Citilink QG 145 from Semarang (SMG) to Jakarta (HLP)

Citilink QG 145 flight route. Source:

Titan treated me to lunch before arriving at hotel. A portion of Pecel 1* rice near Public Senior High School 1 Semarang. Then he also supplied me with typical Semarang Presto 2* Milkfish to take back to Jakarta. Wow, he was my kind friend.

Before actually checking out, Titan, who was curious about how I chose cheap lodging, he came with me to dormitory room. He paid close attention to dormitory room and its sleeping capsules. “Great Donny, can you sleep in a capsule like this?“, he said with a smile. “When abroad, I did the same thing, Titan. That’s why I can travel at a low cost”, I replied in a whisper.

Toyota Calya in orange metallic color, picked me up at Sleep & Sleep Capsule. Simultaneously, I said goodbye to Titan to leave Semarang. Thank you Titan.

On 15:25 hours, I arrived at the airport. Without further ado and exploration, I hurried over to check-in counter. I was only forty-five minutes from boarding time. Less crowded counters allowed me to finish check-in process in fifteen minutes and finally my boarding pass was in my hand….Nice.

I continued to focus on heading to waiting room quickly. I was only thirty minutes away from flight. And exactly fifteen minutes before boarding, I reached waiting room and sat down with gasping. Not long, after enjoying the beauty of waiting room, A call from ground staff to got ready to fly echoed. Now, I was preparing at Gate 3A to enter aircraft cabin.

Ticket to Jakarta.
Citilink QG 145’s cabin interior. Sat on seat number 10A.

Now I was sitting on seat which matched with its number on boarding pass. I was getting ready to go to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, which was 394 Km from Ahmad Yani International Airport. I would fly with Airbus A320’s flying casings with a maximum altitude of 26,000 feet, with a speed of 520 mph and a travel time of 53 minutes.

During boarding process, I continued to enjoy the beauty of Ahmad Yani International Airport’s new passenger terminal from plane window. Seen some planes were back and forth coming and going on left side of plane which I was riding. The sky was cloudy, a sign that I should be prepared for a little turbulence right after take-off.

The time when had been waiting arrived, the plane was already getting ready on runway and waiting for permission to spur its jet engine into air. I was just busy in reading Citilink’s inflight magazine, i.e Linkers. Plane slowly began to advance and showing overall shape of airport from end to end. Beautiful of Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Wings Air’s ATR aircraft.
Which destination was that Air Asia to ?.
Terminal building along with ATC of Ahmad Yani International Airport during take-off.

Before breaking through thick clouds above, this flight quickly showed the beauty of Semarang’s north coast. Combination of dark clouds with orange sunlight which penetrated between clouds, combined with blue sea with the creeping of ships around port….Hmmhh, a very authentic Semarang.

The vibrations began to be felt when plane wanted to stabilize its flying altitude. But after that, sky returned clean and revealed its beauty from a height. That afternoon, I didn’t want to close my eyes and mised that amazing sky show.

Semarang north coast….Wouww, awesome.
The sun version of sky and the sun version of sea …. Beautiful isn’t it ?.
Pilots were very adept in dodging clouds….Smooth flight.

Flight incredibly felt short. Citilink began to get down above capital sky. Land of Bekasi was very dense. Several city icons were clearly visible from above. Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium, which I visited during President Cup match between Bali United and Semen Padang FC, just for seeing Irfan Bachdim’s figure closer.

While another view was LRT line which was being built along Cikampek toll road, it looked very beautiful. That was the path which almost I have taken every day throughout my profession as a salesman in capital city.

Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium was visible from a height.
LRT line which was currently under construction.

Citilink QG 145 landed at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport very smoothly. As usual, passengers would get off and walked at apron area to main terminal building. I rushed to conveyor belt to pick up luggage and then went home using an online motorcycle taxi.

Get off the plane in apron area.
Several visitors were waiting for Apron Free Shuttle Bus. I prefered to walk..

Many beautiful flights with Citilink. Thank you Citilink.

Alternatives for flight tickets from Semarang to Jakarta can be searched on 12Go or the following link:

The Story of Buddha’s Death at Watugong Pagoda

The moped was lauched with all its might by Titan heading south of the city. 15 kilometers away, 30 minutes in length. He said that I would be brought to the highest pagoda in Indonesia, in Pudakpayung area. Almost 12:00 hours, Titan and I arrived there, right on the edge of Perintis Kemerdekaan Street. Entering the gate, I just realized that it was a Buddhist monastery or worship complex, named Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong.

I passed a building with a roof shape which was similar to roof top at Grand Palace, Bangkok. If Grand Palace has a golden roof, this building will be brick red. This building is called Dhammasala Vihara. I started exploring it from top floor which was used as a multipurpose hall then entered its room in downstairs.

Dhammasala Vihara.
The first floor of Dhammasala Vihara is a praying room, decorated with a golden Buddha statue.

Leaving Dhammasala Vihara, I slowly approached second main section of monastery. This was what Titan meant earlier. The seven-story pagoda was with its nicknamed as Avalokitesvara Pagoda. Avalokitesvara itself comes from Sanskrit word “Avalokita” which means to hear down and “Isvara” which means sound. Meanwhile, Avalokitesvara in Chinese language is called by two words, namely “Kwan Im”. Meanwhile “Kwan Im” itself is a manifestation of compassion from Buddha.

Therefore, this temple is also known as Goddess Kwan Im Pagoda. Some people call it as Metakaruna Pagoda or Love Pagoda because of its existence to honor Kwan Sie Im Po Sat figure, Goddess of Love.

Sidharta Gautama statue under Bodhi Tree, a 65 year old Bodhi Tree.
Avalokitesvara Pagoda rises 45 meters in high.
Me dan Titan.
The 5 meter high statue of Goddess Kwan Im is located inside Avalokitesvara Pagoda.

Having finished walking around Avalokitesvara Pagoda which was guarded by God statues which arranged around each side on ground floor, I started exploring its courtyard and garden. There were twin gazebos with two layers of roofs which were used by visitors to sit and rest because they were tired after exploring vast monastery area.

Meanwhile, on other side of its courtyard was Sleeping Buddha Statue (Buddha Parinibbana), which reminded me when visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane exactly five months before my visitation to this monastery. Next to Sleeping Buddha Statue, lined Ariya Atthangika Magga Monument, which represented eightfold main path as a practice for attaining highest happiness (Nibbana).

Gazebo around pagoda.
Buddha Parinibbana which describes passing of Buddha between two Sala Trees.

I slowly started to leave Buddhagaya Vihara. 7 meters tall Ashoka Monument was also visible. A monument made from solid stone and had lion head. A meaning which is contained in this lion head is that no matter how wild a lion is, when we know its character, it will be easy to conquer.

And at the end, I passed Sanchi Gate and Watugong Monument. This gate is a replica of a gate in front of Sanchi Stupa at India. The gate was built as a symbol of respect when entering temple building.

Meanwhile, Watugong Monument was built to show origin of area name, i.e “Watugong”. The name was taken from an original natural stone in the form of a gong (Javanese musical instrument).

Almost finished in visiting.
Ashoka Monument to commemorate King Ashoka from India who obey in practicing Buddhism.
Watugong Monument and Sanchi Gate.

My visitation in Semarang had really ended. Titan would take me to Sleep & Sleep Capsule to pick up my backpack and supplies. After that I would go to Ahmad Yani International Airport and returned to Jakarta.

Thank you Semarang.

Eating Mangut at Kampung Pelangi

Kampung Pelangi Kalisari (Kalisari Rainbow Village) is three kilometers at south of Sleep & Sleep Capsule, which was a place to stay during my extended period in Semarang. At ten o’clock in the morning, I had driven through Imam Bonjol Street then continued to Pemuda Street, riding an online motorcycle taxi, I wanted to finish my curiosity about the beauty of a tourist village. By visiting “Kampung Pelangi Kalisari“, I don’t have to insist on going to Malang to enjoy the same beauty in “Kampung Jodipan” and “Kampung Tridi“, “Kali Code” in Yogyakarta or “Kampung Teluk Seribu” in Balikpapan.

Last night, I also contacted an old friend who life in Semarang, his name is Titan. It so happened that he took the time to meet up. We agreed to meet in Kampung Pelangi. He would take me around Semarang on his motorbike. Just see in next article, where I would be brought by him.

Arriving at destination, I took time to look for breakfast in a stall complex which was located along the contour of Semarang River which separated Dr. Sutomo Street with houses in Kampung Pelangi. I ate Rice with Mangut (processed smoked stingray, typical from Pati City) very heartily.

A row of stalls at Kampung Pelangi Kalisari front gate.
Pati’s typical “Mangut” cuisine.

I started to enter Kampung Pelangi through a small arch patterned bridge. On this bridge, existence of Flower Market and Kasmaran Park had been informed to tourists through a signpost. Meanwhile, Semarang River looked neat with presence of colorful painted river wall, complete with sidewalk right on river side.

I started to enter Kampung Wonosari (the real name of Kampung Pelangi) through a sloping alley with colored pavling blocks, decorated with colorful umbrellas which provided shade from the sun, rows of flower pots made every aisle looked beautiful and information boards were placed at consistent distance. At some points of climb, a break point was provided in the form of a concrete seat, allowing some climbers who were tired to rest temporarily.

The bridge before entering Kampung Pelangi.
Semarang river.
Pedestrian path.
Information board with location map.

When I reached at hill top, precisely below at a giant signboard “Kampung Pelangi“, there was a burial complex called “Taman Bahagia Wirawati Catur Panca“. This public cemetery was history of Kampung Pelangi origin. It was said, initially, Kampung Pelangi area was designated as a public burial area. But then some residents came and established settlements around this cemetery until it became crowded today.

I didn’t know where the end of road, some tourists got off their vehicles in a parking area. Meanwhile, some residents were lightly chatting at a coffee shop, showing me where the best vantage point to see the city from a height. Show the hands of coffee connoisseurs, located in an open attic belonging to a resident, which when I climbed it made my gaze was brightened by city view without any obstacles.

“Taman Bahagia” cemetery.
Kampung Pelangi” giant signboard

When I was enjoying a nice view of city without sun’s rays, came to the same attic, Mr. Asep from Bogor City. Similarly, he was also currently extending in Semarang after his out-of-town assignment as a Civil Servant. Suddenly I got a traveling companion and a warm conversation was inevitable. I admired him as a person who was young at heart, had same habits as me, it turned out that his hobby was traveling by taking advantage from every moment of his duty at out of town.

Titan finally called me using his smartphone. He was waiting at front gate, where I first entered Kampung Pelangi an hour ago. Immediately, I finished our conversation that was having fun. The surprise was, Mr. Asep preferred to come down with me and continued our conversation while we descended from Kampung Pelangi.

Towards the highest attic in Kampung Pelangi.
Amazing view from top of Kampung Pelangi.
Come on, Donny!. I can take your photo, for your travel memories!” Pak Asep volunteered.

I was at bottom of Kampung Pelangi. Saying goodbye to Mr. Asep, my gaze began to sweep across sides to find Titan. “Over here, Donny!“, Titan called me. Oh, he was sitting at a coffee shop. Meeting with my second old friend in Semarang after last night I also met Ezra.

I left Kampung Pelangi in back seat of Titan’s motorbike. I was ready to go to next destination.

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.

Sky Show at Semarang Marina Beach

In the afternoon, on my third day in Semarang, I finally created an opportunity to watch an earth show which was often sought by sky color enthusiasts….Yups, sunset.

I quickly drove from Sleep & Sleep Capsule in Dadapsari area after putting all my equipments and backpack. Using an online taxi i.e orange maroon Calya (Cayla is a brand of Toyota in Indonesai), Mr. Muchlis and I headed for Marina Beach in Tawangsari area. A young driver continued to show off his rearview mirror which was modified into a reverse camera and a road recording camera….Even though it was only a camera made in China, the price was USD 30….Hahaha.

Driving for about six kilometers in fifteen minutes, I arrived at Marina Beach gate. Passing a post and paying an entrance ticket for about USD 0.4, I was dropped off in right at beach parking area. One problem was cellphone signal didn’t get caught in beach area. “Wahhh, bad news, when I will get back, I have to quite walk far outside beach area to order an online motorcycle taxi“, I thought.

Origin direction into the beach.
Beach parking area.

It was already 17:30 hours, but the beach still stung. The sun still showed its might in that open area. To reduce the heat, I sat on a bench under a tree while enjoying coconut ice directly from its shell. Let the sun still shined and I would start to enjoy it when it started to down.

It still stings.

The sun which had started to fall, prompted me to get up and stepped on concrete embankment area as well as pedestrian area which was still reinforced by giant rocks in shoreline. Making this beach could no longer show its natural beauty.

Young people were seen sitting on giant stones, dating, taking selfies, or contemplating their fate in the midst of the characteristic wave ripples. Meanwhile, little childrens run along concrete pedestrian.

Big rocks as waves breaker.

Another sights were firmly planted fishing charts along coast, while offshore, an island-like land decorated with neatly parked fast boats, was West Marina Beach area.

To watched sunset with a perfect viewpoint, I moved closer to beach part which facing west. There were rows of angler who remained focused with their fishing rods along reclaimed pedestrian, which on this side was covered with paving blocks which made shoreline looked more artsy. Meanwhile, beverage and food stall were busy serving their customers who occupy benche rows and got ready to enjoy nature show. In southern part, Marina Convention Center looked dashing blue, giving impression that Marina Beach had been exposed to technology and modernization.

This was the best spot to enjoy the dusk.

I started to take a tripod, aimed my smartphone towards the sun which began to clearly round and slowly turned into orange color. Youth people from north of coast began to move to take up their best position on west of coast. Meanwhile Mr. Muchlis looked more relax, sitting and enjoying a portion of “lontong” (rice roll). Meanwhile, I just sat cross-legged right on beach side, next to my smartphone camera which was working to capture that special moment.

Extraordinary show.
He started hiding.
Welcome evening.…

Sleep & Sleep Capsule: Cheap Lodging in Semarang

Good morning….The last dawn at The Azana Hotel Airport.

According my business trip schedule, I should return to the capital city this afternoon. Of course, on 12:00 that afternoon, I had to check out of The Azana Hotel Airport. Because training would finish on 14:00, before I went to Bukit Semarang Baru area to handle the training, I immediately handed over my room key while leaving all my belongings at reception desk.

This second day of training went very smoothly and was finished on time. One by one, all participants withdrew to return to their respective cities. I immediately returned to The Azana Hotel Airport, to picked up my items.

You certainly already know my behavior….Yups, I deliberately extended my visitation to Atlas City with my own expense. Now, I was ready to behave again like a backpacker. I would move to a hostel for USD 3 per night. And because Mr. Muchlis, who would back to home on 19:00 hours, he finally followed my steps.

Taking an online taxi, I headed to Sleep & Sleep Capsule in Dadapsari area. The online taxi driver seemed to know about this cheap capsule hotel, was able to read my intend for visiting Semarang, so my conversation with him automatically warmed up in backpacking realm.

I was dropped off at Imam Bonjol Street, right in AKI University courtyard. It wasn’t difficult to find Sleep & Sleep Capsule, because its name inscription was very large on university wall. A small canopy corridor led me to a door with size of an alley which directly opposite the reception desk.

Entrance corridor.
Reception desk.

Having paid the hotel cost through, a female reception staff only asked for my ID Card to match the data. Although minimalist, this hotel looked very neat and modern with the concept of activities at an airport. The lobby wall interior was designed like an airplane window side, complete with its airplane seats. Meanwhile, the flow of guest traffic in the lobby area was limited by floor design of airport asphalt. The entire lobby was dominated by yellow, brown, white and gray….Very nice.

Shared spaces.
Shared spaces.

Meanwhile, each guest would get a locker which was placed in a separate room from bedroom. I noticed a lot of guests who put their laptops and some educational institution paperworks in their locker, I then concluded that they were students who were studying. I didn’t know whether they prefer this capsule hotel type to live in or they only stayed overnight because of overtime work on campus. This was possible because this hotel was located next to AKI University.

Locker corridor.

I immediately put my backpack in my capsule room, in the top level in bunk bed. I immediately put my traveling equipments in my folding bag to bring it to my next destination that afternoon. Frankly speaking, this was my first time, I had slept in a capsule room. Usually I chose a regular dormitory.

There is a slight difference between capsule and dormitory. Capsules have a border while dormitory tends to feel more relieved because it don’t have a border.

Because capsule number in this room are 42 capsules, it wasn’t wonder that the capsule room was very noisy when bedtime approached. It was certain that among these 42 people were expert in snoring and would disturb others in the night….Hahaha. The commotion would return in the morning because people scrambled to shower. They seemed to pursue their respective affairs as early as possible. So do I.

My capsule.

The toilet was at the end of capsule room. The sink, urinal and shower were in separate rooms. Even though it was used for 42 guests in one room, the bathroom still looked clean and smell good. It seemed that these guests have experienced in living here, maybe students have subscribed to stay at this capsule hotel.


Well, who want to stay in a capsule type hotel like me?……Hahaha.

Ikan Bakar Cianjur and Semarang Old Town

I left school children crowd from East Java who enjoying their religious tour in Grand Mosque of Central Java courtyard. Those teenager looked very happy running around courtyard, neatly lined up and taking pictures with the impressive worship site as the background, some even rolled at will in courtyard.

Black Honda Jazz (Jazz is a brand of Honda in Indonesia) picked me up based on online taxi application. After driver confirmed the destination and I said yes, that black hatchback hurtled towards Tanjung Emas.

That place is beautiful. Mr Donny has to go around there!“, driver explained ins and outs of Old Town in detail like a tourist ambassador for Atlas City.

Wow, that’s great, Sir“, I said, hoping to make him proud.

It’s been renovated on a large scale with cost of over USD 11 million, Sir. Perfect for hanging out and hunting for photos“, he continued to explain.

Hatchback which I was riding finally gently stopped in the parking slot.

The trip with cost of USD 0,75 towards here.
Get ready for dinner together.

Didn’t feel long in driving, I arrived. I have to prepare in advance, before all guests arrived. Tonight I will treat all company important colleagues at Ikan Bakar Cianjur Restaurant. Entering the former colonial-era courthouse, a waiter quickly caught my intention by directing me to a seat which was sufficient to accommodate number of guests who were counted.

The restaurant room which followed original function of the building….Many rooms, each room was filled by rows of teak dining tables or teak-framed glass tables. Meanwhile, typical Betawi chairs were neatly lined up, while square windows were soaring to ceiling with trellises which have frame in mini square shape. You could see room decoration in the form of a souvenir cupboard which made from teak wood and rooms were cooled by several large fans.

Order a stool in advance.
Not enough a row, but two rows of table were ordered.

As a result, dinner was finished at the same time as a credit card swipe in value about USD 150. I lightly drew the credit card because everything would be reimbursed to my office.

Saying goodbye, colleagues came back to rest and would continue training on next day. Meanwhile, I still had time to go further around Old Town. It wouldn’t be entirely explored, because 31 acres took all day to explore it.

Thank you Tumenggung Trunojoyo….

Because of your rebellion to Mataram Kingdom, Semarang City became a coastal city which exporting sugar and spices to Europe in the 19th century. Bringing Renaissance architecture to Semarang, vintage, stained glass, unique roof shape, basement, large windows and doors. And I was stepping foot in it …. Now I’m enjoying the Old Town complex under dim moonlight.

I started to enter Letjen Suprapto Street. The appearance of an old church with twin tower and with a large wall clock on each tower and a large red brick dome roof, made this building architecture was similar with a combination of two types of worship place, i.e a mosque and a church. The church which is more than 250 years old was now called Gereja Protestan Indonesia Barat Immanuel. The original name of the church itself was Nederlandsch Indische Kerk.

Blenduk Church, Semarang Old Town Landscape.
Blenduk Church, Semarang Old Town Landscape.

While across street from Blenduk Church, lied Jiwasraya building, which was Letter-L shape, 104 years old, and was splashed with alternating red-green-blue light spectrum. It was ex-Nederlandsch Indische Level Sverzeking De Lifrente Maatschaapij (NILLMI), arguably as the main Dutch insurance business in past time. Also functioned as City Hall during Dutch colonialism era.

A 3-stories building with a dome at its elbows.

Meanwhile, to east of Blenduk church, right at an intersection, lied a Bar and Bistro which have a name of Spiegel. A two-story rectangular building with a door in one corner. This classic building date from the end of 19th century (125 years). In Spanish Colonial style, a former building of Winkel Maatschappij H Spiegel company showed a business struggle of Mr. H. Spiegel who initially only worked as a company manager, then became the owner of company which he led.

The company itself was founded by Mr. Addler.

The last part which I visited was Srigunting Park. A garden with four large trees at each end of the garden and hanging decorative lights along its branches. Making the situation was so romantic for young couples who were in love, or for small families with their children or also for single people who wanted to find their soul mate.

Good place to spend a weekend.

Time to go back to the hotel and rest in preparation for the second day training tomorrow ……


Roman Aura at Grand Mosque of Central Java

Leaving Sam Poo Kong Temple, my gaze ransacked canteen area. Trying to find Mr. Muchlis as soon as possible. I had to bring him to Grand Mosque of Central Java, not only to perform prayer, but also to fulfill religious tourism that afternoon after just finishing around the temple.

I found him in a corner, he looked delicious in smoking a cigarette. Smoking while taking turns with splashing his throat with mango juice….Hahaha.

Come on sir, come with me again!“, I loudly shouted from a distance.

Oh, where are we going?“, He exclaimed, putting out his cigarette fire.

Let’s prayer“, I briefly said as I stepped towards temple exit gate.

Regular taxi which was also online taxi came to pick us. Now I faced with a half-aged driver who was already proud with his human mistakes. He said, he once asked for more fees from a pair of Dutch tourists just because he had a reason that Dutch had colonized his country. Then that two tourists didn’t accept it. The driver stopped the taxi in front of police office, he explained his reason for asking for more fare. Then the policeman explained to that tourists in a more elegant way. Amazingly, That tourists somehow wanted to pay more to the driver….Funny, strange and magical….Hahaha.

Once, he didn’t want to accept a fare change Chinese tourist. He said that he had a pride to not to be pitied….This story was even more miraculous, I wanted to laugh out loud

Never mind…. I was lazy to argue….I hoped that this white taxi ran faster and arrived soon….And finally, this online taxi arrived right at the destination courtyard.

Yup…. Great Mosque of Central Java… Call it as MAJT.

The courtyard was deserted, car park but full of motorbikes, shining lamp in combination with gurgling of fountains along pond in the middle of sidewalk. At the end of courtyard, there was a gate with twenty-five pillars, in roman style, with a typical Middle Eastern calligraphy which was circling on top.…Roman taste was clearly embedded in the courtyard.

Roman aura at the start of my visitation.
How?.…Cool, right ?.

The right side of mosque was dominated by Al Husna Tower as high as 62 meters, embodied in 19 floors. If you want, go up as you like, at above, binoculars are waiting you to enjoying the beauty of Atlas City from altitude, then enjoy a cup of coffee at an 18th floor cafe which can turn in a full circle….Wow.

Al Husna Tower.

While the left side of mosque was acquired by a giant green drum which put under 3 layer roof pavilion. A Gift of students from Al Falah Boarding School in Banyumas for MAJT.

How does that giant drum sound?

Meanwhile, mosque courtyard was decorated with six giant hydraulic umbrellas which liked same umbrella in Al Masjid an Nabawi at Medina. This great mosque looked endless spacious, it was said that its area reached 10 hectares. Making this mosque as pride of Sambirejo people. A beautiful mosque whose dome had a diameter of 20 meters which was combined “Limas Roof” as Javanese typical architecture.

Look at the full shape….Waooww.

Not really caring about the crowds in yard, I hurried towards downstairs, did ablution, then prayed in upstairs. Praying with the accompaniment of an ustadz’s sermon to recitation congregation.

Mosque interior.
Hanging lamp in the middle of mosque room.

I linger a little by following this spiritual sermon. A habit which I always repeated when visiting famous mosques. No needed to worry because my time to treat my colleagues was still later. I could catch up with an online taxi in just 15 minutes.

The giant Qur’an by Mr. Hayatuddin, a calligraphy writer from University of Science and Qur’an, Wonosobo.

After the sermon, I began to leave this 14-year-old building, said goodbye to this Islamic center after a religious tour in it, and praying that MAJT would become a prosperous religious education center.

You needed to know that this mosque has other functions, i.e as a library, auditorium, lodging, marriage ceremony room and museum of Islamic development.

Helmsman Service at Sam Poo Kong Temple

Semarang deserves to thank to Helmsman Ong Keng Hong for gotting a serious illness. Because of his illness, he had to anchor and chose to be left by expedition group at Simongan Hill. Admiral Zheng He was still generous in sending several soldiers to accompany and care for his Helmsman in Semarang. Then at one time, around the XV century, Ong Keng Hong was the figure who spread Islam and founded Gedung Batu Cave which was the forerunner to establishment of Sam Poo Kong Temple in the modern era….Oh yes, it was said that Ong Keng Hong controlled a giant ship along 130 m in wide and 55 m in wide with 9 masts. Accompanied by 299 other ships on a grand expedition.

That afternoon, clock showed 3:30 p.m., a sign that my duty to guard the training was complete. After packing every essential equipment for re-used on second day training tomorrow, I didn’t directly go to hotel, but intended to explore Bongsari area.

The training closing moment….Couldn’t wait to get started the exploration.

Because tonight I had to entertain important colleagues for dinner together, the training host was kind enough to take Mr. Muchlis and me to the destination which I meant. Soon, I arrived at Sam Poo Kong Temple. Sitting for a moment in parking lot at temple north gate, my heart kept pounding, what history was inside?

Redeemed a ticket of USD 2, I started to enter it.

Temple north gate.

It seemed that this pagoda was indeed very ready to become a tourist attraction, various directional signs were very complete and placed in several strategic positions, some of the best points for taking photos had also been marked in detail.

Donny, I’m sitting here, yes. I want to drink ice and smoked. I’m very tired. You can go around by yourself, yes!”, Said Mr. Muchlis, grimacing while massaging his calf. He was more interested in orange juice and sitting in rest area.

Rest Area.

I combed from north side, past a joglo (typical roof shape is Central Java) pavilion where its space part was used by traders to trade souvenirs, while right in front of it is a health post with a yellow wall. Meanwhile, in very large temple courtyard, there were two statues of a golden lion which carrying a globe and a lion cub as well as two white statues of Yin and Yang guardians.

Joglo pavilion.
Health post.
Yin (moon) and Yang (sun) guardians.

I started to walking into temple parts one by one. I entered a temple with thirty-six pillars and two stacks of roof. At its front was guarded by two golden lions and eight deities. This is worship temple of Thao Tee Kong (God of Earth) to asking for blessings and life safety.

Earth God Temple.

Next to the south side, lied the Helmsman Temple. Of course, this temple was dedicated to Ong Keng Hong, the helmsman who spread Islam in Semarang. Smaller in size, this temple was built with sixteen pillars, two of which were brown, with dragon carve and located right at the entrance. Guarded by a green lion statue and two gods in the courtyard.

Helmsman Temple.

I arrived at the main building in a prayer complex for the Tridharma (Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). It was Sam Poo Kong Temple which firmly stood with ninety pillars and had a three-tiered roof.

I managed to enter this temple. But I made a big mistake by photographing worship area which was forbidden. Temple staff scolded me. I was sorry, Sir, I didn’t see a camera image with red cross near the center pole.

Behind this main temple were ten reliefs which tell important events during Admiral Zheng He’s expedition, or we was more familiar to called him as Admiral Cheng Ho. Some people call him as San Poo Tay Djien.

Among the stories, Admiral Zheng He was rewarded with several giraffes by King Hulumosi from Iran, crushing Iskandar’s rebellion in Samudra Pasai Kingdom, one hundred and seventy of his soldiers died in overcoming a civil war between Wikramawardhana (King of West Java) and Wirabumi (King of East Java), crushing five thousands of pirates who led by Chen Zhu Yi in Palembang, overcoming the conflict between Malacca (Malaysia) and Siam (Thailand), early departure story of expedition which he led from Liu Jia Gang, escorting Princess Han Li Bao to be married to Malaysia King (Sultan Mansyur Syah), until save the missing China ambassador in Indonesia… Wow, those were cool of this Admiral’s story.

Reliefs behind the main temple. The stories were told in three languages, i.e. English, Indonesian and Chinese.
12 meters tall bronze statue of Admiral Zheng He and Sam Poo Kong Temple.
South gate behind the Admiral Zheng He statue.

It was getting darker, colorful lights began to be lit. I have arrived at the end of this temple exploration. I took the time to sit in a building which served as a performance venue, where in rows of steps stood soldier statues who Admiral Zheng He brought.

Stage for show.
Admiral Cheng Ho’s warrior statues.

For visitors who wanted to take pictures with wearing costumes which using in Admiral Zheng He era, they could rent it at costume photo rental shop.

Costume Photo.

That was my visit story at Sam Poo Kong Temple, a full of history temple and telling about entire crew under Admiral Zheng He command.