Last weekend I went to Semarang to attend my cousin wedding ceremony, Semarang is a city in the north coast of central Java, it’s place where my father grew up he spent his childhood in Semarang and Solo. Travelling to Semarang from Jakarta is very easy, you can go by flight, bus and also by train, many trains now operates across the Island of Java, the executive train I took called Argo Muria, which started from Gambir train station in Jakarta cost around Rp 215.000-245,000 one way, it’s an 8 hours long journey but very much comfortable. The train will pass by other cities such as Cirebon, Tegal and Pekalongan.
One of the well known trade mark in Semarang is Lawang Sewu ( A thousand doors) it is well known for its historic values and also spooky stories, based on the National Geographic show “ I wouldn’t go in there” by Robert Joe, its a very interesting place to stop and explore. I’m lucky enough to get a chance to pass by Lawang sewu even though its getting quite late, surprisingly Lawang Sewu is open until 9PM and entrance fee cost only Rp 10,000 per person but if you need a local guide to tour you around additional Rp 30,000. So for those who are interested to know :
Lawang Sewu was designed by C. Citroen Construction began in 1904 with A building, which was completed in 1907. The rest of the complex was finished in 1919. It was initially used by the Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij, the national railway of the Dutch East Indies.
After the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942, the Japanese army took over Lawang Sewu. The basement of B building was turned into a prison, with several executions taking place there. When Semarang was retaken by the Dutch in the battle of Semarang in October 1945, the Dutch forces used the tunnel leading into A building to sneak into the city. A battle ensued, with numerous Indonesian fighters dying. Five employees working there were also killed (Source Wikitravel Lawang Sewu)
This is probably the 3rd time I visited Lawang sewu the first one I got the chance to go to the top floor and saw so many baths, the 2nd one I visited with my uncle and aunty was the most spooky part, it was a challenge we we’re lucky enough to get the chance to walk together on the basement. The basement was covered with water til our feet, we had 3 flashlight because its very dark inside it’s a long walk from one end to another. My visit this time was so much different the government have renovated the building and closed most of the parts of the building, the painted the walls and doors adding pictures is more like a museum now.
I stayed at Wisma Sakinah a great budget motel starting from Rp 170,000/night and you’ll get a free wifi in room as well as good breakfast, it is located near Semarang airport also not far from the wedding at Museum Ronggowarsito that I will attend to the next day.
I get the chance to visit Gedung Batu temple or Sam Poo Kong the oldest Chinese temple in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia originally established by a Chinese Muslim explorer. We arrived at night and the ticket counter welcomed us with a smile we payed only rp 3,000/ pax. The area is so big and huge I was very impressed with this place. The Sam Poo Kong temple complex includes five temples in a mixed Chinese and Javanese architectural style. The temples are Sam Poo Kong (the oldest), Tho Tee Kong, Kyai Juru Mudi Temple, Kyai Jangkar Temple, and Kyai Cundrik Bumi Temple. An additional worship site, Mbah Kyai Tumpeng, is also located within the complex. The buildings are spread over 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres). After many times of renovation due to conflicts and landslides I must say this place is very peaceful and sacred. It’s worth to visit.