Five must-visit budget-friendly cities

Five must-visit budget-friendly cities

A great vacation doesn't mean that you have to splurge all your cash.

The Jakarta Post Travel asked five travel bloggers to share their suggestions for budget cities in Indonesia.

Semarang

Semarang Grand Mosque: When in Semarang, do not miss out on a visit to the Central Java Grand Mosque, which offers a rich architectural treats and history.

Having grown up in Java, Harinda Bama chooses Semarang as his budget-friendly city.

"My father said that Semarang is squeezed into the middle. That is why it lags behind Bandung and Surabaya," said Bama, who documents his travels periodically on his website harindabama.com.

Indeed, international brands and fancy coffee shops have only recently come to this Central Javan capital with the construction of new malls.

Fortunately, said Bama, Semarang would surprise any first-time visitors to the city because of how little you have to pay for food.

A bowl of soto Semarang (Indonesian traditional soup with rice and shredded chicken) with satay (chicken, offal and quail eggs skewers), fried tempeh and perkedel (croquettes) sold at street vendors would normally cost as little as Rp 15,000 (S$1.65), while other meals such as noodles, chicken with rice and chicken congee would rarely cost more than Rp 10,000 -- very cheap indeed compared with Jakarta prices.

Semarang also offers a host of tourist attractions, from its old-town area providing a glimpse of how the harbour town used to look during the Dutch colonial period and the Grand Mosque of Central Java to the Watu Gong pagoda and the Lawang Sewu -- a beautiful and ornate Dutch building in the heart of the city.

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