Indonesia is one of the world’s most famous tourism destinations due to its beautiful beaches and sceneries. Among its islands, Bali is the most popular and many international and local tourists include it in their bucket list. Even in Asia Pacific, Bali is one of the top tourist destinations of travelers from neighboring countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea. However, Bali is not the only great option as there are other many beautiful islands in Indonesia that both local and foreign tourist would surely admire. For those who adore beauty of beaches and natural sceneries, Karimun Jawa is a must see!
Located in Southern part of Central Java, Indonesia, Karimun Jawa has gradually attracted travelers who crave for a new adventure. Although Karimun Jawa is not as famous as Bali, the tourist destination offers various attractions to beach lovers. Aside from the natural beauty, Karimun Jawa also offers visitors the experience of ‘staying with locals’. When I first visited Karimun Jawa in 2010, I had a chance to stay at the house of a local resident of the island. Although there were growing numbers of local resort and hotels in Karimun Jawa at that time, staying with the locals was a good decision because I was able to experience their everyday life for a few days. I also stayed at another local’s house right before I left to Korea during my second visit to Karimun Jawa. Staying with locals does not only allow you to avail cheap accommodation — around $3-$6 per night (In mid 2013 depending on type of house you choose) — but it also gives you the opportunity to interact closely with local residents. Both of my visits were amazing but the first visit was just remarkable. The moment I arrived, the owner of the house welcomed us with coconut drinks and fish based local dish.
Like other trips, you can participate in any package of few days plan or you can arrange your stay by yourself. I always prefer to arrange my trip by myself and group I go with. However, if I need any guide or if I have to sign up to join any tour package in Karimun Jawa, I would prefer to go with a guide suggested by the place I stayed at. It is common for small business owner in newly developed tourism destination to hire or work family members as their ‘staff’ to give any other kind of complementary services. The owner of house I stayed at told me that most of their family members used to be farmers before they started their tourism related business and opened their home as a local ‘guest house’ in Karimun Jawa. As I stayed with them, I wanted to give small contribution to their start up business and to ‘empower’ local people during my stay. However, in 2013, I saw more and more people, even those who come from outside of the island has joined to run their business in the island. Because of variety of people running business in Karimun Jawa nowadays, you can simply find various types of tour package, guest house, hotel and even resort depending on your style and budget. (Cresti Eka Fitriana-Indonesia, 2015)
Karimun Jawa can be reached by ferry from Jepara, a town in Northern Part of Central Java. The best way to reach Karimun Jawa is from Semarang, the Capital of Central Java. People usually take the intercity bus from Semarang to Jepara and then take a ferry boat from Jepara port to reach the island. There are several types of buses and ferry boats available depending on your budget and style. And if you plan to go to Indonesia in the near future, do not forget to put Karimun Jawa in your bucket list to experience mind blowing beaches and cordiality of local people in the island.
By Cresti Eka Fitriana, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia