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.
While it is fair to say that the revival project has some way to go, there are still worthwhile attractions here and kids love DMZ: Dream Museum Zone, the 3D museum near Gereja Blenduk church. Built in 1753, this elegant church with its large cupola forms the centre of the old quarter around which are a number of delightful places to eat. A street market sells a few modestly priced antiques and memorabilia and there's a well-respected modern art space, the Semarang Gallery. The old city is prone to flooding and during the rainy season some of the backstreets are impassable.