Located on the northern coast of Indonesia’s island of Java, Semarang is a capitol province that is home to more than 1.5 million residents. Despite its size, Semarang retains a small town beach vibe and is a must visit for any visitor to Java. Here are some tips for a perfect vacation in Semarang.
Visit Old Town
A remnant of Dutch colonialism that is quickly turning into a ruin, visiting Semarang’s Oldtown is a must for any vacation in Semarang. This historic district features some of Java’s finest colonial architecture as well as one of the island’s most historic cathedrals, The Gereja Blenduk Protestant Church which has held public services every Sunday since 1753. Lawang Sewu is another must see colonial building, which was once the head of the railroad company and used as a Japanese fort during World War 2. It is famous for its beautiful and massive stained glass windows. Spending a day walking around this neighborhood can definitely transport you to another era as well provide some marvelous photo ops.
Get Some Food in Chinatown
Semarang’s Chinatown may seem a bit boring by day but come back during the night (especially weekends) and you will be treated to one of the cities most vibrant markets. This happening outdoor experience is the perfect place to grab some delicious Chinese influenced Indonesian food while enjoying life entertainment (usually local singers.) Chinatown is also one of the few places you see an abundance of pork dishes within Java. So grab a plastic chair and a mouthwatering plate of food and spend an evening rubbing elbows with Semarang’s locals.
Get There Like a Pro
To maximize your enjoyment of Semarang it is important to know how to get in (and out) to the city like a pro. While Semarang doesn’t have the traffic jams many other Indonesian cities are known for it is still home to 1.5 million people so there is no shortage of ways to get here. One of the most relaxing and charming ways to get to Semarang is by rail. The train station is located near Oldtown and has daily service to Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung. The buses are a viable option if you are tying to get to a smaller towns, though not quite as comfortable as train travel. Semarang also has its own connecting flights making it easy to transfer to other locations.
Semarang is often overlooked by many tourists despite its wealth of activities and culture. This can be to your benefit as there are plenty of affordable hotels in Semarang and prices of food and transportation are reasonable as well. One exceptional hotel is the Star Hotel Semarang. We hope our tips for a vacation in Semarang are useful if you find yourself in this northern Java city (we recommend you do!) Oh, one last thing; Semarang is also prone to frequent flooding based on tides so don’t be scared to hail a taxi or put on a pair of rubber boots.