Are you looking to try out new foods surrounded by vibrant yet retro buildings? Then Semarang is the place to go!
Semarang is the capital city of the Central Java province. As a former major port during the Dutch colonial era, this city has a high historical value. You can see Dutch-style architecture at every corner of the road, making it as if you’re stepping back into the past whenever you visit.
Want to know more about this charming city? Here are the best things to do in Semarang, and everything you need to know to get there!
Semarang in a Nutshell
Known as the Venice of Java, Semarang has an extensive network of canals and rivers running through the city. This unique system is what is left of the city’s colonial past, making it unique only to Semarang—certainly the perfect place for an afternoon stroll during your travel!
As the product of years of cultural assimilation, you can find various blends of taste and culture in Semarang. On top of that, you can also take up numerous fun activities amidst nature.
Be it witnessing colorful flowers or partaking in water activities, you’ll get to learn something valuable and still have a blast in Semarang. Read more about all sorts of activities you can do in the following section.
Read Also: 7 Exciting Things to Do in Semarang at Night
10 Awesome Things to Do in Semarang
1. Have Some Quality Time at Umbul Sidomukti
This destination is located on the slope of Ungaran Mountain, offering not only the best combination of cool breeze and awesome views but also a pile of fun activities to do.
You can get your adrenaline pumped through various outbound activities such as a flying fox and a rope bridge, soak and relax in the cool natural pool, or simply sit back to enjoy a cup of coffee at Pondok Kopi Umbul Sidomukti.
2. Embark on an Adventure at Tubing Genting Kendal
Partaking in an outbound activity isn’t enough to pump your adrenaline? Then be sure to visit Tubing Genting Kendal so you can go rafting through a challenging 2 km river.
Once you get used to the strong current, you’ll also be able to admire the beautiful landscape surrounding the river—a stunning combination of the green forest and various unique stones stretching from your starting point up till the end.
3. Have Fun at Dusun Semilir Eco Park Bawen
Suitable for family trips, this destination offers a range of fun activities. You can race with your loved ones on the steep rainbow slide, take pictures at various photo spots like the glass dome and wooden statue, or take pictures in Javanese traditional wear as a token of your trip!
You can also visit the food court to try many Indonesian cuisines, not just Semarang’s local foods but also from other areas such as Bali.
4. Get Inspired at Celosia Flower Garden
This next destination will make you feel like you’re stepping into Europe. You’ll be able to find various types of vibrant flowers native to Europe, complete with some windmills to complete the vibe.
On top of that, this garden also offers a number of miniature icons of the world such as a mini Eiffel Tower of France and a mini Merlion of Singapore.
5. Refresh Your Mind at Semarang’s Beautiful Waterfalls
Hidden inside a tropical forest, two of Semarang’s most beautiful waterfalls are the place to go when you need a break. Curug Lawe and Curug Benowo tower up to 40 meters in height, offering a tranquil vibe thanks to its wonderful view of greenery and hypnotizing sounds of water.
6. Witness the Grand Brown Canyon
This former mining site will make you feel like you’re stepping into the world of Dune or Planet Jakku from Star Wars. The distinct hills also became popular due to their resemblance to the USA’s Green Canyon, making it a great spot for sightseeing and landscape photography.
7. Go Hiking at Nearby Mountains
Another way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city is by hiking to a quiet mountain. Lucky for you, Semarang is located near two beautiful mountains: the Ungaran and Merbabu Mountains.
Be sure to bring the proper equipment along, including a rucksack, hiking shoes, and necessary camping gear.
8. Explore Kota Lama
The rich history of Semarang is reflected in the well-preserved Kota Lama (Old Town). You can still see colonial-era buildings here, including Dutch-style houses and Chinese shops, as well as see the extensive canal network built by the Dutch.
Be sure to visit the famous Lawang Sewu (or Thousand Doors) while you’re here. The building used to be the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company.
The namesake comes from the numerous doors and arches that come with its design. It’s estimated that the building also has about 600 large windows.
9. Visit Sam Poo Kong Temple
This site is the oldest Chinese temple complex in Semarang. Consisting of five temples, each building has a mix of Chinese and Javanese architectural styles and is spread over 3.2 hectares of land.
Sam Poo Kong Temple is also the site of various festivals and is especially festive around Chinese New Year.
10. Try Out Local Dishes
Be prepared to get your tastebuds spoiled! Semarang is home to various delicious dishes, including lumpia (spring rolls), tahu gimbal (fried tofu served with peanut sauce), and many others.
For a more authentic taste, be sure to get your food from Simpang Lima, Pasar Semawis, Lumpia Gang Lombok, and Joglo Agung Resto & Gallery.
Semarang Travel Guide
Best Time to Visit Semarang
Indonesia is a tropical country with only two seasons: wet and dry. It’s best to visit during the dry season so you can fully experience Semarang without the fear of getting soaked in the rain.
The dry season in Semarang extends from May to October. But the best time to visit is between July to early October, when it’s not as hot and as crowded as the rest of the year.
How to Get to Semarang
There are a few ways to reach Semarang. Here are some options to consider:
- By plane: You can get to Semarang by plane landing at Achmad Yani International Airport, located about 5.5 km west of the city center. You can get direct international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. As for domestic flights, you can depart from various major cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar, Bandung, Surabaya, and many others.
- By boat: If you prefer to travel by boat, you can catch a boat to Tanjung Emas from Surabaya, Pontianak, and Sampit.
- By train: The train tracks in Semarang are well-connected to the rest of Java, so you can hop on a train from any part of Java such as from Jakarta, Bandung, Malang, and Surabaya.
- By bus: Terboyo, Semarang’s main bus terminal, is located 5 km east of Kota Lama and might be the cheapest option. The bus departs from various major cities such as Denpasar, Jakarta, Malang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and many others.
Affordable & Convenient Accommodation in Semarang
If you’re looking for affordable accommodation located at a strategic location, then Bobobox Kota Lama is the perfect place for you.
You can easily access Lawang Sewu, Pasar Johar, and various delicious street food on foot. Not only that, but you’ll also get to enjoy our speedy Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speaker, and mood lamps accessible via our user-friendly app.
Download the Bobobox app on Play Store or App Store for booking and more information.
Writer: Sheila Lalita
Header image by: pariwisata.semarangkota.go.id