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Introduction

Ungaran town, halfway between Semarang and Salatiga, has not much to go for it except two resorts in Javanese style, which make a good base for exploring nearby Ungaran Mountain and Central Java in general. One of a string of fortresses that the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company ) established on the route to Surakarta is located here and has been renovated. Nowadays Ungaran is the capital of Semarang regency, which was separated from Semarang city in 1983. The town has approximately 150.000 inhabitants.

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Sights and Activities

Fort Willem II

Fort Willem II

© theo1006

Fort Willem II - The Ungaran fort is the oldest Dutch fort in Java still in existence. Named Fort Willem II it was built in 1786 by the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company), replacing an even older fort with the name De Ontmoeting. Until a few years ago the fort was a sorry sight. From 1950 to 2006 it was used to house the families of the local police force, as legally it was and still is owned by the police department. But since it has been nicely restored and in 2012 was inaugurated as "a meeting place between the community and the police". Which implies that you are lucky if you find it open to have a look inside. Among Indonesians the fort also goes under the name Benteng Diponegoro, after the 19th century independence hero Prince Diponegoro, who was imprisoned here before being tried and banished to Makasar.

  • Mount Ungaran - With an altitude of 2,050 metres Ungaran is not the highest mountain of Central Java. Its attraction comes from the fact that is has preserved relatively much of its forest cover. The same forest that baffled explorer Junghuhn, who in 1838 failed in his attempt to reach the summit. Today there are several routes to the summit. One possibility is to set out from the Gedong Songo temples. Another one is from the resort village Umbul Sidomukti. And one can also approach the summit from the north via Gunungpati and Medini Tea Plantation. The latter hike is the shortest and steepest, in part by stairs.
  • Gedong Songo temples - The Gedong Songo Hindu temples are located in an Archaeological Park on the forested southern slope of Ungaran mountain. These small temples are among the most ancient in Java, contemporary to those of Dieng plateau. A round walk along the five sites may take a couple of hours.
  • Sembiran waterfall - Ungaran mountain has several waterfalls, which never run dry thanks to the remaining forest. Sembiran fall is popular for an outing because it is easy to reach. The one kilometre path from the parking to the fall is pleasantly shaded most of the way, with stairs at the steeper parts. Chances are you’ll see villagers at work among their coffee shrubs and sugar palms. Come early and you can take a shower unobserved. Regrettably local visitors tend to leave their litter. Entrance fee IDR 5,000. Directions: From the main road south of the pedestrian bridge follow the signs to Curug Sembiran for 2.6 kilometres to the parking.
Lawe Fall

Lawe Fall

© theo1006

  • Lawe and Benowo falls - Two falls close together on the northern slopes of Ungaran mountain in relatively unspoiled forest. The bottom of either fall can be reached only by a tough hike of over an hour. One must cross their downstream several times, wading through when there is no bridge. The difficult access makes these falls less popular than Sembiran fall, and therefore there is hardly any litter. There are two routes to the falls. The easier one follows an irrigation canal to a sluice gate, a narrow path with deep ravine alongside it. At a Y-junction a short distance beyond the sluice gate you can choose left for Benowo fall and right for Lawe fall. Lawe fall lies at the end of a narrow gully, which ends at a vertical semicircular cliff, from which the water pours down. To approach the foot of the fall one has to negotiate debris of wood and rocks in the river bed. Benowo fall has the wider valley. The approach to the foot of the fall is a steep climb over rocks. The pool beneath both falls is not more than a foot deep. Best arrive by noon to see the falls in sunlight. Directions: It’s nine kilometres from Ungaran bus station to the parking, you might hire an ojek (piggyback motorcycle). Go 2.9 kilometres direction Gunungpati to Sumur Rejo. From there follow the signs for Curug Lawe into Zanzibar plantation. The plantation asks IDR 4,000 entrance fee and a parking fee.
  • Umbul Sidomukti resort - At Sidomukti village, on the western slope of Ungaran mountain, the new mountain resort Umbul Sidomukti has seen rapid development in recent years. But it still is much less built up than Bandungan, and therefore more attractive for hikers and nature lovers. No crowded market here, the views of the mountain and deep valleys are superb. The only two, lodge-type hotels at present available are Pondok Wisata and Pondok Panorama. The former has a swimming pool and adventure activities for the youth. The latter lies somewhat higher up the mountain near a camp ground. At the camp ground starts the trail for hikes to Sikendil Plantation (1,500 metres), Candipengilon hamlet with the 'Japanese cave' (1,400 metres), Gebugan nature reserve (1,500 metres) and to the summit of Ungaran mountain (2,050 metres, four hours one way). Address: Sidomukti village, Bandungan district, Semarang regency.

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Eat

  • Mang Engking - A fish restaurant where one savours one’s dinner in one of several rustic bamboo pavilions among ponds. Especially attractive at night when the lights are on. Address: Jalan Diponegoro 249, Ungaran. Phone: +62.24.7691 1999.
  • Godong Salam - A seafood restaurant with a creative menu. E.g. seafood soup served in a coconut, nasi seafood served on banana leaves. One can sit lesehan (on the floor at low tables) or western style in the large pavilion at the rear with a view of Ungaran mountain. Godong Salam is Javanese for salam leaf, the fragrant leaf of Syzygium Polyanthum, widely used in Indonesia to add flavour to cooked food. Address: Jalan Diponegoro 108, Ungaran. Phone: +62.24.69 24 244.

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Sleep

  • Balemong resort - The most luxurious in Ungaran. Several units designed in various Javanese styles are set in a 4 ha compound with full view across Garang river on Ungaran mountain. The bedrooms are fitted with colonial furniture and modern amenities. Apart from the usual excursions in the neighbourhood, the resort features an outbound area where on can try one's hand at plowing, rice planting, catching fish, batik and painting. Address: Jalan Patimura 1B, Sisemut, 50511 Ungaran (300 metres north of the bus terminal) . Phone: +62.24.692 5511. Website: http://www.balemongungaran.com.
  • Hills Joglo Villa - Authentic Javanese: all nine guest units are wooden Javanese houses (joglo's), dating from 100 to 300 years and moved here from there original sites and restored. They have been adapted to modern living standards without structurally altering them. Bedrooms and bathrooms have been designed to fit in with the original layout. As no two units are the same, some being more spacious than others, you may want to check them all out before choosing one that suits your budget and the number of people needing accommodation. The owners, a Javanese-Australian couple, are also collectors of antiques and paintings, which one can admire (and buy) in the gallery next to the restaurant. Address: Keji village, RT06/RW01, Mapagan, 505011 Ungaran (1 kilometre north of the bus terminal). Phone: +62.24-692 6101-03. Website: http://www.villajoglo.com.
  • C3 Hotel - Ungaran's business hotel, best option if you must stay in town. The 15 Deluxe rooms have the same amenities as the 7 Superior rooms, but offer more space. The one Executive room caters for honeymooners. The four Family rooms have additional bunk beds. There are a restaurant and a coffee corner offering Indonesian food at moderate prices. There is no swimming pool. Address: Jalan Diponegoro 223 (on the main road in the southern part of town, walking distance from Mang Engking Restaurant). Phone: +62.24.6926 688, 6926 677.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 18. Last edited at 8:20 on Feb 7, 18 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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