Must see attractions in Semarang

  • Top ChoiceSights in Semarang

    Old City

    Semarang’s atmospheric old quarter, often referred to by its Dutch name, the Outstadt, is well worth investigating. Until recently, most of the area’s colonial buildings were abandoned as city authorities focused on new-builds rather than shoring up past legacies. Today, however, a revived interest in the area with its obvious potential for tourism has led to a new investment, and coffee shops, stylish restaurants and other attractions now occupy the tastefully renovated townhouses.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Gedung Batu

    This huge Chinese temple complex, 5km southwest of the city centre, comprises three main temple buildings and many smaller structures that date back to 1724, although built on earlier foundations. Most of the elegant, red-painted structures are Indo-Chinese in style, with tiered pagoda-style roofs. Gedung Batu lies around 30 minutes from central Semarang, reached by taking the Damri bus 2 from Jl Pemuda to Karang Ayu (a suburb west of central Semarang) followed by an angkot (minibus) to the temple.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Lawang Sewu

    Semarang's most famous landmark, Lawang Sewu ('Thousand Doors'), comprises two colossal colonial buildings that were one of the headquarters of the Indonesian railways during the Dutch era. The structures are sparsely used with only the occasional exhibit (mostly about the railway system) on view. Nevertheless, the empty corridors, where clerks and engineers once worked, have their own interest, with features including stained glass and a magnificent marble staircase.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Chinatown

    Semarang’s Chinatown is well worth investigating, particularly around the riverside Gang Lombok. With temples, pagodas, shop houses, jade jewellers, pharmacists, fortunetellers and food stalls, the area illustrates the depth of the connection between China and this port city. The focus of the entire community is the Tay Kak Sie Temple, dating back to 1746, with its huge drums and incense-clouded interior.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Ronggowarsito Museum

    This large provincial museum houses an interesting collection of antiquities, crafts including batik and wayang puppets, and assorted fossils and curios collected from all over Central Java. The most interesting exhibit is a recycled stone panel from the Mantingan mosque (near Jepara) – one side shows Islamic motifs, while the reverse shows the original Hindu-Buddhist scene. It’s approximately 2km before the airport.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Simpang Lima

    While Jl Pemuda, Semarang's premier boulevard in Dutch times, remains an important artery and shopping street, Simpang Lima is the sociable hub of modern Semarang. This grassy 'square' is surrounded by cinema complexes and modern malls. Crowds congregate here in the evenings and wander past shops displaying consumer items that remain beyond the reach of many, though this doesn't seem to dent their enthusiasm for the bright lights of the big city.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Jamu Nyonya Meneer

    This factory, near the bus terminal, is one of two outlets in Semarang that produces jamu, a herbal medicine that has been highly sought-after for centuries in Indonesia and which has become part of local folklore. While the jury is out on the exact nature of the health-giving properties possessed by this remedy, concocted from natural ingredients, there is no doubting its ongoing popularity locally.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Jamu Jago

    Jamu Jago, 6km south of the city on the Ambarawa road, is a large manufacturer of the herbal medicine for which Semarang is famous. The outlet offers tours and has an interesting little museum on site. The wall topped with concrete roosters, part of the company's branding, makes a good landmark.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Tay Kak Sie Temple

    This brightly painted temple, with its elaborate tiled roofs decorated with dragons, dates back to 1746 and remains an active place of worship. Two enormous standard lanterns mark the entrance and threads of incense waft from the interior as local residents pop by for a prayer.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Semarang Gallery

    In the middle of the old quarter, this wonderful art gallery occupies an old Dutch warehouse and is dedicated to Indonesian contemporary art. Some of the region's most renowned artists exhibit here.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Gereja Blenduk

    Built in 1753, this elegant church is graced with a huge cupola and marks the centre of the old colonial quarter of Semarang. The interior sports a spectacular baroque-style organ and an unusual wooden pulpit, but it is mostly closed except during services.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Semarang Harbour

    Semarang harbour is worth a look to see the pinisi (schooners) and other traditional oceangoing vessels that dock at Tambak Lorok.

  • Sights in Semarang

    Mesjid Besar

    Facing the Pasar Johar market, Semarang's Grand Mosque is the main, although obviously far from the only, focus of worship in the city.