Old City

Top choice in Semarang

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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Semarang attractions

1. Gereja Blenduk

0.05 MILES

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…

2. Semarang Gallery

0.12 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…

3. Tay Kak Sie Temple

0.41 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…

4. Chinatown

0.44 MILES

Semarang’s Chinatown is well worth investigating, particularly around the riverside Gang Lombok. With temples, pagodas, shop houses, jade jewellers,…

5. Mesjid Besar

0.45 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.

6. Semarang Harbour

1.23 MILES

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

7. Simpang Lima

1.57 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…

8. Lawang Sewu

1.58 MILES

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