14 Things You Can Do Around Pasar Atom, The Legendary Shopping Mall In Surabaya's Old Town Region

14 Things You Can Do Around Pasar Atom, The Legendary Shopping Mall In Surabaya's Old Town Region
Shierly Octaviana
Shierly Octaviana 
| 8 min read

“Tradition” is the middle name of Surabaya Old Town. It is full of colonial-style attractions and street vendors. Pasar Atom is one of them. It’s divided into two parts: Pasar Atom Lama, the older version of the mall, and Pasar Atom Baru, its modern counterpart.

Pasar Atom used to be similar to wet markets before its Lama building was established. Some scholars believe the 1950s were when the mall was established, years before Pasar Atom Lama. Later, in 2007, Pasar Atom Baru, aka Pasar Atom Mall, came about.

Pay attention to the signage and the direction of the arrow when you visit Pasar Atom. If the sign reads “Pasar Atom Mall” and the arrow goes to the left, the back side would be Pasar Atom Lama. Another tip: the Baru area has aircon and modern vendors, but the Lama area doesn’t.

Casual clothing vendors are a must-visit in both parts of the shopping mall! You can also find yummy vegan food. For other activities, keep reading to learn about the things you can do around Pasar Atom.

1. Shop for fashionable clothes

Sky and M Clothing has many attractive formal dress collections. Size Plus store is my favorite. The shop doesn’t only sell XL size clothes and above, but it can also accommodate up to 6XL size.

Java Batik is a decent place to shop for batik-printed dresses and long-sleeve collared shirts. This shop’s rustic interior and bright red-colored cursive typography for the clothing brand differentiate it from other common batik stores around Pasar Atom. I would buy the dresses here if I had more money!

2. Get yourself a nice massage

Pasar Atom Mall’s 2,000-plus stalls often make my head spin like crazy. That’s why a massage is essential during your visits to Pasar Atom.

I found massage parlors and reflexology centers in Pasar Atom Lama Tahap II stalls near the permak (custom-designed clothes and accessories) area. The ones I chose are in Pasar Atom Baru next to the bedding area. People usually opt for foot or back massages here due to the economic prices. Yet, I love their treatment procedures more. These massaging areas can treat cholesterol and gout problems for as cheap as 60,000 IDR (3.85 USD).

I normally spend around 60 minutes in this place. For the best experience, you can visit any of the parlors on Pasar Atom Lama’s 2nd floor or the massage chair areas in Pasar Atom Baru, 30 minutes after you eat your lunch.

3. Buy oleh-oleh in the stalls and food court areas

I initially wanted to consider Bakwan Cah Yan’s Bakwan Sayur until I noticed the pork ingredients. So, I went for the gigantic You Tiao (cakue) in Cakwe Peneleh instead.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get oleh-oleh (gift) in Pasar Atom Baru. The food court has Bu Rudy offering its masterpiece, Sambal Setopan (traffic light sambal) inside a small jar.

4. Get to know the best jajan pasar in Pasar Atom Baru's Kartiko

Kartiko Jajan Pasar’s (more commonly known as Kartiko) 15-plus options for street snacks are usually my go-to fix for any cravings.

I would say their bubur campur’s (mixed porridge) delicacy is on par with the same bubur you find in Yogyakarta. It’s rare for Surabaya’s bubur to be this delicious, yet, Kartiko manages it!

Not in the mood for bubur campur? You can also buy kuweh semprit and jajan pasar (snacks) such as kue lumpur, kue putu, and kue lapis as oleh-oleh.

Kartiko Jajan Pasar

Address: Pasar Atom Mall, Jl. Bunguran No.45, Bongkaran, Kec. Pabean Cantikan, Surabaya, Jawa Timur 60161

Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)

5. Bargain in two different local languages

People in Pasar Atom generally know two local dialects: “Ngoko” Javanese and Pecinan Surabaya. Pecinan Surabaya is similar to the Hokkien dialect, but it is mixed with Basa Ngoko (the roughest form of Javanese, usually heard in East Java areas like Surabaya).

I would recommend you avoid using official Indonesian languages when bargaining for the best prices. The local sellers might think tourists have lots of money and can be pressed to pay a higher price. Knowing phrases such as, “Moso gak dipotong blas?” (“How come you won’t give me discounts?”) or “Ga iso kurang tah?” (“Can you give me a cheaper price?”) won’t hurt!

(P.S.: Always be alert for signs such as “Harga Pas” or “Obral.” These mean you can’t bargain there.)

6. Opt for a traditional Chinese medicine experience

Toko Obat Saudara is one of my go-to places for products that are relevant to my symptoms or diseases. I love asking the competent staff here if they have meds or traditional brewed tea products for diarrhea. I have problems with my digestive system, but it’s hard for me to not eat spicy food while I am in Surabaya!

The staff arranges the meds in a gigantic cupboard with a mirror, and, in some stores, with papers. This reminds me of an old-school medicine store, which brings me happiness every time I pass through the area.

Recently, I also found another unnamed store with similar cupboard arrangements in Pasar Atom Lama. The product types are fewer, but it helps me focus while choosing my meds.

7. Test and improve your mathematic skills by weighing traditional snacks

The sellers in snack stores in the mall have kitchen scales to weigh the snacks after you pick up them up. The more you wander around Pasar Atom, the more intuitively and accurately you can predict the snacks’ weights. Give it a try, for it can make your Surabaya foodie travels feel more economic!

If I ever find “mathematic-improving” stores like the ones in Pasar Atom, keripik singkong (cassava chips) or singkong Thailand (Thai cassava) are among the first things I seek. If they don’t have the spicy variation, the original and salty variations are okay, too. The delicious keripik has the same shape as Keripik Lumba-Lumba, my childhood favorite.

8. Find your gundam and action figure besties in Gundam World's Pasar Atom Lama

Otakus unite! If you’re traveling in Surabaya and want to have some powerful robots as your “bodyguards,” you can find them in Gundam World Surabaya at Pasar Atom Lama!

The board in front of Gundam World’s main entrance suggests that Gundam models are this store’s specialization. Yet, Gundams aren’t the only characters here. Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh, and even the more modern LINE Friends mascots are also ready to greet you on your holiday in Surabaya!

The store also has glues and other tools to fix your broken action figure toys, including Gundam. This is what I love the most when visiting this place, apart from clicking selfies with those nice fighter robots.

Gundam World Surabaya

Address: Pasar Atum Lama, Jl. Waspada Tahap 3 Lantai 1 No. 1085T, Bongkaran, Kec. Pabean Cantikan, Surabaya, Jawa Timur 60175

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 1,000,000 IDR - 3,750,000 IDR (64.48 - 241.8 USD) and above for single-unit Gundam; approximately 350,000 IDR (22.6 USD) for tools

9. Customize clothes in permak stalls

Heading to Pasar Atom Lama will also lead you to shops where you can choose your fabrics and have the tailors transform them into clothes and accessories. People usually visit Tong Nam Textile for their fabric needs. I have known this textile shop since I was an elementary student.

As an alternative to the crowded Tong Nam Textile, I would recommend Yong Textile, which can be your go-to place for men’s clothing.

After making your purchase in the textile shops, why don’t you go to the permak areas? Here, the merchants will sew your clothes based on your wish and their specializations. Friendly reminder: don’t forget to be physically present when the merchants have finished making your clothes!

10. Swim in the "hidden heaven" swimming pool

In my experience, the Old Town region, where Pasar Atom is, is one of the hottest in Surabaya. When we factor in the temperature in relation to the swimming pool in the mall, the water is a warm temperature when we soak our feet inside it or dive in it.

So, I would advise you prepare goggles and apply skincare products with at least SPF 50+ when you visit this place in Pasar Atom Tahap III 4th Floor. You can visit the pool anytime between 11am - 1pm local time, except Monday, when it is closed. Always limit your swimming or relaxing time here to around 15-30 minutes before the sun gets too deep into your skin.

I had hoped I could get inside the pool to take pictures. But I discovered that I must buy a ticket to go there.

Kolam Renang Pasar Atom

Address: Ko Ps. Atom Thp III Lt.4 No., Ko Ps. Atom Thp V Lt.3 Blok BC 49 No.51, Bongkaran, Pabean Cantikan, Surabaya, East Java 60161

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 7am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 19,000 IDR (1.22 USD)

11. Search for the "hidden imported snacks" in a lingerie store

People will normally expect underwear and sleepwear products when they wander around lingerie stores. However, the unique feature I discovered in Lenssan is that you can find “hidden imported snacks” when you get to the cashier’s registry. I purchased Japanese Pocky Almond Crush and Thailand’s fried squid chip in the stall after almost running out of time to find the designs I like in the underwear products.

I want to purchase Singapore’s well-known Bacha Coffee in this stall. They always have stock ready for sale, even though other imported snacks might come and go. Yet, you know how prices are.

12. Purchase flowers, candles, and lanterns as celebration decors

I once touched the artificial sakura and white lilies in Pasar Atom’s florist store, and they felt like real flowers at first. Even though I seldom look for such accessories (because I rarely become the PIC for celebration events), I might consider it next time my peers need me to brainstorm decorating ideas for celebration purposes.

I would also like to try the lanterns, hanging accessories, hong bao, and mini statues (think of Maneki Neko, for example). This type of decor hits its best-selling period during the Spring Festival. Then, the decorations will be all red. Sometimes, the stores might turn red, too. Pretty!

13. Give your furry friends a cool grooming experience in Oui My Dog

I would highly recommend Oui My Dog as your go-to place for nurturing your furry friends! Oui My Dog is one of the few completely cashless stores in Pasar Atom, which means there’s no need to withdraw money or change currencies.

Oui My Dog also personalizes your experience by naming the dogs, providing choices of human-like accessories, and offering an all-in-one grooming service. It’s not only a pet store!

The best part for me would be the glass windows for the groomers. It shows their commitment to preserving your dog’s health.

Oui My Dog

Address: Pasar Atom Mall Lt. 4 Blok FS7-8

Website: Oui My Dog

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

14. Grab yourself some vegetarian meals to eat in Pagoda Vegetarian

Finally, my personal favorite! I always ensure a visit to Pagoda Vegetarian (or Pagoda for short) on the east side of Hartani Supermarket (directly next to it, to be precise). I have aspired to be a vegetarian since I was a kid, for I know the health values it contributes to our life.

I have sampled nearly all of the foods on the menu. I know three different versions of nasi campur, aka mixed rice: nasi campur rendang, nasi campur empal, and nasi campur hongkong. Looking for different kinds of dishes? No worries! They also have gado-gado, bakwan campur, and tahu tek. All of them taste like heaven!

In the mood for cooking? Pagoda also sells different types of ready-to-fry keropok. Last time I went here, I missed the singkong. I hope I can catch it in the future!

Pagoda Vegetarian

Address: Ko Ps. Atom Thp V Lt., Ko Ps. Atom Thp IV Lt.1 Blok G No.1, Bongkaran, Pabean Cantikan, Surabaya, East Java 60161

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)

Some tips when shopping in Pasar Atom

So many things you can do in Pasar Atom region, right? From getting a massage therapy to hunting for imported products in a lingerie stall—you can do it all! Be mindful, though, as Pasar Atom’s closing time of 5pm every day is a lot earlier than other shopping malls in Surabaya.

I would advise you to arrive at Pasar Atom 1-2 hours before the opening time to avoid traffic jams and getting lost in the “hidden heavens” once you get there.

(P.S.: One of Pasar Atom Lama’s areas is only 450 m (1,476.38 ft) walking from and to Warung Nasi Cumi-Cumi (Ibu Atun), a 24-hour warong with spicy foods that has become my go-to place).

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Hi! I'm Surabaya by birth, but I've lived in Semarang and Salatiga for more than two years. People think I look and act like a Central Javanese person. I've loved observing "hidden things" about...Read more

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