Central Java is the heart of Javanese culture, with Surakarta (Solo) and Jogjakarta in the centre.
The Borobudur is an absolute must-see.
Next to culture you find beautiful nature, sawah’s and beaches.
Book a car with private driver for an unforgetable holiday.
Karimunjawa is an archipelago consisting of 27 islands North of Semarang. After sailing for 80 km in the Java Sea you arrive at the harbor on the main island.
The name “Karimunjawa” is derived from the Javanese phrase: “kremun kremun saking tanah jawi” roughly translated: “I see something vague from Java”.
The water here is clean, the sand is white and the islands are ideal for snorkelling or diving among the coral. A ship that sank in 1960 (the Indonor) is popular with divers. You can also enjoy walking or renting a motorcycle here. The islands are not yet too touristy.
Karimunjawa is a wonderful alternative to Bali if you are looking for peace, beach and sea, but prefer to avoid tourist spots.
Rent a boat from one of the local fishermen. They are happy to take you on an unforgettable boat trip for one day. Together you will visit the most beautiful snorkeling spots where you can quietly see the most amazing fish among the pristine coral without plastic pollution.
You will sail to an uninhabited island where lunch (fried fish) will be prepared for you. The sea is calm and on board you can lie in the sun in the front, or if you need shade you can sit on the back of the boat under a tent roof. The wind blows through your hair and you enjoy the peace and the great view.
On Karimunjawa it is possible to visit the beach where the sea turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs. The eggs are collected and protected until they hatch in a specially constructed hut. When the turtles are a few days old and strong enough, they are released into the sea. You can help if you like. A unique event.
On the largest island you will find a real mangrove forest. You can walk here on wooden platforms and at the end of the day you can see the sun set beautifully. The mosquitoes also have a great time in the mangrove forest, so protect yourself well.
The uninhabited islands and the sea around them have been declared a national park, so that this beautiful nature is preserved and protected. Not many people live on Karimunjawa and most of the islands are uninhabited. The islands are not yet very touristy, so you can still enjoy exploring them.
From the port of Jepara you can take the ferry or fast boat. It takes five hours by ferry, and about two hours by express boat. The boat does not leave every day, so check the schedule when planning.
On the largest island you will find homestays and hotels and nice restaurants. Especially in the village near the harbor you will find the most tourist opportunities. On the largest island, the best way to get around is by motor cycle, which can be rented.
Pekalongan is located on the north coast of Java and is known for its batik. Pekalongan is the first city in Southeast Asia to become a member of “UNESCO’s World’s Creative Cities Network”.
The name PEKALONGAN probably comes from the word “A-PEK-HALONG-AN”, which means “income from the sea”.
The city has been around since 1622. In 1753 a fort was built here near the river. This fort was known as Fort Peccalongan. The fortress no longer exists.
The city is located on the Grote Postweg (Jalan Raya Pos), a road of about 1000 km long that Daendels had built on Java within a year when the Netherlands was occupied by France. A road that has cost many lives. A milestone of this road from 1808 can still be found.
Museum of Batik Pekalongan
The batik museum exhibits beautiful batik cloths from all over Indonesia. Here you can also learn to batik yourself. A beautiful souvenir.
In the late 19th century, the batik industry flourished. A well-known Dutch batik designer from Pekalongan was Eliza van Zuylen (1863-1947).
Kauman batik village
Several batik workshops and batik shops can be found in the Kauman district. Here you can buy the most beautiful cloths for a great price.
In the Landungsari district, the tools used for batik are made. In batik, beeswax is applied to a cotton cloth with a “canting”. The canting is made of copper with a bamboo handle. Craftsmen can be found in almost all alleys in the Landungsari district.
Near the batik museum is an old lemonade factory from 1920. At that time, this lemonade was a real luxury. Even now, the lemonade is still made according to the old recipe. The factory is closed on Fridays.
What’s more fun than discovering the city with a becak? Let yourself cycle around with the wind in your hair. Becak drivers know all the nice places in the city and know where to find the nicest eateries. Pekalongan still has many old buildings with a story. This way you can see the city up close without getting tired.
Nostalgic Heritage hotel (with gym and swimming pool)
The house built by Hoo Tong Koey and Tan Seng Nio in 1918 is now a hotel. The lobby of the hotel is the old house. Their ancestors had migrated to Pekalongan from southern China in the 18th century. Hoo Tong Koey was the fourth generation of Chinese (Peranakan) descent. From their home they started making and selling batik.
In 1927, Tong Koey was appointed “Lieutenant der Chinezen” by the Dutch. In addition to this beautiful history, the hotel has modern rooms that are equipped with every luxury.
You can also rent bicycles here.
Merapi” means “mountain of fire”, an appropriate name for this beautiful volcano. The volcano is 2968 meters high. Yogyakarta is located at the foot of the volcano.
On the Merapi you can make spectacular jeep tours and enjoy nature.
Climbing the Merapi
Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. You can only climb the Merapi when the volcano is not active and in the dry season (between March and October). The journey is quite tough. There are steep parts and the surface is sometimes not stable due to small stones. The tour starts at night so that you can reach the top by sunrise and enjoy the beautiful view.
Climbing with a guide
Climb Mount Merapi accompanied by a professional guide and go on adventure!
You will be picked up from your hotel in the evening and taken to Selo (a village between the volcanoes Merapi and Merbabu). Around midnight the climbing to the top begins. At night you will not be bothered by the heat and after a climb of about 5 hours you will reach the top of the Merapi where you wait for sunrise. Around half past six in the morning you will descent and after about 3 hours you will reach Selo again, where you enjoy a simple traditional breakfast and are brought back to your hotel. A memory for life!
In 2010, Yogyakarta was covered in ash after an eruption. Many people living on the mountain had to be evacuated. You can still visit the affected villages and be impressed by the power of the mountain.
The people who used to live in the destroyed villages now run the museum and jeep tours on the mountain. So by visiting these sites, you will not only be awed by the strength and beauty of the volcano, but also support the local people who lost everything they owned during the eruption.
Talking to the mountain
Until 2010, Mbah Maridjan, an old man, was the spiritual guardian of the Merapi. He was appointed by the sultan of Yogyakarta and lived almost at the top of the volcano. He was paid a symbolic $1 a month for his work. He interacted with the mountain’s spirits and led ceremonies to appease the volcano’s spirits by offering rice and flowers in and around the crater. He described his work as, “Let the volcano breathe, not cough.” In 2010, when thousands of people had to be evacuated and more than 300 people died in an eruption, Mbah Maridjan felt it was his duty to stay on the mountain and, at the age of 83, was one of the victims.
Yogyakarta is seen as the cultural capital of Java. The relaxed student city has few high-rise buildings and the residents are notable for their friendliness and politeness. In the middle of the city is the kraton, the palace of the Sultan. Near the kraton you can find the old water palace (Taman Sari). Furthermore, a visit to Fort Vredenburg is fun for anyone interested in the history of Yogyakarta. You can make nice city tours through local guides (often students who speak good English). Highly recommended to get acquainted with real life in Yogyakarta.
Near Yogyakarta he world famous Borobudur and Prambanan can be found, which have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. These impressive places are absolute must-see’s.
If you like nature and being active, the area around Jogjakarta has a lot to offer.
Yogyakarta is one of the few cities in Indonesia where the sultan still has an important function in daily life. His palace, the kraton, was built between 1755 and 1766 and the current sultan still lives here.
The kraton is a mythical place built in a special place. The kraton is built on an imaginary line that starts at Parangtritis beach, and then through the kraton, Malioboro street, the Tugu monument, finally ends at Merapi. All important places in Yoyakarta are thus in a straight line. The spirit world of the sea is connected by this line to the spirit world of the Merapi volcano.
The kraton is the cultural heart of Yogyakarta and can be visited every morning. Here you can take a guided tour and visit the museum with a guide associated with the kraton. Furthermore, depending on the day of the week, there are various performances such as dance, puppetry and gamelan music.
The Malioboro street is located in the middle of Jogjakarta and is the most famous shopping street in the city. Here you will find many shops and sales stalls with clothing, souvenirs, handmade products, bags, etc. There are also many restaurants and eateries. Street musicians and artists show and hear their talents.
Get to know the hospitality and real life of Yogyakarta. Wander arround with a guide and experience the city like a local. The people of Jogja genuinely enjoy getting to know you and are proud of their city. They are happy to share this with you.
Walking tour through the center
The center of Jogjakarta is rich of culture and history and it is also great shopping here. A guide tells you about the background of everything you see and shares the best stories. He or she will take you to authentic shops, so you won’t miss anything and will get to know all the secrets of the city.
The water palace is a special place. This palace was built in the 18th century as a place for the Sultan to relax. The complex consists of swimming pools and gardens. There is also a special underground mosque. Many artists are active in the small streets around the complex, who also sell their art here.
In 1760 a fortress was built by the Dutch in Jogjakarta. This fortress was called Fort Rustenburg. After the fort was destroyed by the earthquake of 1867, it was rebuilt and given a new name: Fort Vredenburg.
Since 1992, the fort has been used as a museum focusing on Indonesia’s struggle for independence.
Must sees in Jogja:
A visit to Borobudur should not be missed when visiting Indonesia. In 1991, UNESCO recognized Borobudur as a World Heritage Site.
The Borobudur is 40 km from Jogjakarta and can be visited during the day, but also beautiful at sunrise.
The Prambanan is a beautiful Hindu temple near Yogyakarta. The temple has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a special temple with a special story.
Borobudur The Borobudur is the biggest and oldest Buddhist temple in the world. UNESCO recognised the Borobudur as World Heritage Site. In 1814 the Borobudur was rediscovered after the temple was hidden for hundreds of years, covered under ashes and vegetation . The temple is still full of mysteries. Karma New secrets were revealed during ... Read more
Prambanan The Prambanan is a Hindu temple complex which was recognised in 1991, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Prambanan is built in the same period (around the year 850) as the Borobudur temple, which proves that on Java, Buddhism and Hinduism lived peacefully next to one another. The Prambanan complex consists of three ... Read more
Local tours and activities
Join a cooking workshop and get to know Indonesian cuisine (better). You will be warmly welcomed by a family at their home and together you will cook a delicious fresh Indonesian meal. A unique opportunity to get a real look behind the scenes. After cooking you eat the result of your cooking skills together. This workshop is suitable for everyone, with or without cooking experience. Children are also very welcome!
Jogjakarta itself is just a bit too busy for a relaxed bike tour. South of the city there is more space. The cycling tour starts at a beautiful viewpoint and leads you through sawah’s and small villages. You will see the river and the typical activities of this region such as how to bake red bricks. Before the Kraton of the old Mataram empire (the palace) moved to Jogjakarta, it could be found here in between the sawahs. Objects from this time are still regularly found by farmers.
History & Heritage tour
Are you ready to meet the past? You will walk the old streets where you will recognise the old buildings from the past. Sometimes still proud and beautiful, sometimes hidden and old and wrinkled. For the longer distances we will travel by becak.
A great cycling tour! (the real local experience) Have you seen the must-sees on Java? Now it is time to experience the real Javanese life away from the tourist spots. We are more than happy to welcome you in the countryside close to our beautiful city of Jogjakarta, famous for its hospitality. Are you ready ... Read more
Djokjakarta, 100 years ago Travel back in time Do you remember Jogjakarta from the stories you heard in your family? Do you have pictures from years and years ago? Now it is time to travel back in time and find the traces of the past. We are more than happy to show you Jogja around ... Read more
A great cooking experience! (All food is included) After having hosted many visiters during virtual cooking workshops the past years, we are more than happy to welcome you in real life in our beautiful city of Jogjakarta, the cultural centre of Java and the city famous for its hospitality. On the menu ? ✔ First ... Read more
Becak tour During this excursion you will explore the city in a traditional becak. A trip in the becak cannot be missed during your holiday in Indonesia. In a becak, you visit the nicest places in the city. With this popular pedicab you can see everything in a relatively short time. Do you like to ... Read more
-Tip- In the evening-
Also plan fun activities in the evening. The city comes to life in the evening when it gets cooler.
More than 200 professional dancers portray the ancient story of Ramayana. From November to April, the performance can be admired in an indoor theater. In the dry season (April-November) the dance performance is performed in the open air, with the illuminated Prambanan temple as a background. The storyline is easy to follow during the performance. In the theater, a summary of the Ramayana story is distributed in different languages. The story can also be followed on screens during the performance so that you not only enjoy the beautiful dance in the beautiful costumes, but you can also follow the story. A magical evening.
Discover Jogja’s food culture and traditions on this popular tour. The tour starts at the end of the afternoon and lasts until the beginning of the evening. Taste the best food and go to Jogja’s favorite eateries. For about 3 hours you will try different types of food in different places. The food and drinks are included .
Ramayana Ballet In the evening, the Ramayana story comes to life. More than 200 professional dancers and musicians perform in the city of Yogyakarta or in the open-air theater with the illuminated Prambanan temples as a backdrop. A story about love, war and mystical events. A young princess is kidnapped by an evil demon. Her ... Read more
Street food tour Discover Jogja’s food culture and traditions on this popular tour. The tour starts at the end of the afternoon and lasts until the beginning of the evening. Taste the best food and go to the most favorite eateries of Jogja. For about 3 hours you will try different foods in different places. ... Read more
Merapi Merapi” means “mountain of fire”, an appropriate name for this beautiful volcano. The volcano is 2968 meters high. Yogyakarta is located at the foot of the volcano. On the Merapi you can make spectacular jeep tours and enjoy nature. Climbing the Merapi Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. You can ... Read more
Nglanggeran; An old volcano About an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta is the ancient Vulcano Nglangeran. The ancient volcano Nglanggeran was active until 60 million years ago and is one of the oldest volcanoes in Central Java. The mountain was formed by ancient volcanic material and has two peaks namely the western and eastern peak with ... Read more
Admire the Borobudur at sunrise From the Punthuk Setumbu viewpoint you have a beautiful and almost mythical view over the hills, trees and the morning fog around the Borobudur. From this spot you can see the sun rise over the highest stupa of the temple, between the volcanoes Merapi and Merbabu. Every day the sunrise ... Read more
Yogyakarta has many beautiful beaches, which are not well known by foreign tourists. Enjoy the quiet and calm beaches to relax and cool off in the sea breeze and water. But be careful, Ratu Kidul (the Queen of the South Seas) rules here and even well-trained swimmers can’t go too deep because of the strong current. Check the color of your clothes before you leave… the story goes that Ratu Kidul doesn’t like the color green..
Cave Tubing in the Pindul Cave
South of the city you can go on an adventure in nature. On an inflatable tire the river will carry you into a cave where you can admire swallows and bats. This tour has it all: action, nature and fun. The environment is beautiful. To get to the river a truck will take you through the woods towards the river. On public holidays, it can be busy here.
The Prambanan is a Hindu temple complex which was recognised in 1991, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Prambanan is built in the same period (around the year 850) as the Borobudur temple, which proves that on Java, Buddhism and Hinduism lived peacefully next to one another.
The Prambanan complex consists of three main temples (up till 47 meters high) and three smaller temples. The three main temples represent the Hindu gods Brahma (creator), Shiva (destroyer) and Vishnu (sustainer) and the three smaller temples are dedicated to the animals these gods used for their transportation: a goose, a bull and an eagle.
Next to the six bigger temples there are many smaller temples. Up till today not all of the 224 little temples are restored yet. You can still walk between the ruins and stones from the smaller temples. Imagine how the complex would have looked like 1250 years ago!
The Prambanan temple is still mystical. Locally Prambanan is known as “Roro Jonggrang” after a legend that Javanese people tell about the temple.
Once there was a man named Bandung Bondowoso who fell in love with Roro Jonggrang. Roro Jonggrang was not pleased with his love, and to be able to refuse his love, she asked him to do something that seemed impossible: to build her a temple with 1000 statues, in just one night. But Bandung Bondowoso’s love for her was so strong, that he did anything to fullfill her wish. He even asked an army of djinns (ghosts) to help him. Afraid she had to keep her promise, Roro Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice (a traditional dawn activity) and set a fire (to imitate the sunrise) in order to pretend the morning had broken.
The djinns stopped building, assuming the night was over, and fled away for the sunlight. Only 999 statues were completed. Bandung Bondowoso felt cheated and cursed Jonggrang to be the thousandth statue.
Prambanan also has panels of relief, describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally from generation to generation.
Ramayana ballet (evening)
In the evenings, the Ramayana story comes to life. More than 200 professional dancers and musicians perform in the city of Yogyakarta or in the open air theatre with the illuminated Prambanan Temples as the background.
Ramayana Ballet In the evening, the Ramayana story comes to life. More than 200 professional dancers and musicians perform in the city of Yogyakarta or in the open-air theater with the illuminated Prambanan temples as a backdrop. A story about love, war and mystical events. A young princess is kidnapped by an evil demon. Her ... Read more
The old train station of Ambarawa was built in 1873 and was named “Willem I”. The station was mainly used for military transport and the transport of export goods to the port of Semarang. After the construction of the first track on Java in 1867, the railway network was continuously expanded by the Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NISM). The station building was renovated in 1907 and a lot of wood and bamboo was replaced by bricks. The station served until 1976 and then continued as a museum. It is now Southeast Asia’s largest railway museum. At the old colonial-style station, about 25 old trains (steam trains, diesel locomotives and carriages) can be admired.
On weekends and holidays it is possible to take a special vintage train ride between Ambarawa and Tuntang. By travelling in this antique locomotive you imagine yourself back in time. This train journey is very popular. Tickets can be bought at the counter from 8:00 am and usually all tickets are sold out within 2 hours.
For real train enthusiasts or larger groups, it is even possible to rent an entire train for a nostalgic train journey.
Rubber and Coffee Plantation
There are several rubber and coffee plantations near Ambarawa. Here you can take a tour and get an explanation about the production process. In some places time seems to have stood still. Much is still happening in exactly the same way as 80 years ago. It is possible to spend the night at the plantation. A wonderfully relaxed stay. The products that are made on the plantation are for sale so that you can also enjoy them at home.
Second World War history tour
Visit the women prison camp in Ambarawa or Banjoebiru (Banyubiru) to remember the thousends women and children who were imprisoned here.
Excursion World War II Ambarawa and Banyubiru For many Dutch people, memories of the Second World War are linked to Ambarawa and Banyubiru (Banjoebiroe). Thousands of mainly women and children stayed here in Japanese captivity in prison camps. The Japanese camps 6,7, 8 and 9 and the camp Soemowono were located in Ambarawa, the women’s ... Read more
An adventurous tourist attraction was created a few years ago in the village of Sepakung near Banyubiru. A spectacular walkway (Ondo Langit) with fantastic views has been built along the mountain at a height of 45 meters. There is also the possibility to swing above the valley. Secured, of course, but a little courage is required.
Gedong Songo temples
These temples are among the oldest Hindu temples built in Java. They are older than the Prambanan and Borobudur and built around the year 750 in honor of Shiva.
Gedong Songo means “nine buildings”. Of the 9 temples, only 5 are left. The temples are located 100 to 200 meters apart on six hills on the slope of Mount Gunung Ungaran. The highest point of the temple complex is at 1308 meters. At the complex you will also find a hot water spring with sulfur. You can bathe here if you want.
The view is beautiful. In the afternoon it is often foggy, which makes the temple complex mysterious. The complex is best visited in the morning and for those who can get up early, the sunrise is really worthwhile. Due to the high location the atmosphere is cool and fresh.
At the complex you can rent a horse and visit the temples and the hot spring on horseback for 1 or 2 hours with a guide. The horses are not very big, but they are well cared for and listen well.
This place is not very touristy yet, with more local tourists only on weekends.
Goa Rong viewpoint
Enjoy a beautiful sunrise at Goa Rong. Fresh in the cool mountain air, the view becomes more and more breathtaking as it gets lighter.
Surakarta (also called Solo) is located on the eastern slope of the Merapi volcano near the Bengawan Solo river. The city has about 580,000 inhabitants and is densely populated.
Together with Yogyakarta, Surakarta is considered the heart of Javanese culture, full of rituals, traditions and art.
After the division of the Mataram Empire in 1755, two principalities arose: one in Surakarta and one in Yogyakarta. The name of the city of Solo was then changed to Surakarta.
At Indonesia’s independence, the Sunan of Surakarta, unlike the Sultan of Yogyakarta, sided with the Dutch, causing the Sunan of Surakarta to lose its political power.
The Sultanate in Surakarta mainly focuses on Javanese art such as batik art, Javanese dance and wayang kulit (shadow puppetry).
Within Surakarta there are two royal houses: The Kraton of Susuhunan Paku Buwono (Kraton Hadiningrat built in 1745) and the Kraton of Sultan Mangkunegaran (built in 1787).
Sunan Palace; Kraton Hadiningrat
The Susuhunan Paku Buwono craton is a bit like the Yogyakarta craton built ten years earlier. Here too the kraton is “a city within a city”. The courtyard has sand from the southern beach of Java and symbolizes the union between the kraton and the queen of the South Sea (Ratu Loro Kidul). The rest of the palace is also full of symbolism. The buildings, shapes and colors everything has a symbolic meaning. This makes a guided tour very special.
Mangkunagara’s kraton is built entirely of teak without using a nail. The museum in the hall of the kraton houses the private collection of Mangkunegara IV: antiques, jewelry, coins, wayang dolls and beautiful kerises. Mangkunagaran Palace has been well preserved.
The kraton comes to life with a guide who can explain the background of all objects with beautiful stories.
The Gladak district is home to Surakarta’s most important colonial buildings. There is an old fort (Vastenburg) barracks, churches, old European houses and hotels.
Pasar Triwindhu, is a well-known antiques and flea market. The market has been around since 1939 and was established in honor of the inauguration of the new Susoehoenan (Sultan) of Solo.
Anything older than 50 years is considered antiques, but many products are expertly counterfeit replicas that can hardly be distinguished from real antiques; sought after by visitors because of the lower price. The replicas are beautifully made. Ideal as original souvenirs. It is wonderful to roam around here. Practice smiling and haggling.
Sometimes cultural events are organized at the market.
Pasar Gede Hardjonagoro is a commodity market located in the old Chinese quarter. Pasar Gede means “big market”. The market is located in an Art Deco complex with Javanese influences and was designed in 1923 by Dutch architect Karsten. The building has been designed to stay cool and can accommodate more than 1000 merchants. It has already been rebuilt twice after a fire and each time restored to its original state. Here you will find vegetables, fruits, herbs and also local traditional delicacies.
The Chinese Quarter in Solo has been around since 1745. Today, about 4000 people live in this district, half of whom are of Chinese origin. The Chinese holidays, for example Chinese New Year, are celebrated here extensively. There are parades and the streets are decorated with thousands of lanterns. Tien Kak Sie temple is Surakarta’s oldest Chinese temple and is dedicated to Kwam-Im, goddess of mercy.
The great mosque (Masjid Agung) was built between 1763 and 1768 and is attached to the kraton. The mosque was built entirely according to regulations from the old Javanese architecture.
Historical excursion through old Solo
Make it easy for yourself and take a tour of old Solo with a guide who can tell you all about the historic buildings designed by architect Karsten, the palaces of the local monarchs, the antiques market and main market, the mosque and China Town. With a guide, the past comes to life and the background stories allow you to see the city with different eyes.
Hidden culture tour
Surakarta, together with Yogyakarta, is the center of Javanese culture. The culture is still vividly present in the daily life of the residents of the city. Join a guide through the city and let yourself be surprised. Visit the workshops of, for example, a keris maker, see how a gamelan (musical instrument) is made, see how the leather puppets of the puppetry come to life, and how batik is made. Visit a dance and music school and the place where gemstones (each with their own symbolic meaning) are traded.
Cycling through the villages
A very nice tour to get acquainted with the local culture is this bike tour through the surroundings from Surakarta. You will cycle through the rice fields, stopping along the way at small family businesses that make traditional products such as tofu, tempe, gamelan, roof tiles, and arak (spirits).
On the way, the Bengawan Solo River (the longest river in Java and sung by many singers) is crossed by ferry. After the excursion you will be offered a lunch with local dishes. Obviously made by the locals.
In the old steam train with wooden wagons you imagine yourself 100 years back in time. The Jaladara steam train rides through the city every morning. The tour starts at Purwosari train station and ends at Sangkrah station. You will receive an explanation of what to see along the way in English.
Radya Pustaka Museum
This museum is the second oldest museum in Indonesia and founded in 1890. Here you will find literature in Old Javanese but also in Dutch, antique objects such as gamelan, krissen, and wayang puppets. The museum is small and simple, but full of interesting objects.
The National Press Museum
This museum provides an insight into the history of Indonesian media from colonial times to the present day. It is located in a colonial building from 1918.
Danar Hadi Batik Museum
Housed in a beautiful traditional Javanese building, you can learn all about batik in this museum. The museum has an impressive collection of antique textiles. And the museum pieces come not only from Indonesia, but also from other parts of Asia. It shows exactly how batik is made.
The museum has 350 antique cherries from different parts of Indonesia. In the museum you can also admire spears (tombak), swords (pedang) and knives (badik). The oldest keris in the collection dates from the 7th century. The museum was opened in 2017 by President Joko Widido, after the Keris was recognized by the United Nations (UNESCO) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Sangiran Museum of Early Man
Sangiran has been inhabited for a million and a half years. Excavations in Sangiran between 1936 and 1941 led to the discovery of the first hominin fossil. Since then, 50 more fossils have been found here. This is half of all known hominin fossils in the world. These finds are very important to understand the history of evolution. In 1996 Sangiran was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site
Mount Lawu is 3265 meters high and is a beautiful mountain to climb. Mount Lawu is a sacred place and is often visited by pilgrims.
Around the year 1500, the last king Prabu Brawijaya V of the Majapahit empire passed away on the mountain. His body was never found. He is said to have passed directly to heaven.
After the monarch disappeared, one of his followers turned into a starling. To this day, the starlings still can be found on the mountain. People with good intentions will be supported by them, people with bad intentions will be struck by bad luck.
To honor this special place, it is important to treat the mountain with great respect. There is a custom to ask the mountain for permission before doing anything on the mountain. Also the advice is given to treat each other with respect so that the mountain does not get angry.
A 2-day trip on Mount Lawu
Make a 2-day trip on Mount Lawu accompanied by a guide and spend the night on top of the mountain in a tent.
The journey to the top starts in the basecamp and passes 5 posts.
Up at station 5 is the Mbok Yem’s warung(eating place). In the warung you will find warmth, hot tea and coffee and simple food. Here you spend the night in a tent. The next morning you walk the last 30 minutes to the top to enjoy a beautiful sunrise. It can freeze so it is absolutely necessary to bring warm clothes!
The Sukuh temple is a special temple located at an altitude of 910 meters on the slope of Gunung Lawu, about 16 kilometers from Solo.
The temple was built in the 15th century and rediscovered in 1815 after the temple was overgrown by nature for centuries. This temple is a special temple and doesn’t resemble the other temples built on Java and Bali.
The architectural style of this temple resembles the architectural style of the Maya in South America. The temple consists of three terraces. The main building stands on the highest terrace and is in the shape of a capped pyramid, with a narrow, steep staircase going up leading you to a beautiful view. At the bottom of the stairs you will find dragon snakes and large stone turtles. The turtles were probably used as a place of sacrifice
The temple is also special because of the many erotic -not abstract- images and statues which represents fertility.
About 5 km from the Sukuh temple the Ceto temple can be found.Meandering between the tea plantations you reach this temple which is situated at an altitude of 1495 meters on top of a hill.It is the last Hindu temple built in Java, around 1451-1475.Due to the altitude, it is often foggy, which creates a mysterious atmosphere.The view is beautiful.The high entrance gate is built in a style that you mainly encounter on Bali.
Hiking at Tawangmangu
Take a walk accompanied by an experienced guide and enjoy the beautiful nature
Walk between the hills with sawas, villages and nature with beautiful views. The guide can explain a lot about everything you encounter along the way and everything that is growing and blooming. You will encouter tea plantations, vegetables and rice fields. A visit to the 81 meter high waterfall (the Grojogan Sewu) completes the walk.
The Borobudur is the biggest and oldest Buddhist temple in the world. UNESCO recognised the Borobudur as World Heritage Site. In 1814 the Borobudur was rediscovered after the temple was hidden for hundreds of years, covered under ashes and vegetation . The temple is still full of mysteries.
New secrets were revealed during different restorations. On the lower rim of the Borobudur, which was covered under the ground for a long time, reliefs were found. The Law of Karma pictured in the reliefs on “the hidden base” of the stupa. These reliefs teach that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.
The place where the Borobudur is built has been carefully chosen. The temple is built near the place where the rivers Ello and Progo meet and the hill called “Tidar”. About 1250 years ago, this place was considered the most suitable place. The hill Tidar is where the gods “nailed” the island of Java to the earth, to prevent the island from sinking or floating away.
The temple is shaped as a stupa and built around a hill. If you count well, you can count 504 statues of Buddha. The walls consist of 2672 sculptured reliefs. In total, if arranged in a row, these sculptures have a length of 5 km.
There are 72 bell-shaped stupa’s encircling the central stupa. Some of these stupa’s contain a Buddha statue, some are empty, and some statues are decapitated. In the past centuries, some statues and buddha heads were stolen and ended up in museums far away, or in the homes of the rich.
There is a legend that if you can touch the Buddha with his legs crossed, any wish you have will be granted.
The central stupa at the top of the Borobudur can only be entered by Buddist monks. Don’t be afraid, you won’t miss much; this stupa represents eternity and is therefore empty.
Pawon en Mendut
Close to the Borobudur there are two other temples named Pawon and Mendut temple. These temples are also part of the Borobudur World Heritage Site. The three temples are built in a straight line. During the Buddhist Vesak-festival, Buddhist in Indonesia walk from the Mendut temple, passing the Pawon temple and end at the Borobudur to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.
In Mendut temple there are three big Buddhist statues from the 9th century. In this temple, couples who would like to have children, pray for good luck. There is also a Buddhist monastery where monks are studying their religion.
At the Pawon temple we only find the temple, there are no statues in there. Next to the temple there is a beautiful waringin tree.
Semarang is a major harbour and trading city. It is a melting pot of different cultures. The city was officially founded in 1547 by the Islamic missionary Kyai Pandan Arang. At the beginning of the 15th century, Admiral Cheng Ho Zhenghe, as a representative from China (the Ming Dynasty), visited the region with a large fleet and tried to establish diplomatic and trade relations.
In 1678 Semarang came into the hands of the VOC. The VOC built a fort with 5 bastions called “De Vijfhoek”,(“Five Corners”) which existed until 1824. The fortress and later the old town was only accessible via the Berok bridge. The bridge owes its name to the Dutch word “bridge” (“brug”). Because “brug” was difficult to pronounce, the Javanese called the bridge “Berok”.
UNESCO World Heritage site
Due to the port, Semarang grew into a large trade center. Now the city has more than 1.5 million inhabitants. You can still see the influence of the different cultures everywhere.
After decay in the eighties and nineties, the old town is now being renovated and has now been nominated to UNESCO as a world heritage site.
In the old part of the city, the Kota Lama, you can walk around to explore the many remaining historic and unique buildings. For example, visit the Marabunta building, the old theater which can be recognised by the large red ants on the roof, where Mata Hari, the famous exotic danser and alleged spy, performed and where she is now immortalized in the old stained-glass windows.
Many buildings in old Semarang were designed by architect Karsten. Karsten left for the Dutch East Indies in 1914 and became an advisor to the municipality of Semarang. He designed many large, monumental buildings with art deco elements. In his later years he was an advocate of self-government for the Indonesians and was friends with Sukarno.
In the center of the old town is the Blenduk church. This church was built in 1753 and is the oldest Protestant church in Central Java. The church was rebuilt in 1894. The copper dome is said to have been built following the example of the St. Peter Basilica in the Vatican City.
Lawang Sewu means “a thousand doors” in Javanese and this colonial building is indeed characterized by its many doors. It was built between 1904 and 1919 for the Dutch East Indies Railway Company. During the Japanese occupation it was used as a prison. Stained-glass windows with images of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague make us remember history. Once there used to be an underground tunnel to the governor’s office and the harbor. The basement of the building is said to be haunted. A horror film made in 2007 about this basement made many people shiver.
Semarang is nicknamed “Kota Jamu” (herbal drink city) because of the many factories for herbal drinks that the city once had. One of these factories was the herb factory “Nyonya Meneer”.
Nyonya Meneer (1895-1978) was the nickname of Mrs. Lauw Ping Nio. She originated from East Java and has run her own company for 50 years.
Toko Oen started more than 100 years ago (1910) as bakery for cookies in Yogyakarta. In 1922 the shop was transformed into an ice cream parlor, and later into a restaurant based on the Javanese, Chinese and Dutch cuisine. In the 1930s, the couple Oen also opened branches in Jakarta, Malang and Semarang.
Toko Oen can no longer be found in Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Only in Semarang Toko Oen is still run by the descendants of the Oen couple and the menu is still based on the old recipes. Just like in the past, the restaurant is known for typical Dutch dishes such as fried egg sandwich, Russian salad and cheese sticks. You can also buy Dutch specialties like Speculaas and mocha meringues. You can enjoy delicious food here.
During this full-day excrsion you travel accompanied by an expert guide who can tell you more about the period around the Second World War. Women and children’s prison camp We visit a former women’s camp that was located in a Catholic orphanage. Now this is an church complex. During the war, women and children were ... Read more
Semarang private tour with a guide Your guide will bring old Semarang back to life. In Semarang there are still many old buildings with just as many interesting stories from the past. During an excursion of about 1.5 hours (about 3 km) the guide will tell you the stories behind the buildings and the old ... Read more
Gedung Batu temple
The Gedung Temple was built on the site where Ming Admiral Zheng He came ashore in 1406. Zheng He was a Muslim from Yunnan (China).
When Zheng He was 10 years old, the Ming army took over Yunnan. Zheng he was taken prisoner and had to join the army. He did his job so well that he was appointed advisor to the emperor and traveled all over the world as an explorer with hundreds of ships and 28,000 crew. Zheng He has visited many countries and it is even said that he was the one who discovered America (seventy years before Columbus).
After arriving in Java, Zheng He found a special cave in which he liked to pray. He built a temple near this cave. When he later left Java again, a large number of his crew stayed behind on Java. They married Javanese women and it is said that their descendants still live in the area of the temple. This temple is very special because both Muslims and Buddhists (ethnic Javanese and Chinese) come together in this temple to practice their faith.
The temple consists of a number of altars surrounding a cave. To the right of the cave is the tomb of Kyai Juru Mudi Dampoawang, the Islamic cleric of Zheng He. Believers like to sleep at his grave to receive his blessing.
Chinatown is an important part of Semarang. Already for a long time, Semarang has a large Chinese minority. Here you will find temples, attractive shops and good food. Stroll through Chinatown and get a taste of the real Chinese atmosphere.
At the Tay Kak Sie temple a replica of the ship with which Admiral Zheng He sailed to Java, can be found. In the evening on the weekend (from Friday to Sunday from 6 pm to 11 pm) there is a lively market with lots of delicious food. The ideal place to try all different kinds of authentic street food. It is also possible to discover Chinatown with a guide. The stories the guide can tell you, will make the city even more alive.
The mosque Agung (literally translated “great mosque”) is built in Javanese and Arabic style. Inside, the mosque is entirely decorated in Javanese style. Inside the mosque a large Quran, no less than 145 cm by 95 cm and handwritten by a Javanese calligrapher, can be admired. Next to the mosque is a tower of 99 meters high. Here you will find a small museum about the history of Islam and how Islam spread across Java. It is possible to go up with an elevator to have a beautiful view over the city. Especially at sunset.
WW II excursion
During this full-day excrsion you travel accompanied by an expert guide who can tell you more about the period around the Second World War. We visit a former women’s camp that was located in a Catholic orphanage. Now this is an church complex. During the war, women and children were held here under very difficult conditions.
After this we go to the Kalibanteng war cemetery where more than 3100 war victims are buried. The cemetery is maintained by the Dutch War Graves Foundation. Here are two monuments to commemorate the women and children who stayed the camps.
It is also possible to visit Candi cemetery. About 1000 Dutch soldiers are buried here.
After this we go to a former shelter. After the capitulation of Japan, a power vacuum developed and the situation remained dangerous. From central Java many civilians were brought to Semarang to travel to Batavia, Singapore or further. One of the shelters was in the Van Deventer school, now called Kartini school. In addition to being a shelter, this school has a special history: This was one of the first schools for underprivileged Indonesian girls. Your guide can tell you more about this.
Rainbow village / Kampung Pelangi
Kampung Pelangi is a district in Semarang that was transformed into a tourist attraction in only one month in 2017. The previously poor neighborhood was eligible for money to renovate the neighborhood. Hping to attract tourists, the houses were painted in rainbow colors. Within three weeks the plan was already a huge success. It is a beautiful sight, both from a distance and up close. The colorful district is very photogenic. Not only are the houses colored, local painters have also made paintings on walls. The residents of this community do their best to make their simple neighborhood as cheerful, clean and beautiful as possible. They are glad to see you here.
The water here is clean and the sand is white. Visit the Karimunjawa islands about 80 km from Semarang in the Java sea.
Karimunjawa Karimunjawa is an archipelago consisting of 27 islands North of Semarang. After sailing for 80 km in the Java Sea you arrive at the harbor on the main island. The name “Karimunjawa” is derived from the Javanese phrase: “kremun kremun saking tanah jawi” roughly translated: “I see something vague from Java”. The water here ... Read more