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.

The temple overlooks the badly polluted Kali Surabaya (Semarang River), where there's a model of one of the ships of legendary Chinese explorer Admiral Cheng Ho, who visited Java on several occasions. Next to the temple is Pujasera Tay Kak Sie, a Chinese food court and also a community hall used for martial arts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Semarang attractions

1. Tay Kak Sie Temple

0.04 MILES

This brightly painted temple, with its elaborate tiled roofs decorated with dragons, dates back to 1746 and remains an active place of worship. Two…

2. Mesjid Besar

0.36 MILES

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

3. 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…

4. Old City

0.44 MILES

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…

5. Semarang Gallery

0.51 MILES

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…

6. Simpang Lima

1.15 MILES

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…

7. Lawang Sewu

1.34 MILES

Semarang's most famous landmark, Lawang Sewu ('Thousand Doors'), comprises two colossal colonial buildings that were one of the headquarters of the…

8. Semarang Harbour

1.67 MILES

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