Best Things to Do in Karimunjawa Island

Best Things to Do in Karimunjawa Island

This is our first venture into the Java Sea. You can see the Java as Borneo’s southern border.

Java Sea is an arm of South China Sea. Our subject holiday destination, Karimunjawa (also spelt Karimunjava) Islands are located in the Java Sea.

It is an archipelago comprising 27 islands.

These are Indonesian Islands. The closest mainland town is Jepara in Central Java province, Java Island is the most populated island in the world.

It may be noted that Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is located on Java Island.

How to reach the Karimunjava Islands?

Jepara town on Java Island is the gateway. Though the distance is only 80 km, the voyage across the Java Sea takes as many as 6 hours! The ferry is dead slow.


This is the slow ferry named, ‘Siginjai’.

If you are ready to pay more, you get on board a fast ferry. It is really fast when compared to the slow ferry.

Two hours is all that a fast ferry takes to deposit you on Karimunjava.

Semarang city in Central Java province is also a gateway to reach Karimunjava by ferries.

Flights are operated from Jakarta. However, the frequency is too low to contemplate flying. But if you are lucky, you can dream of reaching Kemujan Island in 45 minutes only.

Which are the main islands of Karimunjava archipelago that the tourists from Java, Sumatra, Bali, and Malaysia, go?

The following four islands are worthy of your trip:
  • Karimunjava
  • Kemujan
  • Manjangan Kecil
  • Manjangan Besar

Obviously, the first mentioned is the largest island of the archipelago.


Interestingly, these islands on the Java Sea were first discovered by the army of Kublai Khan, the emperor of China at that time (1293 AD).

However, the islands were already inhabited by two ethnic groups, namely:

  • Bugis
  • Madurese

What language is spoken on Karimunjawa?

Javanese is the communication medium.

Best Things to Do in Karimunjawa Island

The archipelago, in which only 5 islands are occupied by humans, is very rich in marine life. It is because of that, the whole archipelago is a marine national park.

Whatever you can expect to see on Bali Island, you can see them on Karimunjava Islands that are much cheaper when compared to Bali which is very expensive.

  • Water-based activities are highly pursued. They include scuba diving, swimming, snorkelling, paddling kayaks.
  • Island hopping is the prime way of spending time when you are touring this part of Indonesia.

As there are more than 20 uninhabited islands, you have to allocate at least two full days to embark on all of them.

  • Beaches to see

I think you can have some of the beaches all to yourself during off season. Remember to visit Batu Topeng Beach, Bati Putih Beach, Alano Beach, and Ujung Gelam Beach.

  • Two marine parks are worth visiting if you are a fan of watching, and admiring, marine creatures. Below is a scene to lure you, buddy.
  • Shipwrecks to touch

Shipwrecks somehow are more fascinating to scuba divers than coral reefs, and other exotic fish species.

Cilik Island and Kemujan Islands are recommended for seeing the wrecked ships on the sea floor.

Please be aware that the actual diving spots are a bit far off from the islands’ shore. Maybe around 20 minutes of boat ride are required.

marine creatures

What to eat on karimunjava?

Being an island, seafood is predominant on the menu cards of restaurants that are attached to your hotels.

If you don’t mind eating street food, you are wise because the same food served in restaurants is also available in street food kiosks.

Try squids floating in a sauce that tastes sweet, and sour. It is called Tongsend Cumi. Give it a try.

Staying on Karimunjava Islands

The options to stay include hotels, resorts, cheap lodges, and homestays.

Except the lodges, the other three modes of staying offer breakfast for a fee.

Though there is nothing special about Karimunjawa Islands, I believe stepping onto the uninhabited islands would be thrilling.