People in a modern city like Surabaya wear typical clothes similar to the Western culture. It also remains the same in other parts of Indonesia. However, there are some exceptions and tips when it comes to what to bring and what to wear in Surabaya. Here are some of the need-to-know aspects.
Make sure to wear light and loose summer clothing, preferably those with natural fabrics. You’d want to wear something comfortable during outdoor activities like sightseeing in the city or squeezing your way with the locals while bazaar shopping. The high heat and humidity may require people to change clothes several times a day to feel and appear looking fresh and clean. Make sure to pack an extra set of clothes especially when touring around town. An umbrella should also be an essential part of your wardrobe during the rainy season of Surabaya from the months of September to February.
Although dressing up for hot weather entails baring skin, make sure to still dress appropriately as Indonesian cities are still relatively conservative. Rather than wearing as little clothing as you can, opt for something lightweight and loose instead. You’d be able to blend in with the locals more as they will also appreciate the conservative approach of you dressing as a tourist as well.
T-shirts, jeans and sandals are acceptable in hawker stalls and casual eateries but get ready to be stared at when wearing the same attire in fine dining establishments and 5-star hotels. Now if headed to Surabaya for business purposes, know that men generally wear dark slacks and long sleeves or a light colored t-shirt without a coat. Women on the other hand should wear formal attire with their upper arms covered with a blouse. Skirts should cover the knee.
The population of Surabaya is predominantly Muslim, which means that there are a number of mosques seen around town. When visiting religious structures, it is always best to be on the conservative side by wearing long pants and long skirts. This means that sleeveless tops and shorts should be out of the question. As with all mosques, make sure to remove your shoes when stepping inside the structure.
Surabaya is a fairly modern city, but you will be able to see some local people in their traditional clothes, especially during formal events. These are called the kebaya and batik. The kebaya is a traditional dress worn by Indonesian women particular those from Java during the early times. This has then been passed down from generations, with the dress worn by both the noble and commoners. Batik on the other hand is the art of painting on the fabric. This then results to a colorful pattern with each region having its own style of batik. The kebaya and batik are original works of the country of Indonesia so it will be a pleasant experience to try to wear such traditional costumes for fun.
To sum it all up, dressing up in Surabaya means bringing lightweight and comfortable clothing with just the right amount of decency. With that in mind, knowing what to wear in Surabaya is no longer a hard task.