Semarang’s rainbow village
Published/Last edited or updated: 2nd June, 2017
Add a little colour to your Semarang trip with a visit to Kampung Pelangi (Rainbow Village).
The residents of Wonosari, a city “kampung” have turned their village into an instant (and Instagrammable) tourist attraction with just a few coats of paint. And when we say coats, think of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat. Every house, shop, pavement and even the mosque has been given the rainbow treatment, each with at least three colours.
What was until recently a run-down neighbourhood, has gained a new vibrancy, not just the kaleidoscopic makeover, but it’s presented the locals with the opportunity to sell food and souvenirs—like with all rainbows, a pot of gold. The idea came from similarly painted villages in Malang and Yogyakarta, and Semarang’s city council put 300 million rupiah into the pot to get the project started and the local builders association donated paint and labour.
The project had been underway for a couple of weeks when we popped by, and was due for the official opening a few days later (mid May 2017), but already the visitors book was well filled. The village blankets Gunung Brintik, a low hill south of the Tugu Muda monument, perfectly positioned for a multi-hued snap from the river’s edge. Friendly villagers seemed happy with the influx of tourists (for now), keen to show us the best route to the top of the hill with views to the port.
The vivid chromatics have nothing to do with LGBT politics (an elephant in the room in Indonesia), however painting the entire village to show political allegiance is not such an unusual idea—in the past whole towns were occasionally painted around election time to show which party the village supported, but it was a monochromatic job (each political party in Indonesia was represented by a single colour). We say, vote rainbow!
You can’t miss Kampung Pelangi, behind Pasar Kembang Kalisari, the flower market on Jalan Dr Sutomo, 500 metres south of Lawang Sewu.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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