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Written by Sahiri Loing
Edited by Laura Jodoin

While Surabaya might not be the obvious choice for travel, you’re sure to fall in love with its colonial and scenic charm (just like Jakarta).

Much like the capital city, most people visit Surabaya for business purposes, or as a point of transfer before they head off to greener pastures like Mount Bromo or the Ijen Crater.

Also read: 17 unexpectedly fun things to do at the chilly town of Malang, just 2 hours from Surabaya

But up close and personal, Surabaya and its surrounding areas have many interesting things to quench your thirst for wanderlust!

Check out these 13 attractions in Surabaya that will have you glad you visited this unique and charming city.

1. Stand Between Majestic White Pillars: Bukit Kapur Sekapuk

We’ve got another accidental man-made tourist attraction that’ll look great on your Instagram/Facebook post – in case you’re looking for some Instagram inspiration!

Similar to Jaddih Hill, the Sekapuk Hills in Gresik regency are composed of active chalk mines that, after years of “sculpting” by the miners, have resulted in sleek-looking caves, hallways, and beautiful giant “pillars” that are sure to remind you of the halls and pillars of ancient Greece.

Photo by yugo ss
Photo by mr.willy jalan2

For those who like to “do it all”, Sekapuk Hill is located only 14 kilometres from Mushroom Hill, so it’s easy for you to be able to do both in one day – and should absolutely be part of your holiday itinerary in Gresik!

Photo by faith hong

Bukit Kapur Sekapuk

Address: Desa Sekapuk, Kecamatan Ujung Pangkah, Kabupaten Gresik
Getting there: the hill is only about an hour away from Gresik regency. Take Jalan Pantura Lamongan to reach Desa Sekapuk in Ujung Pangkah.

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2. A Sublime Limestone Scene: Bukit Wisata Pelalangan

The local community-managed Pelalangan Hill in Madura Island houses towering, highly photogenic landscapes of limestone cliffs surrounded by bright, lush greenery, and the limestone mining adds that flowy, sculpted look to the cliff face.

Photo by amethystaiko

We promise you’ll be awestruck just staring at these cliffs – but make sure to capture the magnificence on camera so you can see it again and again!

Photo by aditzt

But the beauty is of course not all man-made; the brown rocks—resembling something that you might find on a trip across America—have naturally-occurring carvings etched into their surfaces.

Photo by bimoluki02
Photo by olkynpradonnick,yugo_ss

So feel free to snap away (to preserve the moment forever!) then go ahead and marvel at the wonder.

Bukit Wisata Pelalangan

Address: Arosbaya, Bangkalan Regency, Madura Island, East Java.
Entrance Fee: Only for parking, Rp.5000 (for motorcycle) and Rp.20,000 (for car).
Getting there: Take the Suramadu Bridge, and it’ll be a 48-minute drive from the toll road to Arosbaya in Bangkalan Regency. Just ask for the location of Aer Mata Ebu grave—the grave of Madura’s royal family—because the limestone hills are located in the same area.


3. Monumen Kapal Selam – Climb Inside a Submarine!

If you’re a fan of boating, Monumen Kapal Selam (or Monkasel) is the perfect daytime destination while you’re out and about in Surabaya. You won’t want to miss this unique attraction!

Photo by tridharmaprasetya

Located near Plaza Surabaya, the monument lies as majestically on land as it would in water. This Soviet era-made submarine was once used during missions in the 1960s, and now stands proudly on land as a visitor attraction.

Photo by ali subekhi

And not just to look at, either – this stunning structure is open to the public, and you can actually enter!

Named KRI Pasopati 410, the submarine boasts of seven small rooms. Explore the corners of this awe-inspiring submarine, from officers’ modest lodgings to the structural points unique to this underwater beast.

Photo by iwantede

Get a sense of how life at sea might have been, and explore the innards of this historical structure – you won’t regret spending your day here!

Photo by sandydnc

Monumen Kapal Selam

Address: Jl. Pemuda No. 39, Embong Kaliasin, Genteng, Surabaya
Contact: +62 31 5490410
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Entrance Fee: USD 0.75 (Approximately Rp. 10,000)

4. A Towering Figure of the Past: Menara Suar Sembilangan

For folks who love the ocean, this next stop is sure to tickle your fancy. On Madura Island, just off the coast of Surabaya, is found a stunning Dutch-era lighthouse, a 65m tall and 17-floor towering presence protruding from Sembilangan Village.

Photo by cak.sonn

Though it’s a bit of a struggle to get to the top of Sembilangan Lighthouse (this is a great spot for you to get your workout in, thanks to all the stairs!), once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be glad you made the trek! It’s no wonder that so many couples opt for their pre-wedding photos to be taken here.

Photo by anissarahmawt,jojo.christ

Though you might be huffing and puffing on the way up, you’ll be another kind of breathless when you reach the top; you’ll be gazing out at a gorgeous view of the ocean, the Tanjung Perak port, and the surrounding greenery all around the village. This makes for a fantastic spot for aspiring photographers; don’t forget your camera!

Photo by mini dn

Menara Suar Sembilangan

Address: Jalan Sembilangan, Socah, Pernajuh, Kec. Bangkalan, Kabupaten Bangkalan, Jawa Timur 69161, Indonesia
Entrance Fee: only for parking, Rp.3000 (USD around 0.2, for motorcycle) and Rp.5000 (USD 0.38, for car).
Getting there: It’s pretty easy getting here since almost everyone in Madura knows where the lighthouse is once you’ve passed the Suramadu Bridge and go to Bengkalan regency. A useful tip: when you ask for directions, just refer to the lighthouse as “lampu” (or light bulb) since most people know it by that particular name.

5. Nature sites rock!: Bukit Masegit

 Nature lovers unite! For a more nature-friendly destination, Bukit Masegit in Sampang (still on Madura Island) is growing in popularity, quickly becoming one of the most visited natural sites.

Photo by theo_s.29

At Bukit Masegit, you’ll be blessed with a stunning scenic view of surrounding trees. This rocky hill is high enough to offer you not only these wide green views, but it’s also a great spot where you can marvel at the sunset, especially if you’re travelling with your sweetheart in tow, or the sunrise, if you’re an early bird!

Photo by fanireza
Photo by fanireza

For those with an adventurous streak in them, you can even do some basic rock climbing thanks to the protruding rocks nearby!

Photo by Idie Kinanith

Bukit Masegit

Address: Kecamatan Omben, Kabupaten Sambang, Madura Island.
Getting there: Take the Suramadu bridge and take the road to Sampang (via Jl. Kamal – Kalianget it’ll take around 1.5 hours). The Masegit Hills are located north of Sampang.

6. Insta-fabulous natural spring: Bukit Jaddih

While this visually-pleasing spot may be more man-made, you’ll be sure to fall in love with its bright charming looks – we promise!

If you’re wondering what it is about Bukit Jaddih that makes it stand out, you’d be correct in thinking that it’s got that special something!

Photo by 89captain

Bukit Jaddih in Bangkalan is actually a cluster of chalk deposits that became chalk mines, many of which are still in operation today.

That’s why the hill has a sculpted structure that—even though man-made—makes it awe-inspiring and totally Instagrammable (which we know is a huge plus for all you Insta-lovers!).

Photo by meizda

But it’s not just chalk; you’ll also see a pool in the middle of the hills filled with natural spring water, coined by locals as “aeng goweh pote” (or the white cave water). This impossibly clear blue water makes for a great photo-op to tell all your friends about your trip.

Photo by masfaisal

Plus, after some picture-taking in the sweltering heat, you will probably be tempted to take a little dip!

Photo by yanwelem,oman_ohim

Bukit Jaddih

Address: Parseh, Socah, Kabupaten Bangkalan, Jawa Timur 69161, Indonesia.
Entrance Fee: only for parking, Rp.10.000 (approximately USD 0.80) for cars and Rp. 5000 (USD 0.38) for motorcycle
Getting there: The hills are located 10km from the town of Bangkalan. After passing Suramadu Bridge, head to Bangkalan and find the path to Pasar Jaddih, and the chalky hills are located only a hundred meters away from the traditional market.

7. Rumah Hantu Darmo – Oh What a Ghoulish Affair!

If you have a bit of a daredevil streak and a thirst for spooky adventure, you will definitely want to check out the Darmo’s Haunted House, where, according to legend, a family perished in a fire that burned down this house.

Photo by ebensenimangagal

Another famous tale claims they made a pact with the devil in return for wealth (locally called pesugihan), and when they broke the promise the devil sank their ship as they were travelling by sea.

While these claims may be nothing more than fanciful tales to spook the gullible, half the excitement is in the possibility of a real haunted house.

Photo by fathurrizki_bejok,octavius_billy

Though the rundown structure, which once stood majestic, now looks benign in the daytime (the rooms are all out in the open now), it becomes a looming structure at night and emanates a chilling aura.

Photo by tomy riberu

So go ahead… be their guests. For an added dose of terror, wander around the area after darkness has fallen!

Rumah Hantu Darmo

Address: Jl. Puncak Permai II No.26, Sukomanunggal, Surabaya
Getting there: There are no easy public transport to get there, so you can take a taxi or ojek (motorcycle cab) towards the road that goes to PTC or Citraland. After the red light near the famous horse statue at HR Muhammad, make a U-turn and make a left at Royal Medical. Go straight and make two lefts then you’ll arrive at the Darmo Haunted House.

8. Escape to the Mediterranean: Wisata Bukit Mas

 If you’ve always wanted to visit Europe, but haven’t found the time, this might be the place for you!

Wisata Bukit Mas is a premium housing complex reminiscent of European regions; the different areas are named with monikers such as Alexandria, Acropolis, Madrid, Versailles, and Rome.

Photo by vonny uzya,firman a94

Their Notre Dame Adventure Park is worth a visit too, owing to its playground and beautiful lake. This makes it an unforgettable place to spend a day if you decide you want a little short-term escape from Indonesia!

Photo by thyn wonatorey,ditro3

This complex offers many corners for you to relax the day away, with its wide and lush green space.

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Are you athletically-inclined? Good news: it’s also ideal for a jog, and a swim at their Colosseum Club House (modelled after the Roman amphitheatre of the same name!) will only cost you Rp. 30k (or USD2.25) on workdays and Rp. 35k (USD 2.63) on weekends.

Photo by saifudintaufik,gracetan2809
Photo by patriciateguh
Photo by okkyyp

So if you’ve been looking for a different dose of culture, you won’t regret visiting the Wisata Bukit Mas – and you can tell your friends that you’ve been holidaying in the Mediterranean!

Wisata Bukit Mas

Address: Komplek Perumahan Wisata Bukit Mas, Jalan Raya Menganti Lidah Wetan, Wiyung, Lidah Wetan, Lakarsantri, Kota SBY, Jawa Timur 60213, Indonesia
Contact: +6231 7534000

Website

9. A Peek Inside an Empire: House of Sampoerna

 Even if you’re not a smoker, you might find an inspiring rags-to-riches story at the heart of House of Sampoerna.

Photo by minangurie

This fascinating museum chronicles the rise of Liem Seng Tee and his wife from small-time handmade cigarette producers to business moguls, eventually coming to found the biggest brand in Indonesia.

Photo by jessica paolo

To make you feel particularly comfortable and at-home, this museum is set in the real home of the company’s founders; you’ll see genuine old photographs of the family, along with an endless collection of enchanting antique paraphernalia (including an old cigarette stall!).

Photo by hentriw

Interestingly, the museum is still home to 4,000 female workers who hand-roll the tobacco, producing incredible amounts of cigarettes every hour. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you might want to visit the art gallery, or find something memorable in the souvenir shop.

Photo by a_g_u_s_s,wikandewanta,arisulistyowati,rifkyuhuy
Photo by david.kulcsar

Though smoking may not be your cup of tea, there’s no denying that this museum is a fascinating place to gain insight into the economic history of Indonesia – and a great way to kill some time on a rainy day!

House of Sampoerna

Taman Sampoerna No.6, Krembangan, Pabean Cantikan, Surabaya.
Contact: +6231 3539000
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 10:00 pm)
Entrance Fee: FREE

Website

10. Picture Perfect (and Haunted!) Train Graveyard: Dipo Lokomotif Sidotopo

If you love antiques, and all things old-fashioned, the dipo locomotive is great for picture-taking (especially at the west side entrance!).

Just like Darmo’s Haunted House, this locomotive is home to some spooky tales: some people have reported seeing a ghostly presence in the vicinity, and one particular story mentions that one locomotive—the made-in-Germany BB 301 from the 60s—left the station on its own, unmanned.

Photo by bendottetapsemangat

In short, you’re sure to get goosebumps at this place, and even if you don’t, who can resist historical sites?

Photo by adjitrisetyo

This still-functioning station is used largely for the loading of heavy items for delivery. The station (with 18 emplacements) and the dipo (the trains’ final stop where they are repaired and maintained, or stored if not in use anymore) is considered the biggest in Java.

Photo by aliciachristy,kharismaviky

You won’t want to miss this interesting stop in Surabaya if you happen to be here for the day! Be sure to get a selfie with the train in the background; if you’re lucky, you might capture a ghost too!

Dipo Lokomotif Sidotopo

Address: Jl. Sidotopo Wetan, Kenjeran, Simokerto, Surabaya
Entrance Fee: FREE, you just have to convince the security officers that you’re there for picture taking.

11. Parading Pasuruan’s Best Fashion: Pasuruan Fashion Carnivale

 Though Indonesia may not be well-known for its fashion carnival, this is not a fiesta that you are going to want to miss. This particular carnival, while being bright and vibrant and wildly enthusiastic, offers a vibe much like a small-scale Mardi Gras.

Photo by e.ekik

You’d be getting a head start into the world of this fashion carnival; Pasuruan Fashion Carnivale is new to the scene, having only been held for the first time last year on September 14 as a celebration alongside the town’s 1087th anniversary.

The parade will tour around the town, displaying the majestic and exotic creations of the locals that incorporate Pasuruan’s homegrown signatures like the batik, as well as motifs of fruits and flowers.

Photo by nicku nhm
Photo by jurnalisjituofficial

Some designs even use recycled goods such as plastic – for those who appreciate environmentally-friendly fashion, you should definitely check this out!

It’s simply wonderful to see the creativity being paraded, and if you’re a local, get ready to swell with pride – and encourage travellers from near and far to join in on the fun!

Pasuruan Fashion Carnivale

Getting there: Pasuruan is located around 64km southeast of Surabaya. To get here, you only need to drive through either Jalur Pantura (North Coast Road) or Jalan Tol Surabaya which will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Website

12. Be Sheltered Under Giant Mushrooms: Bukit Jamur Bungah

 If you’re after a unique day trip, look no further. Though it might seem strange to call this location something akin to a smurf village, you’ll understand why.

Bukit Jamur in Gresik (located 45 minutes north of Surabaya) quite literally resembles its namesake – the mushroom. From afar, you might mistake this for a cluster of mushrooms, and it almost looks like a village!

Photo by agoes megalamat ithuechocker

But get a little closer, and you’ll enter what feels like Lilliput city – because these towering rocks can reach up to 7 meters high.

Photo by jonathanyoyon

These adorable mushroom hills are formed naturally by weather and wind throughout the years, and became mushroom-shaped when the upper rock is sturdier than its base.

You can have a lot of fun with photo-ops here; if you pretend you’ve shrunk, your family and friends might believe you!

Bukit Jamur Bungah

Address: Bungah, Kabupaten Gresik, Jawa Timur 61152, Indonesia
Opening Hour: Monday through Sunday, 6:00 am – 5:00 pm
Entrance Fee: only for parking, Rp.5000 (USD 0.38) for car and Rp.3000 (USD 0.20) for motorcycle.
Directions: Head north from Surabaya and take the Jalan Pantura up to Bengawan Solo Bridge, then take a left. It’s a 1km journey from there to Pondok Bunga Indah where the mushroom clusters are located.

13. A Gorgeous Island Getaway: Bawean Island

 You can’t go wrong with a tropical island getaway, especially if the island is still one of the best-kept secrets of the region!

Bawean Island is located off the shore of Gresik regency in the north, roughly a 3 to 3.5-hour ferry trip (that runs three times a week). The ticket price varies: the Bahari Express costs between IDR 146,500 (around USD 12) for Executive Class and IDR 162,500 (or approximately USD 1) for VIP.

But, of course, it’s even faster if you take the plane—Air Fast airline—that now flies three times a week from Surabaya, with the plane ticket costing between IDR 302,200 (around USD 24) and IDR 240,200 (around USD 19). Plus, only on a plane will you descend into the island paradise with stunning views that overlook the entire island.

Of course, you can’t forget accommodations! On Bawean, you can find four inexpensive hotels near the Sangkapura port (Barokah, Pusaka Bawean, Fathin, Intan); while not fancy, these hotels will satisfy all your hotel needs with a rustic and homey charm.

The island is beautiful and very lush, offering unspoilt stretches of natural tropical landscape. Good news for water lovers – this untouched paradise is perfect for diving or snorkelling!

But venture deeper into the island and you’ll find other must-see natural attractions that will make you seriously consider never leaving!

13-a. Take a Dip in the Fountain of Youth: Danau Kastoba

Though Danau Kastoba is often a second choice for lakes, Danau Kastoba in the heart of Pulau Bawean is still a sublime and enchanting oasis.

Phoot by dickiagusani

It’s quite a trek to get here but once you’ve reached, you’ll be thrilled you made the trek. The water is cool to swim in, but if you’re not in the mood for a dip, just sit at the gazebo and gaze out at the enthralling view.

Photo by have van

For environmental enthusiasts,  Danau Kastoba has been listed as a conservation area since 1979—so you’ll be pleased to know that people make extra effort to keep this area especially clean and unspoilt. In short, no littering!

According to the locals, the water at Kastoba may preserve your youth, but whether or not this is a one-time deal, or the result from repeated exposure is unclear. Although if it is the latter, at least you’ll have plenty of reasons to come back again!

Danau Kastoba

Address: Pulau Bawean, Danau/Waduk, Sangkapura, Kabupaten Gresik, Jawa Timur 61181, Indonesia
Getting there: From Sangkapura port, it’s a 1.5 hour trip that takes the Bawean “ring road” to reach Desa Paromaan. From the village, the lake is 1km away, or a 25-minute trek up a hill.

13-b. An Unparalleled View of the Seas: Tanjung Gaang

A tantalizing view of the ocean will never fail to delight you – and that’s exactly how we felt when we reached Tanjung Gaang (or Gaang Promontory).

Photo by bagaswarargh

This awe-inspiring site boasts of a vast expanse of towering coral cliffs (some covered in natural vegetation) that winds and stretches out into the clear blue sea; every spot easily ideal for photo-taking. You can also spend some leisure time here as well as down at the Tanjung Kodok Beach.

Photo by rikeverlita
Photo by kapten nemo

If you decide to come explore this hidden corner of the island, renting a boat is highly recommended (rent costs only Rp. 50k and it can carry more than 10 people) so you can cruise every corner of the promontory.

Photo by rizkyadamm_13

Feel like a world explorer as you steer your vessel out to the clear blue sea to get up close and personal to this wonder of nature!

Photo by bagaswarargh

Tanjung Gaang

Address: Dusun Somor-Somor, Tanjung Kima.
Getting there: Tanjung Gaang is located in the area of Desa Somor-Somor, around 8km from Sangkapura port. It’s easier—and faster—to charter a boat from the port.

13-c. Go with the Flow: Air Terjun Grojogan Candi

Of the two incredible waterfalls in Pulau Bawean, the first —Grojogan Candi—is located not far from Kastoba Lake, only a 200-meter trek down from the lake.

Photo by gresiktourism

It’s a modest-sized waterfall (or grojogan in the local language), flowing like a water slide from between the rocks to gather in the cool, greenish pond below, but the scenery surrounding certainly adds a more soul-soothing experience.

Photo by marshelldotcom

Whether you come here to relax, or to take some unforgettable pictures to carry home with you, you can’t miss this stunning and refreshing stop, yet another box to tick on the list of wonderful sites on this enchanting island.

Photo by handareka

Air Terjun Grojogan Candi

Address: Desa Paromaan, Kecamatan Tambak, Sangkapura
Getting there: take the same path to Danau Kastoba as it’s located only about 200 meters from the lake.

13-d. Refresh Your Mind and Body: Air Terjun Laccar

Taller than Grojogan Candi (25 meters high, to be exact), Laccar Waterfall bursts through beautiful lush cliffs.

Photo by zakariyah 18

It’s quite a trek to get here, but you’ll be rewarded with an awesome view and a cool, relaxing atmosphere. Once you see the oasis around you, feeling at peace and totally relaxed beside these rushing streams of crystal clear water, you’ll be glad that you pushed yourself through the challenging trek.

Photo by muchtarjai

Plus, the area is the perfect site to do some soul-searching reflection, or perhaps yoga – namaste!

Air Terjun Laccar

Address: Dusun Laccar, Desa Kebontelukdalem, Kabupaten Gresik, East Java
Getting There: The waterfall is located around 15km from Sangkapura. Head to Desa Dusun Laccar and from there you’ll have to travel by foot among coconut trees for about 700 meters and along a rocky river for 500 meters to get to the waterfall.

13-e. Sun, Sand, Surf, and Solitude: Pulau Noko and Pulau Gili

If pristine white sand beaches are what you seek, these two islands are for you! After all, who can say no to crystal blue water and white sand?

The uninhabited Noko Island has one of the most beautiful beachfront lawns in Indonesia.

Photo by rusli89

If you’re a fan of water adventure, this might be the perfect place for you, since Noko Island is also great for snorkelling owing to both the clarity of the water, and the prosperous aquatic life which makes for a successful snorkelling outing!

Photo by puputfeby

Meanwhile, the nearby Gili Island (connected to Noko Island via a land spit, across which you can walk for approximately 30 minutes at low tide) has a population of around 700 households, and, similar to Noko, features gorgeous white sand beaches and snorkelling-worthy seas. (P.S. This is not in Lombok’s cluster of Gili islands, in case you are wondering! It’s another island with the same name.)

Photo by chezher 96,nads

These islands make the perfect getaway for the beach bum in everyone – so if you’re seeking sun, sand and surf, but also a little solitude away from crowds and tourists, this is the perfect place to satisfy your beach needs!

Pulau Noko & Pulau Gili

Address: Desa Pamona, Kecamatan Sangkapura, Sidogedungbatu, Sangkapura, Gresik
Getting there: Both of these islands are located east of Bawean. You can travel by boat from Desa Daun that’ll take around 30 minutes to reach.
Boat Fee: Around IDR 200.000 (approximately USD 15) for a round trip using a fisherman’s boat.

We are always enthusiastic to share our recommendations for off-the-beaten-track sites to visit as a traveller, and these top picks for day trips in and around Surabaya are no exception

Each place has its own charm and something magical about it that draws you in. Some might give you a rush of adrenaline, while others are sure to give you a nice respite from the hustle-and-bustle of city life.

One thing’s for sure – they’re perfect for a family day trip, a date with your sweetheart, or whether you’re a solo wanderer. Regardless of who you choose to travel with, these sites are not places that you want to miss–so don’t miss out!

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