The 10 Best Museums in Surabaya

Surabaya, a vibrant port city, has a rich tapestry of history and culture. It’s no wonder that it’s home to some of Indonesia’s most fascinating museums. Whether you’re a history buff, art enthusiast, or just looking for a unique way to spend the day, Surabaya’s museums offer a treasure trove of discoveries. Let’s dive into the top 10 museums that are a must-visit in this dynamic city.

House of Sampoerna

The House of Sampoerna stands as a testament to Indonesia’s industrial heritage. It’s a beautifully preserved Dutch colonial-style compound that’s been transformed into a museum. Here, you can witness the rich history of the Sampoerna cigarette company, complete with a live view of the production floor where workers hand-roll cigarettes at lightning speed. The adjoining art gallery and café make it a perfect spot to soak in the local culture.

Submarine Monument

Imagine exploring a real submarine without diving into the deep blue sea. The Submarine Monument, or Monkasel, offers just that. Nestled right in the heart of Surabaya, this retired Russian submarine has been converted into a museum. It gives visitors a rare peek into the life of submariners. The tight quarters and authentic equipment are a humbling reminder of the bravery of these sailors.

Surabaya Museum

Set in the former City Hall, the Surabaya Museum is a journey through time. It showcases the city’s evolution from a small fishing village to a bustling metropolis. The museum’s collection includes historical photographs, traditional costumes, and artifacts that tell the story of Surabaya’s past. It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to understand the city’s roots.

Cheng Ho Mosque Museum

The Cheng Ho Mosque Museum is a symbol of cultural harmony. It’s named after the famous Chinese Muslim explorer and reflects the blend of Chinese and Islamic architecture. The museum within the mosque complex highlights the history of Chinese Muslims in Indonesia and the voyages of Cheng Ho. It’s a serene place that offers a unique perspective on the city’s diverse heritage.

Mpu Tantular Museum

Art lovers, rejoice! The Mpu Tantular Museum is a haven for Indonesian art and culture. Its extensive collection ranges from traditional Javanese artifacts to contemporary paintings. The museum also features ethnographic displays that provide insight into the lives of various ethnic groups in Indonesia. It’s a colorful and educational experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Heroes Monument and 10th November Museum

The Heroes Monument towers over the city as a symbol of Surabaya’s spirit. It commemorates the Battle of Surabaya, a pivotal moment in Indonesia’s struggle for independence. The adjacent 10th November Museum tells the story of this battle through dioramas and historical exhibits. It’s a powerful tribute to the city’s resilience and patriotism.

De Javasche Bank Museum

Step into the world of banking history at the De Javasche Bank Museum. Housed in a stunning colonial building, this museum offers a glimpse into the financial systems of the past. You can explore old vaults, see ancient currencies, and learn about the economic history of Indonesia. It’s a fascinating detour for anyone interested in the alchemy of money.

Surabaya’s Maritime Museum

Surabaya’s relationship with the sea is celebrated at the Maritime Museum. Located near the harbor, it displays models of ships, maritime equipment, and exhibits on seafaring traditions. The museum highlights the importance of the maritime industry to Surabaya’s development. It’s an engaging stop for those curious about the city’s nautical past.

Surabaya North Quay

While not a traditional museum, Surabaya North Quay offers a living exhibition of the city’s bustling port life. It’s a place where you can watch ships come and go, learn about the port’s operations, and enjoy panoramic views of the sea. The area also hosts events and has a range of eateries, making it a lively spot to unwind.

KRI Pasopati 410 – Submarine Museum

Another submarine museum? You bet! KRI Pasopati 410 is a Soviet-built submarine that now serves as a museum. It’s similar to Monkasel but offers a different perspective on submarine warfare. Visitors can explore the torpedo room, sleeping quarters, and control room. It’s a captivating experience for those who can’t get enough of Naval history.


  • What are the opening hours for the House of Sampoerna?

    The House of Sampoerna is open from 9 AM to 10 PM, giving you plenty of time to explore its rich history and enjoy a cup of coffee at the café.

  • Is there an entrance fee for the Submarine Monument?

    Yes, there’s a small fee to enter Monkasel. It’s a small price to pay for such a unique experience.

  • Can I take photos inside the museums?

    Most museums in Surabaya allow photography, but some may have restrictions on flash or specific exhibits. It’s always best to check the museum’s policy when you arrive.


Surabaya’s museums are more than just buildings with exhibits; they are gateways to understanding the city’s soul. From the industrial legacy of the House of Sampoerna to the maritime prowess showcased at the Maritime Museum, each institution tells a unique story. The Heroes Monument and 10th November Museum remind us of the city’s unyielding spirit, while the Submarine Monument and KRI Pasopati 410 offer an immersive naval experience. The Surabaya Museum, Cheng Ho Mosque Museum, Mpu Tantular Museum, and De Javasche Bank Museum round out the experience with their diverse cultural and historical offerings. These top 10 museums are not just stops on a tourist’s itinerary; they’re landmarks of a city’s identity. So, next time you’re in Surabaya, make sure to carve out time for these remarkable repositories of history and culture. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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