My Quora Answer:
Where to go in Surabaya mainly depends on your taste. If you have a fond of historical places, Tugu Pahlawan (The Heroes Monument) and Hotel Majapahit are strongly recommended. You can also go to the House of Sampoerna although the cigarettes museum mostly displays what in a traditional cigarette factory and the Sampoerna’s business itself. I can’t say it is a historical place. However, other than the ‘tobacco rolling show’, The House of Sampoerna allows you to go around Surabaya for free. All you need is just book for a free trip by Surabaya Heritage Track (SHT) a month before your coming. With their fancy red bus, SHT brings you to go to some historical places such as Kya Kya (the China Town), Ampel (Arabian Town), Hok Ang Kiong Temple, Kepanjen Church (the oldest church), ex-De Javasche Bank, Cak Durasim (theather, concert hall, and art gallery), etc. Well, you can’t get it all in one trip only since they apply a kind of theme in each trip. In addition, if you’re lucky enough, your eyes will be indulged by modern art in the Art Gallery.
When it comes to culinary, it is essential to keep in mind that Surabaya people are into spicy traditional foods. Surabaya is well-bracket with Rujak Cingur. Nevertheless, there are many restaurant chains in other city which serve you with such salads. Fried duck is the culinary I love most, especially Bebek Palupi and Bebek 75. I don’t like Nasi Bebek Tugu Pahlawan because I have to line up in a long queue. If you have no idea where to go for culinary, just pick one Maduranese fried duck stall. Mostly they have tasteful fried duck with oily green sambal which cannot be found in other cities in Indonesia. It’s not a healthy food, anyway. But, who cares? Other Surabaya’s best culinary which can’t be found in other cities are Sate Ondomohen and Tahu Tek Pak Ali or Pak Jayen.
Above all, the first public place in my list of ‘must visit places in Surabaya’ is the Cheng Ho Mosque. This fancy mosque was built by a Chinese Muslim community; hence the architecture is like shrine in red-gold. Although it is not as big as Al Akbar mosque, the mosque is very peaceful as it is located in the middle of residential.
I used to live in Surabaya for 5 years, and it’s not enough to explore the tourist destinations. Even nowadays, Surabaya has more and more tourism spots. If you’re asking me in which city I want to spend the rest of my life, Surabaya would be my answer. Museum, culinary, hospitality, public space, central parks, life style, history, respect, creativity, Surabaya has it all. Living there for around 5 years wasn’t enough for me to explore the lovely metropolitan city.
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