The historic city of Semarang traces its roots back to the visit of the Chinese admiral Zheng He, who landed here around 1405. The original Sam Poo Kong temple,restored in 1724 on the same site, was founded in honour of his visit. The city has changed greatly over the centuries, but traces of its illustrious past as an important Dutch colonial trading port remain. Semarang is still an important sea and air hub, and new developments abound.
Simpang Lima, the city's main square, is situated at its vibrant centre. On Saturday and Sunday nights the area comes alive with a flea market, where all kinds of goods including local handicrafts and souvenirs can be found. The area also has many restaurants serving a range of dishes to suit every taste and budget. For a full shopping experience, Citraland Mall, Matahari Department Store, Java Mall and DP Mall are all close by.