Central Java’s north coast doesn't feature on many travellers' itineraries, except as a gateway to the Karimunjawa Islands, but this steamy strip of land is not without charm. For many centuries the coast was a major trading post for merchants from Arabia, India and China, and multiculturalism continues to flourish today in the cuisine and architecture of the region.
Merchants brought more than just material wealth to the region and in fact Islam entered Java through the north coast in the 15th and 16th centuries, as evidenced by the tombs of the country’s great saints, which are located here.
Central Java’s capital is not Yogya, as many assume, but Semarang, a rapidly growing metropolis and major shipping centre. This often-overlooked city has lots of interesting sights and an old quarter that is currently being renovated.