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Minggu, 18 Desember 2011

Semarang City

Semarang is a city on the north coast of the island of Java, Indonesia. It is the capital of the province of Central Java. It has an area of 225.17 km² and a population of approximately 1.5 million people, making it Indonesia's fifth largest city. A major port during the Dutch colonial era, and still an important port today, the city has a large ethnically Chinese population.

The name of the city, Semarang, may have originated from the concatenation of the words "assam" (tamarind) and "arang" (rare). Another version is that Semarang is originated from Chinese word Sam Po Lang (San Bao Loong), meaning "the city of Sam Po" (Admiral Zheng He).

Semarang lies in the northern part of Central Java. It is a bustling mid-size town with 1.5 million population. More a business than tourism destination, it nevertheless has its own charm with contrasting modern mid-rises, Dutch colonial architecture, China town, and small kampongs jut against each other

The city weather is hot and humid. Wear cotton clothes. You do not need a long sleeve shirt, instead a T-shirt and knee-long trousers are comfortable. Some places like mosques (masjid) and temples require polite dress such as long trousers/skirts. Hot pants/mini skirts will attract people attention and might be considered impolite.

Semarang is off the tourist trail and knowing even basic Indonesian will be helpful (and courteous), although younger people can often speak some English.


Semarang's history dates back to the ninth century, when it was known as Bergota. By the end of fifteenth century, a Javanese Islamic missionary from nearby Sultanate of Demak with the name of Kyai Pandan Arang founded a village and an Islamic boarding school in this place. On May 1, 1547, after consulting Sunan Kalijaga, Sultan Hadiwijaya of Pajang declared Kyai Pandan Arang the first bupati (regent) of Semarang, thus culturally and politically, on this day Semarang was born.

In 1678, Sunan Amangkurat II promised to give control of Semarang to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a part of a debt payment. In 1682, the Semarang state was founded by the Dutch colonial power. On October 5, 1705 after years of occupations, Semarang officially became a VOC city when Susuhunan Pakubuwono I made a deal to give extensive trade rights to the VOC in exchange of wiping out Mataram's debt. The VOC, and later, the Dutch East Indies government, established tobacco plantations in the region and built roads and railroads, making Semarang an important colonial trading centre.

In the 1920s, the city became a center of leftist and nationalist activism. With the founding of the Communist Party of Indonesia in the city, Semarang became known as the "Red City". The Japanese military occupied the city along with the rest of Java in 1942, during Pacific War of World War II. During that time, Semarang was headed by a military governor called a Shiko), and two vice governors known as Fuku Shiko. One of the vice governors was appointed from Japan, and the other was chosen from the local population. After Indonesian independence in 1945, Semarang became the capital of Central Java province.

The city of Semarang divided into 16 districts (kecamatan) and 177 sub-districts of (kelurahan). The 16 districts are: West Semarang, East Semarang, Central Semarang, North Semarang, South Semarang, Candisari, Gajahmungkur, Gayamsari, Pedurungan, Genuk, Tembalang, Banyumanik, Gunungpati, Mijen, Ngaliyan, and Tugu.

A Bupati (regent) used to be the head of government in Semarang until 1906. After 1906, the city of Semarang was headed by a Mayor (Walikota).

Semarang is located on the northern coast of Java. The northern part of the city is built on the coastal plain while the southern parts, known as Candi Lama and Candi Baru, are on higher ground. Two Dutch-built aqueducts run through the city to control the yearly flood, one on the east side and one through the west side, essentially dividing the city into three major areas.


The western part of the city is home to many industrial parks and factories. The port of Semarang is located on the north coast and it is the main shipping port for the province of Central Java. Many small manufacturers are located in Semarang, producing goods such as textiles, furniture, and processed foods. Large companies, such as Kubota and Coca-Cola, also have plants in Semarang or its outer towns.

Many major banks in Indonesia have large offices in Semarang. Most of these offices are located in the center of the city, especially around Jalan Pandanaran and Jalan Pemuda. Hospitality is becoming increasingly important in Semarang. It is home to about a dozen upscale hotels that cater to business travelers and tourists, including Hotel Horison, Hotel Ciputra, Grand Candi Hotel and Hotel Gumaya.

Semarang is served by Achmad Yani International Airport, with daily flights to other major Indonesian cities as well as to Singapore.

The population of Semarang is predominantly Javanese, though with smaller numbers of people from many regions in Indonesia. The city is known for its large ethnically Chinese population. The main languages spoken are Indonesian and Javanese. Sometimes Hokkien Chinese or Mandarin is spoken among the Chinese residence.

Semarang is home to several notable universities and high schools. A notable state-owned university at Semarang is Diponegoro University and Semarang State University. Other notable universities are Soegijapranata Catholic University and Sultan Agung Islamic University. Among the other schools is Karangturi, a national private school which has facilities for children in Kindergarten through senior high school. Karangturi is known for having a high proportion of Chinese-Indonesian students.

As a result of its large ethnically Chinese population, the city boasts several Chinese temples. These include Sam Po Kong (Gedung Batu), built in honour of the Chinese Great Admiral Zheng He who visited the area in 1405, and Tay Kak Sie Temple. Blenduk Church, a 1753 Protestant church built by the Dutch, is located in the old town (called "Oudstad"). Tugu Muda (Youth Monument), a monument to heroes of Indonesia's independence struggle, is located in a large roundabout surrounded by famous buildings such as Gedung Lawang Sewu and the Semarang Cathedral. Jalan Pemuda, one of the roads leading into the roundabout, is a major shopping street. The Cathedral of the Holy Rosary is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Semarang.


By Plane

Semarang's Airport is Achmad Yani International Airport, quite nearby from the city centre. Daily flights are available to many major cities in Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia, Merpati Nusantara, Mandala Air, Batavia Air, Sriwijaya Air and Jatayu Airlines fly to Jakarta daily. Merpati also has daily flight to Surabaya. There is also flight service to Yogyakarta by Trigana Air/Kalstar. Trigana Air/Kalstar and Indonesia Air Transport also fly daily to Pankalanbun. Batavia Air  operates the only international flight to Singapore 4 times a week.

By Train

Semarang is connected to Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya by trains. Interestingly, there is no comparable railway service to Yogyakarta, although a railway line exists. The Argo Muria express connects Semarang to Jakarta, and with its relatively new equipment (2002), is very comfortable. The downside is the very early departure (5.00 AM!) to Jakarta. Overnight trains are also available. The fastest train between Semarang and Jakarta takes around 6 hours.

Bandung and Surabaya are also connected to Semarang with air-conditioned eksekutif class trains. There are two main railway station in Semarang, Stasiun Tawang and Stasiun Poncol. On the northern main line, between Semarang and Pekalongan, the railway line follows the coast line, providing passengers with beautiful views of the Java Sea.

By Car

Semarang can be reached by car from Jakarta and It takes around 10 to 12 hours depending on the road traffic. You can choose to leave early in the morning from Jakarta to arrive in Semarang the next 12 hours. Over night drive is faster yet more challenging and even dangerous for "Pantura" (north beach route) non familiar driver.

From Jakarta you can take the route eastward via Cikampek toll road. Go along the toll road until your reach Cikampek toll gate, take left and you are in "Pantura Road". In Pantura road you have to follow the direction sign "Cirebon", "Pekalongan", "Kendal", "Semarang" or "Surabaya" as those cities are eastward from Jakarta.

You will pass small towns like Patrol, Jatibarang, and relatively bigger ones like Cirebon. Before entering Cirebon, you can take the toll road instead of taking into Cirebon traffic if you do not want to drop by in Cirebon. After exit from the Cirebon toll road, you will drive eastward along Losari and then you will pass Tegal, Pemalang, Pekalongan and Kendal before you arrive in Semarang.

Gas station are abundant, you can see them almost every 5 or 10 kilometers along the road. They have toilet facilities. Pay Rp 1,000 (US$ 10 cents). Beware of small or old gas station, they have poor lighting and terrible toilet. Choose a newer and bigger gas station with good lighting parking space and clean toilets. Please make sure that you have locked your car and do not leave your valuable unattended.

By Bus

Many bus services from Jakarta to Semarang. You can choose to go in the day time with air conditioned (A/C) from Pasar Rebo Bus Terminal in East Jakarta, Kalideres Bus Terminal in West Jakarta or from Lebak Bulus Bus Terminal in South Jakarta. The overnight bus with A/C are also available with good services. You can choose bus operators such as: "Rosalia Indah", "Raya", "Kramat Jati", Safari Dharma Raya as the good reputed bus serving Jakarta to Semarang. Sometimes the bus route is Jakarta to Solo via Semarang, you can choose them too, but please remind the bus driver's assistant (usually male, a person who check your ticket onboard the bus) to wake you up in Semarang.

There is also the executive-class tourist bus Joglosemar, that connects Jogjakarta, Solo and Semarang (hence the name). Joglosemar picks up tourists from specific hotels and provide snacks and water for your trip. Considerably pricier than other executive buses, it is more comfortable and provides a friendly service throughout the journey. If you are on a group, you can also rent a "Tourist/Charter Bus".

By Boat

Jakarta - Semarang (vice versa) traditionally travelled via railway, northern coast road ("pantura") or by plane. A trip by a sea vessel is uncommon due to its rare schedule and length of journey that takes too long compared with train (approx 6 hours) and over night bus (9 hours).

However, cruise ships occasionally spend a day in port. The port has few facilities for passengers, but an informal market of street vendors often assembles outside the secure area. Most passengers take day-tours to Borobudur.


By Bus

There are plenty of mini bus (locally called angkot/daihatsu) and medium-sized bus called Damri in the city. These mini bus go to different destinations as follows: As 2008 Dishub Pemda Semarang operating Damri AC.

As September 2009 There is Bus rapid transit (BRT) called Trans Semarang planned route:

* Corridor I: Penggaron-Mangkang (Red Line)
* Corridor II Pudakpayung-Terboyo dibubuhi (Grey line)
* Corridor III Tembalang-Terboyo (Lime line)
* Corridor IV Banyumanik-Tanjung (Yellow Line)
* Corridor V Penggaron-Terboyo (Orange Line)
* Corridor VI Bandara A Yani-Terboyo (Pink line)

The mini bus has a route travelled written on the top-front of the bus. The route normally written in the form of 'origin-destination' and sometimes with 'via' information if there are more than 1 mini bus ply the same origin-destination but through a different path in between.

Some popular places in Semarang that can be reached by mini bus/bus are:
* Pasar Johar, you need to board Daihatsu with the route Johar-Sampangan.
* ADA Siliwangi Supermarket, you need to board Daihatsu with the route PRPP-Klipang
* Tawang Train Station, Damri No.1 Terboyo-Banyumanik.
* Poncol Station, Daihatsu Semarang-Salatiga.
* Terboyo Bus Terminal, Damri No.1 or Damri No.2.
* Undip (Diponegoro University), Damri No.1 or Damri No.5.

Make sure you ask the conductor/driver of the minibus before you board for the route it goes and whether it pass the place you want to go.

By Taxi

Taxis are very safe and comfortable, and reasonably priced. Make sure you understand the route or ask your friend. Make sure the driver use the meter ("argo"). If he refused to use the meter, use other taxis. List of taxi companies:
* Astria, Jatisari 1, Semarang 50235,  62-24-7460940.
* Centris Multipersada, Majapahit 583,  62-24-6723624.
* Kosti, Pamularsih 15, Semarang 50148,  62-24-7613333.
* Pandu Persada Saranamukti, Kaligawe Km 4/46,  62-24-6591234.
* Puri Kencana, Rogojembangan Raya 68,  62-24-6705050.


Sam Po Kong Temple, Jl. Simongan No. 129, +62 24 7605 277. The beautiful Sam Po Kong temple (Gedung Batu) was built to respect the Muslim Chinese commander named Cheng Ho of Ming Dinasty who visited Semarang in the early 15th century. It was extensively renovated in 2006 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of Cheng Ho's voyage to Semarang.   edit

Northern Semarang has a lot of old Dutch colonial buildings. This was where the old walled city located. The wall is no longer there, but many of the old building remains, especially in the area called Kota Lama (The Old Town or Oudstadt). On certain months, this part of Semarang is flooded by the rising tide (called "rob" in Javanese).

Tanjung Mas. A busy, important port during Dutch occupation (from 17th century to 1945).  edit

Gereja Blenduk, Jalan Letjen Suprapto 32. The name means "domed church". A beautiful Protestant church built in 1753, it is the oldest church in Semarang. It has a baroque organ, a rarity in Indonesia  edit

Stasiun Tawang. The oldest major railway station in Java, completed in 1870.  edit

Simpang Lima. a vast square at the heart of Semarang. At night, you can eat, drink, or just bring yourself wandering around Simpang Lima.  edit

Taman Budaya Raden Saleh. at Jalan Sriwijaya No.29, is a beautiful garden located at the city centre. It has a total area of 89,926 square meters. Suitable for the family recreation.  edit

Wayang Wong Ngesti Pandowo. Inside Taman Budaya Raden Saleh, Jl. Sriwijaya No. 29 Ki Narto Sabdho building. A weekly show of Javanese drama, with stories from folklore, mahabarata, ramayana, etc.  edit

Semarang has a very good landscape, some says best landscape thanks to its coastal area in the northern part of the city with Tanjung Mas as its international harbour and hilly area in the southern part streching from Candi area to Bukit Sari with picturesque Mount Ungaran at the background.

Before you get into hilly area named Bukit Sari, you will see on your left Taman Tabanas Gombel where you can stop by, drink tea and see Semarang's view from the hill. It's view is really beautiful and romantic during the night time.

Gunung Ungaran with its tea and jasmine plantation, Gua Kreo/Kreo Cave with its interesting stalactite and stalagmite and of course Marina at Tanjung Mas are the alternatives for those who has more than 2 free days in Semarang.

Tugu Muda is one of Semarang's landmark. It is situated westward off Simpang Lima, one of the 5 streets crossing Simpang Lima named Jalan Pandanaran. This monument commemorated the 5 days of fierce battle (October 14-19, 1945) between Indonesian freedom fighters and Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender their weapons.

There are some Dutch colonial buildings around Tugu Muda; the most famous one is Lawang Sewu which means A Thousand Doors. It was built as the headquarter of the local railway company. During World War II, it was used as the Japanese army's headquarter. The building is now empty and in a dilapidated state (and notoriously haunted), nevertheless it is still considered as one of Semarang's most prominent landmark.

Museum Ronggowarsito, Jl. Abdurrahman Saleh No. 1, +62-24-7602389, [6]. 8AM-2PM, except on Monday. Javanese culture and art. Rp2.000 (Mar 2008).  edit

MURI (Museum Rekor Indonesia), Jl. Setiabudi no.179 Srondol. Monday to Friday, 8AM-4PM. Indonesian Record Museum.  edit

Nyonya Meneer. Jamu (traditional Javanese drink) museum. Jl. Kaligawe. Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10AM–3PM.

Mandala Bhakti. Military museum. Jl. Mgr.Sugiyopranoto Semarang.

Water Blaster (Water Boom). Entry through Graha Candi Golf Real Estate, with its dazzling hills view and quite an exotic feels of high breeze.

Catfish Park (Taman Lele). Kecamatan Tugu. Open daily. Facility: children playground, cultural and art shows, animal shows.

Marina Beach. North Semarang. Facility: swimming pool, children playground, beach volley ball, water sports.

Ngaliyan Tirta Indah, jalan Raya Ngaliyan Kecamatan Ngaliyan. Facility: swimming pool, beautiful plantation, flower garden, sports centre.

Puri Maerokoco and Kampoeng Laut. Tawangmas PRPP, a clone of TMII (Jakarta). Facility: cultural and art shows, boat, water bike, small train, fishing pond.

Sodong, 20 km from Semarang. Facility: beautiful plantation, fishing pond, swimming pool.

Mangkang Zoo, located in the West Semarang. It's newly opened. There a lot of animal preserve there but it lacks of attraction.


Semarang Fair, Jalan Sriwijaya no 29 Semarang. Visit this annual which showcases various cultural entertainment. It is held every July.

Wayang Orang Ngesti Pandowo, Jalan Pemuda. Watch Javanese theatrical performances

Jaran Sampo, Tay Kak Sie and Sam Po Kong Temples. Attend the biggest ceremony of the Chinese community in Java, featuring a colourful procession and dances of decorated horses and 'liong' (dragon)

Dug Der Festival, Johar, kota lama, polder tawang. Annual festival, one week before fasting month, or puasa. The name is derved from the sound of Bedug (Dug), and Bamboo Canon (Der). At the end of the festival there's "Ngarak Warak", means procession to brings Warak across the city's main street (normally from the Mayor's office to the Johar Market). Warak is a mythology animal, part giraffe, part lion, part chinese dragon, part horse part bird. It's the icon of the festival. You could buy the toy on the festival, normally these warak will be laying an egg, thus the name "Warak Ngendog".

Semawis Night Market, Gg. Warung, Chinatown. Weekly night market, during Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. You could walk along the Gang Warung, and enjoy the hawker style local food, also some souvenir from semarang. There's also annual, larger Semawis Market before the Chinese New Year. Check the website for more information.


Currency used is Rupiah (Rp). You can find money changer in the downtown area, or simply get into banks and you will get fair exchange rate. Please note that in practice, money changer and banks are not accepting US$ bank notes with issuance year 1999 backwards because of the experience in Indonesia mostly found US$ with issuance year 1999 backward had been forged.

Near the airport in Jendral Sudirman street, there is Money Changer "Golden Valasindo", which accept most of foreign currency include US$ bank notes with issuance year before 1999. The phone number is (024) 766 32631.

Banks are open between 8.30 a.m to 3.00 p.m.

You can visit some malls available in Semarang such as Sri Ratu (the first mall in Semarang from the 80's), Matahari Plaza, Ciputra Mall Java Mall and the DP Mall. There, you can buy batik (Javanese handwritten cloth), antiques and the traditional items in "Johar Market" or in Bahasa Indonesia called "Pasar Johar" (spell "Pa Saar Jouw Har). They have plenty of choices. Ask if you can get assistance from hotel staff or a travel agent staff to take you around Pasar Johar. It is also accessible by Angkot (vans) from Simpang Lima.

Semarang have many arts and crafts shops around the city. They normally sell Javanese arts, paintings and clothes including Batik. Some shops popularly visited by tourist are:

Andika Art & Crafts Gallery, Puri Anjasmoro Street Block O-1/5., +62-24-7606123.

Lia Gallery, Genade Selatan 2., +62-247498700.

Goedang Art & Antique, Pemuda 37., +62-24-3564453.

Galery Gerbang, Dr. Wahidin 56., +62-24-8447860.

Pandjang Art Shop, Widoharjo 31A., +62-24-3541460.

La Vogue, Pemuda. The city's oldest Antique shop located centrally at the heart of Semarang.


Semarang is the major hub city of Central Java. From Semarang you can go to Dieng Plateau situated north off small town namd Wonosobo for one day tour seeing ancient hindus temple/candi in a former ancient city lies in the misty plateau.

Alternatively, within one and a half hours you can go to Borobudur temple in Muntilan and then to Prambanan temple in Klaten and buy some antiques and batik in Yogyakarta. It take less than 2 hours drive from Semarang to Yogyakarta. Solo is also only one and half hour drive from Semarang.

You can also go further southward to some small towns like Ungaran, Salatiga, Ambarawa, Kopeng and Bandungan. It will take at least a one day tour but is really worth it. You will see beautiful scenery on the way between Semarang, Salatiga and the adjacent cities like Solo and Yogyakarta. You can reach Solo (sometimes called Surakarta) or Yogyakarta in less than 2 hours.

Karimunjawa - marine national park in small islands north of Semarang

Kudus - the centre of Indonesia's cigarettes industry, where some prominent manufacturers are located, of which 'Djarum' is the most famous.

~ IstaLastu ~

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