As one of Indonesia’s largest cities and the home of the country’s navy, Surabaya is a colossal port peppered with cranes, corporate buildings and crowded spaces. Against the calm of rural East Java, it is pandemonium writ large. But while Surabaya has all the trappings of a modern city, it has quixotic little corners of interest. Its historic Arab quarter harbours a labyrinthine warren of lanes and a historic mosque that’s a place of pilgrimage. Surabaya also has one of Indonesia’s biggest Chinatowns and a roster of impressive, though disintegrating, Dutch buildings.
Recommended things to do & see
Our top picks for Surabaya
Mesjid Ampel: The most sacred mosque in Surabaya and a highlight of any visit to the old city
Soto Ambengan Pak Sadi: Try the famed lemon grass and coriander Madurese chicken soup: sublime
Colors: The place for cheap drinks, a chat with Surabayans and some quality live music
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