Getaway at Karimunjawa Island and Semarang City

On November 15, 2015 by Novita Karana

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Karimunjawa is an archipelago of 27 islands, located in Java Sea, North of Central Java, Indonesia. The main island is known as Karimun (2,700 ha), and the second-largest island is Kemujan (1,400 ha). You can see map below to see where the Karimun and Kemujan located. The best time to visit the island is during the dry season, generally from April to October. I visit Karimunjawa on November and it still ok, only one day raining.

How to Reach Karimunjawa from Jakarta-01Karimunjawa mapThere’re some reasons that you have to visit Karimunjawa:

1. For beach lovers, you will adore the white sandy beach, pristine blue water, beautiful sunset at Tanjung Gelam Beach, and some private virgin beach that you will find along the way.
2. For clown fish lovers, you will amaze by stunning underwater world of Karimunjawa. And you can see clown fish with their home in front of the cottage.
3. Karimunjawa is still quiet place, and not so many tourists, especially on weekday. You will find peace, serenity, and relaxing by the beach without any disturb by massage sellers, drink sellers, and beggars.
4. The snorkelling spot at East Karimunjawa is the best so far, for me.
5. The cottages with ocean view access only has 4 – 8 rooms, which is not so noisy. If you want to have room with nice view, you have to book early. Homestay with village atmosphere is everywhere near main square area.
6. There’s only one road in Karimunjawa. So it’s easy, you can explore Karimunjawa by yourself. Just rent a motorbike (IDR 75.000/day), and fuel IDR10.000/litre. And keep your eyes to the signs along the way, and try to explore the land of Karimunjawa.
7. You can swimming (the right one is stand still, not swimming) at shark pool. I think in Indonesia, only Karimunjawa has shark pool that all sharks are tame. I stand at the pool for minutes and they keep swimming around me. It’s safety.

How to access Karimunjawa Island?
You can access Karimunjawa Island by some options:

1) Flight from Semarang to Karimunjawa
There’re flight from Semarang to Karimunjwa Island by Susi Air, for reservation 024-7608735
Saturday : Semarang – Karimunjawa 06:00AM (might be changed anytime)
Saturday : Karimunjawa – Semarang 14:10PM (might be changed anytime)
Sunday : Semarang – Karimunjawa 06:00AM (might be changed anytime)
Sunday : Karimunjawa – Semarang 12:35PM (might be change anytime)
Price: around IDR 225.000-IDR250.000 (November 2015)

2) Shuttle from Semarang – Jepara + Fast Boat from Jepara to Karimunjawa
You have to reach Jepara City by 2 hours driving (70km)  from Semarang. There’re some shuttles from Semarang to Jepara. One shuttle can fits for 5 persons. So remember to book the shuttle as soon as possible.

Since the schedule of boat usually depart in early morning, and the shuttle schedule is in working hour, you have 3 options:
Kota Baru Homestay Jepara
1. Take a shuttle from Semarang to Jepara, and stay one night at Jepara. If you choose this option, i suggest to stay night at homestay near the Jepara Harbour. I  choose Kota Baru Homestay with Balinese touch. Kota Baru has public space area and fast wifi. You can walk 10 minutes to the harbour in the morning or take a rickshaw. Seafood food stalls available at the right side of the homestay in front of Giant Sea Turtle Statue.
2. Rent a car from Semarang and depart in early morning, like 3AM or 4AM to catch the morning boat. If you choose this option, you don’t need to stay for a night in Jepara.
3. Take a taxi from Semarang and depart in early morning, like 3AM or 4AM to catch the morning boat. If you choose this option, you don’t need to stay for a night in Jepara. I did a conversation with KOSTI Taxi driver. Kosti Taxi has a rate table. From Semarang to Jepara Harbour costs IDR 368.208. (November 2015)

Bejeu Travel
Phone 0291 – 3395543

Semarang to Jepara Departure: 7AM, 9AM, 11AM, 1PM, 3PM, 5PM, 7PM
Jepara to Semarang Departure: 7AM, 8AM, 9AM, 11AM, 1PM, 3PM, 5PM, 6.30PM
Price: IDR45.000/person/way (November 2015)
Start point: Bejeu Office, if you want to be picked up at your hotel, you can inform the customer service, they would happy to pick you up with additional charge. shuttle from Semarang to Jepara

Day Trans Shuttle
Semarang Office: 024-7604192
Jepara Office: 0291 – 3326868

I used this travel. They can pick up to your hotel with additional cost.
Semarang to Jepara Departure: 5.30AM, 10AM, 1PM, 6PM
Jepara to Semarang Departure: 3AM, 6AM, 10AM, 1PM, 4PM
Price: IDR45.000/person/way (November 2015) + free mineral cup and chocolate bread. YEAY! :D
Start point: Day Trans Office, if you want to be picked up at your hotel, you can inform the customer service when you make reservation by phone, they would happy to pick you up with additional charge.
TIPS: Choose seat number 2 or 3 for wide space leg and reclining seat.

Kosti Taxi
Phone: 024 – 7626868
From Semarang City to Jepara Harbour costs IDR 368.208/way. (November 2015)
If you travel with friends, the cost will be cheaper.

Tips:
- The shuttle only has 5 seats like my picture above. If the shuttle is full, you can rent a car/take taxi from Semarang City to Jepara Harbour to fits the boat schedule. You can depart in early morning from Semarang.
- When order the shuttle, choose seat at second row with longer leg space. (seat number 2 and 3) I used Day Trans Shuttle with use Luxio Car. Express Bahari 2C

There’s a fast boat from Jepara Harbour (ASDP Harbour) to Karimunjawa Island by Bahari Express 2C. I used Bahari Express – Executive Seat on my last trip to Karimunjawa. I think Executive seat is comfortable enough, with reclining seat and flip table. You can buy instant noodle or snack at food stall above, and enjoy it while watching the movie. I watch Jack the Giant Slayer on my last trip :D

Ship name: Bahari Express 2C
Duration: 2 hours
Price for Executive Seat : IDR 150.000/person/way
Price for VIP Seat : IDR 175.000/person/way (VIP located in second deck with wider leg space)

Schedule Bahari Express (November 2015, might change anytime without prior notice)
Jepara – Karimunjawa Departure: Monday 9AM, Tuesday 9AM, Friday 9AM, Saturday 10AM
Karimunjawa – Jepara Departure: Monday 12PM, Wednesday 11AM, Saturday 7AM, Sunday 11AM

3)  Shuttle from Semarang – Jepara + Ferry from Jepara to Karimunjawa
If you want to get more economic price, you can use ferry from Jepara City.
Ship name : Siginjai
Duration 4,5 – 5 hours
Capacity: 400 – 700 persons
Note: The ferry also can fits for motorbike, car, until truck
Price Executif : IDR 45.000/person/way
Price VIP: IDR 96.000/person/way
Schedule Ferry Siginjay (November 2015, might change anytime without prior notice)
Jepara – Karimunjawa Departure: Monday 7AM, Wednesday 7AM, Saturday 7AM
Karimunjawa – Jepara Departure: Tuesday 7AM, Thursday 7AM, Sunday 7AM

4) Fast Boat from Semarang City to Karimunjawa
Ship name : Kartini Cepat
Duration 4 hours Schedule Kartini Cepat (November 2015, might change anytime without prior notice) Jepara – Karimunjawa Departure: Thursday 11AM
Karimunjawa – Jepara Departure: Friday 9AM, Sunday 1PM
Note: Schedule of fery and fast boat may change anytime, you have to check first, or contact me for the schedule. I will check with local tour operator for updated schedule.

 

 

What kind of activities that you can do in Karimunjawa?
1. Land Tour
You can explore the land on first day you came. The boat will arrive around 11AM-12PM. Have a lunch first at main square area and rent a motorbike at your homestay. The rent motorbike cost is same for all homestay, IDR 75.000/day if you rent only for a day. If you rent for a week, you can bargain to get cheaper price.

And after rent a motor bike, where to go? You can follow my map and drop a visit to west area:
View from Jokotuwo Hill
Jokotuwo Hill Attractionsa) Jokotuwo Hill :
What will you see?
You can see whale fossil, giant prayer beads (tasbih), and magnificent view of Karimunjawa village. There’s no entrance fee to enter the Jokotuwo Hill when i visited there on November 2015.
There’s a story about the whale fossil on Jokotuwo Hill. I read the story that written in entrance ticket. So the story is:
A long time ago, there’s couple of big fish that have to separate for moments. The male fish waiting her love with loyalty and patient at Karimunjawa. And then her love is back to Karimunjawa and they live happily forever at Karimunjawa. So, to memorize the loyalty and patient of the couple of fish, the fossil of one fish is stay in Jokotuwo Hill, and fossil of another fish stays in Kartini Museum at Jepara City.

Entrance Fee: IDR 10.000/person (November 2015)

3D Karimunjawa Font from Love Hillview from Love Hillb) Love Hill :
What will you see?
You can take photo spot at 3D Love Font with beautiful view, and 1 minute trekking to 3D Karimunjawa Font with breathtaking view.
Entrance Fee and motorbike parking : Free (November 2015)

Annora Beach
c) Annora Beach :
What will you see?
You will enjoy the quiet private beach and can swing in the middle of the sea.
There’s toilet also in Annora Beach. Nice beach to read a book and relaxing. Annora has some swings.
Entrance Fee: Free (November 2015)  you only need pay IDR5000 for motorbike parking.

d) Gama Gama Beach
e) Bukit Topeng Beach

Tanjung Gelam Moment
f) Tanjung Gelam Beach :
This place is my favourite. Tanjung Gelam Beach make me want to revisit Karimunjawa in next year. You can see the best sunset at Karimunjawa. My fav spot is to see sunset behind the coconut trees like picture above. There’re some food stall that sell fresh coconut (IDR12.000), mangoes (IDR10.000/each), beer Bintang Big (IDR45.000).
Entrance Fee and motorbike parking : Free (November 2015)

After sunset, back to Karimun and visit main square for fresh grilled seafood. Squid stars from IDR 25.000, Fish starts from IDR25.000, Clams starts from 20.000/plate, Shrimp starts from IDR25.000/plate, Lobster starts from IDR200.000/each. The seller will grilled it for you, or you can request like calamary, with clam sauce, padang sauce, or sweet and sour sauce. For fish, i reccomend to be grilled.

Snorkeling at Cilik Island, East Karimunjawa
2. Maritime Tour (Bahari Tour / Snorkeling Tour)

For me, this activities that you won’t miss! You can do snorkeling tour.
There are two destination of snorkeling. It needs at least two days to enjoy maritime tours.

a) Maritime Tour to West Side
The tour usually visit Menjangan Besar Island (where shark pool located), Menjangan Kecil Island, Cemara Besar Island, Cemara Kecil Island. You can see clearly on the map above.

Chillin at Cilik Island, Karimunjawa
b) Maritime Tour to East Side

The tour usually visit Cilik Island (chillin after snorkeling and having lunch there), Tengah Island, Gosong Island, and end at Tanjung Gelam Beach for sunset or shark pool at Menjangan Besar Island. You can see clearly on the map above. For maritime tour, you can contact me for arrangement the tour.

Shark Pool Hiu Kencana at Menjangan Besar Island



c) Maritime Tour to Shark Pool at Menjangan Besar Island

The tour usually included on the packages. Do you have guts to jump and stand at shark pool?
Starred at the pool for minutes and finally i dare to try the attraction. The sharks are tame, they swimming around me, sometimes i can feel their skin on my legs.

 

3. Mangrove Trekking Tour
You can do mangrove treeking tour at Kemujan Island. For mangrove trekking arrangement, you can contact me.

karimunjawa souvenirs
4. Souvenir Shopping.
What kind of souvenir that you can buy at Karimunjawa?
You can buy souvenirs like shirt (start from IDR 30.000), beach pants, dress, ring, bracelet, dried fish, cashews (IDR75.000/kg), hat, product from water hyacinth, and etc

What to Bring when visit Karimunjawa?
1) I suggest to bring carrier or backpack than suitcase.
2) Cash. There’s only one ATM from BRI Bank near main square. If you have Bank BCA ATM, you can still draw a cash from the BRI ATM.
3) Swimsuit
4) Sunblock
5) Soap, shampoo, and private toiletries. There’re also warong that sells toiletries
6) USB Disk to copy paste the underwater picture from maritime tour
7) Mosquitos repellent lotion
8) Sunglasses
9) Private medicine

Menjangan Besar Island

So, do you have guts to jump to shark pool and discover underwater world of Karimunjawa?
If you need arrangement of your trip or any information about Karimunjawa, you can contact me at bigelbandel@gmail.com. I would happy to help you.

 

ITINERARY
My arrangement itinerary to explore Karimunjawa and Semarang in depth, start from Jakarta City :

DAY 01: JAKARTA – SEMARANG ARRIVAL
Recommend flight from Jakarta: any flight that arrive on 9AM/10AM.
Next, it’s time to explore Semarang City on your own.
On my last visit, I rent a car and also used taxi for hoping from one place to others. If you want me to arrange the transportation in Semarang, just drop me message.

NOTE: Don’t forget to make reservation for shuttle from Jepara to Semarang City on day 5. Because the travel only has limited seat. And don’t forget to ask for pick up service at Kota Baru Homestay with additional IDR 20.000/person.

 

My suggestion itinerary to explore Semarang City on first day:
Brown cCanyon, Semarang
1) Brown Canyon : Best time to visit around 11AM – 1PM, where the sun shines its best ray. But our guide, Mr Robby said that sunrise and sunset also the best moment to get nice photograph. You will get photograph with blue sky as background. Basically, Brown Canyon is not a tourist place, so don’t be surprised if you greet by “sea of trash” before enter the canyon. Brown Canyon is forgotten digging project that attract most of photographers or instagram fans. You can get photographs like in Grand Canyon or other Canyon that located outside Indonesia. The ticket is IDR 5000/person and IDR 5000/car.

Umbul Sidomukti
2) Umbul Sidomukti for beautiful hill view scenery. You can also swimming with beautiful view. Pay IDR 20.000/pax for entrance fee.

3) Susan Spa, it’s a best place to do massage and spa. Pay IDR 25.000/pax for entrance fee
Great Mosque of Central Java
4) Great Mosque of Central Java. Tips: Go to the tower with entrance fee IDR 7000/pax. Take elevator to 19th floor and you will be reward with magnificent view of Semarang City at night. The tower closed on 9PM.
Electric Colourful duck-Cycle at simpang Lima Semarang
5) Simpang Lima, for explore culinary and ride colourful neon duck-cycle.

Next, you will spend one night at Semarang City.
For budget accommodation, you can try 34Residence in Gang Pinggir No. 34 behind Indomaret. One night for IDR 140.000/room/night exclude breakfast.  The room won’t make you disappointed. For real backpacker, you will find nice bed and fluffy pillow. The room is very big, with AC, inside toilet with seat toilet and hot water. MAMAMIA!

DAY 02: SEMARANG – JEPARA – KARIMUNJAWA

In early morning, you have to rent car or take a taxi to Jepara City to catch your morning ferry / speed boat.  Remember the trip from Semarang City to Jepara Harbour takes 2 -2,5 hours without traffic. So if your boat depart on 7AM, you should leave Semarang on 3.30AM at the latest.

The schedule of ferry and boat departure usually depart on 07AM /9AM/11AM.
I assume, around 1PM, you will arrive at Karimunjawa Harbour.

 

If you take the package trip from tour operator, usually the program is free for first day. After check in and do some refreshment at your homestay/hotel, you can have lunch near main square (alun alun).

Next, it’s time to explore Karimunjawa on your own. The best way to explore is with motorbike. It’s very easy to explore this island, since Karimunjawa only has one main road and there’re some signs that written the name of the place. You can rent motorbike in your homestay, they will help you to arrange the motorbike.

The cost of rent motorbike : IDR 75.000/day ( I ask some rent places and they have same price for one day rent, if you want to rent for a  week or more, you can bargain for discount)
The cost of fuel : IDR 10.000/litre. You can meet some warongs that sell fuel.

 

My suggestion itinerary to explore Karimunjawa by land is written below. You can see my map to see the location.
1) Jokotuwo Hill : entrance fee IDR 10.000/person
2) Love Hill  (Bukit Love) : entrance fee is still free on November 2015
3) Annora Beach : entrance fee is free, just pay parking IDR5000/motorbike
4) Tanjung Gelam for sunset : entrance fee is still free on November 2015
5) Dinner at Main Square (alun alun) and return to your homestay or hotel.

DAY 03: KARIMUNJAWA  – SNORKELING TIME WEST SIDE
Usually this day is for full day island hoping and snorkeling time, included to shark pool. You can contact me for arrangement of maritime tour.

DAY 04: KARIMUNJAWA  – SNORKELING TIME EAST SIDE
Usually this day is for full day island hoping and snorkeling time. You can contact me for arrangement of maritime tour. You can buy souvenirs at main square or some souvenir shops.

DAY 05: KARIMUNJAWA – JEPARA –  SEMARANG
Check out and go to harbour for your boat to Semarang city. The earliest boat schedule is depart on 7AM. You will arrive in Jepara at noon.

Your next question will be: “How to get to Semarang City from Jepara Harbour?”
Upon arrival at Jepara harbour, I took rickshaw to Kota Baru Homestay (I was too lazy to walk, but you can walk for 5 – 10 minutes).
Kota Baru is very welcome for backpacker and tourist that want to stay for hours waiting the shuttle. So I stranded at Kota Baru Homestay, doing some work with wifi, and had conversation with their super friendly staff while waiting my shuttle come.
The schedule of the shuttle in afternoon is on 1PM, 3PM, 4PM, 5PM.

And, I suggest to stay one night at Semarang City this day. Why?
Because on my trip, there was a VERY BAD traffic jam. I took 4 hours driving from Jepara to Semarang.  YES 4 HOURS!  If I took last flight from Semarang this day, I wouldn’t catch my flight.

For budget accommodation in Semarang, you can try 34Residence in Gang Pinggir No. 34, behind Indomaret. One night for IDR 140.000/room/night exclude breakfast.  The room is very big, with AC and inside toilet with seat toilet and hot water. MAMAMIA.

DAY 06: SEMARANG – JAKARTA
After check out, you can do Semarang City Tour and buy Semarang culinary food.
You can try Home Made Milk Fish, made by my mom’s friend Lieke. Just call 024-8313625 / 024-8313384 for order.
For other culinary milk fish product you can drop a visit at The Famous Bandeng Djuwana at Pandanaran Street 57.

My suggestion itinerary to explore Semarang on this day:
Sam Poo Kong, Semarang
1) Sam Poo Kong Temple : entrance fee IDR 3000/person. If you want to enter the prayer area, you can pay extend ticket IDR 35.000/person.
Semarang Old City
2) Semarang Old City :
Visit Blenduk Church from outside and strolling around the old city area. Don’t forget to have a cup of coffee at Spiegel Café (a cup of coffee around IDR 25.000-30.000)

Lawang Sewu
3) Lawang Sewu :
Lawang Sewu (Thousand Doors) is a landmark in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, built as the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company. The colonial era building is famous as a haunted house, though the Semarang city government has attempted to rebrand it. Lawang Sewu open from 7AM – 9PM. Entrance fee IDR 10.000/person, if you want to know the history and story, you can use guide with fee IDR30.000

pagoda avalokitesvara4) Pagoda Avalokitesvara Watugong :
This is the highest pagoda in Indonesia with 45 meter height. The location a little bit far from the city, it takes 45 minutes driving, but it’s worth to visit.
Entrance Fee: Free

5) Souvenir Shopping
6) And then go to airport for your flight home. I suggest late flight around 6PM or 7PM.

So, let’s visit Karimunjawa, Cheers!

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