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Karimunjawa Islands: Central Java, Indonesia

Designated as a national marine park, Karimunjawa is a chain of 27 of many small islands. These include Karimunjawa Island, Kemujan Island, Menjangan Besar Island, and Menjangan kecil Island. Practically all of Karimunjawa Islands are sand beaches. However in some areas of the Kemojan Islands there are mangrove beaches. Visitors to the Karimun Jawa islands, located some 50 miles north of Semarang, can also enjoy sunbathing or fishing. The area is famous as a haven for anglers because of its many fish.

What is great for travellers is that most of the islands are untouched, remote and beautiful. Only four of the islands are inhabited and one island is owned privately and has been turned into a holiday retreat. On the main island, Karimun, there are some 15 homestays, each with up to 10 rooms, which are often fully booked on weekends. There are many hotels on the island, with rooms from Rp 250,000 to US$500 a night. Visitors may choose to rent a bungalow for Rp 50,000 a night, and order from the sea food menu with meals starting at Rp 15,000.

Many resorts in Karimunjawa, such as Kura-kura Resort, provide numerous diving activities. Interesting spots are Taka Panyawangan and Gosong Cemara for diving. Tourists and travellers alike can enjoy snorkeling at Cemara which show relatively little environmental damage. Diving equipment is also available for hire for those who want to experience the beauty of the deep sea, but for safety reasons they must be accompanied by an instructor. People who are not able to swim can still enjoy snorkeling in safety on one of the extensive shallow reefs there with a depth of only 1.5 meters. Tourists who do not have their own equipment can hire snorkeling gear from local residents.

To experience the Karimun islands with their white sandy beaches visitors can cruise around the islands by boat, with fares ranging from Rp 100,000 to Rp 250,000 depending on the vessel. A boat which holds up to 10 people costs Rp 100,000, and for 20 people, Rp 250,000 a day” said Jasamni, a local resident who rents out boats.

Visitors can reach Karimun Jawa by ship, departing from Kartini harbor in Jepara or Tanjung Emas in Semarang. The Muria boat goes from Jepara to Karimun Jawa every Wednesday and Saturday at 9 a.m. and returns every Monday and Thursday at 8 a.m. The journey takes six hours and costs Rp 24,000 for economy class or Rp 48,000 for business class.

The Kartini goes from Semarang to Karimun Jawa every Saturday and returns on Sundays at 4 p.m. The ride takes only three to four hours but it costs up to Rp 100,000.

Or if you are feeling adventurous and enjoy discovering, then take a hike around the islands that you visit for a pleasant surprise and excellent panoramas and especially at sunset.