Things to do in Surabaya with Kids

Don’t believe it when they tell you there’s nothing to do in Surabaya. There’s at least four, yes, FOUR things to do in Surabaya with the kids other than the malls. I know, it doesn’t sound like much but at least despite our 2 week-long trip we managed to entertain the boys and I didn’t die trying to come up with a new version of twinkle-twinkle little star. The rap version was hard enough.

Our 4 Favorite Places to Visit in Surabaya

1.    Monumen Kapal Selam (Monkasel) /Submarine Museum

This is a submarine museum similar to those you would find in most ports in the US. The original Russian submarine was purchased by Indonesia in 1962 and it was used during the campaign to force the Dutch out of the Irian Jaya. The submarine is kept in surprisingly good condition and it even has working AC. For 5,000 rupiahs per adult you have access to the submarine itself, a small museum and a short film about the history of the submarine. The submarine is quite large compared to others we’ve been in and Evan loved looking at the hatches and lying in the beds. The place was empty when we got there so we were able to stay in each of the areas of the submarine for as long as we wanted. We didn’t really go inside the museum or watch the film but I think Evan was really impressed by the size of the submarine and he kept yelling “big boat” as he was pointing at it. The tour took about half an hour at the most, since we were looking at every switch and room, but you could probably check it out in less than 10 minutes. In any case, I do think it’s worth visiting and for less than 1 USD, why not?

Website: http://www.monkasel.com/

2.     House of Sampoerna

This old Dutch building used to house an Orphanage in the early 1860’s. After it was purchased in the 1930’s by the founder of the Sampoerna cigarette company it became the biggest cigarette factory in Surabaya. One of the biggest attractions is to watch a thousand ladies hand-roll cigarettes at amazing speeds. You will also find a small museum and a very good café and art gallery. Evan was especially piqued by the old bikes, motorcycles and carts and we all enjoyed a very good and very reasonably priced lunch at their café.

Heritage Track 

The House of Sampoerna is the headquarter of the Surabaya Heritage Track. This is a free sightseeing tour around Old Surabaya in a very nice tram. A tour guide points out and describes the most important historical buildings in the city in very decent English and we get to enjoy a nice ride around the city for free! It makes two stops: one in the Surabaya Tourist Information Office and the second at the Cultural Center where you will occasionally be able to see music and dance performances. Both Evan and Josh loved riding on the tram and were very attentively looking out the window. They both made very good friends in the tram and it seemed like everyone wanted to hold them and take pictures of them. Although the tour is free, you need to make a reservation beforehand for any of the three departure times 9:00 AM, 1:00PM or 3:00PM.

Website: http://houseofsampoerna.museum/e_home.htm

3.    G-Walk

This is a very lively street full of food stalls and bazaars. Although this is not an attraction itself it is a very nice place to visit and walk around in. You can find descent food and in general and very nice ambiance. We went there in the early evening so it was not too crowded. We heard that this is a very popular place later at night and that its bars and restaurants are always packed. We found a small coffee shop were we had dinner and we really enjoyed sitting down and looking out the street at the people walking by. It was nice to finally find a place where you can actually walk outdoors. G-Walk is located between Pakuwon Super Mall and Ciputra Golf.

4.    Surabaya Zoo

You’ve probably read about the giraffe that died at a zoo in Indonesia because it ate a plastic bag, well this is the zoo where it happened. Granted, this is not the best zoo and it is definitely not kept in  top condition but it was still something nice to do and a good break from hotel life. The entrance fee is only 5,000 rupiahs per person. I truly wish they charged more so the animals could be kept in more decent conditions.

Evan especially enjoyed feeding the birds with peanuts we bought at the zoo entrance for 10,000 rupiahs and he loved riding a carriage pulled by a camel (5,000 per person). He later rode a horse with a very nice zoo keeper who wouldn’t charge for the ride but was glad to accept a tip of 10, 000 rupiahs for giving Evan small tour around the food court area.

We watched an animal show where a bear rode a bicycle, and pelicans danced around. Both Evan and Joshua were scared to see the animals so close to them so we left shortly after the show started. Again, the main attraction was my kids. Everybody wanted to touch them and take pictures of them. A pregnant lady started touching Joshua’s chubby cheeks and then rubbing her belly, as to pass on his chubbiness and “health” to the baby in her belly. Once the animal show was over a group of about 40 school kids swarmed around Evan and Josh and started staring at them and trying to play with them. I thought it was funny, but the boys got a little bit overwhelmed so we left the zoo without finishing the tour of the whole place. I don’t think we missed much but it was still interesting to see so many animals and watch the kids react to them.

Of course, being in Indonesia, we ended up going to the mall about half of the time but thankfully I was able to find two nice indoor playgrounds for Evan to run around and me to sit down and force encourage Josh to do some tummy time.

The mall we visited the most was Tunjungan Plaza since the hotel had a shuttle service that took us there. It is very close to the Marriot and on a couple of occasions we walked there. We spent most of our time at Stingers, a game area with an indoor playground on the 5th floor and at the play area in the basement of the mall.

Surabaya was a nice and calm city to visit and I wouldn’t hesitate to visit it again since I know we missed looking at several museums and visiting the big water park in west Surabaya. Although it’s not the most dynamic city, it is a nice place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Big Durian.

About these ads

17 thoughts on “Things to do in Surabaya with Kids

  1. Yay for Surabaya fun! I love House of Sampoerna. Wasn’t it crazy to watch how fast they rolled the cigarettes? It was our favorite place to take visitors. It’s fun to see what there is for kids in Surabaya, our only experience was pre-kids or very pregnant. Thanks for sharing!

    • I loved the House of Sampoerna. I couldn’t believe how nice the Citraland area is! I told the husband that I would rather live there than in crazy Jakarta hahaha. Miss you guys!

    • Thanks! I can’t wait to see your posts about Hong Kong and Costa Rica! We are planning on going to HK but probably around September or October, I’m trying to escape the heat of the south east asian summer!

      • Hi Anna, it’s me again :)
        I want to thank you for writing your articles on Malang and Surabaya. I went to Jatim Park 2, Monkasel and Sampoerna House. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean Surabaya river was, not too mention they have so many malls, Blue Bird and Express taxis; so it feels like home hahaha..

      • It feels like home but the traffic isn’t as bad! I was actually able to walk on the sidewalks with the stroller. I’m glad you had a good time!

  2. Hello Ana nice recommendation you have there. I would probably visit Surabaya with my family this summer. But we have to do some research first which places we could visit with family. Anyway, i found an this article about a colonial hotel in Surabaya http://www.jakpost.travel/news/colonial-heritage-embellishes-majapahit-hotel-in-surabaya-tUEnzC1IgAuj4O8Y.html
    Is quite beautiful right? Just wanna brainstorming if you already visited that hotel. Thx in advance

    • Hi Albert. Thanks for dropping by. So, will this be your first time in Indonesia? I have visited the Majapahit hotel but have not stayed there. It is very beautiful inside and out! Certainly worth checking out if you visit Surabaya! Happy trip planning! Cheers!

  3. Hi Ana, My name is Aryo, I’m the officer of Surabaya Tourism Information Center. Thank you very much you have visited Surabaya. I hope you and your family can back Surabaya to see more our attraction. Actually Surabaya has 3 main months in a year, in those 3 months we can see many tourist attraction and parade. In May (month of Surabaya Anniversary) and In October (month of East Java province Anniversary) every weekend have a activities such a culture parade, culinary festival etc and off curse Surabaya Shopping Festival in several mall (discount up to 80%). In November (month of Heroes, because Surabaya is city of heroes) held a lot of events to commemorate our heroes struggled Indonesia’s freedom. So, i hope you can visit Surabaya again because Sparkling Surabaya, You Will Love Every Corner of It.

  4. Hi Ana, My name is Aryo, I’m the officer of Surabaya Tourism Information Center. Thank you very much you have visited Surabaya. I hope you and your family can back Surabaya to see more our attraction. Actually Surabaya has 3 main months in a year, in those 3 months we can see many tourist attraction and parade. In May (month of Surabaya Anniversary) and In October (month of East Java province Anniversary) every weekend have a activities such a culture parade, culinary festival etc and off curse Surabaya Shopping Festival in several mall (discount up to 80%). In November (month of Heroes, because Surabaya is city of heroes) held a lot of events to commemorate our heroes struggled Indonesia’s freedom. So, i hope you can visit Surabaya again because Sparkling Surabaya, You Will Love Every Corner of It.

  5. Hi, I chanced upon this post when I’m looking up things to do in Surabaya. We’re taking our 2 boys and baby girl there end of this month. Just thought it’s interesting that one of your boys is Evan, so is one of ours, and our baby girl is Anna. What are the odds? Your kids are adorable! Btw did you visit the Singapore of Surabaya? I went there 2 trips ago. It’s interesting to me because I’m from Singapore. And one thing they pride themselves on at the place is how clean it is, just like Singapore. :)

    • Hi! Thanks for visiting. I did visit ciputra land when I went to Surabaya. It wasn’t quite as Singapore as I felt it was lacking some sidewalks but it was really nice nonetheless. G walk is a fun place to go out for dinner. And by the way, great baby names, ;). Take care and happy travels!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s