First question: Have you ever heard about Semarang? If yes, please proceed to read further. If not, yes, please proceed also. We’re going to take you to the newest city we’ll fly to somewhere in the heart of Java, the busiest island in Indonesia…and trust us, it’s going to be an interesting ride!
Alright, let’s start with some fun good-to-know facts first. Semarang is the capital of Central Java province. Though originally Semarang was mostly meant for business, we’ll show you how to have fun! Oh, and this city originally lies on triangle route with Solo and Jogjakarta (both have been AirAsia’s destinations for years).
The City of Semarang
Semarang, basically is a small city. You can easily take a stroll around the city’s top tourism spots within a day. There are interesting relics in the city, most of them are taken from the Chinese inheritance objects. The most important thing is Sam Poo Kong temple which is dedicated to Admiral Cheng Ho’s tenure in the city of Semarang. Sam Poo Kong is his local name given by Semarang natives.
The temple is located in the heart of the city and is easily accessible since it’s quite near from city center. You can spot Chinese cultural elements mix with local culture. Sam Poo Kong Temple even still holds still to one of Cheng Ho’s old anchor.
Another astonishing landmark is Lawang Sewu (1000 Doors), a former Dutch Colonial Railway head quarter office. The site is now being restored and expected to be fully in a good shape on this 2012. They have few marks from the Roman era with beautiful collage windows. During the Japan occupation of Semarang, the underground level of this building was used as prison for local Indonesian freedom warriors. You can ask for a guide to enter the underworld and then get the whole complete picture of what had happened during that era.
The city of Semarang also provides a series of beautiful old buildings, also from the Dutch Colonial era. Arguably, these buildings are one of the most teasing strings of buildings amongst other Dutch inheritance around the country. You can visit Blenduk Church, Marabunta –now is a function hall— and Semarang Tawang Railway Station.
Semarang also reserves a spot for you food hunters. While you’re in Semarang, make sure you spend some time in Pandanaran Street for finding Semarang’s famous Bandeng Presto (milk fish) with delicious sambal (local special sauce) and local’s most famous snack, Wingko Babat. There are few shops there and make sure you find yourself the best deal.
Outer Skirt of Semarang
Semarang is circled by few other small cities with its own charms. Spend some time here, and you can have a beautiful excursion on the mountain foots, fountain and other good landscapes provided by mother earth.
Start in Ambarawa. The city has a remarkable quality of beautiful landscapes. You can learn how to live like local with few tourism spots which are still much related to nature.
Gedong Songo Temple is probably the best way to start the exploration. It’s a Hindu temple in the complex of Mount Ungaran. It was named Gedong Songo (Songo means nine in Javanese language) because they used to have nine series of temple. But due to time travel through hundreds of years, now you can barely see only few series. The story behind Gedong Songo is a simple tale about how human kind can find nirvana and live the life in a peaceful way. This place is located only around 12 km from Semarang.
Ambarawa also reserves a spot for a Catholic spiritual journey in Gua Maria Kerep (Kerep St. Mary’s cave). This pilgrimage site can fit 8000 people on one mass. During the Catholic festival, usually people come and do their prayers.
Banaran Coffee Plantation is next. You don’t have to be keen on coffee to be able to enjoy the site. This plantation offers a tour to each of its corner where visitor can see with their own eyes the raw material of the famous Banaran Coffee. They also have a good restaurant and café. If you’re planning to come on the second half of this year, they probably will have the resort opened. No worries, even though you spend your holiday somewhere in the mountain foot, you can still access cable tv and internet.
Would like to follow local’s belief in spiritual blessed water? Please directly head to the gorgeous Curug 7 Bidadari. It’s a pretty under rated spot with a God’s natural gift of magical fountain. Ask local people who are always full of smiles to greet you about the magical natural spring which believed to bring a good cause for a better condition of health and have healing effects.
The view itself was breathtaking, especially when no rain shows up.
Outer Semarang is also a home for few luxurious villas. Two examples are Hills Joglo Villas and Balemong Resort. These two places are located in Ungaran and they offered a pretty nice experience of staying in old ancient Javanese houses called Joglo.
These villas equipped with classy bed rooms with paddy rice and mountain view just outside the room. Not forget to mention, they all have good foods.
One good thing about Semarang is, the city is surrounded with many small cities with interesting things. It is also on the same spread as Solo and Jogjakarta –as mentioned earlier—. So, if you’re eager to do some exploration, please spend some time more to explore these cities along the way.
This island probably is the biggest magnet for traveler who’s desperate to visit exotic beaches with other popular sea activities. Arguably, Karimunjawa has one of the prettiest beaches in Indonesia.
The nearest place to board a ship to Karimunjawa is actually Jepara. But from Semarang’s Tanjung Emas Harbour, you can get a weekly ferry to the island. It will take minimum 3 hours to reach Karimunjawa.
While in the island, all of sea tourism is available. You can snorkel, dive or even feed the fish. Exotic menus are on your hands. Do prepare for your memory capturer and some energy to fight the sunny but beautiful sun.
Well, now, have a clear picture about Semarang? Then ride your net, go to www.airasia.com and book the flights. We’re operating daily flights to Semarang from Kuala Lumpur (commences 6th February 2012) and twice daily flights to Semarang from Jakarta (commences 9th March 2012). Best deals are served online.
Happy hunting and see you in Semarang. We’d like to see lots of pictures you take while you’re on the road.
AirAsia now flies to Semarang daily! Find out more at www.airasia.com today!