district in Semarang Regency, Central Java Province, Indonesia

Ambarawa is a small town in the mountains south of Semarang, in Central Java province, Indonesia.

Understand edit

Orientation edit

Ambarawa is a small town located in the highlands of Central Java. It lies at the junction of several larger cities, such as Semarang, Yogyakarta, Salatiga, and Surakarta. It is directly adjacent to several districts including Bawen, Banyubiru, and Jambu. It has served as an economic and military hub town for centuries. The town is large enough to have a shopping center of its own, yet small enough that the shopping center lies less than a mile away from rice paddy fields.

Geography and climate edit

The town is at the edge of a natural depression between Mount Telomoyo, Merbabu, and Ungaran that centers on Rawa Pening Lake. The town's climate is somewhat cooler than the low-lying Semarang in the north. The town is divided in two, with the urban north having a hilly terrain, and the agricultural south being much flatter, and in rainy seasons, occasionally turning into a swamp (rawa).

Scenery edit

To the north, you can see Mount Ungaran, while to the south, Mount Telomoyo and Merbabu are also visible, especially in the morning, before clouds move in to cover their peaks. You can also see Rawa Pening Lake and the wide paddy fields to the south and southeast.

Get in edit

By car edit

Ambarawa is Semarang. Visitors coming from Semarang to Yogyakarta or Magelang (or vice versa) will pass this particular town en route to their destination. Visitors from Salatiga will be provided road signs to Ambarawa. If you use Trans-Java Toll Road, you may exit at Bawen toll gate to go to downtown of Ambarawa.

By bus edit

There are three options for getting to Ambarawa via buses:

  • 1 Ambarawa Terminal (Terminal Ambarawa). A bus terminal serving local public transportation vehicles and travel buses from other cities, such as Semarang, Yogyakarta, and Surakarta.
  • 2 Bawen Terminal (Terminal Bawen). A larger bus station which serves as a transportation hub between intercity, and inter-provincial transportation. It's outside of Ambarawa, and visitors may continue to Ambarawa via Prona/Isuzu (listed below). Visitors coming from Semarang may get here using a TransJateng bus.
  • Local, un-ticketed buses where one pays on the spot for a ride. Smaller buses can pick-up or drop passengers anywhere, while larger buses usually stops at haltes (bus stops). Common routes for these buses include: Ambarawa-Ungaran, Semarang-Bawen, Semarang-Salatiga, Semarang-Magelang.

By prona/isuzu edit

A prona/isuzu is the local term for a large angkot (an Indonesian type of shared taxi, not unlike the Philippine jeepney) which, despite the name, is made from repurposed Mitsubishi shuttle vehicles. Visitors to Ambarawa may directly hitch a ride with one of these at roads where they pass through. Routes passing Ambarawa (or nearby places) are: Ungaran-Ambarawa-Jambu, Ungaran-Bawen-Salatiga, Salatiga-Banyubiru-Ambarawa.

Get around edit

Map of Ambarawa

By angkot edit

Angkots are an Indonesian type of shared taxi, not unlike the Philippine jeepney. A ride costs around Rp5,000 to Rp10,000 in cash (paid directly when one arrives at the destination), depending on the distance taken and the types of angkot used (regular or prona/isuzu). There are several regular angkot routes in Ambarawa, differentiated by color, listed below:

  • Yellow angkot with red bottom: Praja Market - Dr. Cipto Statue - Gamblok - General Sudirman Square - Indonesian Railway Museum - Ambarawa Police Precinct - Palagan Museum - Ambarawa Terminal and Grand Mosque - St. Joseph's Catholic Church - Jambu - Palagan Museum - Hok Tik Bio Chinese Temple - Dr. Cipto Statue - Praja Market
  • Yellow angkot with blue bottom A*: Praja Market - Dr. Cipto Statue - Gamblok - General Sudirman Square - Banyubiru - Brongkol - Banyubiru - General Sudirman Square - Indonesian Railway Museum - Ambarawa Police Precinct - Palagan Museum - Hok Tik Bio Chinese Temple - Dr. Cipto Statue - Praja Market
  • Yellow angkot with blue bottom B*: Bawen - Praja Market - Dr. Cipto Statue - Gamblok - General Sudirman Square - Indonesian Railway Museum - Palagan Museum - Hok Tik Bio Chinese Temple - Dr. Cipto Statue - Praja Market
  • Light Blue Angkot: Kebonsari - Kerep Marian Cave - Ambarawa Terminal and Grand Mosque - Palagan Museum - Ambarawa Police Precinct - Indonesian Railway Museum - General Sudirman Square - Ambarawa Hospital (and vice versa)

as well as two Prona/Isuzu (large angkot) routes, listed on the angkot's windshield:

  • Ambarawa-Banyubiru-Salatiga route
  • Ungaran-Ambarawa-Jambu route

Ask the driver "Banyubiru" or "Bawen" to determine route. Route A is for "Banyubiru," and route B is for "Bawen".

By ojek edit

Ojeks are an Indonesian motorcycle taxi, whose service can be obtained at local ojek stops (Pos/Pangkalan Ojek) where drivers rest. As with the angkot, ojek drivers accept cash on arrival, with prices being dependant on how long the route is. However, nearly all ojek drivers have very limited knowledge on English, and many usually spike prices up on foreign tourists. An online version of ojek exists, as listed below.

By online ride-hailing apps edit

Two online ride-hailing services operate in Ambarawa, Go-Jek and Grab, known to locals as "Ojek Online". Visitors may use to hail a motorcycle or automobile taxi, and both accept cash or in-app payments. As the price for a trip is set before the driver is hailed, the price of a trip is fixed and constant, and is known to locals for being cheap. Both apps are available in English.

By rickshaw (becak) edit

Rickshaws can be commonly found at Lanang Market (Pasar Lanang), in front of the entrance to the Indonesian Railway Museum. Rickshaw rides provide a touristy, old-timey feel to Ambarawa, yet since the seat is in front of the driver, one must consider whether the motorcycle and car exhaust is worth it, especially if one's route passes through a lot of large roads. Not to mention how

By horse carriages (delman/dokar) edit

Horse carriages, much like rickshaws, can be found near the entrance to the Indonesian Railway Museum. As another 'vintage' way to travel around Ambarawa, a horse carriage is a better, although a more expensive, alternative to a rickshaw, since a passenger won't be the direct target of an car's exhaust.

On foot edit

Walking around Ambarawa presents some challenges of its own. Although Ambarawa is somewhat cooler than the rest of Indonesia, midday temperatures are still high enough for one to have heat stroke if one does not take rest. Walking a short distance, on the other hand, is okay, since there are quite a lot of trees providing some shade in the streets. However, as with much of Indonesia, the sidewalks are very narrow and may be a shock to those who are not used to it.

See edit

A Steam Locomotive at the Indonesian Railway Museum
The Palagan Monument
  • 1 Ambarawa Railway Museum (Museum Kereta Api Ambarawa), Jl. Stasiun No.1, Panjang Kidul, +62 298 591035, . 08:00-16:00. A railway museum, exhibiting many old locomotives, carriages, and other train paraphernalia. Before its current use as a museum, the station was decommissioned in the 1970s. It is possible to get a ticket for an old diesel train trip to the nearby station in Tuntang on weekends, through which visitors can see the vast rice fields of Ambarawa, and the panoramic view of Lake Rawapening and Mount Merbabu, Telomoyo, and Ungaran. Rp5,000 for students, Rp10,000 for domestic visitors.    
  • 2 Palagan Ambarawa Monument. A monument to commemorate the Battle of Ambarawa, in which the Indonesian army defeated the British and Dutch troops in 1945. It houses several weapons and vehicles used during the National Revolution Period.  
    St. Joseph's Catholic Church
  • 3 Fort Willem I (Benteng Pendem). An 18th-century Dutch fortress which was used as a Japanese internment camp for Europeans during World War II, with the southern part now serving as a penitentiary facility and the northern part serving as the home of several of the facility's wardens and as a tourist destination. Rp5,000.    
  • 4 St. Joseph's Catholic Church (Gereja Jago), Jl. Mgr. Soegijapranata, No. 56, Panjang, Ambarawa, Semarang, Jawa Tengah 50614 (500 m from Ambarawa Terminal), +62 298 591028, fax: +62 298 596344. A Dutch church built in the early 1900s, this church was the center of missionary activity in Ambarawa. No entry fee.
  • 5 Eling Bening. A resort on a hilltop at Bawen, with a stunning view of the Mount Telomoyo, Merbabu, Lake Rawapening and Ambarawa.
  • 6 Gua Maria Kerep, Jl. Tentara Pelajar, Kerep, +62 298 592085, +62 812 2922982, . A cave with a big statue of St. Mary. It is a site for pilgrimage and praying with a view of the mountains and Rawa Pening.  
  • 7 Kampoeng Rawa (Swamp Hamlet), Kilometer 3, Jalan Lingkar Selatan, Ambarawa. The complex is situated in the middle of many rice paddies and borders Lake Rawa Pening. From the site visitors have a view of Mount Merbabu and Mount Telomoyo, both to the south. The 300-seat restaurant at Kampoeng Rawa floats in a small lake and serves Indonesian dishes using locally produced ingredients, including catfish, gourami, and tilapia. Dishes included nasi goreng and mie goreng. Customers can sit in the main hall or one of the floating gazebos. All are floated by plastic drums, and to reach the main hall customers must use covered boats which are guided by a rope. In the center of the complex are an open stage, a craft center, and a pendopo for special events. This has included weddings, colouring contests, training sessions, and seminars. A variety of activities and facilities are available onsite, including ATVs, flying fox, jet skis, and fishing. Boats leave from a dock and travel through a canal to Lake Rawa Pening.    
  • 8 Bedono Railway Station (Stasiun Bedono), Jambu. The station is located at an altitude of 711 meters. It was built in 1873. There is also an old railway turntable.

Do edit

  • Riding a classic train using an old diesel loco with several wooden coaches from the Ambarawa station to Tuntang station with the beautiful sight of Rawa Pening Lake, or make a reservation for an old steam loco trip to Bedono station in a hilly area with a steep grade railway using a rack-and-pinion railway.
  • Go fishing on Rawa Pening Lake using the local "Swamp Rod" (Pancing Rawa) using algae (lumut) as bait. These can be purchased at the local tackle shops (Toko Pancing) or rented from vendors at the edge of the lake.
  • Swimming at Eling Bening's Pool with a view of the mountains and fields. Also, in 1 WaterPark Muncul with refreshingly cool water.
  • 2 Banaran Agrotourism Park (Kampoeng Kopi Banaran), Jl. Raya Bawen - Solo Km 1.5, Bawen, +62 811 272 1770. 07:00-21:00. Operated by state-owned PTPN 9. You can do camping, horse-riding, swimming, and riding an ATV or Jip (off-road vehicle) around the coffee plantation.
  • 3 Mount Telomoyo (Gunung Telomoyo), Getasan. Riding a motorcycle to the Mt. Telomoyo summit.    
The view from Mount Telomoyo
  • 4 Nature Gumuk Reco (Wisata Alam Gumuk Reco), Jl. Kenongo, Kepil, Sepakung, Banyubiru, +62 857 427 77778. 08:00-17:00. Do flying fox, walk beside the cliff and try the giant swing. Entry: Rp10,000.

Buy edit

  • 1 Projo Fresh Market (Pasar Projo Ambarawa), Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Kupang Dalangan. 05:00-18:00. Buy the daily products, vegetables, and traditional snacks.

Eat edit

  • 1 , Jl. Brigjen Sudiarto No. 75, Lodoyong, +62 857 751 18899. 16:00-01:00. Originating from Tuntang, a district on the east side of Rawa Pening Lake. Gecok kambing is the lamb in a spicy soup. Start from Rp25,000.
  • 2 Serabi Ambarawa (Serabi Ngampin), Lanjong, Ngampin. Morning until evening. Serabi Ngampin is an Ambarawa pancake in sweet coconut milk soup. Rp5,000.
  • 3 Warung Makan Mbak Toen, Rowoganjar, Rowoboni, Banyubiru. 07:00-18:00. Try Pecel keong, Javanese salad in peanut sauce with cooked freshwater snail, and Kripik belut (Swamp-eel chips). Range Rp10,000-25,000.

Drink edit

Coffee and tea shops edit

Antiques in the Banaran coffee museum
  • 1 Banaran 9 Coffee & Tea, Krajan, Gemawang, Jambu, +62 298 599606. 07:00-21:00. Serve hot and iced both coffee and tea. Operated by state-owned, PTPN 9. There is a coffee factory and Museum Kopi Banaran (Banaran coffee museum).
  • 2 Eva Coffee House, Jl. Raya Bedono, Jambu, +62 812 985 91155. 07:00-21:00. A coffee shop whose coffee comes from a local farm of the same owner. They also sell gudeg manggar (young coconut flowers stewed with coconut milk and some herbs).

Sleep edit

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than Rp500,000
Mid-range Rp500,000-1,000,000
Splurge More than Rp1,000,000

Budget edit

Splurge edit

Connect edit

The telephone area code of Ambarawa is 0298.

Go next edit

  • Close by
    • Bandungan — A mountainous district with resorts and villas. 8 km away. 15 min ride.
    • Salatiga — A vibrant small city. 20 km away. 35–45 min ride.

This city travel guide to Ambarawa is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.