Semarang is the 5th largest city in Indonesia with almost 2 millions inhabitants. Yet, its nightlife is not very developed apart from a few male-oriented bars, clubs, karaokes and spas.

As a friend from Semarang told me, the problem is that most young people fall into one of these categories:
- They are single but they still live with parents
- They are conservative or not interested with clubbing
- They married young and already have kids
- They left Semarang for Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali
- They cannot afford partying

In the end, the few people you see in clubs are Indo-Chinese men/local businessmen/government employees (all of them with their escorts/LCs), some Indonesians on business trips or traveling, very few expats and occasionally, students.

This does not mean that you cannot have fun, especially on weekends as you still have a few good venues for party. Foreigners are very rare so you can expect to be treated like royalty.

In this small guide I will give you a few tips to make sure you enjoy the best of Semarang nightlife.

Girl-Friendly Hotels near the Nightclubs:
Hotels are cheap in Semarang. Even the best one in the city, the Crowne Plaza is around 60$-70$ a night. 

I recommend you to book one of these hotels because they are close from the tourist attractions and near the best nightclubs. They are also girl-friendly and they are used to welcoming foreigners.

Crown Plaza Semarang: This is my most recommend hotel as it is within one of the best malls in Semarang (Paragon Mall).
Novotel Semarang: Second most recommended, with a live music bar inside (and some prostitutes as well)

The best nightclub in Semarang, Babyface (and Relique Spa) is not in the city center but near the airport. The only decent hotel nearby is Fovere.

Meeting Girls in Semarang
Meeting normal girls in nightclubs in Semarang is not a great idea. Very few single girls are out partying: They are generally accompanying their boyfriends or some guys paying for their drinks.

You can assume that 80% of girls who are alone in a nightclub are working there as lady companions or GROs (which does not mean they are prostitutes). Their job is to make you spend more money and they will get a commission based on how many drinks you buy. They will generally give their phone numbers quite easily, and if you are friendly enough it shouldn't be too difficult to get them to have a drink with you the next day. They are often fun to hang out with and good companions. They are usually expecting either a relationship, some kind of gifts, or just the excitement of being treated nice dinners/drinks. Just make sure the one you are talking to is single.

If you are not shy, meeting girls in Semarang during the day is not difficult, but it is likely that they will be quite conservative and unwilling to go further than having a cup of coffee. 

As usual in small cities, your best bet is to use dating apps and website like Tinder, Badoo or Skout. I made a list here for your reference: Best Dating Apps in Indonesia.

Happening Bars and Lounges in Semarang
If you are looking for a relaxed venue to have a few drinks in Semarang, I would advise one of the bars/lounges/restaurants below. Most of them are located in the Southern hills, with good views on the city. Click on the link for full review:

The most modern bar in Semarang. Good crowd but a bit pricey.

Upmarket restaurant and lounge with a great view on Semarang.

The favourite hang-out spot for students and younger expats. Good choice of beers.

The most famous expat bar in Semarang. Old-style and relaxed.

This bar is great for cocktails. It is within the old town in a Dutch heritage building. Popular with tourists.

Best Nightclubs in Semarang
Nightclubs in Semarang always work with a similar concept: They are small lounges with live music at the beginning of the evening, and then a DJ afterwards. You rarely have a dancefloor, only people drinking and dancing around tables.

There are only 3 good ones in the city in my opinion:

The busiest nightclub in Semarang at the moment. It is always full on weekends and they have the most interesting events including sexy dancers, live bands and DJs. It is owned by the Varuna Group. Most customers are Indochinese.

The main issue with Babyface is that it is located a bit far from the city center, in the North. E-Plaza on the contrary is walking distance from any hotels on Simpang Lima. It is similar with Babyface but not as crowded. They have good bands every night and many pretty GROs.

Liquid Club is more down-to-earth and with a younger crowd, many of whom are students. If you are under 25 that's probably where you should go. They often have sexy dancers on weekends.

I also liked the nightclub X-Point but it is located in a dirty area and it has an underground feel that you may not feel comfortable with.

Prostitution in Semarang: Karaoke and Spas
There are plenty of traditional bordellos, "panti pijat', salons, karaokes and spas in Semarang. Actually, most of the nightlife in the city is prostitution-oriented: 90% of party-goers are male paying for sex or some kind of entertainment from girls.

The prices for "full service" in the luxury spas in Semarang is usually from Rp300,000 to Rp500,000. This is a tip you have to pay to the girl on top of the price of the room (between Rp250,000 and Rp350,000). 

The best massage parlours plus plus in Semarang are Emporium, Relique, Live, Eleven, Home or Elysium. I'm not sure if the last two are still open.

For karaokes, you can check BabyfaceKyuKyu, EC Karaoke, Eleven, 7KTV, Royal, Virgo, LiveX-Point and V5. In those places, not all girls are willing to be taken to a hotel. You should ask for a girl who is willing to be booked out if that is your intention. The price is between Rp500,000 and Rp1,000,000 for the whole night.

More and more of the prostitution in Semarang happens online on twitter, facebook, instagram, wechat and badoo. Girls advertise their services for BO (booking out) long-term or short term openly. The accounts of many girls are managed by pimps who take care of the transport, payment and safety. If the pictures are too good to be true, then you can assume they are fake.

7 comments to '' Semarang Nightlife: Best Bars, Clubs, Karaokes and Spas "

  1. Great post, thanks. Any decent joints around the tembalang undip area?

    1. Hi there, sorry I didn't go that far in the South... i didn't hear about any club or bar near Diponegoro Uni so I don't think you'll find something happening... let me know if I'm wrong...

    2. There's a club about 3kms from diponegoro uni. (bella @plaza hotel) and a massage lounge about 2kms from ur location (x-shiatsu ngesrep). check them out dude.

  2. Yeah, seen both while driving by, haven't visited yet. Any good? Went to funky munky @ jatimulyo on a sakapatat bartenders beer, student crowd. Meandered into bear babes on timoho raya as well..even cheaper beer, no crowd to speak of

  3. An excellent review, i heard that Elysium still open yet , and would you like to add other places such as Rinjani Pub , Club 123 , Rendezvouz , Zephyr , XMovies , Shark Club , Starqueen , Mantili and some beer house like Carnivor Skybar , Lounge Level Six , Markaaz Beer Garden , Goodfellas & Modus Bar , Hugo Cafe (ex Largo Bistrot) , Nescology and many more

  4. Hi guys is $150 a lot of money for a lady in Semirang

    1. just get between $50-$70 no more