Karimunjawa Island guide

We love Bali for its beaches, rice paddies, and IG spots. But if you’re tired of having to brave crowds to get a nice quiet spot on the beach or a solo photo for the ‘Gram without photobombers, consider heading to this slightly ulu Bali alternative – Karimunjawa Island.

Located in the Central Java region, Karimunjawa Island also offers white sand beaches with clear blue waters, multiple sunset lookout points, and lots of activities that you can get up to including hiking and snorkelling.

– Things to do on Karimunjawa Island –

1. Go trekking at Karimunjawa National Park

karimunjawa national park
Image credit: @inriani_prastika 

There are a number of trails at Karimunjawa National Park that either lead you up the hill or to one of the many white sand beaches on the island. Hiking towards the hill’s peak takes about 2 hours and the route goes through forested areas where you might be lucky enough to spot a deer or long-tailed monkey. 

Once you’ve conquered the mountain you’ll be able to see the other parts of the Indonesian archipelago including surrounding islands.

Address: 5C2Q+CRQ, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
Contact: +62 24 76738248

2. Explore the Eco-Park Mangrove Forest

Karimunjawa island eco-park mangrove forest
Image credit: @nurburhan_karimunjawaexplore 

One of the most popular trails is a 2km trek from the main Karimunjawa harbour to the Eco-Park Mangrove Forest. Besides exploring on foot, you can also rent a bicycle and follow the wooden footpath that leads you through the mangrove forest. Keep your eyes open for wildlife including a variety of birds that call this place home. 

Karimunjawa harbour
Address: 4C8R+83J, Unnamed Road, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia

3. Go island hopping on a chartered boat

Karimunjava island hopping
Image credit: @sendiselikartika 

To fully utilise your time at Karimunjawa, consider booking an island hopping tour where you’ll get to visit 2-3 islands in a day. Private boat hires for groups of more than 2 start from Rp700,000/person (~S$64.10). You can get your hotel to make a booking or reach out directly to a local tour company.

Some of the nearby islands worth visiting are Pulau Tengah, Tanjung Gelam, and Menjangan Besar. The former 2 are usually less populated by tourists so you can enjoy some “private” beach time, while the latter is known for its baby shark pools.

Contact: Karimunjawa Package website

4. Go snorkelling and spot Nemo

Karimunjawa island snorkelling
Image credit: @noviatriutarii 

Finding Nemo? He and his entire family can easily be found in the Karimunjawa Island waters. Just keep swimming.

Taka Panyawangan and Gosong Cemara are 2 of the more well-known spots for snorkelling and diving where there is relatively less environmental damage to the coral reefs.

Rates: Rp225,000/person (~S$20.55)

Contact: Karimunjawa Boat Ticket website

5. Indulge in beach activities like jet skiing

Karimunjawa island batu topeng beach
Image adapted from: @drusdiyan, @graciellabudiono 

Sporty types can head to Batu Topeng beach for jet skiing and playing volleyball. The beach is also lined with warungs or beach shacks acting as small eateries. Plonk yourselves down here at the end of the day to enjoy a lovely sunset while sipping on a coconut.

Karimunjawa island bobby beach swings
Image adapted from: @gitalestary_, @fauzirahmadnur 

Bobby Beach is where you need to go for photos to populate your IG feed. You’ll find swings, hammocks, and mini tree houses where you can chill and leisurely go around snapping pics.

Karimunjawa island bobby beach
Image adapted from: @nftwulandari, @nurvinaagustin 

Bobby Beach is also a great spot to have a picnic and catch the sunset.

Karimunjawa island sunset bar
Image credit: @sunsetbarkarimunjawa 

Located on the far west of Karimunjawa Island is Sunset Beach, where you guessed it, the sunset views are spectacular. Here you can go canoeing and sit on a banana boat for fun.

Before the sun goes down, grab a drink at Sunset Bar to save yourself a seat to watch the sunset. The bar has beer, cocktails, coffee, and fruit juices on its menu. They’ve also lined up bean bag chairs along the beachfront but those get taken up quickly so go early to grab one.

6. Hike up to Bukit Love for plenty of photo ops

Karimunjawa island bukit love
Image credit: @david_andiwjy 

Easily the most photographed spot on Karimunjawa Islands, Bukit Love is a must-visit for memorable family photos and selfies. It’s an easy 1.5km hike up the hill where you’ll be greeted with picturesque views of the ocean, with a heart-shaped frame no less.

Bukit Love sign
Image credit: @abdul_hakim37

Search Bukit Love on IG and the location tag will be filled with pictures of families taking a photo with the Karimunjawa sign at the top of the hill. As cheesy as it might be, it makes for a great memento.

whaleys cafe
Image credit: @bukitlovekarimunjawa 

If you want to linger on at Bukit Love, you can grab lunch or dinner at Whaleys Cafe, an open-air eatery serving local snacks and drinks. Sit with a chilled beer and watch the sunset. On some days, there’s also an open mic where anyone is welcome to sing karaoke.

Bukit Love
Admission: Rp15,000/person (~S$1.38)

Whaleys Cafe
Address: Karimunjawa, Jepara Regency, Central Java, Indonesia
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm | Sat 9am-11pm | Sun 7am-10pm

7. Dine in the midst of lush greenery

the hapinezz ricefields
Image credit: @thehappinezzricefields

It’s not often we get the chance to have a meal in the midst of a paddy field. Admire the scenery of the surrounding hills and be close to nature at The Happinezz Ricefields. The restaurant serves authentic Indonesian food with dishes such as Mee Rebus, Nasi Goreng, and Kankong on the menu.

hapinezz ricefields
Image credit: @thehappinezzricefields 

Address: Jalan Soegijapranata, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah 59455, Indonesia
Opening hours: 11am-8pm, Daily
Contact: The Happinezz Ricefields Facebook

– Where to stay on Karimunjawa Island – 

1. Java Paradise Resort – Private beach for resort guests

java paradise resort
Wooden cottages with bedrooms on the second floor.
Image credit: @eicwilson

Conveniently located near Karimunjawa Harbour, Java Paradise Resort has rooms from just S$63/night. The resort has a huge swimming pool right in front of the Executive Rooms that come with a balcony and open terrace.

java paradise resort private beach
Image credit: @javaparadiseresort 

As a guest, you also get access to the private beach where you can avoid crowds.

Book a stay at Java Paradise Resort.

Address: Dukuh Kapuran, RT.04/RW.01, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah 59455, Indonesia
Contact: Java Paradise Resort website 

2. Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort – Free rental of kayaks

breve azurine lagood resort
Image credit: @septiana5316 

Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort is 5 minutes away from the Karimunjawa village centre and within walking distance to Bukit Love. Rooms here start from S$79/night, with most offering sea views and beachfront access. The resort also provides free rental of kayaks and snorkelling gear for exploring adjacent beaches.

Book a stay at Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort.

Address: Karimunjawa RT 04/01, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah 59455, Indonesia
Contact: Breve Azurine Lagoon Resort Karimunjawa website 

3. The Happinezz Hills Hotel – Reclusive spot away from the city

hapinezz hills hotel
Image credit: @abichochoo 

For a quiet holiday, stay at The Happinezz Hills Hotel which is located in a hilly area, slightly away from the city centre. Plus, there are claims of weak WiFi at this location, so it’s a great opportunity to go on a digital detox. The hotel has 16-themed rooms inspired by its natural surroundings with rates starting from S$61/night

hapinezz hills hotel pool
Image credit: @abichochoo 

There’s a children’s playground for the young ones to occupy themselves if they still have energy after swimming, as well as a pool bar for the adults to have a drink. You can also opt to have a floating breakfast in the pool for the ultimate ‘Gram flex. 

Book a stay at The Happinezz Hills Hotel.

Address: Jalan I. J. Kasimo, Karimunjawa, Kabupaten Jepara, Jawa Tengah 59455, Indonesia
Contact: The Happinezz Hills Karimunjawa website 

4. Royal Ocean View Beach Resort – Infinity pool facing the ocean

Royal ocean view resort
Glorious ocean view indeed.
Image credit: @izzyamore 

For a change, the Royal Ocean View Beach Resort is one of the only few hotels situated on the east side of Karimunjawa Island so it’s a perfect spot to catch a sunrise by the beach. With rooms starting from S$64/night, the resort is best known for IG-worthy views of the ocean, especially from its infinity pool.

It also has a private beach area and is close to Barakuda Beach where you can go snorkelling.

Book a stay at the Royal Ocean View Beach Resort.

Address: Pantai Barakuda, Desa Kemujan – Kemojan, Karimun Jawa, Jepara, Jawa Tengah 59455, Jepara, Indonesia
Contact: Royal Ocean View Beach Resort website 

How to get to Karimunjawa Island

bahari express ferry
Image credit:
Karimunjawa Package 

Take a 1-hour flight from Singapore to Jakarta, followed by a 1-hour flight to Semarang. From Semarang airport, take a 2-hour bus ride (Rp35,000, ~S$3.20) to Jepara Kartini Ferry Terminal. Finally, take the 30-minute fast boat to Karimunjawa Island.

Book a fast boat from Jepara to Karimunjawa (Rp260,000, ~S$23.84).

motorbike on karimunjawa
Image credit: @l.jlvt

There is no public transport as such on the island so most tourists either rent a motorbike (Rp75,000/day, ~S$6.85) or hire a car with a driver (from Rp600,000, ~S$54.79), arranged by their hotels. To get to the further beaches or islands, charter a boat instead.

However, if you stay around the harbour, you can get to most attractions by foot or bicycle. The island itself is only about 1/10 the size of Singapore, so not that difficult to get around.

Plan your visit to Karimunjawa Island

Karimunjawa island
Image credit: @exahard 

Whether you’re a beach bum or an adventure junkie, Karimunjawa Island offers a tropical getaway far from the crowds with all the Bali-vibes. Don’t forget to pack a picnic mat as you spend the afternoons lazing under the palm trees on different beaches around the island.

If you’re looking for more adventurous activities nearby, take a look at:

A portion of this content may contain referral links to products. However, all opinions are ours.
Cover image adapted from: @inriani_prastika, @thehappinezzricefields, @david_andiwjy

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