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SES is located in a residential area endowed with greenery and surrounded by a beautiful golf course. While travel along certain routes at peak times can be time consuming, traffic and pollution do not typically pose a major problem. Surabaya is a modern city and typically provides relatively easy access to most of the amenities that families from developed countries are accustomed to. When faced with relocating a family to a new city, a number of questions typically come to mind. We have addressed a number of these questions below. The Living In Indonesia website also provides a lot of useful information.

Where is a good place to live?

A lot of expatriate families decide to live in West Surabaya where most international schools, good shopping malls, residential compounds and recreational/sporting options for children and adults are located. The more popular residential compounds for families to live in include:

These residential areas are denoted by [wp-svg-icons icon=”home” wrap=”i”] in the map below.

Where can we go for medical care?

Two modern and adequately equipped hospitals are located in West Surabaya these are Mitra Keluarga Hospital and National Hospital. Both of these are good options for routine medical needs and emergencies. In the event of serious conditions patients will be transported to world-class hospitals in major cities in the region (these include Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur). For specialist consultations, expatriates will typically travel to one of these cities.

In addition to these hospitals the following health services are also available:

Where can we buy the Western food and quality fresh produce?

Surabaya has numerous supermarkets and shops that are well stocked with western brands and manufactured products. These include:

Organic food and health supplements can be obtained from Club Sehat

Those willing to venture out early can also find a selection of quality fresh produce from the following traditional markets:

Where can our children go for recreation?

Living in a large congested tropical city with the humidity and strongly defined wet and dry seasons limits the amount of activities that do not involve one of the many air conditioned shopping malls. This can be quite an adjustment if you are used to having a wide selection of parks, fields and outdoor playgrounds to choose from. That being said there are still a number of options for active recreation in Surabaya:

Where can adults and families go for entertainment and recreation?

Many of the recreational activities available in Surabaya centre can be found in one of its many huge shopping malls. In addition to a wide variety of shopping options, ranging from small local shops to luxury international brands offering, shopping malls house numerous restaurants and cinemas. Some of the bigger malls include:

Surabaya is a large city with a well established middle class and many options for entertainment. The Living in Indonesia site provides a great list of places to try out if you are looking for places to ear or have a drink.

What can we do for wellness and fitness?

West Surabaya is home to a number of family clubs with beautiful golf courses many of these also offer lavish swimming pools and fitness facilities. There are also 

Those looking for less active ways to active wellness will find any number of places offering massages, reflexology and a wide range of beauty treatments. These can be found at any of the major shopping malls.

What cultural and historic places can be visited?

Its geographical location makes it a stepping stone to Bali, Lombok and all of Australia. Within a couple hours’ drive one can cool off in the hills of Tretes and Trawas or venture to visit the somewhat active Bromo volcano. Jogjakarta, a thirty minute flight from Surabaya, can immerse one further at two UNESCO’s Heritage sites (Borobudur and Prambanan).

Historical buildings such as the Majapahit Hotel and the House of Sampoerna do give us a glimpse into Indonesia’s rich heritage. Statues commemorating heroes of the independence movement can be found all over the city, which is extremely proud of its heritage. The city is also seen as a gateway to Trowulan, an ancient city and a famous archaeological site in Java. Sites of cultural importance that are well worth a visit for expats living in Surabaya also include Gereja Kelahiran Santa Perawan Maria, which is the oldest church in the city.

Is high speed internet available?

For those on smartphones, internet can be accessed through mobile data on relatively inexpensive and flexible mobile plans. Companies providing high speed broadband to homes typically have an arrangement with different residential areas to provide internet to all homes in the area. As such your internet provider is usually dictated by where you live. High-speed options are generally available through most internet providers though prices tend to be significantly higher than those for comparable speeds in other countries. 


Surabaya is generally considered to have low levels of crime – experiences involving theft within members of the greater school community are rare. This being said people are advised to take the same precautions (not walking alone at night, watching possessions in public places) that would be advisable in any large city.

Surabaya’s roads tend to be underdeveloped and not suited to pedestrians. There are typically no sidewalks or crossing points. As such, apart from walking within residential estates, people do not travel on foot. Most members of our school community use drivers and use reputable taxi companies to travel around the city. If you do happen to find yourself needing to cross a busy street raise your arm up and make your way across slowly.

Other Resources

Expatriate Women’s Association of Surabaya

Expat living in Surabaya 

Cost of living Surabaya