Wondering what to do on the beautiful island of Java? Because there’s more to Indonesia than Bali, let me introduce you to one of its little gems in the town of Semarang. Colorful and atypical, this is the rainbow village!

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The Story

Rainbow Village in Java Island

Formerly a slum, the idea came from the principal of the local high school, Slamet Widodo, who, after seeing the success of the renovation of Kampung Warna Warni (another village), proposed doing the same to boost the economy and attract more tourists to his village.

Even the polluted river was cleaned up, and the villagers participated in the renovation of their village.

Although the project cost around $200,000, it’s proof that an idea as simple as renovating a village by painting it in bright colors is sometimes enough to restore hope and improve the economy.

I still think this place is underrated, which is why I wanted to share it with you today! It’s also a unique and free activity to do if you’re in Semarang!

The Village

After crossing the small, brightly-decorated bridge, all that’s left to do is stroll through the sometimes labyrinthine village and immerse yourself in the lively environment. Oh, and don’t forget to take as many photos as you like, although your phone/camera may soon run out of memory.

Don’t forget to bring water, as the place is uphill and the Indonesian climate can be very hot and humid! You can also buy souvenirs and snacks in one of the village stores.

I wasn’t expecting anything when I set foot in Semarang, as I simply wanted to rest after a few tiring days, but I was really happy to have included the rainbow village in my visit. Walking through the bright, colorful streets, seeing how this place has been brought back to life, I was happy for the people who live there.

How to get there

If you don’t mind walking and are staying in or near the center, it will take you between 35 and 50 minutes to get to Kampung Pelangi.

Another way is to take the bus, which is easy and fairly reliable. I recommend you take the “orange line” Penggaron – Karangayu towards Karangayu and stop at the Museum Mandala Bakti. It’s about an 8-minute walk to the village.

Places to stay

As always, here are my budget accommodations:

  • Sans Hotel Aurum Semarang
    Comfortable, well-decorated single rooms just 3km from the city center but close to the Supermall. It’s also located in a quiet area with a few nice restaurants at a more than affordable price.
  • Arya Graha Semarang
    Comfortable, clean stay with friendly staff. Good Nasi Goreng right next door too! Great value for money!

In Conclusion

For me, Kampung Pelangi in Semarang is a must-see in Indonesia. More than a rainbow village, it’s also a reminder that a small idea and the unity of people can change a future for the better. The former slum has been transformed into a colorful and lively place to the delight of its inhabitants and international tourists alike, and I’m glad I was able to visit this fun and special place.

If you’d like to visit beautiful Yogyakarta, read more about it here!

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