Travel Guide Semarang
Said to be the fifth biggest city in Indonesia after Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan and Bandung, Semarang is one of the most important city in Java for its role as a hub city. Semarang is located at the north coast of Central Java, one of the starting point for those who heading to Karimun Jawa.
What is interesting about Semarang is that this city is appointed as a pioneer for Eco-District project in collaboration with the government of France. The project has been on-going since 2016.
1. Getting Here
Semarang is accessible in many ways, by train, bus, plane or private car. The big train station is Tawang Station, serves the main train route Jakarta-Semarang-Surabaya. Reaching Semarang by plane will land you in Ahmad Yani International Airport. There is indeed no difficulty to reach this city.
2. Getting Around & Attractions
Like any other big cities in Indonesia, Semarang is already facilitated with decent public transport to wander around the city. Online based transports such as Grab and Gojek/Gocar are also available for those who prefer not to share the space.
Lawang Sewu, or Thousand Doors in English, is formerly a building of headquarter of the Dutch Indies Railways Company in the early 1900s. This landmark is famous for its spooky image, however the local government has been committing to eliminate such image.
Sam Poo Kong Temple
Tionghoa or Chinese community inhabits Semarang for centuries such that there are 11 Chinese temples (Klenteng) in Semarang. One of them is Sam Poo Kong where the statue of Cheng Ho is standing strong. It is believed that the anchor of the ship of Cheng Ho in the early of 15th century is residing somewhere inside Sam Poo Kong.
Semarang Old City
Semarang Old City or Outstadt was a trading center during Dutch colonialism in 19th – 20th century. There are approximately 50 old colonial buildings in the area that are still surviving bearing the colonialism history in Semarang.
Seven Angels Waterfall (Air Terjun Tujuh Bidadari)
At the outskirt of Semarang, lies some waterfalls; among others is Tujuh Bidadari waterfall. Consists of only 3 tiers and a small pool, to reach this waterfall doesn’t require huge trekking effort.
Gedong Songo Temple
Gedong Songo temple is probably my favorite destination in Semarang. Located downhill Ungaran Mountain makes the visit in this Hindu temple very interesting. Visitor can enjoy riding horse accompanied by fresh air with occasional dense fog during rainy season.
Songo is Javanese language which means “nine”; yes there were 9 complex of temples spread over the area. The temples were built in 9th century during the reign of Syailendra. Those nine numbers are the reason why this temple is named after number nine.
Within the temple complex, there is hot water sulphuric bathing place, said to be beneficial for skin.
Simpang Lima is unbeatable spot for locals to gather enjoying the evening and Sunday morning in Semarang city center. This area is surrounded by stores, restaurants, hotels and street foods. Same as in Jakarta, every Sunday morning we can have car-free-day.
For those who look for a place with various choices of beers and alcohol beverages; move a little outside the city center, there is Sakapatat bar. Sakapatat is one of the famous bars in the city, which is why I decided to give it a try and order my Sauvignon.
3. Travel Tips and Cautions
There is really nothing to complain or be cautious about my trip in Semarang.
However, there was one moment when I explored the old city area, there were some group of men watching cock-fighting (and I believe the gamble is there). In case you pass by cock-fighting, try to suppress your urge to stay and joining as this is illegal and you could be in risk to be in jail if you are caught by the police on patrol.