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Semarang Travel Guide: 57 reviews and 234 photos


The city of Semarang, the capital of Central Java province is located on the north coast of Java Sea. The Northern part of the city is lying across on the plain coast and the Southern part is on the hilly side from Candi Baru area upward to the town of Ungaran.
Semarang is a busy administrative and Trading city, most of the offices, business centers, industrial estates are concentrated in the low land, where as in the hilly side, there are many houses with the beautiful gardens with a superb view to the town and the sea. The old records of this city date back to the 15th to the 18th century AD in where captivating ancient and colonial monuments still standing to present date.

In size and inhabitants, Semarang falls under the five major cities in the nation. It is situated on Java's normally flat northern coast and appropriately called the capital of Central Java as it lies just about halfway between the two extreme east and west coasts of the island. Indeed, few cities in the country have got hills and mountains so clearly visible from their seaports. In fact, mostly residential, Candi is a hill within Semarang's perimeter from where breathtaking panoramas on all directions can be witnessed: the port, the lowlands and green paddy fields, the city itself and the numerous mountains. The proximity of all this beauty promises adventurous car trips out of Semarang offering you memorable experiences and to be back in the city before dark.

There is an older part of the city, close to its ocean harbor, where you can still find an interesting collection of odd-looking buildings dating back to the Dutch colonial era and further back still, to the time of the Dutch East Indies Company. And finally the city's zoo, may also be worth while visiting.

More up to date, the city offers evening performances of Wayang drama played by live actors, actresses and dancers at Ngesti Pandowo Theater. For sport fans there are tennis courts in all major hotels and 2 golf courses located in the town's suburbs. For short trips out of Semarang within a radius of about 60 km, the following places are recommended :

1. Jepara, northeast of Semarang, is a town with white sandy beaches around it, and is also famous for its wood carving industry. Most artists of this sophisticated art come from around this area. It is also the birthplace of Indonesia's heroine of the national women's liberation movement.

An ancient Portuguese Fort can be found to the east of Jepara. Along the road from Semarang to this town are many sights and curiosities worthy of seeing.

2. Kudus, about halfway between Jepara and Semarang, could be taken in on the same trip, as well as Demak. So, Kudus and Demak are two towns having the same directions as to Jepara, and both have historical significance. Kudus has the Minaret Mosque which was built in the 15th century, whereas Demak has the oldest mosque in Central Java, both of them very interesting structures from the architectural point of view.

Other places of interest are either south, southwest or west of Semarang which are usually not visited on one round-trip out of Semarang. It is recommended that you leave the capital on a tour to another city, say, Solo, and see the beautiful things along the way. But even then, you may not be able to see them all in one single day.

It is advisable that you study a detailed map of Central Java to pinpoint the places you want to visit, which very much depend on your personal taste, interest and time.

  • Intro Updated Sep 16, 2004
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