What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Short flights to world-class beaches are the major attraction. However there are also some very interesting hill-stations and other attraction just a few hours drive from Surabaya. - Nov 2018
regional travel in East Java. - Oct 2015
There are several traditional markets in Surabaya, but I haven't been to any. Traffic and distance to them are challenges. To the south of the city, there are some attractions like golf, safari-like zoos, waterfalls, and a botanical garden. Across the Madura Strait, you can watch bull racing at certain times of the year. There is also some beautiful Dutch Colonial architecture in and around Surabaya that is nice to visit. Unfortunately, most of the "fun" things to do and the "gems" are a 2-3 hour drive outside of the city. - Apr 2015
Surabaya is an industrial, working city with zero tourist facilities or attractions. Surabaya's tourist map ("Sparkling Surabaya") lists mosques, an alligator-and-shark statue, and an old submarine as top tourist destinations. No beaches exist; The closest is a 6-hour drive south of Malang. The nearby island of Madura looks like a promising island but has no socially redeeming values other than the delicious Sinjai deep fried duck restaurant. Tourists smartly avoid Surabaya and continue to Bali. Surabaya's notorious red-light district, known as Dolly, is safe and organized, but nothing like the infamous bar hopping areas in Thailand or the Philippines. But there are a few fun things to do in and around Surabaya. They include: 1) The Arab Quarter and Surabaya fish market. Stroll through the shops, and check the largest seafood and wet market in Surabaya, then have a some baked goat and in a local restaurant. 2) Mt. Bromo volcano and surrounding volcanos is an easy hike, and 4 hours from Surabaya. 3) Soemperna clove cigarette factory, museum and restaurant. 4) Taman Safari Park is 2 hours by car and a good afternoon for the kids. You can pet wild anilmals and drive through a safari park while feeding the animals at your own leisure. 4) Drive six hours to Pacitan's pristine surfing areas and beaches. 5) Drive six hours to Sedang Biru island and hike to its beautiful saltwater lake and beach. 6) Have a draft beer at Lido's bar. This is one of the only real bars in Surabaya. It is cheap and popular with the expats. 7) Take one of 12 daily 40- minute flights to Bali for a long weekend and rent a villa in Seminyak. 8) Shoot aerial fireworks anytime, any place as long as you are celebrating Ramadahn. No one will challenge you. - Oct 2012
If you get invited to an Indonesian wedding, definitely go! They are beautiful and interesting. - May 2012
There are a couple modern malls that have an abundance of restaurants, stores, and movie theaters which show both local and western films. Travel by train, plane, or automobile to volcanoes, beautiful beaches, cultural sites dating back hundreds of years. The city of Surabaya itself is definitely NOT a tourist destination, but it is the gateway to the eastern half of this amazing country. - Oct 2010
Bali is close, you can visit volcanoes, Yogyakarta has some amazing old temples and other historical and cultural sites. Taman Safari animal park/zoo is great for kids. Youcan pet tiger and lion cubs! - Aug 2009