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Sam Poo Kong Temple

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Sam Poo Kong Temple is Semarang’s largest Chinese temple complex encompassing a handful of large colourful tiered pagodas facing an open courtyard harbouring a towering statue of Chinese Ming Dynasty Muslim Admiral, Cheng Ho (Zeng He).

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Cheng Ho famously led several expeditions to Southeast Asia in the early 15th century, stopping by Semarang on his travels (some even claim he’s buried nearby). It’s believed he spent a night here meditating in a cave that forms part of the complex, also know as “Gedung Batu” literally “stone building” but probably better translated as simply “cave”. His legendary achievements led him to be honoured as the folk god, Sam Poo Kong.

The gates are ... solid. Photo taken in or around Sam Poo Kong Temple, Semarang, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

The gates are ... solid. Photo: Sally Arnold

The modern-looking complex was extensively renovated in 2005-6 to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Cheng Ho’s voyage. The temple is divided into two sections with separate ticket options: You can choose to enter the courtyard only, where it’s possible to view the open stage that offers lion dances and musical performances on weekends, the Chen Ho statue and see the temple shrines from a distance, or for a higher ticket price, also enter the shrine area where you may visit the cave, various pagodas, see a “chain tree” (a ficus with twisted chain-like vines), some relief carvings of Cheng Ho’s travels and an old anchor said to have come from Cheng Ho’s ship hidden at the back of the complex (it’s actually from a VOC ship, but its a good story).

The main central triple-tiered shrine conceals the entrance to the cave behind. Remove your footwear to enter the temple and the cave. Inside the pavilion look up at the bright red and green interior to see hanging lanterns and gilt carved dragons. Photography is not permitted inside the cave, but here you’ll find a small statue of Cheng Ho and some beautiful old paintings, a contrast to the somewhat gaudy style of the rest of ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Sam Poo Kong Temple
Jalan Simongan 129, Semarang
Mo–Su: 24 hours

Location map for Sam Poo Kong Temple

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