Place to Visit in Indonesia and Semarang

1. Lawang Sewu

Abandoned and antique buildings inspire stories: legends, Myths, and Haunted tales of the building’s origin, owners, and builders. Indonesia is home to numerous historical and mystical buildings, many antique and dating back hundreds of years. One such building is Lawang Sewu which was built by the Dutch between 1904 and 1907 and functioned as the head office for The Dutch East Indies Railway Company (Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij) until 1942. The building was used as the Japanese Military Headquarters during World War II.

In Javanese, Lawang Sewu is translated to mean “a thousand doors.” And while the building does not have a thousand doors, the massive, three-story structure is lined with numerous doors and windows resembling doors, from which the building obtained its name. This large and mysterious building is not simply a deserted structure but is an icon of history. 

And heroes. As people may expect, the building has many doors, as if it comes with a thousand. This majestic structure is located in Sekayu Village and belongs to Central Semarang Sub-District. The site has lots of exciting allures that visitors can enjoy for sure.

On October 14, 1945, shortly after Indonesia declared independence, the building became the scene for the bloody “Battle of Semarang.” The 5-day battle occurred between AMKA, Angkatan Muda Kereta Api (Railway Youth Force) against the Kempeitai and Kidobutai, the Japanese Military Police and Strike Force. Many were tortured and executed during this battle. In 1950, the Tugu Muda monument was built to remember this fight for freedom and honor those who died in battle. Each year, a celebration is held around this monument to commemorate the heroic, 5-day struggle at Lawang Sewu.

On October 14, 1945, shortly after Indonesia declared independence, the building became the scene for the bloody “Battle of Semarang.” The 5-day battle occurred between AMKA, Angkatan Muda Kereta Api (Railway Youth Force) against the Kempeitai and Kidobutai, the Japanese Military Police and Strike Force. Many were tortured and executed during this battle. In 1950, the Tugu Muda monument was built to remember this fight for freedom and honor those who died in battle. Each year, a celebration is held around this monument to commemorate the heroic, 5-day struggle at Lawang Sewu.

Aside from learning history, people come to Lawang Sewu to conduct exploration. The building consists of many rooms, after all. In the basement, a watery underground was used as a prison back then. At the top of the building, a vast ballroom resides. Several bats also live in that room; those who love a thrilling experience must visit Lawang Sewu in the evening! The nuance would be more mystical, for sure.

Another common thing to do in Lawang Sewu is photography. Tourists can take photos either outside or inside the building. Sometimes, couples even conduct a pre-wedding photo session there. The structure is valuable enough as the background of photography, after all.

From downtown, tourists can take any available transportation service and head to Lawang Sewu Building for 10 minutes from Padma Hotel. Their destination is none other than Central Semarang Sub-District. Later, they only need to reach Sekayu Village, where the building resides. Please don’t worry. The trip only takes about 11 minutes, as the distance is 5 km. The fastest route is Pandanaran Street.

October, the same as September or November, is another warm spring month in Semarang, Indonesia, with temperatures in the range of an average low of 21.1°C (70°F) and an average high of 27.9°C (82.2°F).

In Semarang, the average length of the day in October is 12h and 16 min. On the last day of October, sunrise is at 05:11, and sunset is at 17:32 WIB. The Sun’s UV radiation is most powerful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Limit exposure to the direct sun during these hours to the extent possible. So bring your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses and prepare an umbrella.

2. Semarang Old Town

Kota Lama is a cultural heritage area with many old and historic buildings from the Dutch Era. At that moment, the area was the center of government. The architecture of the buildings is in European style, with large main doors and windows, decorative elements, and high ceilings.

Kota Lama consists of several areas that come with a distinct nuance. The good thing is tourists can explore them all freely. Most of the buildings apply Dutch architecture, for sure. These structures have been there since the 18th century. Despite the age, the condition remains excellent and sturdy. The appearance doesn’t look too good, though. The local government wants to retain its historical value, so it decided to keep it that way. Here is the tip. Tourists should hire a local guide to show good spots in Kota Lama. Because the size is extensive, first-timers will likely get lost during the exploration.

Some exciting spots include Blenduk Church, Taman Srigunting, Jiwasraya Insurance Building, Outdetrap Building, Semarang Art Gallery, De Spiegel, Marba, etc. For those who like walking, strolling around the corners of Kota Lama is very interesting since you can walk comfortably in the pedestrian area. You can also take a regular tour organized by a touring community. On a weekend evening, we can enjoy the atmosphere of Car Free Night along Jl. Lt. Gen. Suprapto Semarang, near the harbor and Old City, is very close to the Padma Hotel and directly for 15 minutes (6.6 Km) in Sultan Agung No.86 Street to Letjen Suprapto No. 31 Street. Don’t forget to bring your phone to capture

3. Sam Poo Kong

The Sam Poo Kong Temple, also known as Gedung Batu (the Stone Building), is the oldest Chinese temple in Semarang, capital of the province of Central Java. Unlike most temples, the building does not belong to any specific religion, but rather functions as a place of worship for people of various ethnicities and religious groups including Buddhists, Taoists and muslims. The temple is located on Jalan Simongan, West Semarang.

Sam Poo Kong is the oldest of 5 temples included in the Sam Poo Kong complex which spans across 3.2 hectares. The building covers an area of 1,020 square meters and is influenced by both Chinese and Javanese 14th century architectural styles. The temple is painted with a magnificent red color and crowned with a triple-layered pagoda-style roof, typical of East Asian culture. The surrounding area is thick with incense smoke, giving the feel of being in China itself.

The temple foundations were first built by Admiral Cheng Ho, elsewhere better known as Admiral Zheng He, a muslim explorer from Mainland China. After some time, Cheng Ho left Java, but many of his crew decided to stay behind and settle in the area. They married with the locals, and till now, Simongan is inhabited by descendants of China.

In 1704, the original temple and cave collapsed in a landslide. The local community rebuilt it 20 years later in a different location, closer to the city center and further from areas prone to decay by natural elements. It functions both as a place of worship, and a shrine honoring Cheng Ho for his services to the community.

Sam Poo Kong Temple is located on Simongan Road, approximately 3 KM south west from Simpang Lima and about 8 minutes from Padma Hotel Semarang. The temple is open to the public 24 hours a day.

4. Pagoda Avalokitesvara

Pagoda Avalokitesvara (Pagoda Guanyin) is on the main path of the complex Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong. Construction started in August 2004 and opened by July 14, 2005. This building is the tallest pagoda tower in Indonesia at 45 meters. The architecture follows the design of the main temple and represents Metta Karuna or love of Buddha.

The building used concrete for the structure and brick for the walls. The outer layer is painted in red to represent happiness or luck. This tower has seven levels with thirty statues of worship inside and a five-meter Avalokitesvara Boddhisatva statue surrounded by fruits and flowers as worship offerings. 

Outside the perimeter of the pagoda are five Guanyin statues and one of We Po. The building has eight sides and is called Pat Kwa.

5. Damalung Orchid

Damalung Orchid, a breathtaking orchid garden located in Kopeng, Salatiga, Jawa Tengah. This enchanting garden is a haven for orchid enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its wide variety of orchid species, Damalung Orchid is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking the beauty and tranquility of these exquisite flowers.

Upon entering the garden, you will be captivated by the vibrant colors and delicate fragrances that fill the air. The garden boasts an impressive collection of orchids, carefully cultivated to showcase their unique features and diverse range. From the rare and exotic to the more common varieties, Damalung Orchid offers a mesmerizing display that will leave you in awe.

One of the highlights of visiting Damalung Orchid is the opportunity to bring home a piece of this natural beauty. The garden offers a selection of orchids that can be purchased as gifts or included in hampers. Whether you’re looking for a special present or simply want to adorn your own space with these stunning blooms, Damalung Orchid provides a convenient and reliable source for acquiring these botanical treasures.

To reach Damalung Orchid from Semarang, you can follow a scenic route through Jawa Tengah’s picturesque landscapes. Start by heading south on the Semarang-Solo Toll Road (Toll Semarang-Solo) until you reach the Salatiga Exit. From there, continue your journey by taking the road towards Kopeng. Damalung Orchid is located in the heart of Kopeng, making it easily accessible for visitors coming from Semarang.

Another nearby destination is the charming city of Salatiga, where you can explore the historic St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and enjoy the panoramic views from the Bukit Cinta (Hill of Love). Additionally, the cool climate of Kopeng makes it an excellent place to savor local culinary delights and shop for souvenirs.

You can visit their YouTube channel at
For a visual feast of their stunning orchids, be sure to follow them on Instagram at damalungorchid_kopeng. Their online presence allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Damalung Orchid even before you set foot in the garden.

Indulge your senses and immerse yourself in the captivating world of orchids at Damalung Orchid. Whether you’re a seasoned orchid enthusiast or simply appreciate the wonders of nature, this orchid garden promises an unforgettable experience filled with beauty, tranquility, and the opportunity to bring home a piece of floral magic.

6. Gedong Songo Temple

This is a resort on the slope of mount Ungaran, about 900 meters above sea level. Gedong Songo (nine buildings), a group of small 8th century Hindu Javanese temples, can be reached either by car or on horseback from the town. Built at about the same time as the temples of the Dieng complex, Gedong Songo is one of the most beautifully sited temple complexes in Central Java and the views alone are worth the trip. Gedung Songo (‘Nine Buildings’) belong to the earliest antiquities of Java, they follow up the temples on the Dieng Plateau directly, for what about time. They were also built high in the mountains in an area full with volcanic activity; and they were also from Hinduist origin. But where the temples on Dieng Plateau are somewhat squeezed into a foggy valley, Gedung Songo are spread over the higher parts of the mountains, which guarantee a splendid view. On clear days, the horizon is one long row of volcanoes, from mount Lawu in the east, towards mount Sumbing, mount Sundoro and Dieng Plateau in the west.


The temples were built between 730 and 780, the first temple excepted, which could have been built some 30 years later. Gunung Songo is not the original name and also doesn’t point at the number of structures. The number nine has a special meaning in the Javanese culture, in which there is a strong attachment to numbers. The temples are located at about the same distance from each other (100 meters, 200 meters) on a naturally formed terrace of edge of a mountain.

In Semarang City, tourists may find many religious Indonesia tourist sites like temples. When it comes to the most famous one, Gedong Songo Temple is the winner for sure. The location is on the slope of Ungaran Mountain and it belongs to Bandungan Sub-District. You can visit this temple by traveling 35 km by car from the hotel to get the beautiful view of the Ungaran Mountains on the way there.

Then not only visitors can learn the history of the temple, but they can also conduct an adventure and ride a local horse on the site. Plus, the location is suitable to enjoy sightseeing, family recreation, and photography! Moreover, instead of offering a single temple, it comes with many of it!

7. Borobudur Temple

This famous Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. The monument was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970s.

The main temple is a stupa built in three tiers around a hill which was a natural centre: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,520 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.

The best way to explore this site is on foot. As you climb to the top of this magnificent temple you will marvel at the intricate detailed stone carvings displayed on the temples walls. You will certainly miss a great experience if you visit this enormous temple without learning about its history and importance which are captured on its many reliefs. Guides are available for around Rp 50,000. This is a wise investment as a guide will be able to walk you around the site and explain the history of the temple, beginning with its construction during the Syailendra dynasty. The stone carvings attached to the temple display legends and stories which have great philosophical significance. For visitors with children, don’t miss the massive green grass area surrounding the Borobudur site.

The monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the centre of the island of Java, Indonesia. So, if you want to get there the quickest way takes just 2 hours from Padma Hotel Semarang. Don’t forget to bring your hat, because the weather there is very sunny!

8. Prambanan Temple

Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.

Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple. Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples. All the mentioned temples form the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island.

The high structures are typical of Hindu architecture, and the plan of the temple complex is a Mandala, as is Borobudur. As a symbol of the Hindu cosmos, the temple is vertically divided into three parts, both vertically and in plan. The first mention of Prambanan was in the Syiwagrha Inscription (856AD). With three main temples for the Trimurti; Shiva the destroyer of the universe, Vishnu the keeper of the universe, and Brahma the creator of the universe. Back in the glory days of the old Mataram Kingdom, Prambanan is used as a Candi Agung for various royal and religious ceremonies.

The closest cities to Prambanan, are either Yogyakarta or Semarang. From Yogyakarta, you can rent a car to go to Klaten. From there, you can walk to the temple. If have been busy and are really tired of walking, you can always call for a becak. The Becak driver will bring you right up to the  entrance gate of the Temple, not far from the ticket box. From Padma Hotel Semarang you can get there for 2 hours by car.

9. Karimun Jawa Marine National Park

The Karimun Jawa archipelago, located in the Java Sea, across the capital city of Semarang, has everything to offer for divers and backpackers who enjoy trekking and snorkeling along a gorgeous beach. The Karimunjawa National Park (not to be confused with the Karimun Islands in Bintan, Riau) is one of seven marine national parks in Indonesia. Taking only a four to five-hour trip from Semarang, you will be surrounded by a natural beauty so stunning, you wish you could stay here forever.

Situated some 90km northwest off the northern coast of Jepara Regency in Central Java Province, the Karimunjawa Archipelago is a chain of breathtaking coral-fringed islands replete with underwater splendor secluded in the open 

Java Sea. Here, the white beaches are sublime, swimming is terrific, snorkeling is extraordinary, and the pace of life is relaxed as a destination defined by coconut palms and turquoise seas.

The archipelago was formally declared a Strict Natural Reserve in 1986 and has since been one of Southeast Asia’s priority areas for conserving marine biodiversity. In 1999, the Ministry of Forestry established the Karimunjawa Marine National Park encompassing 111,625 hectares. In 2001, 110,117.30 ha was declared a Marine Protection Area (MPA). Karimunjawa Marine Park is one of six such parks in Indonesia and was among the first areas recognized as essential for conserving and protecting marine biodiversity.

In total, Karimunjawa comprises 17 islands, where only 5 are inhabited. These are Karimunjawa Island (the largest and the archipelago’s center of facilities and the local’s economic activities), Kemujan Island (where the Airport is located), Nyamuk, Parang, and Genting. As a marine national park, Karimunjawa has a mix of 5 different ecosystems that promise a series of nature adventures for any visitor. Coral reefs, sea grass, and seaweed are three marine ecosystems next to the lush mangrove forest that splendidly reflects images over the rippling water surface. As your boat cuts across the still water in the morning, you will see the warmth of the early sunrays fall on the lowland tropical forest along the coast. They look fantastic.

The Karimunjawa National Park (not to be confused with the Karimun Islands in Bintan, Riau) is one of seven marine national parks in Indonesia. Taking only a four to five-hour trip from Semarang, you will be surrounded by stunning natural beauty; you wish you could stay here forever. Flights to Semarang are available from Jakarta, Denpasar, and other cities. Karimun Jawa has an airport on Kemujan Island called the Dewadaru Airport. Small aircraft land here, although chartered flights from Semarang, Yogyakarta, or Bali still dominate the schedule. And from Hotel Padma Semarang, you can get there to Ahmad Yani Airport for 20 minutes, then board a small aircraft to Karimun Jawa Island!

Ferries serve the islands three times a week, either from Jepara or also Semarang, and speed boats are plenty and available on special request.

10. Bali

Bali is an island and province in Indonesia, situated between Java and Lombok. It is renowned for its beautiful beaches such as Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu. The island offers a wide range of activities and attractions including water sports, surfing, diving, yoga retreats, ancient temples, traditional markets, and vibrant nightlife. Bali is also famous for its unique Hindu culture, which is evident in the numerous religious ceremonies and festivals that take place throughout the year.

Bali offers a wide range of attractions and places to visit. Here are a few popular destinations in Bali :

Known as the cultural heart of Bali, Ubud is famous for its lush green landscapes, traditional arts, and spiritual heritage. Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest, explore the art galleries, indulge in traditional Balinese cuisine, and experience a traditional Balinese dance performance.

Uluwatu Temple
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, Uluwatu Temple is not only a sacred site but also offers stunning panoramic views. Witness the traditional Kecak dance performance during sunset for an unforgettable experience.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Located just north of Ubud, the Tegallalang Rice Terraces offer picturesque landscapes of rice paddies sculpted along the hillsides. Take a leisurely stroll through the terraces or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants with stunning views.

Kuta Beach
Situated on the southern coast, Kuta Beach is one of Bali’s most popular beaches. It offers a vibrant atmosphere, perfect for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying beachside activities. The area is also known for its lively nightlife scene.

Mount Batur
If you enjoy outdoor adventures, consider hiking up Mount Batur, an active volcano located in the northeast of Bali. Witness a stunning sunrise from the summit and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Batur.

Tirta Empul Temple: Located in the village of Tampaksiring, Tirta Empul Temple is a significant Hindu temple known for its holy spring water. Visitors can participate in a purification ritual by bathing in the sacred pools.

These are just a few highlights, and Bali has much more to offer, including Nusa Penida Island, Seminyak, Sanur, and more. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, Bali has something for everyone.

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Bali from Semarang is by taking a domestic flight. There are several airlines that operate direct flights from Semarang’s Ahmad Yani International Airport (SRG) to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). The flight duration is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the airline and flight schedule.

  It’s important to check the latest schedules and availability of flights or ferry services before planning your trip. Additionally, make sure to have all necessary travel documents such as a valid ID or passport, and consider booking accommodations and transportation in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to Bali.