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Semarang is the capital of Central Java province in Indonesia. It is a bustling, growing mid-sized city with a population of almost 1.7 million in 2020. It is more an administrative and business town than a tourist destination. It nevertheless has its own charm, with contrasting modern mid-rises, a significant set of Dutch colonial architecture, Chinatown, and "kampung" all jutting against each other.

Understand[edit]

The city's name is said to derive from the Javanese words "asem" and "arang", which could be translated as "scarce tamarind."

Orientation[edit]

Semarang lies on the province's northern coast.

Semarang's topography is marked by a narrow coastal plain, rising sharply inland. The city sprawls up from the coast, and the higher areas see some of the highest rate of residential development, due to the slightly cooler climate. The sea is slowly reclaiming the coastal lowlands during the monthly rob or high tides, causing flooding up to more than a kilometer from the coast.

Climate[edit]

Semarang
Climate chart (explanation)
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
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Source: Wikipedia
Imperial conversion
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Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

The coastal location can make the climate uncomfortably hot and humid. It is not unusual for temperatures to be above 32 °C (90 °F).

In contrast to many Indonesian cities, Semarang still has a fair amount of greenery. Locals will tell you that areas that used to be (by their standards) "cool" are no longer. The climate is hot and humid, except on the slope - where it is slightly more pleasant - towards Ungaran, so wear light-coloured cotton clothes, such as T-shirts and knee-length trousers for comfort.

Visitor information[edit]

In 2007 the government started to promote Semarang as a tourist destination, starting with the Semarang Pesona Asia (Semarang, Asia's Enchantment) branding.

  • 1 Tourist Information Center (TIC) Semarang, Jl Pemuda No 147 (across the street from the City Hall, near Lawang Sewu and Tugu Muda; TransSemarang Koridor I, II, III, IV), +62 24 351-5451. Has an information counter and some leaflets about Semarang and other parts of Central Java. The Joglosemar bus (going to Yogyakarta or Solo) and the Central Java Travel shuttle van (going to Jepara), depart from here.
  • Tourist Information Center, (TIC) Achmad Yani Airport. The tourist office also has an information counter at the airport.

Talk[edit]

Javanese is the local language in Semarang, though virtually everyone speaks Indonesian as well. As it is still rather off the tourist trail, English is not widely spoken, so learning at least the basics of Indonesian or Javanese before you visit goes a long way.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

For international arrivals, if you need a Visa on Arrival, proceed to the left side of the immigration queue, otherwise, go straight to the immigration counter.

Buses from the airport[edit]

Line 5 (Koridor V) of the TransSemarang Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system passes through the airport between 05:30 and 18:30 with a headway every 10 minutes. TransSemarang BRT Airport bus runs between 18:00 and 24:00. For the city centre (e.g. Simpang Lima or the City Hall Balai Kota), take the bus towards Tawang railway station and transfer to Line 1 (Koridor I) in Karangayu. Tickets cost Rp4,000 which includes transfers to any of the other lines. Keep your ticket for checking.

Taxis from the airport[edit]

There is a taxi counter outside arrivals, to the left. Cross over the drop-off lane. Prices are fixed per zone and roughly double the price of normal city taxis because the airport cooperative has a monopoly. A cheaper option is to turn right out of arrivals and walk to where incoming taxis drop off travellers at the departure area, and take one that has just dropped its passengers off. A city taxi to Simpang Lima or the city centre area should cost about Rp70,000.

By train[edit]

Old locomotive in front of the Lawang Sewu building

There are two main railway stations, both on the north coast mainline connecting Jakarta with Surabaya:

  • 2 Tawang Station (Stasiun Tawang or Semarang Tawang in online bookings), Jl Taman Tawang No. 1 (TransSemarang Koridor II, III, and IV), +62 24 354-4544. Located in the Old Town (Kota Lama) area, Tawang is historically significant, being the oldest major railway station in Indonesia that is still operational, having been used since 1867. It mostly serves business and executive class long-distance trains from other major cities. However, some economy trains do stop here, for example, those serving Solo and Purwokerto. Be sure to listen for the farewell/welcome song Empat Penari (the four dancers) also as known as Gambang Semarang, played over the tannoy at the arrival or departure of every train. Semarang Tawang railway station (Q2836773) on Wikidata Semarang Tawang railway station on Wikipedia
  • 3 Poncol Station (Stasiun Poncol or Semarang Poncol in online bookings), Jl Imam Bonjol No. 115 (TransSemarang Koridor III and IV), +62 24 354-4496. Poncol mainly handles economy class trains serving nearby cities in Central Java, such as Tegal, Pekalongan, or Purwokerto. However, there are some long distance economy trains serving Jakarta, Surabaya, and Malang. Semarang Poncol railway station (Q2782742) on Wikidata Semarang Poncol railway station on Wikipedia

Semarang is well-connected to Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya by train. The economy and executive class train Joglosemarkerto travels in a loop across Central Java, through Yogyakarta, Solo, Semarang, Pekalongan, Tegal, Purwokerto, and back to Yogyakarta, as well as in the reverse direction. Multiple executive-class trains connect Semarang to Jakarta (6 hours) and Surabaya (4 hours) several times a day, with overnight journeys also possible. The Harina service connects Semarang to Bandung and Surabaya once a day with executive and economy class coaches.

By car[edit]

Semarang can be reached by car from both Jakarta and Surabaya in around 4-5 hours and from Solo in less than 2 hours using the Trans-Java toll road.

From Cilacap in the very southwest of Central Java will take seven to eight hours, via Banyumas, Wonosobo and Temanggung. At Temanggung you can choose to keep going on the main roads through Secang and Ambarawa, or to cut up over the side of Mount Ungaran to Sumowono and Bandungan and take advantage of their all-day fruit and vegetable market.

By bus[edit]

The biggest and most modern bus terminal in Semarang is:

  • 4 Mangkang Bus Terminal (Terminal Mangkang), Mangkang Kulon, Tugu (TransSemarang Koridor I). Intercity bus, TransSemarang and TransJateng. Terminal Mangkang (Q28725458) on Wikidata

Many bus companies offer daily service from Jakarta, from Pulo Gebang Bus Terminal and Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal in East Jakarta, Kalideres Bus Terminal and Grogol Bus Terminal in West Jakarta, or from Pasar Jumat Bus Terminal (the successor of Lebak Bulus Bus Terminal) in South Jakarta. The overnight bus with A/C is also available with good service. You can choose bus operators such as Garuda Mas, Kramat Djati, Laju Prima, Nusantara, Raya, Rosalia Indah, and Safari Dharma Raya , which are all well-reputed. Sometimes the bus route is Jakarta to Solo via Semarang. You can choose them too, but make sure to remind the bus driver's assistant (the person who checks your ticket on-board the bus) to wake you up in Semarang.

There is an executive-class tourist bus Joglosemar, which connects Jogjakarta, Solo, and Semarang (hence the name). It picks up tourists from specific hotels and provides snacks and water for their trip. Pricier than other executive buses, it is more comfortable and provides friendly service. They depart almost hourly.

Other companies providing shuttle vans in and out of Semarang include DayTrans (from Jogjakarta, Jepara), Solo and Cilacap), Central Java Travel, Bejeu (from Jepara), Bintang Raya, Matraman Travel, Mitra Travel and Putra Mandiri.

If you want to reserve a bus and travel online, there are some booking portals called Easybook, redBus, or Traveloka. This serves bus and travel tickets from cities like Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

By boat[edit]

Semarang's Tanjung Emas Port (reachable by TransSemarang Koridor III) is located in the northern part, in an area that unfortunately is often flooded during high tide.

It is regularly served by ships mostly to/from destinations in Kalimantan. The state-owned PELNI[dead link] has ships going to Banjarmasin (using KM. Egon), Pontianak (using KM. Lawit), and Kumai (using KM. Leuser and KM. Egon). Another operator with ships also going to Kalimantan is Dharma Lautan Utama (DLU), which serves Pontianak, Ketapang, Kumai, and Sampit. There are no regular ships going directly into Semarang from other major cities in Java, except for occasional ships from Jakarta during the mudik period close to Lebaran offered an alternative for people going back to their hometowns.

Cruise ships occasionally spend a day in port. It has few facilities for passengers, but an informal market of street vendors often assembles outside the secure area. Most passengers take a one-day tour to Borobudur or a city tour of Semarang.

Get around[edit]

0°0′0″N 0°0′0″E

By minibus/bus[edit]

A blue-grey TransSemarang bus Koridor I passing Jl Pemuda near the Balai Kota

There are big and medium-sized buses operated by city government-owned company called TransSemarang buses with designated stops on raised platforms (locally known as shelter). Despite being called a BRT system, the buses do not travel in designated lanes. There are eight routes:

  • Koridor Trans Semarang 1.svg: Penggaron (Bus Terminal)-Mangkang (Bus Terminal)
  • Koridor 1M: Mangkang (Bus Terminal)-Simpang Lima (night service, 18:00-23:00)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 2.svg: Sisemut (Bus Terminal)-Terboyo (Bus Terminal)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 3A.svg: Pelabuhan (Port)-Elisabeth (via Peterongan)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 3B.svg: Pelabuhan (Port)-Elisabeth (via Simpang Lima)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 4.svg: Cangkiran-Stasiun Tawang (Tawang Station)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 5.svg: Meteseh-Ahmad Yani Airport-PRPP
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 6.svg: Diponegoro University (UNDIP) to Semarang State University (UNNES)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 7.svg: Terboyo (Bus Terminal)-Balai Kota (City Hall)
  • Koridor Trans Semarang 8.svg: Cangkiran-Gunung Pati-Simpang Lima
  • Koridor Trans Semarang B.svg: Ahmad Yani Airport-Simpang Lima (night service, 18:00-24:00)

Most interchanging of buses is done at the Balai Kota (City Hall) or SMAN 5 shelter on Jl Pemuda.

The ticket costs Rp3,500 for adults who use electronic money, Rp4,000 for adults who pay in cash and flat Rp2,000 for students. The ticket is valid for as long as you are travelling, but you cannot break your journey. If you get off one bus and get straight on another, the ticket is valid. Keep your ticket when transferring from one corridor to another so that you won't have to buy a new ticket. Some of the less-frequented shelters do not have officials selling tickets, so you have to buy on board. Every bus also has a conductor. This is by far the most visitor-friendly method of going around by public transport.

Central Java provincial government also runs a bus rapid transit route, TransJateng, from Tawang railway station to the Bawen bus terminal, 36.5 km (22.7 mi) away on the southern outskirts of the city. Passing through Semarang Old Town, the main post office, town hall, Tugu Muda, Kariadi hospital. It also passes the Watu Gong Buddhist temple and the Sido Muncul jamu factory. A ticket costs Rp3,500. If you break your journey, you will need to buy another ticket when you get back on. The first bus leaves at 05:00 until 21:00. They run every 15-20 minutes and should do the whole journey in about 90 minutes.

There are plenty of minibuses (locally called angkot or daihatsu) serving other routes. The route is written on the windscreen, and sometimes on the back and side of the vehicle. The route is normally written in the form of 'origin-destination' and sometimes with 'via' information if there is more than one minibus route with the same origin-destination but with a different path in between. For example, the route written as Johar-Sampangan, means it starts in Johar and ends in Sampangan, and vice-versa. Minibus fares are around Rp2,000-3,000. There are two kinds of minibuses, the orange-coloured ones travel longer routes, and the yellow ones travel shorter routes (e.g. from a housing complex to the nearest market or terminal). Ask the conductor or driver before you board about the route and whether it goes where you want to go. This is where you need some rudimentary Indonesian as the person you ask is unlikely to speak English.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are safe and comfortable, and reasonably priced (starting price Rp4,000).

Make sure you understand the route or ask a friend. Make sure the driver uses the meter ("argo"). If he refuses to use the meter, use another taxi. List of taxi companies:

  • Astria, Jl Jatisari 1, +62 24 746-0940.
  • Blue Bird, Jl Brigjen Sudiarto No. 492, +62 24 670-1234.Ordering a Blue Bird in Semarang is now possible through a smartphone app. They also link up with the Go-Jek ride service to offer Go-Bluebird.

Online ride-hailing apps[edit]

Using your smartphone, you can now easily hail a GoJek or Grab in Semarang. It is worth investing in a local SIM card with data so you can use the apps. In Semarang, Grab offers Grab Car and Grab Bike, and GoJek offers its full range, including Go-Bluebird, its tie-in with Bluebird Taxis: book a Bluebird using the GoJek app. Because the maps used in the app are not always reliable, drivers tend to call you shortly after they accept the job, to get more precise information. It is helpful to have enough Indonesian language skills to tell them exactly where you are waiting, to be able to describe a useful landmark, and what colour clothes you are wearing.

On foot[edit]

At first glance, central Semarang seems to have wide pavements. On closer inspection, they turn out to be paved with ceramic wall tiles that are lethally slippery when wet. Trees grow out of them, bus shelters take up nearly the whole width, traders start to encroach. Coupled with the hot and humid climate, walking suddenly seems a lot less attractive. What's more, trying to cross the road is borderline suicidal. Many of the main roads in the central area are one way, which turns them into race tracks. Pedestrian crossings, even with traffic lights, are disregarded. There are footbridges in places, but construction is low quality so watch your step on the stairs, and some have railings missing.

The Old Town is the only part of town that can be truly explored on foot. Behind Gereja Blenduk you will find a fascinating warren of streets between colonial offices and warehouses.

You can walk around the open green space of Simpang Lima, but crossing the road to get there is risky.

See[edit]

One of the temple buildings in Sam Poo Kong temple complex
Side hall of Lawang Sewu
The old lighthouse in Tanjung Emas harbour
  • 1 Gua Kreo (Kreo Cave), Jl Raya Goa Kreo, Kandri, Gunung Pati (Any taxi driver will know the place), +62 852 9179-4931. Daily 06:00–18:00. A modest cave formation surrounded by a man-made lake with a resident band of long-tailed macaques. Can get crowded on the weekend, but you may have it all to yourself on a weekday. Near the cave, there is Waduk Jatibarang or Jatibarang reservoir with a beautiful sight. Rp3,000.
  • 2 Lawang Sewu, Jl Pemuda, Sekayu (right on the Tugu Muda roundabout). 07:00-21:00. Lawang Sewu means 'a thousand doors' in Javanese. It has a lot of them, but probably not that many. Built as the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies railway company in 1907, over time it served various purposes. The Dutch reputedly used the basement as a jail and torture centre. During World War II it was used as the Japanese army's headquarters in Semarang, and further atrocities were committed by the Japanese. The attic, with its twin water towers, was used by the military as a badminton court. Reputed to be haunted. Tour guides are available at the building's entrance. Flashlight tours of the basement, with its interesting system of small pools of water to help keep it cool, are a fun scare. Lawang Sewu (Q1704755) on Wikidata Lawang Sewu on Wikipedia
  • 3 Sam Poo Kong Temple (Kelenteng Sam Poo Kong, Gedung Batu), Jl Simongan No. 129, +62 24 760-5277. The beautiful Sam Poo Kong temple (Gedung Batu) was built to honour the Muslim Chinese admiral Cheng Ho of the Ming Dynasty, who visited Semarang in the early 15th century. It was extensively renovated in 2006 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of Cheng Ho's visit. In the entry area, there are a couple of stores that sell Chinese art and objects, including giant candles and, of course, there's a place to eat. This complex is one of the major temples for certain Chinese religions, notably Kong Hu Chu (Confucianism), and is replete with a long stone mural depicting major events of Cheng Ho's time here, as well as several different temples, each with its own specific style and architecture. You can burn an envelope in a special prayer oven, or ask a soothsayer to read fortune-telling sticks for you. The temple area is open to visitors if you pay an additional fee, otherwise, you can see much of it from behind a chain - but the mural is behind the temples - but only those seeking to pray may actually enter the temples. Sam Poo Kong (Q2128689) on Wikidata Sam Poo Kong on Wikipedia
  • 4 Simpang Lima. A large square and shopping district at the heart of Semarang. At night, you can eat, drink, or just wander around. Enjoy a ride on the decorated bicycles ("gowes"). On Sunday mornings, this is the venue for Semarang's Car Free Day (actually a couple of hours only), where families gather and enjoy activities such as cycling, roller-blading, playing basketball or simply enjoying the atmosphere while eating in their favorite food stall. (Q19734075) on Wikidata
  • 5 Taman Budaya Raden Saleh (Raden Saleh Cultural park), Jl Sriwijaya No.29. A park and cultural centre, with theater and dance performances and the occasional art exhibition in the four buildings in the complex. It used to be the site of Semarang's zoo. Suitable for family recreation or just watching artists practice for their performances. (Q28725181) on Wikidata
  • 6 Port of Tanjung Emas (Pelabuhan Tanjung Mas). A busy, important port during Dutch occupation (from 17th century to 1945). Of special interest is the lighthouse built in 1884. Port of Tanjung Emas (Q12504181) on Wikidata Port of Tanjung Emas on Wikipedia
  • 7 Watugong Buddhist Temple (Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong), Jl Perintis Kemerdekaan Pudakpayung, Banyumanik (Any taxi driver will know it or take the TransJateng rapid transit bus from the centre of town in the direction of Bawen). Popular Buddhist site, featuring the 45m Pagoda Avalokitesvara with seven tiers, the tallest in Indonesia. Various shrines are relevant to the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions. Development started in the 1950s. Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong (Q28725182) on Wikidata Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong on Wikipedia

Before you get into the hilly area named Bukit Sari, you will see on your left, the park 8 Taman Tabanas Gombel where you can stop by, drink tea and see Semarang from the hill. It's a really beautiful view in the daytime and a very special romantic view during the nighttime.

  • 9 Semarang Zoo (Kebun binatang Mangkang, Bonbin), Jl Walisongo Km 16 (across the Mangkang Bus Terminal). 08:00-16:00. After several periods of removal and renewal, Semarang Zoo reopened in 2020 with a variety of new animals, a new playground and many other facilities. Rp20,000-30,000. (Q19746000) on Wikidata
  • 10 Grand Mosque of Central Java (Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah) (on east side of city), +62 821 3497 0000. 04:00-22:00 daily. If you want to see a big mosque, this will probably not disappoint. Presumably non-Muslims can take the lift up to the top of the minaret for a scenic view of the city too. Great Mosque of Central Java (Q7476510) on Wikidata Great Mosque of Central Java on Wikipedia
  • 11 Kampung Pelangi Kalisari, Jl. Wonosari III, Randusari. A multi-colored rainbow village focused on sustainable initiatives. Near the village, there is a Kalisari floral market and a promising outlook in the wood construction library that won Architizer A+ Awards 2020 and became the winner of ArchDaily building of the year 2021, named 12 Microlibrary Warak Kayu.
  • 13 Gedong Songo Temple (Candi Gedong Songo), Krajan, Candi, Bandungan. 06:00-17:00. Gedong Songo is a group of Hindu temples. It is variously dated between the 8th and 9th centuries. Built around a 1,270-metre (4,170 ft) hill near Mount Ungaran. Rp10,000-15,000. Gedong Songo (Q2574009) on Wikidata Gedong Songo on Wikipedia
  • 14 Layur Old Mosque (Masjid Layur), Jl. Layur, Dadapsari. Masjid Layur, or commonly called the Masjid Menara, is an old mosque building in the city of Semarang which was founded around 1802. Precisely located on Jalan Layur, Kampung Melayu area. This mosque was built by Arab traders. There is a minaret that is an icon of the mosque. Layur Mosque (Q106278651) on Wikidata
  • 15 Gondoriyo Waterfall (Curug Gondoriyo), Ngaliyan. 08:00-24:00. A waterfall with lights at night. Rp6,000.

Around the Old Town[edit]

Gereja Blenduk, built in 1753.
  • 16 Old Town (Kota Lama, Oudstadt). Northern Semarang has many old Dutch colonial buildings. This was where the old walled city was located. The wall is no longer there, but many of the buildings remain. While there are a number specific points of interest, the whole area is atmospheric and interesting for a wander. Early morning or late afternoon offers the coolest parts of the day and the best light for photography. The rundown nature is part of its charm, but the City Council is making concerted efforts to bring it back to life. The numbers of cafes and restaurants is slowly growing. This helps to give life to the area at night also, and there is a semi-permanent bric-a-brac market that is most active during these cooler hours. During certain high tides, the area is flooded. Tackling it is also part of the government's plan, and the flooding is slowly dropping in terms of number and intensity of incidents. Kota Lama Semarang (Q13094398) on Wikidata
  • 17 Gereja Blenduk (GPIB Immanuel), Jl Letjen Suprapto 32 (The heart of the Old Town). The name means "domed church". A beautiful Protestant church built in 1753, it is the oldest church in Semarang. It has a baroque organ, a rarity in Indonesia. Blenduk Church (Q4350177) on Wikidata Blenduk Church on Wikipedia
  • 18 Semarang Contemporary Art Gallery, Jl Taman Srigunting No.5-6, +62 24 355-2099, fax: +62 24 355-2199, . Tu-Su 10:00–16:30. Modern gallery offering a selection of contemporary art in revolving exhibitions. Strong focus on Asian artists in general and Indonesian artists in particular.
  • 19 Rumah Akar (The Groot), Jl. Roda II. 24 hours. An alley with some buildings with tree roots growing on its walls. Many people make it as a photo background even for pre or post-wedding photos.
  • 20 Taman Garuda. A small park with Garuda monument.
  • 21 Taman Srigunting (Right by the Gereja Blenduk). A small, shady square nestled by the Gereja Blenduk. Good for a quick sit-down after the exertions of walking around the Old Town, and great for indulging in a bit of the Indonesian national pastime of taking selfies. Expect to be invited to join in photos with other visitors.
  • 22 Gedung Djakarta Lloyd, Jl. Mpu Tantular. Gedung Djakarta Lloyd was once the office of the largest shipping company in the Netherlands named Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN). This building was designed by Ir. Thomas Karsten in 1930. SMN was later nationalized to become Djakarta Lloyd. Until now this building is still used as the office of state-owned, Djakarta Lloyd.
  • 23 Gedung MARBA, Jl. Gelatik No. 35. Marba (Martak Badjened) is a company owned by a Yemen-Indonesia businessman who is engaged in export and import. This building was built in the mid-19th century.
  • 24 Gedung Monod Diephuis & Co, Jl. Kepodang No. 11-13, +62 819 044 42888. M-F 08:00-21:00, Sa 08:00-17:00. Located in the middle of Hoogendoorpstraat, now Jalan Kepodang. Monod & Co company was founded in 1882 by CLF Monod de Froideville and is one of the oldest companies in Semarang. This company is engaged in brokerage, especially sugar, coffee, copra, and other agricultural products for export to Europe. The building is used for art galleries, public libraries, and wedding halls also social activities.
  • 25 Gedung Oudetrap. The building has a spiral staircase in front of the building, which was built in 1834. It was used as a spice warehouse in the Dutch colonial era.
  • 26 Gedung PELNI, Jl. Mpu Tantular (next to Gedung Djakarta Lloyd). This building was used by Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) in the early 20th century. The building is an Art Deco Indies style building that was first built in Semarang. Designed by F.J.L Ghijsels of the AIA bureau in 1917. Construction took a year and was only completed in 1918. Now, It is owned by the national marine passenger transport company, PT PELNI.
  • 27 Gedung PTPN XV, Jl. Mpu Tantular No. 5. Built in the early 19th century and used for Cultuur-Maatschappij der Vorstenlanden N.V., a Dutch company engaged in plantations and agriculture. The company opened a branch in Semarang in 1888. Now, the building is owned by state-owned PT Perkebunan Nusantara.

Monuments[edit]

Tugu Muda with Lawang Sewu in the background
  • 28 Tugu Muda (The Monument to Youth), At the western end of Jl Pandaran and Jl Pemuda. One of Semarang's landmarks - an obelisk set in the middle of a roundabout. It commemorates the five days of fierce battle (14-19 October 1945) between Indonesian freedom fighters and Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender. Tugu Muda (Q5251597) on Wikidata Tugu Muda on Wikipedia

Museums[edit]

  • 29 Museum Ronggowarsito, Jl. Abdurrahman Saleh No. 1, +62 24 7602389. 08:00–14:00, except on Monday. Javanese culture and art museum. Rp 2,000. Ranggawarsita Museum (Q12499640) on Wikidata Ranggawarsita Museum on Wikipedia
  • 30 MURI (Museum Rekor Indonesia), Jl. Setiabudi no.179 Srondol. M–F 08:00–16:00. Indonesian Record Museum. Indonesian World Records Museum (Q2469088) on Wikidata Indonesian World Records Museum on Wikipedia
  • 31 Museum Perjuangan Mandala Bhakti, Jl. Mgr. Sugiyopranoto. Tu–Th 08:00–18:00, F 08:00–10:30, Su 08:00–12:00. Military museum. Mandala Bhakti Museum (Q19746470) on Wikidata
  • 32 Museum Kereta Api Ambarawa (Indonesian Railway Museum), Jl. Stasiun No.1, Panjang Kidul, Ambarawa, Semarang, +62 813 257 09010, . 08:00-16:00. The museum focuses on the collection of steam locomotives, the remains of the closing of the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) railway line. A regular trip is also provided using an old diesel locomotive and wooden coaches with the Rawa Pening Lake view. Rp20,000. Ambarawa Railway Museum (Q1311742) on Wikidata Ambarawa Railway Museum on Wikipedia
  • 33 Museum Kota Lama, Jl. Cendrawasih No.1a, Purwodinatan. Daily 10:00-15:30 Exc. Mon. The history of Semarang City since 1547. It is free but you have to make a reservation on Lunpia App, the application can be downloaded on Apple Store or Google Play.

Historical market building[edit]

Pasar Johar

Pasar Johar is known for its architectural.

  • 34 Pasar Johar (Johar Market), Jl K.H. Agus Salim, Kauman Tengah (Just south of the Old Town and at the eastern end of Jl Pemuda.). Built in 1936, and famous for its neo-vernacular design by architect Thomas Karsten. Unfortunately damaged by fire in 2016, but renovation started in late 2017. As of 2022, Pasar Johar has been reopened. Near the market, there are some landmarks, including the city square Aloon-Aloon Semarang and Masjid Agung Semarang (Semarang Central Mosque) or known as Masjid Kauman. Pasar Johar (Q12489945) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • 1 Marina Beach (Pantai Marina), North Semarang. Facilities: swimming pool, children's playground, beach volleyball, water sports. Pantai Marina (Q12502871) on Wikidata
  • 2 Taman Lele, West Semarang. Facilities: children's playground & pool, cultural and art shows, also animal shows. Taman Lele (Q12518849) on Wikidata
  • 3 Taman Puri Maerokoco (Grand Maerakaca), +62 24 7606286. 07:00-18:00. Tawangmas PRPP, a Central Java Miniature like Indonesia Miniature of TMII (East Jakarta). Facilities: cultural and art shows, boat, water bike, small train, fishing pond. It also contains Kampoeng Laut, a famous over-the-water restaurant. On the other hand, you also can walk around the mangrove forest there.
  • 4 Kampung Anggrek Sodong, Purwosari, Mijen. 10:00-18:00. Orchid cultivation village.
  • 5 Hutan Wisata Tinjomoyo, Jl. Tinjomoyo Barat, Sukorejo, Gunung Pati. 08:00-17:00. A city forest with a lush atmosphere and an iconic suspension bridge. It is good for picnics and camping. Some music events had been held there.
  • 6 Maron Beach (Pantai Maron), Tugu. Do plane spotting there because the beach is located at the end of Ahmad Yani Airport runway. You also may do mangrove trekking in the mangrove park close to the beach. Maron beach is separated by a river kali Silandak from Tirang beach. Entry: Rp5,000. Maron Beach (Q14917408) on Wikidata
  • 7 Ngrembel Asri, Jl. Raya Manyaran-Gunungpati KM. 10. Daily 08:30-22:00. Do paintball and fishing. There is also a kid's playground & pool also a restaurant serves ikan bakar (grilled fish).
  • 8 Burung Kuntul Banteng Raider, Srondol Kulon. Do birdwatching, white egrets in some tamarind trees beside the road.

Sports[edit]

Running track in GOR Tri Lomba Juang
  • 9 GOR Jatidiri, Karangrejo, Gajahmungkur. There is a sports complex owned by the Central Java government. Main football stadium, swimming pool, indoor stadium, roller skate velodrome, and so on. You may watch the tier-1 Indonesian football league match on the weekend.
  • 10 GOR Tri Lomba Juang, Jl Kapten Piere Tendean No. 5, Sekayu. Running track, badminton, and tennis venue. Every afternoon, many Semarang people run and jog in this place.

Reflexology[edit]

After some hard travelling, a long flight, climbing a volcano or just a long walk around town, an easy way to unwind is one of 'reflexology' places offering an hour or two in an easy chair, with vaguely Oriental ambient music tinkling away, while someone squeezes your feet (despite being called reflexology, it is rarely that, but very pleasant nonetheless). All for a very reasonable price.

  • 11 Cozy Feet, Jl Kapten Piere Tendean No. 5, Sekayu (The street behind the Novotel.), +62 24 354-9823. 10:00-22:00 every day. Reflexology and massage.
  • 12 Yu Zu Tang, Jl Anggrek Raya Blok C No. 20-22, Pekunden (behind the Citraland Mall; leave the mall by the door next to Galael supermarket, turn right and follow the wall of the mall around until you get to Yu Zu Tang), +62 24 841-3036. 10:00-22:00. Reflexology and massage. From Rp75,000 for one hour.

Events and shows[edit]

Warak Ngendog, the icon of Dugderan Festival
Wayang Wong Ngesti Pandowo show
  • Dug Der Festival (Dugderan), Johar, Kota Lama, Polder Tawang. Annual festival, one week before fasting month, or puasa. The name is derived from the sound of bedug ("Dug" - the sound of a gigantic drum often associated with Islam), and meriam bambu ("Der" - the sound of the traditional bamboo cannon). At the end of the festival, there's "Ngarak Warak", meaning a procession to bring Warak across the city's main street (normally from the Mayor's office to the Johar Market). The Warak is a mythical animal, with the body of an Arab buraq, the head of a Chinese dragon, and the legs of a Javanese goat. It's the icon of the festival and symbolizes the three cultures, Arab, Chinese, and Javanese in Semarang. You can buy toys at the festival, normally a warak laying an egg, thus the name "Warak Ngendog".
  • Jaran Sampo, Tay Kak Sie and Sam Poo Kong Temples. Attend the biggest ceremony of the Chinese community in Java, featuring a colourful procession and dances of decorated horses and 'liong' (dragon).
  • 13 Jateng Fair, at PRPP Marina. Annual showcase of the Central Java Promotions and Development. It's held between June and July.
  • Loenpia Jazz. Etesian jazz music festival. Presenting local and national musicians. The event is hosted by the Semarang jazz community, Jazz Ngisoringin.
  • 14 Semarang Bridge Fountain (Air Mancur Menari BKB), Jembatan Banjir Kanal Barat. F-Su, 19:30 and 21:00. Dancing fountain show in the evening. Free. (Q65208592) on Wikidata
  • Semarang Great Sale (Semargres). Annual shopping promotions and discounts with lucky draws are held by the city council.
  • 15 Semarang Night Carnival (SNC), Balai Kota (City Hall). Yearly fashion carnival around Semarang city main road. It usually starts at the city hall.
  • 16 Wayang Wong Ngesti Pandowo, Jl. Sriwijaya No. 29 (inside Taman Budaya Raden Saleh, Ki Narto Sabdho building), +62 81 57784939, . A weekly show of Javanese drama in the form of the human puppet (wayang orang in Indonesian or wayang wong in Javanese), with stories from folklore, Mahabarata, and Ramayana. There is a show every Saturday night. An excellent chance to get a glimpse of Javanese culture in Semarang Rp25,000.

Learn[edit]

  • 2 Sobokartti, Jl Dr Cipto 31-33, +62 24 7037 3060, . A cultural institution offering presentations and some training of Javanese performing arts: dance, gamelan, wayang kulit. The building was designed by Thomas Karsten, drawing together elements of indigenous Javanese and Dutch tropical colonial styles.
  • 3 Diponegoro University (Universitas Diponegoro (UNDIP)), . State university, and the biggest and oldest university in the city (est. 1956). Faculties of law, economics, medicine, architecture, engineering, fisheries and marine sciences, animal agriculture, humanities, social and political sciences, public health, natural sciences and mathematics, and psychology. Almost 40,000 students in two campuses, Pleburan (downtown) and Tembalang in the southeastern part of the city. Offers six month and one year Indonesian language courses through the Darmasiswa program. Diponegoro University (Q4200627) on Wikidata Diponegoro University on Wikipedia
  • 4 Semarang State University (Universitas Negeri Semarang (UNNES)), . Has over 21,000 students in faculties of education, language and arts, social sciences, mathematics and science, engineering, sport science, economics and law. Opened in 1965. It offers six month and one year courses via the Darmasiswa program: Indonesian language, fine art, handicrafts, traditional music, traditional dance and batik art. State University of Semarang (Q7603641) on Wikidata State University of Semarang on Wikipedia

Work[edit]

Finding part-time work as a traveller in Indonesia is never easy and will be of questionable legality due to the strict labour laws. You may be in contravention of the terms of your visa.

Having said that, there is always demand for native English speakers to share their skills in some formal or informal capacity. Formal requirements for foreign nationals teaching English in Indonesia are very stringent.

As a manufacturing centre, especially for the export-oriented furniture industries in Semarang and Jepara, you may hear of opportunities for those with the required technical or sales background, with native English language ability.

Be aware that your part-time work may take the place of a full-time job for a competent and experienced Indonesian.

Buy[edit]

Oleh-oleh[edit]

Semarang's famous soft-boned milkfish, bandeng presto, with a package of sambal
Lumpia Semarang spring roll

One of the favourites is milkfish, bandeng, pressure-cooked to soften the bones. It goes by the name bandeng presto or bandeng duri lunak. Also popular are lumpia Semarang (a spring roll with bamboo-shoot filling), wingko babat (small grilled patties of glutinous rice and shredded coconut), ganjel rel (a cake named after the railway sleeper that it resembles in shape and texture) and pia Kemuning (various kind of filling pastry, but the traditional ones are filled with palm sugar, not halal snack because of there is a label containing pork on the package). There is a well-known strip of toko oleh-oleh stores on Jl Pandanaran.

  • 1 Bandeng Juwana Elrina, Jl Pandanaran no.57, +62 24 831-1488. Su-Th 06:30-22:00, F Sa 06:30-23:00. Bandeng presto, lumpia Semarang, wingko babat, ganjel rel cake and more. Free tasting.
  • 2 Wingko Babat Cap Kereta Api (Railway Brand), Jl Cendrawasih 14 (on the eastern edge of the Old Town), +62 24 354-2064. This outlet is just on the edge of Semarang's Old Town. In addition to wingko they have a wide range of other sweet and savoury snack stuffs, and a small selection of souvenirs like fridge magnets. The shop is a much calmer experience than the toko oleh-oleh of Jl Pandanaran which can be crowded and hot, especially if a coachload of tourists arrives.
  • 3 Lumpia Gang Lombok (Loempia Gang Lombok or Loenpia Gang Lombok), Gang Lombok, Chinatown (next to Tay Kak Sie temple). The pioneer of Semarang's many lumpia (spring roll) stalls. Started operating before the Second World War. Some of the owners of other lumpia outlets started by working at this place. Uses both dried shrimp and fresh shrimp. Semarang lumpia is known for the use of bamboo shoots, which give them a distinctive taste.
  • 4 Tahu Baxo Ibu Pudji (Tahu Bakso Bu Pudji cabang Pamularsih), Jl. Pamularsih Raya No.15, Bongsari (near Sam Poo Kong Temple), +62 822 424 75758. 07:00-20:00. Tahu bakso is tofu stuffed with beef or fish dough. It is a delicacy of Ungaran, Semarang (Regency).
  • 5 Moaci Gemini, Jl. Kentangan Bar. No.101, Sawunggaling, +62 24 3519503. 07:00-20:00. Kue moaci is a Semarang mochi stuffed with the peanut paste and sesame seeds outside.

Arts and crafts[edit]

There are numerous places around town to buy jewelry, paintings, handicrafts, art, and other items that could make great souvenirs, and these places can be found all over town. You can buy batik, antiques, and traditional items in Pasar Johar (Johar Market). There is plenty of choices. It is also accessible by Angkot (mini-bus).

Antique, arts and handicrafts[edit]

  • 6 Andika Art & Crafts Gallery, Jl Puri Anjasmoro, Block O-1/5, +62 24 760-6123.
  • 7 Klub Merby, Jl MT Haryono (Mataram) No 653..
  • 8 La Vogue, Jl Pemuda. The city's oldest antique shop.
  • 9 Lia's Gallery, Jl Genade Selatan 2, Pedalangan, +62 24 749-8700. Fine art calligraphy painting.
  • 10 Pandjang Art Shop, Jl Widoharjo 31A, +62 24 354-1460.
  • 11 Pasar Antik Semarang, Kota Lama (Old Town). Semarang antique market.
  • 12 Semarang Creative Gallery, Kota Lama (Old Town). Gallery of creative products & unique crafts from Semarang craftsmen.

Batik[edit]

Batik Semarangan pattern

You can also buy high-quality batik at department stores, or at batik specialists like Batik Keris and Danar Hadi, both in the Simpang Lima square area. Semarang also has its own style of batik called Batik Semarangan, which can be found in various stores around town, one of them in kampung batik near old town.

  • 13 Batik Semarang 16, Meteseh, Tembalang, +62 811 270 8692.
  • 14 Batik Temawon, Jl. Batik No.746, Kampung Batik, Rejomulyo (walking to the east from Bundaran Bubakan/Museum Kota Lama through Jalan Batik), +62 856 404 40909. 09:00-21:00.

Shopping malls[edit]

  • 15 DP Mall, Jl. Pemuda (near Lawang Sewu), +62 24 3583588. 10:00–22:00. The mall has three floors. Fashion tenants include H&M, Uniqlo, and Giordano. It is a comfortable place to hang out with culinary tenants including Sushi Tei, Yoshinoya and Istana Mie & Es. There are the Cinema XXI cinema and Masterpiece karaoke on the second floor.
  • 16 Java Supermall, Jalan Letjen MT. Haryono No 992 – 994. 09:30–22:00. The mall has four floors. Fashion tenants include Matahari Department Store, Hammer, Giordano, and Bellagio. It is a comfortable place to hangout with culinary tenants including Starbucks, J.CO Donuts, Pizza Hut, Solaria, Es Teler 77, and Kopi Luwak. There is the Cinemazz cinema at the third floor. (Q13406509) on Wikidata
  • 17 Mall Ciputra (Citraland Mall), Jalan Simpang Lima No 1. 09:30–22:00. The ground floor has many fashion options, including The Bra House, Andre Valentino, Batik Keris, Hammer, Giordano, Nike, dan Rotelli Shoes. The first floor has more with Planet Surf, Wacoal, Warna Fashion dan Fada Boutique. The second floor has XXI and Citra 21 cinemas.
  • 18 Paragon City Mall, Jalan Pemuda No 118. 10:00–22:00. At the G floor, you can buy beauty products at L'Occitane and the Body Shop. Some of the well-known tenants include Adidas, Giordano, Levi’s, Hush Puppies, and Wakai. Food options include BreadTalk, J.CO Donuts, dan Starbucks. (Q19730280) on Wikidata

Supermarket[edit]

  • 19 ADA, Jl. Mgr Sugiyopranoto No.58 - 60, Bulustalan (near Semarang Bridge Fountain), +62 24 3563641. 09:00–21:00. Modern supermarket in Semarang. It provides a variety of household needs, clothing, shoes, toys, and a food court. It has 4 branches all over Semarang. Ada Supermarket (Q19723681) on Wikidata Ada Supermarket on Wikipedia

Traditional fresh markets[edit]

Traditional market in the morning
Jajan pasar in Bulu Market

Besides the famous Pasar Johar, there are other traditional markets across the city. You may buy fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats, also numerous traditional snacks or kue known as jajan pasar. Go early in the morning to see the most activity. They tend to have quietened down by late morning. There are plenty to choose from.

  • 20 Pasar Bulu (Bulu Market), Jl. Mgr Sugiyopranoto (near Tugu Muda). In addition to providing ingredients for cooking, there is also a food court here.
  • 21 Pasar Karangayu (Karangayu Market), Jl. Jendral Sudirman. One of the biggest traditional markets in Semarang. Just 5 km away from the airport.
  • 22 Pasar Peterongan (Peterongan Market), Jl. MT. Haryono. Known for its old tamarind tree. It is older than the market which was built in 1916.

Changing money[edit]

As Semarang is not a tourist city, you won't find a large concentration of money changers. Those listed below are generally reliable, and you can even call ahead to 'lock' a rate first before coming in personally in the next half an hour or so.

  • Golden Valasindo, Jl Jend Sudirman 322, Ruko Siliwangi Square Kav 10 (TransSemarang Corridor I and IV, stop at Pasar Karangayu (Karangayu Market) - on the way from airport to the city centre), +62 24 7663-2631.
  • Rudo Indovalas Dunia, Jl Simpang Lima, Gajah Mada Plaza Bl A/9-10 (TransSemarang Koridor III and IV, stop at Simpang Lima), +62 24 844-4111.
  • Supit, Jl Pemuda 39C, +62 24 354-2461.
  • Supit (branch office), Mal Ciputra Shop Office Bl B/4, Jl Simpang Lima 1 1 (TransSemarang Corridor III and IV, stop at Simpang Lima), +62 24 844-0814.
  • Valin Internusa, Jl Mayjen DI Panjaitan 158-160, +62 24 356-5222.

Banks are open between 08:30-15:00.

Eat[edit]

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget under Rp50,000
Mid-range Rp50,000-150,000
Splurge over Rp150,000

Semarang's choice of foods is large as other cities, you can find Japanese, Italian, Thai, Korean, Indian, and more.

Semarang cuisine[edit]

Semarang has many special foods that cannot be found in other cities, including:

  • Babat gongso, beef tripe in a sweet and spicy sauce.
  • Badak sambel, a veggies fritter in a spicy peanut sauce.
  • Empal kelem, beef in thick spiced gravy.
  • Kue jongkong singkong, a cake made from grated cassava.
  • Mie kopyok, noodle in a garlic soup.
  • Petis bumbon, boiled eggs cooked in fish paste sauce called petis banyar.
  • Petis kangkung, boiled water spinach mixed with shrimp paste sauce and lime juice.
  • Tahu gimbal, tofu dish with cabbage and gimbal (shrimp fritter) in a peanut sauce.
  • Tahu petis, tofu stuffed with black shrimp paste sauce.
  • Terang bulan Semarang, different from common martabak manis, it is softer and sprinkled with strawberry jam, white powder sugar, and sweetened chocolate condensed milk.

Budget[edit]

There are food stalls all over Semarang. Some kaki lima stalls are popular and cheap, as they are not permanent, and do not have phone numbers and exact addresses. However, they usually open in the same spot and time every day.

The cheapest of the cheap is nasi kucing (literally, cat rice) which is very small portions (just enough for a cat to eat, presumably) of rice served with a modest amount of side dishes and vegetables. Another cheap dish, bakso (meatball soup) with offal and cartilage also become a favorite lunch in Semarang such as Bakso Doa Ibu, Bakso Pak Geger, and Bakso Pak Ripto. Soto Semarang is a type of chicken soto with clear soup and various side dishes for budget breakfast, some of the oldest including Soto Bangkong, Soto Bokoran, Soto Pak Man, and Soto Pak Ra'an.

Soto Semarang

Porridge is one of the budget breakfast menus in the morning in the city of Semarang, the salty one is called bubur terik (porridge with tofu and boiled egg in yellow coconut milk soup) and the sweet one is bubur ketan kinco (porridge with glutinous rice, grated coconut, and liquid brown sugar).

  • 1 Ayam Goreng Kalasan, Jl. Moh. Suyudi No.4, Miroto, +62 816 488 3622. 11:00-21:00. Traditional boiled and fried chicken.
  • 2 Ayam Goreng Mbok Berek, Jl. Jendral Sudirman No.384, Gisikdrono, +6224 7606600. 07:30-21:00. Ayam penyet (traditional Javanese fried chicken that is smashed in a mortar and pestle so you can enjoy the sumsum - marrow), served with sambal and lalapan (raw vegetables).
  • 3 Ayam Goreng Salim, Jl. Pringgading (Food stall on the corner of Jl MT. Haryono (Mataram) and Jl Pringgading.). Tasty fried chicken.
  • 4 Bakso Kakap Pak Wahid, Jl. Citarum, Bugangan, Mlatibaru, +62 815 754 63999. 11:30-20:00. A snapper fishball soup. One of delicacy from Semarang. Rp20,000.
  • 5 Gudeg Koyor Mbak Tum, Peterongan, Wonodri, +62 812 227 70047. A typical Semarang's gudeg with koyor (knee-tendon beef).
  • 6 Gule Kambing Bustaman Pak Sabar, Kota Lama (Old City), Tanjung Mas, North Semarang, +62 822 209 54443. 08:00-16:00. Gule is a type of Javanese food containing rich, spicy, and succulent curry-like soup. The main ingredient of this dish is goat meat. Start from Rp31,000.
  • 7 Kampung Serabi Kalicari, Jl. Kalicari 3, Pedurungan, +62 896 683 89606. 11:00-18:00. Try the local dessert of Semarang, bubur serabi, pudding with some small pancakes in a sweet coconut milk soup. It is served in a bowl made from banana leaves.
  • 8 Kedai Beringin Indonesia, Jalan Beringin I/9 (on a small residential street heading north off Jl Pierre Tendean behind the Novotel), +62 24 3554292. 07:00-15:00 Javanese menu, 16:00-21:30 Chinese menu. frequently visited by office workers at lunchtime for its cheap and good Javanese-style dishes - rice with various soupy dishes (rawon, asem-asem daun kedondong, etc), nasi campur, gado-gado and so on. Various ice-based desserts are also available. Halal. Opens for two sessions a day. The first, at lunchtime, offers the Javanese menu. Opening again in the late afternoon and evening, it offers a more Chinese-style menu. Be aware that there are two Kedai Beringin in town. The other is not so far away, in front of Poncol train station. Bigger, with a wider menu, and offering some dishes with pork.
  • 9 Kue Lekker Paimo, Jl. Ki Mangunsarkoro, Brumbungan (has been moved from Loyola College High School; walk 300 m to the east through Jl. Karang Anyar and 200 m to the south through Jl. Ki Mangunsarkoro), +62 815 659 5412. 10:00-17:00. A Javanese crispy flat cake. The Indonesian version of Dutch baby pancakes and French crêpe. There are two types of kue lekker, the sweet and the salty one. Start from Rp2,000.
Mie kopyok, Semarang's specialty noodle dish
  • 10 Mie Kopyok Pak Dhuwur, Jl. Tanjung No. 18A, Pandansari, +62 856 413 72758. 08:00-16:00. Mie kopyok is boiled noodles served in garlic soup with slices of fried tofu, rice cake, bean sprouts, and crushed crackers, sprinkled with sliced fresh celery, and fried shallot. From Rp15,000. Mie kopyok on Wikipedia
  • 11 Nasi Ayam Bu Wido, Jl. Melati Selatan, Brumbungan, +62 24 3548206. 15:00-23:00. Nasi Ayam Semarang (Semarang-Javanese Chicken Curry Rice).
  • 12 Nasi Goreng Babat Hengky, Jl. Puri Anjasmoro Blok K, Tawangsari, +62 852 250 86676. 17:00-23:00. Nasi goreng babat is a typical Semarang's nasi goreng with tripe. It is a sweet, spicy, and savoury dish. Also, try babat gongso (tripe in sweet, spicy, and garlicky sauce). Start from Rp35,000.
  • 13 Nasi Kucing Pak Gik Gajahmada, Jl. Inspeksi, Gabahan, +62 812 303 38807. 21:00-04:00. Cat portion rice with various side dishes. From Rp1,000.
  • 14 Penyet Kuah Timoho, Jl. Timoho Raya No.32, Bulusan, Tembalang, +62 895 028 15252. 16:00-22:00. Spicy Indonesian soups, including tempeh, tofu, chicken & seafood, are on offer in this snug neighborhood eatery. Usually, ayam penyet is an Indonesian fried chicken with sambal and raw veggies. Unlike the case here, ayam penyet kuah is a chicken served in thick and spicy coconut milk gravy. The pioneer of penyet in gravy in Semarang. Rp6,000-20,000.
  • 15 Semawis Night Market (Pasar Semawis), Gang Warung, Chinatown. Night market, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Hawker-style local food. There's also an annual, larger Semawis Market before Chinese New Year.
  • 16 Simpang Lima. This square in the heart of Semarang has plenty of stalls offering a variety of local food. Prices are low: a piece of fried chicken, a thigh or a leg, plus a plate of steamed rice for as little as Rp15,000. Some stalls offer lesehan (sitting on a mat), with or without a low table. Active from early morning until late at night. The best stalls are busy and sell out quickly. You will also find many food stalls under tents (tenda), selling a variety of foods from Gudeg (Jogjakartan pressure-cooked sweet jackfruit meal, usually served dry or wet with coconut milk soup, and you can add in fried chicken, eggs, and other items), bubur ayam (chicken porridge, a real treat), jagung bakar (grilled corn), pecel (Javanese salad in peanut sauce) and many others. Pamper yourself with plenty of good food, yet very cheaply.
  • 17 Soto Bangkong, Ruko Bangkong Plaza, Jl. Brigjen Katamso No. 1, Peterongan (a kilometre or so to the east of Simpang Lima; any taxi driver or ride sharing driver will know the location.), +62 24 841-2842. daily 07:00–22:00. Clear chicken soup, a local variation of the soto ayam found across Indonesia. A Semarang institution.
  • 18 Tahu Gimbal H. Edy, Jl. Pandanaran No. 2, Mugassari (near Taman Indonesia Kaya formerly Taman KB, across to SMA 1 Senior High School), +62 813 294 07509. 11:00-22:00. Tahu gimbal is a Semarang tofu dish with gimbal (shrimp fritter) and peanut sauce. Rp15,000-30,000. (Q12518571) on Wikidata
  • 19 Tahu Petis Prasojo, Jl. Pringgading, Jagalan, +62 896 085 87317. 15:00-21:30. Tahu petis is a typical Semarang fried tofu with black coloured shrimp paste sauce called petis inside, eat them while they're hot with a green chilli named cabe rawit if you love spicy hot snack. Start from Rp4,400.
  • 20 Warung Bubur Berkah, Jl. Rambutan Raya, Lamper Lor, +62 877 609 68694. M-Sa 05:30-10:00. Serves porridge bubur terik and bubur ketan kinco for breakfast. From Rp8,000.
  • 21 Warung Makan Asem-Asem Koh Liem, Jl. Karang Anyar No.28, Gabahan, +62 24 3565628. 07:00-16:00. Offering Asem-asem daging (beef in a sour clear soup).

Mid-range[edit]

  • 22 Dyriana Bakery & Cafe, Jl Pandanaran 51A (look for the big oval billboard), +62 24 831 8531, +62 24 844 5175. 06:30-22:00. Freshly baked bread — try "roti pisang" (bread with a small banana inside) —– cakes, and a nice cafe serving local hot food and cold drinks. Air-conditioned. Often has demonstrations of traditional products being made (call first, often around 15:00-17:00).
  • 23 Elrina Restaurant, Jl Pandanaran 83, +62 24 831 0205. Serving different dishes of milkfish with local taste, Chinese and seafood. Air-conditioned.
  • 24 Gama Ikan Bakar & Seafood, Jl. M.T. Haryono 870A (just south of the well-known Bangkong interchange on Jl MT Haryono, about a kilometre east of Simpang Lima), +62 24 845-5005, +62 24 845-5855, . 11:00-23:00. Indonesian seafood, with indoor and outdoor eating areas.
  • 25 Gelato Matteo, Jl Mataram 914 (near SMP Maria Mediatrix and SMA Sedes), +62 821 366-434-330. M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa 10:00-23:00, Su 10:00-20:00. Real Italian gelato made by a real Italian man. All the favourite flavours plus some specials. Cups, cones and in brioche. Small range of other snacks, and proper Italian coffee.
  • 26 Ikan Bakar Cianjur (IBC), Jl Letjen Suprapto 19 (opposite Gereja Blenduk), +62 (24) 3562333. Highly dependable Sundanese food with quick service in lovely old Dutch bank building. The name refers to the grilled fish for which it is famous.
  • 27 Karuna, Jl Depok No. 47, +62 24 355-3182. One of Semarang's only vegetarian restaurants. In the Chinese style, this replicates meat-dishes but with mushrooms, beancurd and tempe. Canteen-style, where you look in the case and point to what you want. On Saturdays it has a fixed-price all you can eat offer, but you have to clear your plate. If not, you will be fined. Has a small selection of wholefoods for sale as well - pulses, dried fruit, nuts.
  • 28 Mbah Jingkrak, Jl Taman Beringin No. 3 (in the residential area to the north of Jl Pierre Tendean, behind the Novotel), +62 24 355-3366. One of the chain of Javanese restaurants. Choose from a large number of dishes laid out - white or red rice, beancurd and tempe dishes, devil's hair chicken (pitik rambut setan), hot and sour steamed chicken (garang asem). Staff will spoon portions of those you point to, then the total is added up when you get to the end. Bentuman Steak shares the same building.
  • 29 Nglaras Rasa, Jl MH Thamrin 124, +62 24 831-9766. Regular food and buffet. Specialising in catering for large groups, including coach parties. Air-conditioned.
  • 30 Sate & Gule Kambing 29 (Sate Dua Sembilan), Jl Letjen Soeprapto 29 (right in front of the famous Blenduk Church in the Old Town), +62 24 354-9692, . Daily 09:00-22:00. Anything you like, as long as it is goat. Famous for its goat sate and soup. This is the original restaurant, with original interiors and no air-conditioning. There are two more branches in Semarang - less inspiring interiors, but they do have AC, and a branch in each of Yogyakarta and Jakarta.
  • 31 Sate Sapi Pak Kempleng 1, Jl. Diponegoro No.265, Ungaran, +62 24 6923314. 09:00-19:30. Ungaran-type beef satay. Rp95,000.
  • 32 Toko Oen, Jl Pemuda 52, Bodjong, +62 24 354-1683. A Semarang institution since Dutch colonial days. Famous for its ice cream, steak and fried rice, and bread and cookies. Still with the atmospheric original decor. Serves pork.
  • 33 Talisman Rotisserie, Jl Teuku Umar No. 18, Gajah Mungkur, +62 815 770-2469, . Daily 10:00-23:00. It's all about chicken - mostly cooked on a rotisserie, but also soups. Salads and sides, including mashed potatoes. Part of the same group as the Basilia and Massimo restaurants.
  • 34 Warung Kepala Manyung Bu Fat, Jl. Ariloka, Krobokan, +62 24 7618208. 08:00-20:00. Offering mangut ikan manyung (ariid catfish in yellow coconut milk-curry soup).

Splurge[edit]

  • 35 The Blue Lotus Coffeehouse, Jl Ahmad Yani No.197 (at the Bangkong intersection, between Panin Bank and CIMB Niaga Bank), +62 812 286-9248. Tu–Su 09:00-21:00. Famous for the freshly home-roasted Indonesian coffee and eight different ways of brewing, but has a great selection of Western food and Japanese cheesecake. Comfy sofas and strong Wi-Fi.
  • 36 Bowery, Jl Achmad Yani 140, +62 24 831-0855. Steaks, wine, cocktails, mocktails, generally fine dining. Western and Asian. Black and chrome, atmospheric lighting, Gotham-city vibe. Paired with the more casual dining Eastman.
  • 37 Holliday, Jl Pandanaran 6 Blok 18-20, +62 24 8413371. 08:00-21:30. Chinese food, including dim sum, is often considered the best Chinese restaurant.
  • 38 Pesta Keboen, Jl Veteran 29, Lempongsari. Indonesian and Dutch cuisine served in a restored Dutch colonial house furnished with antiques and Dutch East Indies memorabilia. Go there for the ambiance.
  • 39 Pringgading Restaurant (New Grand Pringgading), Jalan Pringgading No. 55. Chinese food with an Indonesian flair. Yum cha on Sunday mornings. Always full, very lively, and chaotic. Service is not outstanding.
  • 40 Rinjani View (Teras Kopi), Jl Rinjani No.12 (across the street from Hotel Candi Baru), +62 24 8508541, +62 24 8508543. 10:00-01:00. One-stop entertainment, food, and beverage centre in the upper town. Rinjani View consists of six outlets: Resto, Lounge, Teraz, Karaoke, The Cafe, and Apartment's View. There's a fabulous view of Semarang City and Java Sea from all six. Serves Western, Chinese, and Indonesian food. WiFi is available.
  • 41 Seoul Palace, Jl Pandanaran 109. Korean-style restaurant, with delicious barbecue, flavourful soups, and noodle dishes. Does not serve pork.
  • 42 Sisingamangaraja Site (S2), Jl Sisingamangaraja No.19C (across the street from the Grand Candi Hotel), +62 24 8503344. A modern and hip mixed-use complex where people can hang out, drink, eat Japanese, Peranakan, or Western cuisine, or have coffee and desserts.
  • 43 Spiegel Bar and Bistro, Jl Let Jend Suprapto No.34 (in the heart of the Old Town, close to Gereja Blenduk and Taman Srigunting), +62 24 358-0049, fax: +62 24 356-9420, . Su-Th 10:00–00:00, F Sa 10:00–late.

    Thoughtful and atmospheric reworking of an almost derelict heritage building, which was a general store during colonial times. Pizza, burgers, pasta, steak, fish and chips, Caesar salad - the menu is similar to all other Indonesian venues of this kind. A few surprises here and there. It's a bar too, so there is alcohol, but also means smoking is allowed. The building also hosts two related businesses:

    • Spiegel Home Studio — a rental studio apartment. Sleeps 4. Rp800,000. Room service available from the bistro
    • Impala.space — co-working space, on the mezzanine above the bistro
  • 44 The Tavern, No. 1 Jalan Rinjani, Gajah Mungkur, +62 24 850-3099, . M-F 16:00-00:00, Sa Su 16:00-01:00. Steaks, burgers, grills, pasta, pizzas. A selection of Indonesian dishes. Beer, wine. Fills up quickly so book or go early.
  • 45 Trattoria, The Vee Building, Jl Gajah Mada, Brumbungan, +62 24 354-8333. 11:00-23:00. One of the chain of Italian restaurants found across southeast Asia. Dependable and good - pizzas, kinds of pasta, steak. Also serves Japanese sushi and sashimi. Serves wine by the glass.
  • 46 Xiang Yuen (inside Grand Candi Hotel), +62 24 8416 222. Jl Sisingamangaraja No. 16. M-F 06:00-15:00 & 18:30-22:30, Sa-Su p7:00-15:00 & 18:30-22:30. Authentic Cantonese & Szechuanese. Rp100,000-1,000,000.

Drink[edit]

In Semarang, it is not easy to find bars. However, lately a few stylish venues have sprung up, mainly catering to the trendy young population. There are a few bars and cafes around Simpang Lima (right downtown). After sunset, please avoid small tents selling homemade tea (teh poci) as lots of hookers looking for targets, especially rich-looking travelers.

Bars and clubs[edit]

  • 1 Club 123, Jalan Pemuda 123 (in the basement of Novotel Semarang), +62 24 356 3000, . 21:00 - 02:00.
  • 2 Marabunta Resto and Bar, Kota Lama (Old Town). Using one of the old historic buildings in the old town. During the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia, this building was used as a city theater building. During its active period, the Marabunta Building was used as a special recreational building for the Dutch. The building was only used for comedy, orchestra, and ballet performances. The bar serves cocktails and Western & Indonesian foods.

Coffee shops[edit]

  • 3 Dharma Boutique Roastery (Margo Redjo), Jl. Wotgandul Barat No.14, Kranggan, Central Semarang. M-Sa, 09:00-17:00. A coffee shop that has been established in 1916. There is traditional coffee processing.
  • 4 Han's Kopi, Jl. Veteran No.10, Randusari. Daily 10:00-01:30. Serves coffee and light meals. Rp7,000-50,000.
  • 5 Strada Coffee and Caffee, Jl. Letnan Jenderal S. Parman No.47A, Gajahmungkur, +62 24 8507711. 07:00-23:00. Coffee, cakes, and light meals.
  • 6 Tekodeko Koffiehuis, Kota Lama, Jl. Letjen Suprapto No.44 (in kota lama (old town)), +62 24 3544501. 09:00-22:00. Serves hot and iced coffee. Rp10,000-200,000.

Wedang or wedhang means hot, soothing drink. You can get them in Simpang Lima, hotels or restaurants in Semarang. One of the most popular variety is STMJ (Susu Telor Madu Jahe, a concoction of milk, egg, honey, and ginger drink).

Local drinks[edit]

As one of kota jamu (herbal drink cities), Semarang has its own jamu called Jamu jun
  • 7 Es Cao Gang Lombok, Gg. Lombok, Purwodinatan, +62 858 656 26789. 08:00-17:00. Es cao is a traditional Semarang iced drink with black grass jelly, coconut, and red colour coconut pandan syrup.
  • 8 Es Kelapa Muda Kartika, Jl MT. Haryono 83 (near Bubakan roundabout). 10:00-18:00. One of the most delicious young coconut drinks. Daytime only, just get there early because in late afternoon they're most likely sold out already.
  • 9 Es Panekuk Pak Yono, Jl. Tanjung, Sekayu, +62 812 287 71554. 09:00-16:00. Fruit ice cream with pancake and bread.
  • 10 Es Puter Cong Lik, Jl. Kh Ahmad Dahlan No.11, +62 24 8443619. 18:00-23:00. A traditional ice cream based on coconut milk, with fruits, coconut and jelly.
  • 11 Jahe Rempah Mbah Jo, Jl. Menteri Supeno I No.1, Mugassari, +62 812 250 5012. 06:00-22:00. A traditional ginger drink with spices and herbs.
  • 12 Jamu Jun Mbak Lina, Pasar Sampangan, Sampangan, Bendan Duwur. Jamu jun is a typical Semarang's jamu (Indonesian herbal medicinal drink). It is made from rice flour and some spices.
  • 13 Wedang Kacang Kapuran (Kacang Ijo Kapuran), Jl. Jagalan Malang No.53, Gabahan. 16:00-19:30. Offering one of the traditional drink of Semarang, wedang kacang tanah (hot drink made from peanut).

Sleep[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than Rp250,000
Mid-range Rp250,000-500,000
Splurge More than Rp500,000

Budget[edit]

Go to Jalan Kauman (Near Johar Market - TransSemarang Koridor II or buses to/from Terboyo Terminal) and you'll find a lot of cheap accommodation. They are most likely to be a basic fan room with outside bathroom for the cheapest price level, some naming themselves as losmen (inns) and others as hotel. Several places offering basic fan room are located near the mosque at the northern end (Masjid Kauman) with rooms going for as cheap as Rp 50,000. Many budget places will not have a western-style shower.

Another group of budget accommodation, slightly more upmarket but still affordable hotels, can be found along Jl. Imam Bonjol. With Rp 250,000 or even less you can possibly have an air-conditioned room in these hotels, such as Hotel Bali and Rahayu. TransSemarang Koridor III and buses to/from Terboyo Terminal (except DAMRI) pass by Jl. Imam Bonjol.

Both areas are not too far from both train stations (Poncol and Tawang), as well as the seaport (Tanjung Mas).

  • 1 Hostel Imam Bonjol, Jl Imam Bonjol 177 B, +62 853 2528 3959, +62 24 740 39769, . 400 m from Tugu Muda, a 10-minute walk to Paragon Mall, 12 minutes to Dp Mall, 20 minutes from Ahmad Yani Airport, 5 minutes from Tawang train station, 2 minutes from the Joglosemar Shuttle bus station. Free WiFi, hot water, free map. They rent bicycles, and can assist with car rental. Rp100,000 single room, Rp165,000 double room. ImamBonjol Hostel (Q111078183) on Wikidata
  • 2 Hotel Elizabeth, Jl. Sultan Agung, No. 1, +62 24 8413501, +62 24 8413176, +62 24 8319803. Located in the southern, slightly hilly part of Semarang, in the area known as Candi. Close to St. Elizabeth hospital and popular with many guests actually visiting their hospitalized relatives. Rp175,000.
  • 3 Hotel Merbabu, Jl Pemuda 122-124, +62 24 3547491, +62 24 3547492, fax: +62 24 3547491. Check-out: 13:00. Single bed to family room for 4 people. A/C, telephone, TV, indoor bathroom, hot water. Refrigerator for deluxe rooms and above. Strategic location in Jl Pemuda next to Paragon City Mall. Rp250,000.
  • 4 Hotel Oewa Asia, Jl. Kol. Sugiono No. 12 Semarang, +62 24 3542547. A hotel which is slightly derelict, but is unique as it has witnessed Semarang's history from the Dutch colonial era. Located in Semarang's Old Town (Kota Lama) area. From Rp55,000.
  • 5 Hotel Rahayu, Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 35-37, +62 24 3542532. Double, triple, and quadruple rooms available, both fan and air-conditioned. Wi-fi available. Rp100,000 for a double.
  • 6 Hotel Terboyo Indah, Jl. Terboyo Industri Raya No. 30 Semarang, +62 24 6583751. Located in the northeastern part of Semarang, in the same area as Terboyo Bus Terminal. Rp95,000.
  • 7 Ibis budget Semarang Tendean, Jl. Pierre Tendean No. 21, +62 24 7692 888, . from Rp258,000 double room. Ibis Budget Semarang Tendean (Q111138165) on Wikidata

Mid-range[edit]

  • 8 Candi Baru Hotel, Jl Rinjani 21, Gajamungkur, +62 24 315 272. Dutch colonial era hotel in Semarang's hilly district. Hosts a branch of Black Canyon Cafe, a Thai café chain, in its front yard. Candi Baru Hotel (Q106281799) on Wikidata
  • 9 Hotel Dafam, Jl Imam Bonjol 188, +62 24 355-4111, fax: +62 24 354-5111, . Three-star hotel for business and leisure travellers, comfortable accommodation. Rp370,000. Hotel Dafam Semarang (Q111138111) on Wikidata
  • 10 Hotel Grasia, Jl S. Parman 29, +62 24 844-4777, fax: +62 24 831-7288, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 13:00. Three-star hotel in Gajahmungkur. Rates include buffet breakfast, pick-up service from/to airport,car wash, unlimited WiFi. Rp475,000. Hotel Grasia (Q111138174) on Wikidata
  • 11 Hotel Ibis Simpang Lima, Jl Gajah Mada 172 (near Simpang Lima), +62 24 3300-0888, . 3-star hotel near the hustle and bustle of Simpang Lima. Rp370,000. Ibis Semarang Simpang Lima (Q111138212) on Wikidata
  • 12 Hotel Muria, Jl Dr. Cipto 73, +62 24 351 3622, fax: +62 24 351 5843, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 13:00. Two-star hotel near Chinese business area. Caters to family and convention needs, has six meeting rooms, buffet breakfast, pick up service from/to airport, car wash, unlimited WiFi access. Rp297,000.
  • 13 New Metro Hotel, Jl Haji Agus Salim 2-4, +62 24 354 7371, fax: +62 24 351-0863, . 3-star hotel. Close to Pasar Johar traditional market.
  • 14 Quest Hotel, Jl Plampitan No.37-39, +62 24 352-0808, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 13:00. Near Simpang Lima business district and Chinatown . Ten minutes from the train station. Rooms have cable TV, safe and tea/coffee making facilities and a private balcony. Rp265,000. Quest Hotel Simpang Lima - Semarang by ASTON (Q111138190) on Wikidata

Splurge[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Semarang is moderately safe. People are nice to strangers, helpful and friendly.

Never touch anyone's head (especially teenagers and older men) as it is considered as "insult" and might invite troubles. In the crowded buses, trains or small cars used as public transportation, "unintended touch" is tolerated. Never look at someone (especially young men) straight in the eyes more than 3 times as it might be considered as "challenging them to fight" (this applies especially in bigger towns/cities). Villagers are more friendly to strangers.

Semarang is neither a small city nor huge city if compared to Jakarta. Everyone is urged to observe universal safety rules such as "only walk in the light-bright areas"; do not attempt to deal with hookers or trans-sexual hookers which are usually done under secluded and dark areas; lady travelers are urged not to travel alone after 23:00 especially in an unknown dark neighborhood, sometimes even in residential areas. Only withdraw a moderate amount of money in an open air ATM.

When riding the public transportation it is not encouraged to wear jewellery, or gaudy and branded or designer watches. Petty thieves are common, but they do not strike when it isn't obvious. During the night if you must use public transportation, look for those units which have more than a few people riding and do avoid the empty ones. You might want to choose a seat close to the driver.

Stay healthy[edit]

Hospitals with 24-hour emergency rooms:

Connect[edit]

By phone[edit]

The dialing code for Semarang is 024.

By net[edit]

Some hotel lobbies and cafés offer free WiFi. Ask your server for the password wifi (PAHS-wuhrd WIGH-fee).

By mail[edit]

  • 11 Kantor Pos Besar Semarang, Jl. Pemuda No.4, Pandansari. Daily 07:00-21:00. Served by Pos Indonesia. Domestic and International shipments.

Cope[edit]

Police stations:

Go next[edit]

East Overland, all points to Surabaya, taking in:

  • The important religious sites in Demak and Kudus
  • The batik centre of Bakaran near Pati to see the unusual black, cream, and indigo batik
  • Rembang for its salt fields and kawista syrup also the Chinese architecture and heritage of Lasem, with its famous batik style
  • Cepu district in Blora for its former glories of the teak industry, and its outrageous heritage forest railway
  • The continuously erupting mud volcano in Grobogan
  • The remnants of the Majapahit empire in Trowulan near Mojokerto

By air, to Surabaya and Bali

Southeast The main destination in that direction is Solo, a two- to three-hour drive. On the way you will pass through:

  • Salatiga — Relaxed university hill town located at the foot of Mount Merbabu, and jumping off point to explore Lake Rawa Pening and go up to the mountain village of Kopeng
  • Boyolali — Famous for its dairy industry, and the delicious clear soup Soto Seger Mbok Giyem. Also, the jumping-off point to visit the copper-beating village of Cepogo and to investigate the pass between the volcanoes of Merapi and Merbabu
  • Once in Solo, keep going further south and east, either up the slope of Mount Lawu to the magical high temples of Sukuh and Cetho, and then over into East Java, or towards the fantastic surfing beach of Watu Karung near Pacitan

South

  • Slightly south of Semarang are some smaller hill towns easily reached in a day trip: Ungaran, Bandungan and Ambarawa
  • Keep going further south to Magelang and Yogyakarta. It takes 3-4 hours to drive from Semarang to Yogyakarta

Southwest

  • Go to the Dieng Plateau through the small towns of Temanggung and Wonosobo to see ancient Hindu temples/candi in a former ancient city which lies on the misty plateau
  • Keep going in that direction and you will eventually get to the resort town of Pangandaran in West Java

West All points to Jakarta, including:

  • Kendal — A small town where a famous waterfall Curug Sewu reside
  • Pekalongan — Famed for its batik and an easy day trip on the train
  • Cirebon — As known as the city of shrimp has a sultanate palace
  • Bandung — A vibrant city with Sundanese cuisine

Northwest Direct flights to Batam, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur

North Flights and ferries across the Java Sea to various spots in Kalimantan make Semarang a good jumping-off spot to see the orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park near Pangkalanbun

Northeast and out to sea

  • Jepara for its laid back, coastal town vibe, furniture industry, and jumping-off point to explore Mount Muria
  • Karimunjawa — A marine national park in the small islands north of Semarang
Routes through Semarang
AnyerKendal  W The Great Post Road through Java, as constructed in the early 19th century E  DemakPanarukan



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