House of Sampoerna


Undoubtedly the city’s best-presented attraction, the House of Sampoerna is home to one of Indonesia’s most famous kretek cigarette manufacturers (now owned by US giant Altria, formerly Philip Morris). Whatever you think about the tobacco industry, this factory and museum make a fascinating place to visit. The building itself is a wonderful 19th-century Dutch structure, originally an orphanage but later converted into a theatre (indeed, Charlie Chaplin once dropped by).

The former lobby is now the museum and is something of a shrine to the Sampoerna empire. It has exhibits on the use of cloves and the history of kretek in Indonesia, alongside uniforms and drums of the Sampoerna marching band and other quirky company curios. There's also an incredible collection of cigarette lighters, holders and cases, mainly from Europe, as well as some Ming dynasty china and a vintage Heidelberg printing press.

Upstairs there’s a bird’s-eye perspective of the factory’s former shop floor, where, until very recently, hundreds of women hand rolled, trimmed and packed the Dji Sam Soe brand (banned from most countries as the tar content is so strong). The fastest rollers here churned out 4000 cigarettes a day.

After your visit, consider a trip on the company's free sightseeing bus tour, the Surabaya Heritage Track.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Surabaya attractions

1. Jembatan Merah

0.51 MILES

Originally the old city was divided along ethnic lines, with Europeans on the west side of the Kali Mas river and Chinese, Arabs and Javanese on the east…

2. Gedung PTP XI

0.53 MILES

The impressive Indo-European–style Gedung PTP XXII government office building is worth seeking out if you're an architecture fan.

3. Pasar Pabean

0.54 MILES

Pasar Pabean is a sprawling, darkly lit market, which links the Chinese and Arab Quarters, where you can buy everything from Madurese chickens to Chinese…

4. Mesjid Ampel

0.58 MILES

The Mesjid Ampel is the most sacred mosque in Surabaya. While non-Muslims aren't allowed to enter the mosque itself, the souk-style streets surrounding it…

5. Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong Temple

0.79 MILES

The highly evocative Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong delivers a blast of unfiltered culture. The primarily Buddhist complex (with dashes of Confucian and Taoist…

6. Governor's Residence

2.32 MILES

A holdover from the early 20th century, the former governor's residence, with its front porch colonnade and touches of gold paint, fronts an expanse of…

7. Monumen Kapal Selam

2.66 MILES

Surabaya’s foremost stretch of renovated waterside real estate centres on the iron hulk that is Pasopati, a massive Russian submarine commissioned into…

8. Masjid al Akbar

7.43 MILES

Perhaps the most impressive modern mosque in Indonesia. You'll probably get a glimpse of Masjid al Akbar's magnificent array of bulbous watery-turquoise…