died during the independence war.

Joko Dolok Statue

Dating from the time of the Singosari Kingdom, this large and imposing statue bears the date A.D. 1289. The actual statue was brought to Surabaya from Malang by the Dutch in 1827. Legend has it being erected in the year 1211 Caka or 1289 AD in Wurare graveyard

Ampel Mosque

This is the city’s oldest mosque and was built in the 15th century by Sunan Ampel. There is a tomb at the rear of Sunan Ampel who was one of the nine walisongo or holy men who brought Islam to Java in the 15th century. The mosque is still in its original form and is a fine example of early Javanese architecture.

Cheng Hoo Mosque

Dating from the 15th century Ming Dynasty, the mosque is predominately used by Chinese Muslims and is dedicated to Admiral Cheng Hoo who first landed in Semarang. If you go to Semarang then visit the SamPoo Kong Temple there. This mosque actually has Chinese architecture making it a magnificent structure.

Hong Tiek Hian Buddhist Temple

Located on Jl Dukuh in north Surabaya this is the oldest temple in the city. It is a nice place to chill-out and watch the daily Pho Tee Hi wayang show with Chinese stories.

Kebun Binatang (zoo)

This is one of South-East Asia’s oldest and largest zoos housing 2,806 animals. It is well worth spending a good part of a day here. You can see Komodo Dragons and other exotic species. It is Surabaya’s top tourist attraction. Avoid going on the weekends as it is generally packed with locals.

Kali Mas Harbour

Located in the Arab quarter, for centuries this place has been visited by traders from around the world. It is a stunning place to visit as you can still see plenty of Phinisi sailing vessels from Sulawesi docked there. The wharf is actually two kilometres long.

Ria Kenjeran Beach

Really not much of a beach/amusement park but the interesting part is the small warungs where fishermen produce traditional dishes to tempt your taste buds. Great views of Madura island at sunset. You can hire small boats here.

Of course these are only a few but Surabaya offers so much more. There is a great selection of major shopping and cinema complexes, as well as superb shopping districts for those wishing to lighten their wallets.

Photo Credit: www.dementad.com