Semarang, Indonesia – Ranks 5th largest city in Indonesia following Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung, and Medan. Capital of Central Java. We all know that when we think of Indonesia, we think of Bali or Jakarta. They have become popular for the adventure Bali has to offer and history in Jakarta. The city hasn’t captured the attention of the world quite like those contries’ cities yet but they will surely get there. Just like other cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, its charm will soon be discovered by travelers seeking new places and unique characteristic of Semarang.
Simpang Lima – (City center)
Anywhere anyone goes to see or explore, food will always be a part of it. It is a basic need, but if you want to try local food then this is where you want to go. Like any other touristy cities, night market and bizarre are the places to go for variety of reasons. Wide selections, price, and convenient. Ask locals what do they recommend and ask them what are the ingredients especially if you have food restrictions or allergies. This is where the locals hang out too, so it’s a good place to find new local friends.
Central Java Grand Mosque – (15 Minutes away from the city center)
It is a photo op location; the mosque has gorgeous design and architecture. Assuming the grandiose of Brunei’s mosques’ beauty, I can see how this can also be beautiful at night with its lights on. Either way, the mosque has its day and night charm. Avoid going on Fridays because it is their worship day. Respect the people who are there for a better reason.
Sam Po Kong Temple – (20 Minutes away from the city center)
Stunning temple with a great story behind it. Sam Po Kong Temple was built originally by Chinese Muslim explorer named, Zheng He, also known as Sanbao. A temple that now shared by the country’s different religious groups such as Muslims, Buddhists, as well as different ethnicities like Chinese and Javanese people. An edifice that unites differences. It is recommended to visit when it’s dark, to see how it glows at night.
Pagoda Avalokitesvara – (25 Minutes away from the city center)
The place is serene and not much for tourists, but if you somehow wanted a little break from the hustle and bustle of the city to clear your mind a bit, the this is for you. Otherwise, it’s just a photo shoot and go, if you’re that kind of traveler.
Rawa Pening Lake – (1 Hour away from the city center)
Mimicking Myanmar’s Inle Lake, Semarang has its own version that is known as Rawa Pening Lake. It is an hour drive away from Semarang City and can rent a boat that accommodates maximum of 5 people for 100 IDR. Locals live through the resources it gives, from fishing, harvesting Water Spinach, water hyacinth for handicrafts, tourism, and a lot more. They believe that due to high number of aquatic plants, it could dry out in 10 years.
You might also want to find a comfortable place to stay with at least a star hotel in Semarang, read on for more detailed suggestions.
Where to Eat:
Simpang Lima Plaza
Address: City center
Note: Variety of local and western restaurants to hawkers or carts are available anywhere in the area to accommodate any budget.