If you’ve travelled around Indonesia, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that Suarabaya is a lot better planned, better maintained and has many cool and pleasant green parks in the city. Whilst you’ll still get plenty of the Indonesian smells, they’re less intrusive than in Jakarta. Surabaya is considered a gateway city to the more tourist friendly attractions of Bali and Mount Bromo but still has a few delights of its own.
From its colonial days, the city has the church of Saint Maria, the oldest in the city, and renowned for its stained glass windows. There are many other old colonial buildings including the former home of the Governor of Java called Grahadi and the House of Sampoerna, now considered to be the finest colonial tourist attraction on Java and where you’ll see a demonstration of hand rolling of cigarettes by local girls.
The main place to see Indonesian life at its most frantic is on what is strangely known as the G-Walk. There you’ll encounter hundreds of street food sellers and market stalls selling many things you didn’t know you needed.