Exploration Stuck in Pahlawan Street Fountain

After dinner at Ayam Pak Supar Semarang food stall, Ezra said goodbye to go home. He said, it took thirty minutes to reach his home. While, the night showed on 22:30 hours. Our conversation material had also ran out. He offered to take me back to Sleep & Sleep Capsule. Thinking troublesome, I subtly refuse it. Finally I just asked to be dropped off at a place where was still busy on his way to home, so I wouldn’t troublesome him.

I quickly took a ride on his blue manual motorcycle. A few moments later, the motorbike started to slow down and he lowered me on a side of sidewalk which was wide enough, full of young people who sitting together at several points, interspersed with roving coffee sellers along the sidewalk.

Here, Donny, the busiest place on my way to go home. Do you want to get off here? ”Ezra said after stopping his motorbike.

OK, just here. I’ll have a coffee first before going back to hotel, Ezra”, I assured him so he could go home. Then I sat on a concrete dividing, then ordered a glass of instant coffee. How does it feel, if you are an original coffee connoisseur, and then you have to hang out with drinking instant coffee… .Hahaha. Never mind, the important thing was I could enjoy the night.

Semarang Telkomsel office in Mugassari area.
A side of Pahlawan Street.

Having not finished yet drinking coffee in a glass and enjoying youth people activities in front of Semarang Telkomsel Office, one or two drops of water began to fall from the sky. A sign that the city would soon be pouring by rain.

I looked around for shelter in case it really rained. I saw in north, there was a stage where several people seemed to be crowded around it. Without thinking I immediately rushed there.

It was true, drops of sky water had risen to next level be a gentle drizzle. It took time to order a taxi online, before getting soaked, I better took shelter. I quickly climbed the stage to save myself from heavy rain.

It turned out that this stage would be used to welcome Governor of Central Java in a Healthy Walk event to commemorate the Anniversary of KORPRI (Indonesian Civil Servants Corps). Finally, rain poured down very hard, even though I was on roofed stage, still some parts of my body was wet because rainwater was swept away by strong winds in all directions.

Even 45 minutes I waited for the rain without being able to fulfill my initial intention to explore along this protocol road. The main street in Semarang which was very famous for routine Car Free Day agenda. I only got bonus for enjoying color show at a fountain at an intersection between Pahlawan Street and Imam Bardjo SH Street.

Celebration stage.
Roundabout at Pahlawan Street.
Fountain at Pahlawan Street.
Fountain at Pahlawan Street.

By midnight, Pahlawan Street was helpless in the rain. All sides were deserted. Finally I decided to immediately return to hotel for rest. This was my last night in Semarang before returning to Jakarta on tomorrow afternoon. But I still have time to explore Semarang until noon on next day.

Two Backpackers in Lawang Sewu

Lawang Sewu means a thousand doors.

It’s said that the haunted of this 116-year-old building is second famous in Asia after Tat Tak School in Hong Kong. Quiet, thick walls and neglected. But that was in the past, now this 429-door building is transformed into a leading tourism icon in Semarang City with all its artistic and historical values.


My third night in Semarang became a backpacker reunion event where two of them met in Brunei Darussalam in April 2015, Ezra and I were that two backpackers. I purposely sent him a short message a day before my departure to Semarang. I invited him to meet in his hometown to share stories of each other’s adventures over past five years.

One of corridors inside Lawang Sewu.
One of corridors at Lawang Sewu terrace.

After returning from Marina Beach, I immediately parted ways with Mr. Muchlis. He had to go back to Gresik firstly, using Argo Bromo Anggrek train. I headed to Baiturrahman Grand Mosque at Simpang Lima as a meeting point with Ezra. I quickly arrived there at 19:30 hours. some minutes waiting, Ezra arrived and we both performed Isha prayer together..

He told a lot about his job as a lecturer which allowed him to attend a conference in United States and then his backpacker instinct drove him to Canada. He had also visited Israel and Russia. Wow, crazy, even I’m far behind from all his experiences. As for me, that night told that at end year after meet with him, I would go to Penang, Ipoh, Dhaka, Mumbai, Colombo and Maldives.

Stairs to Lawang Sewu top floor.
Watching Lawang Sewu historical videos with local residents.
Photos of Lawang Sewu renovation activities.

Riding a blue motorbike, I was taken by him to go to Lawang Sewu on Pemuda Street. On the way there, Ezra explained a little stories that the building which we were going to was the former office of Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NIS) during Dutch colonial era. When Dutch surrendered to Japan in 1942, this building became the most violent prison during Japanese occupation. After Indonesia gained independence, this building became the office of Djawatan Kereta Api Repoeblik Indonesia (DKARI) or now known as PT Kereta Api Indonesia.

After arriving at our destination, Ezra deftly went to ticket counter to buying an entrance ticket. This time, he paid all ticket fees to entering Lawang Sewu. Because this tourist spot would close at 21:00 hours, so We only had thirty minutes to explore this tourist spot.

The yard inside Lawang Sewu building.
The other side of inner yard.
The elegance of European architecture in the shower of night lights.

But that short time didn’t made me rush, I was more concerned with discussing and telling stories about each other’s experiences. It was as if Lawang Sewu was only be the background for our conversation that night. I spent most of time for sitting in building terrace. Continued to talk and explained each our plan. I also hoped that two of us can backpack abroad together next time.

At exactly 21:00 hours, Ezra and I were forced to leave Lawang Sewu because its operating hours had ended. We moved to another crowd just across Lawang Sewu. Yups, Tugu Muda area was still full of visitors. Even some communities such as reptile lovers who came here to exhibit collections such as snakes, Cuvier’s Dwarf Caiman (mini crocodiles), iguanas and several other types of reptiles in the crowd. Some clowns also enlivened situation. That time became a night which full of impressions about Semarang.

My reunion with Ezra that night was closed by having dinner together at a restaurant with a chicken menu….Ayam Pak Supar Semarang. An impressive night that brings together two old friends with the same passion.

I and Ezra at Tugu Muda.