Surabaya is the second-largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and it is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Java and one of the four main central cities of the country. The extended metropolitan area is named Gerbangkertosusila. Surabaya along with its extended metropolitan area is also the second most populous metropolitan area in the country. Gerbangkertosusila is undergoing the fastest growth and has the most progressive economic development in Indonesia.
Surabaya is also known as the city of heroes due to the important battle that happened in the city during Indonesia’s independence revolution. Today, the city remains as one of the most important financial, industrial, commercial, and entertainment hub of Indonesia. As the local government continues to promote the city as a haven for investors, foreign investment is now growing. Many high rise buildings are currently being built in the city, including apartments, condominium, and hotels and these developments open up more opportunities for expats who want to work in Surabaya.
The job and business opportunities in the city attract many expatriates from all over the world. The city’s geographical position is also favorable for an international working environment. Most of the population works in services, industry, trade, and retail. However, most foreigners are working in the business, exports, and construction sectors.
Popular Areas in Surabaya
Many foreigners choose to live in West Surabaya, the area has the largest expatriate community in the city. It is preferred because of its proximity to the best amenities such as international schools, supermarket with imported goods, and golf courses. The area also has a wide range of housing options such as serviced apartments and gated houses. There are several popular neighborhoods in West Surabaya, including Graha Residen, Putri Matahari, Citraland, Darmo Satelite Town, and Graha Famili.
Surabaya has various bars and restaurants to choose from. Desperados Grill and Bar is among the most favorite. The bar offers western food, ice-cold margaritas, and live music in the evening. It is located inside the Shangri-La Hotel. Another good place to hang out is Spazio. The building is actually a co-working space but you can find excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars.
Weather and Climate in Surabaya
Surabaya has a tropical climate with two seasons. The average temperature is consistent all year round, with an average high of around 31 °C and the average low of around 23 °C. The wet season or the rainy season runs from November through to June. Expect frequent rain showers during these months. December and January has the heaviest rain and February has the lowest temperature. The dry season normally starts from July to October but the season can come earlier or later. October, November, and December are the hottest months in the city.
Getting Around in Surabaya
Juanda International Airport is the main airport in Surabaya and the third busiest airport in Indonesia. The airport operates domestic and international flights to some major cities in Asia. Both Indonesia’s major and budget airlines serve this airport. To travel around the country, the best choice is to use a budget airline such as Lion Air, Wings Air, Citilink, and AirAsia. Although Garuda Indonesia and Sriwijaya Air offer better services if you want a more comfortable flight. You can also access Surabaya by train from Jakarta for around Rp104.000 to Rp1.250.000 depending on the class. The higher class train departs from Gambir Jakarta to Pasar Turi Surabaya. It takes around 9 to 15 hours from the capital city, but the higher class trains are generally comfortable, and you can sleep comfortably.
To get to the city center from Juanda Airport, taxis and buses are available. The Airport Bus is operated by DAMRI and goes to Bungarasih bus station. Buses are comfortable and affordable, the ticket costs Rp20.000. To ride a taxi, you should buy a fixed-fare coupon from the “Prima Taxi” stand. If you choose to take the toll road, you will need to pay extra for the toll charges.
Taxis are widely available around the city but you should always stick to well-known firms such as Blue Bird, Silver, Orenz Taxi, and Express. The base fare is normally around Rp7.000 for the first kilometers and then Rp500 for every 100 meters or minute stuck in traffic. If you order the taxi by phone, the companies apply a minimum fare ranging from Rp10.000 to Rp25.000. Commuter trains are available but the routes are extremely limited. The trains are usually very affordable. Online hailing apps such as Go-Jek and Grab are currently very popular. The apps let you order a motorbike taxi, a car, and even food.
Work Visas in Surabaya
A foreigner who wants to work in Surabaya needs a company sponsorship to obtain a work visa. Therefore, it is best to arrange a job before flying to Indonesia. The limited stay permit is called VITAS. The validity of VITAS will adjust to the maximum duration of stay granted for your position. Once you obtain a VITAS, you would need to apply for ITAS KERJA which is your stay permit for working in the country. The new regulation allows you to get a working permit for as long as your employment contract with a maximum of two years.