Karimun Jawa is small tropical offshore archipelago of 27 islands situated about 90 kms off Java’s northern coast.
If you like to go off the beaten track, this is the perfect trip to add to your Java itinerary. Expect pristine, coral-fringed beaches and colourful reefs around the islands. Apart from getting horizontal in a hammock and admiring the ocean scenery, snorkelling, diving and fishing are the main pursuits.
It has a very authentic atmosphere because it is a popular weekend getaway destination for Indonesians, but not as well-known yet with western travellers.
The 27 islands of the Karimun Jawa National Park boast uncrowded beaches, mangrove forests, and crystal clear waters, and only five islands are inhabited. If you crave a real castaway experience, you’ll find it just a short boat ride away. Karimunjawa Island is the main hub where you’ll find most accommodations and where the ferry arrives. It is arguably the best island getaway destination off the coast of Java.
When travelling to Karimun Jawa, you have 2 main options: you can take a 2-hour ferry ride from Jepara or Semerang or you can take a 30-minute flight from Semarang. Rates start at 162,000 IDR ($10).
Most people go to Karimun Jawa after they visited Yogyakarta, but you can also reach it when coming from Jakarta.
Quick Answer on Getting to Karimun Jawa
Karimun Jawa is gradually becoming a more popular destination for people travelling through Java. The main gateway for ferries is Jepara which is easily accessible by bus from Yogyakarta.
There is also one ferry from the larger city of Semarang, which is the main airport hub in the region, so this is an option if you arrive early in the morning in Semarang. Note that this ferry only runs twice a week. Read below for more details.
By Ferry via Jepara
Jepara is the main gateway for people travelling to Karimun Jawa. From Jepara, you can reach Karimun Jawa by either fast or slow ferry.
The fast ferry is operated by Bahari Express and takes 2 to 2.5 hours to get to the island. Tickets cost 162,000 IDR ($10) for executive class and 192,000 IDR ($12) for VIP.
There is one daily departure (and two on Fridays), with varying times depending on the day of the week:
09:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays
10:00 on Saturdays
12:00 on Thursdays and Sundays
13:30 on Fridays
The slow ferry takes 4 to 6 hours and it is run by KMP Siginjai. You can get an economy class ticket for 76,000 IDR ($4.90) or a VIP seat for 96,000 IDR ($6).
Note that foreign visitors are required to pay an additional 25,000 IDR ($1.60) for the National Park fee.
Try to arrive at the harbour about an hour before the scheduled departure time to ensure you get a ticket. If you’re travelling during the busy season (April to June), we recommend asking your accommodation on the island to organise an advance booking of ferry tickets for you. There are limited trips with tickets selling out fast.
By Ferry via Semarang
There is also one fast ferry, operated by Kartini, that departs from Semarang to Karimun Jawa.
Kartini has departures every Tuesdays and Fridays at 09:00 in the morning. You can buy an economy class ticket for 133,000 IDR ($8.50) or a VIP class ticket for 153,000 IDR ($9.50). The journey takes around 2.5 hours.
By Plane via Semarang
The plane is a fast way to reach Karimun Jawa from Semarang because the flight takes only 30 minutes. However, Karimunjawa Dewadaru Airport (KWB) is basically a small airfield with very limited flights.
Scheduled services are only available on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays with Wings Air. The flight departs at 11:20 and the fare is around 400,000 IDR (S26). Aircraft are small turboprops with limited seats so can get booked up fast in the summer and especially on popular holiday long weekends.
In addition, taking a shorthaul flight like this produces high carbon emissions which has a bad effect on the environment. That’s why we rather recommend taking a ferry.
There are no direct routes to Karimun Jawa from other cities. You will first need to travel to either Jepara or Semarang to reach Karimun Jawa by ferry.
Make sure to check the ferry and flight schedules above so you can plan ahead. Flights and ferries are limited. See below for a more detailed guide.
There are 2 ways to reach Karimun Jawa from Surabaya: by flight via Semerang or by train and taxi/bus via Jepara.
There is currently no direct flight for this route. All flights make a 2.5-hr stopover in Semarang, for a total flight time of 4hr 15mins. These are operated by Wings Air on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays only. The flight departs at 07:35.
The other option is to travel by train. You can take a train from Surabaya’s Pasar Turi Station to Semarang Tawang Station. There is an average of 10 direct journeys daily from 06:00 to 22:35. Travel time is between 3.5 to 4.5 hours and fares start at 100,000 IDR ($6).
From Tawang Station take a short taxi ride to Semarang Terminal Terboyo, which will cost about 30,000 IDR ($1.90). From the terminal there are regular bus services to Jepara Terminal. The bus ride takes about 2 hours and costs around 30,000 IDR ($1.90).
From there it is a short 2 km taxi ride to Jepara’s Kartini Harbour where boats depart for Karimun Jawa.
From Yogyakarta to Karimun Jawa
When travelling from Yogyakarta to Karimun Jawa, you can travel overland to Jepera or Semarang and take a ferry from one of these ports.
Yogyakarta to Jepara
There are local buses operating this route daily. However, it involves a lot of stops on the way so expect a long journey of up to 7 hours.
If you want more comfort and speed, Day Trans offers air-conditioned minibuses for 130,000 IDR ($8). These minibuses depart from either their town office in Gading or from Hotel Borobudur.
The journey takes 4.5 to 5.5 hours and the minibus parks at the Day Trans terminal in Jepara, which is just 1.5 kms from Kartini Port. Day Trans offers an additional shuttle service from its terminal to the port which costs an extra 15,000 IDR ($0.95).
Day Trans (from Gading)
07:00-12:30 10:00-15:00 19:00-23:30 23:00-03:30
130,000 IDR ($8)
Day Trans (from Hotel Borobudur)
130,000 IDR ($8)
Take note of the ferry schedules when choosing your bus schedule to Jepara.
Yogyakarta to Semerang
PT Alloy Mitra Ersada departs 20 times a day and includes an overnight journey option so you have time to make the 9am ferry from Semarang.
There are 2 ways you can reach Semarang from Jakarta: either by train and by flying.
The train journey takes between 5.5 to 7.5 hours and fares range from 133,000 IDR ($8.50) to 232,000 IDR ($14.50) depending on the class of seat.
You can take the train from Gambir Station to Semarang Tawang Station. There are 13 direct and indirect trains operating this route daily from 06:55 to 22:30.
The flight takes just 1 hour from Jakarta to Semarang. There are departures from both Soekarno-Hatta and Halim Perdana Kusuma airports and fares start at 314,000 IDR ($20).
Due to Jakarta’s heavy road congestion, taking the train is by far the fastest and easiest way to get from the city centre to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
The train journey to the airport takes about 50 minutes and a ticket costs 70,000 IDR ($4.50). You can board the train at Sudirman Baru Station in the city centre and alight at Jakarta Airport Station. Then you can connect with the free sky train light rail system to whichever terminal your flight takes off from.
On arrival at Semarang Airport or the train station, you can take a taxi to Semarang Port. From the train station it takes only 10 mins to reach the port, or about 20 mins if coming from the airport.
Note that ferries to Karimun Jawa are not available every day from Semarang. If a ferry is not operating on the day you arrive, you can take a bus to Jepara, which is about 2 hours away. See above for further details.