Semarang, Java, Indonesia
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For most visitors, the biggest thrill about arriving in Semarang is the chance to take a day trip to Borobudur, the Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates to the 8th and 9th centuries. But there's plenty to keep you busy in and around the city itself, too. Home to over 1 million people, Semarang occupies a strategic location on Java's north coast and is among Southeast Asia's most interesting ports. The city's colorful patchwork of colonial architecture, Chinese temples and striking mosques tells the story of the diverse cultures that wrote Semarang's history and speaks of its present, too. Spend some time strolling the atmospheric Outstadt, the old Dutch quarter. Lined with old Dutch warehouses and town houses, this neighborhood once held its own with Surabaya and Jakarta as one of Dutch Indonesia's most vital trading ports. Today, almost a third of the city's population is Chinese; you'll find some excellent Chinese food around town as well as important historical sites like Gedung Batu—the city's oldest Chinese temple complex on the outskirts of town—which is well worth a visit.