Karimunjawa

Karimunjawa

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‘A stone’s throw away from Java’ that’s what Karimunjawa means in the Javanese language. However, it doesn’t feel like it’s just a stone’s throw away…  An oasis of silence, place of crazy stories, life changing experiences and for ever familiar faces.

Karimunjawa, Karimun Island, Karimun Java or Crimon Java is an archipelago that consists out of 27 tropical islands (between around 1.500 and 110.000 hectares) with white bounty-beaches, an authentic Javanese culture and a big national park both on the island and in the water. Located in Centre Java in the middle of the Java sea 9000 people life on an 80-kilometer distance from the Jepara, Java Tengah. The main island is called Karimun, most of the people life, work and shop their groceries here. This is the island where travellers arrive by both the boat and the airplane. 

However, officially the main island is not one but two islands: Karimun and Kemujan. The two islands are like twins laying closely together, connected by a small bridge on the main road. Therefore, you won’t even realize that you leave one island to enter the second. Besides these two islands, there are three more islands inhabited.

It’s basically a small paradise with beautiful nature, amazing people and an idyllic atmosphere. Karimunjawa is known for her amazing snorkeling spots, so most of to the tourists come to the island to check this out for themselves and they don’t get disappointed. Believe me when I say: this and the beaches will, without a doubt, be one of the high lights of your trip.

‘A stone’s throw away from Java’ that’s what Karimunjawa means in the Javanese language. However, it doesn’t feel like it’s just a stone’s throw away…  An oasis of silence, place of crazy stories, life changing experiences and for ever familiar faces.

Karimunjawa, Karimun Island, Karimun Java or Crimon Java is an archipelago that consists out of 27 tropical islands (between around 1.500 and 110.000 hectares) with white bounty-beaches, an authentic Javanese culture and a big national park both on the island and in the water. Located in Centre Java in the middle of the Java sea 9000 people life on an 80-kilometer distance from the Jepara, Java Tengah. The main island is called Karimun, most of the people life, work and shop their groceries here. This is the island where travellers arrive by both the boat and the airplane. 

Check my latest project in Karimunjawa now!!

Check my latest project in Karimunjawa now!!

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However, officially the main island is not one but two islands: Karimun and Kemujan. The two islands are like twins laying closely together, connected by a small bridge on the main road. Therefore, you won’t even realize that you leave one island to enter the second. Besides these two islands, there are three more islands inhabited.

It’s basically a small paradise with beautiful nature, amazing people and an idyllic atmosphere. Karimunjawa is known for her amazing snorkeling spots, so most of to the tourists come to the island to check this out for themselves and they don’t get disappointed. Believe me when I say: this and the beaches will, without a doubt, be one of the high lights of your trip.

Karimun has many beaches you definitely need to see and roads that scream to be explored. What are you waiting for? Hop on a motorbike and get lost on the north sight of the island. Many accommodations offer a small map you can take, so you know where to start. However, definitely take some small sight roads to see where they lead you! Some personal favourites: sunset at Bukit Love, little hike up to the Karimunjawa Inn sign, tracking through the National Park, swimming with glowing plankton in Lagoon Lele, bonfire at White beach or kayaking around the mangrove. Obviously I got some favourite beaches too: Batu Putih, Asari Timo, Anora Beach and Pokemon beach. Don’t be surprised if the owners of the beach ask you a small entrance fee when you arrive. This is how they make their living and more importantly take care of the beach and the area around it. Finally, don’t forget to make a stop, on your way back to town, at one of the three beaches of Sunset beach to experience the amazing Karimunjawa sunset.

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Karimun has many beaches you definitely need to see and roads that scream to be explored. What are you waiting for? Hop on a motorbike and get lost on the north sight of the island. Many accommodations offer a small map you can take, so you know where to start. However, definitely take some small sight roads to see where they lead you!

Some personal favourites: sunset at Bukit Love, little hike up to the Karimunjawa Inn sign, tracking through the National Park, swimming with glowing plankton in Lagoon Lele, bonfire at White beach or kayaking around the mangrove. Obviously I got some favourite beaches too: Batu Putih, Asari Timo, Anora Beach and Pokemon beach. Don’t be surprised if the owners of the beach ask you a small entrance fee when you arrive. This is how they make their living and more importantly take care of the beach and the area around it. Finally, don’t forget to make a stop, on your way back to town, at one of the three beaches of Sunset beach to experience the amazing Karimunjawa sunset.

Places to Sleep

Places to Sleep

Photo by Floating Paradise
  • Floating Paradise is a little hidden paradise on the east sight of the island. This small hostel (two rooms) is located in a bay called lagoon Lele. After a beautiful fifteen minute drive, from town, you will lay your eyes on two wooden buildings located on the water. After a short walk through the mangrove you enter their jetty and go right in to chill modus. The friendly owner Tono asks for a small entrance fee as you arrive but it will be well worth your money. You get a welcome drink, you can borrow snorkeling gear to go and explore the coral, you can relax in the bar area and order some fresh fish or noodle soup (the food for extra charge). Soon they will also have kayaks to rent out so you can go and explore the east coast of the island. A great place to enjoy the island and its people. Make sure the host of your hostel checks with Tono first before you head their way, because the hostel is not always open for public.
    Instagram: paradisefloating

Photo by The Fat Mermaid
  • Omah Alchy is a family business just outside town, located right at the ocean and known for their hospitality. Because of their location it’s a great place to stay if you look for a quiet place with privacy. The owner of this place has a nice boat, kayaks and a great jetty to enjoy the beautiful Karimunjawa sunset. If you choose to stay here and book a room at the ocean, you can even enjoy the sunset from your own bungalow terrace. Besides being an accommodation, Omah Alchy has a small but very good kitchen which offers something different compared to other places on the island. Personal favourites are the Gado-Gado or the Seafood Nasi Goreng. You want to go and have lunch or dinner here? Make sure the host of your homestay checks if the kitchen is open for public first.
    Instagram: omahalchy,karimunjawa

Photo by The Bodhi Tree hostel
  • The Bodhi Tree hostel is a brand new place located opposite the BRI Bank. The owner of this place put a lot of afford and creativity in this hostel and the result is great. It a cosy place, super stylish, with friendly faces and comfort. Upstairs they have a nice restaurant area where you can sit and enjoy a smoothie bowl or drink a coffee (they have many different beans to choose from). They have this very cool concept “Coffee for Rubish”. Pick-up a garbage bag, fill it with trash you find around the island and get a free and well deserved coffee afterwards. The hostel is connected to the travel agency Satu Dunia, the Coconuthouse Karimunajawa and two other hostels in Yogyakarta. When you need help booking any other accommodation, transport or tours, they have plenty of options to help you.
    Instagam: thebodhitreehostel

Photo by Cocohuts
  • Cocohuts is an accommodation located on the hill just behind the centre of Karimunjawa. This place has eight bungalows which are spread through the peaceful garden. Four of the bungalows are located on the lower sight of the terrain and very easy to access. The other four are higher up the hill and have a great ocean and city view. The Cocohut restaurant and terrace is also located high on the hill and is open for lunch and dinner. They have a nice combination between Western and Asian food. It’s a great place for a breezy lunch or a quiet dinner for two. Their lovely host Naomi will be happy to help you or show you around in Karimunjawa.
    Instagram: cocohuts_karimunjawa

Photo by The Happinezz
  • The Happinezz is a hostel in town known for their great hospitality and western restaurant menu. The owners Joyce and Sudar work hard to make this homestay as welcoming as possible. Whenever you are in need of help to find your way around the island, don’t hesitate to come to the Happinezz and arrange tours, boat tickets or with other questions. While you’re sitting around in their welcoming hostel, try out their western food. Sometimes you just need a nice sandwiches or delicious Dutch apple pie after eating Indonesian food 24/7.
    Instagram: the_happinezz_karimunjawa

Photo by Infotel
  • Waru Guesthouse is an unique accommodation next to the harbor and close to town. The young owner did a great job creating a very chill an creative environment and did I already mention it is right at the beach. This makes Waru extra special as it is the one and only hostel in town with its own beach. Waking up with a sea view is honestly what every traveller wants right? Furthermore Waru is basic but clean, has lovely hosts and is walking distance from town.  
    Instagram: waru.karimunjawa

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Places to Eat & Chill

Places to Eat & Chill

Photo by Sophie Tijssen
  • Alun alun is the night fish market in town, basically it’s one big fish barbecue party. You will find many different stands with all kinds of fish, squid, scrimps an shellfish. Choose whatever you want and they will put it on the grill or fry it. You’re not a big fish lover? Don’t worry, there are many other goodies! Try the mie ayam, go for a grilled corn cob or just a good old nasi goreng. Finished diner? Finish the night with a juice from one of the many juice stands or try a grilled Kelapa muda (young coconut) with ginger and honey. Most of all this is the place to meet other people and experience the island culture. Great place but don’t be surprised if you smell like a barbecue when you go to bed.
    Instagram: @Alun-alun Karimunjawa

Photo by Tripadvisor
Photo by Tripadvisor
  • Many travellers recognize the feeling: you have been on a rice and noodle diet for a while because you’re on the road for some time now. You need some other food but you want to get to know the Indonesian kitchen too. It sounds like you should try some Soto Ayam. And if you don’t feel like that, you should also try the Soto Ayam in Karimunjawa. It’s one of the best ones I ever had and I love to get it for breakfast or lunch. It’s basically a chicken soup with a kind of vermicelli and rice.

Photo by The Fat Mermaid
  • Café Amoré is a café and restaurant near to the harbour. Amoré is the perfect spot for people who decided not to rent a bike and stay in town. Their open garden, right at the water side, is perfect for a breezy lunch or a nice drink at one of the many seating areas. They are open until 10pm so if you decided to go ‘jalanjalan’ during the day, you can always come here for dinner. They have a mixed menu, Asian and Western, but the food is not the main reason for visiting this place. The nice scenery and the friendly staff however are.
    Instagram: @Amore Café

Photo by Tripadvisor
  • The KJ Coffeeshop is by far my favourite place to get some work done. It’s a cute place next to the Bodhi Tree Hostel (pstt, I always use their WiFi ;-)). The owner is very friendly and always in for some small talk, he also owns the Bamboo cotton T-shirt shop down the street. In the direction of Alun-alun. The coffeeshop is open the whole day, so weather you like you coffee in the morning or in the evening, you can come by. Not really a coffee lover? They also have some great milkshakes, ice tea or some other sweet cold drinks.
    Instagram: karimunjawacoffeeshop

Photo by Tripadvisor
  • Ayam Geprek (is I like to call the place) is a small warung on the way from town to Sunset beach. Just after the accommodation Omah Alchy, on the left side of the road, you will find a small restaurant. Their specialty is Ayam Geprek, this is basecally fried chicken squashed through sambal. Very spicy but delicious. You don’t like the spicy food? Don’t worry, they will serve your sambal on the side. Besides the chicken, they have many other dished and often they also sell coconuts. 
    Instagram: not on Instagram, just trust me 😉

Photo by Tripadvisor
  • Eat and Meet is the only Western restaurant on the island. It’s a nice Italian orientated restaurant with good pizza’s, pasta and some meet dishes. This place is a popular place for tourists to meet each other after a day of snorkeling, eat some pizza and drink a Bintang. It’s located in the centre of the town and sells their own ice cream rolls.
    Instagram: _eatandmeet_

Transport

Every year Karimunjawa gets better accessible. Not only were the boats almost going every day last summer, in October Wings Air started flying to the airport from and to Semarang. However, almost all the transport from and to Karimunjawa is flexible (as I like to call it). In the high season it’s quite stable most of the time but the rest of the year there can be spontaneous changes in the schedules. 

By boat, you can reach Karimunjawa from Jepara and Semarang. Almost daily there leaves a boat from Jepara (fast boat or ferry). Besides that, there is a boat from Semarang that leaves every Friday and returns every Sunday.

The air plane to Semarang normally leaves every day but do you want to have more up to date details? Check the flight schedule here. Besides the plane to Semarang there is also a flight schedule from and to Surabaya. Air fast (government owned) is the company who flies this route, but the schedule is know for changing regularly. Therefore, if you’re interested in booking a ticket, the easiest way is with your accommodation or travel agent. 

Transport

Every year Karimunjawa gets better accessible. Not only were the boats almost going every day last summer, in October Wings Air started flying to the airport from and to Semarang. However, almost all the transport from and to Karimunjawa is flexible (as I like to call it). In the high season it’s quite stable most of the time but the rest of the year there can be spontaneous changes in the schedules. 

By boat, you can reach Karimunjawa from Jepara and Semarang. Almost daily there leaves a boat from Jepara (fast boat or ferry). Besides that, there is a boat from Semarang that leaves every Friday and returns every Sunday.

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Besides the plane to Semarang there is also a flight schedule from and to Surabaya. Air fast (government owned) is the company who flies this route, but the schedule is know for changing regularly. Therefore, if you’re interested in booking a ticket, the easiest way is with your accommodation or travel agent. 

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Are you planning on visiting this wonderful place and do you need help?Don’t hesitate to contact me by e-mail or private message through my Instagram.

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