Monday, 19 December 2011

Karimunjawa - Figuring out your transportation options

So you have booked that flight ticket to Semarang, but then you have no idea of how to get to this spectacular islands. Fret not, I will be breaking down the transportation options available to you.

Semarang, Jepara, and Karimunjawa
First thing first, your starting point most likely will be Semarang, although in some cases you will have to start from Jepara. Semarang is highly accessible by air and rail. There are many daily flights from Jakarta (Lion Air, Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batavia) as well as a 4x weekly flight by Batavia Air from Singapore. Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang also have routes to other cities, such as Surabaya, Bandung, and Denpasar (Bali). Starting 6 February 2012, Air Asia will also serve a daily flight to Semarang from Kuala Lumpur.

Semarang is also well-served by the rail network of PT Kereta Api, with daily trains from other major cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung (see PT Kereta Api Indonesia's Website for a complete schedule)

From Semarang, there are two options going to Karimunjawa, by air and by sea. Flying is obviously the fastest and most comfortable method, but it is also priced beyond most people's reach. All flights are chartered flights, operated by Kura Kura Resort, one of the most luxurious accommodation in Karimunjawa. The flights are operated on Cessna 402B with 6-8 passenger seats and one Cessna 172 for 3. For 1 May until 31 October this year, flights are scheduled as such:

Semarang Airport        12:00     Karimunjawa Airport     13:15
Karimunjawa Airport  12:00     Semarang Airport           13:15

Kura Kura Aviation's Cessna

The 130 km or so flight takes only half an hour before you will land at the tiny airstrip in Kemujan (one of the two main islands lying side by side).  For more information on rates, schedules, etc. you can contact Kura Kura Resort, by emailing them at info [at] kurakuraresort [dot] com or calling +62 (0)24-766 325 10

Most people, however will take the ferry from either Semarang or Jepara. Take not that the ferry route is not served daily, therefore you may need to plan your trip accordingly. The weather is sometimes unpredictable, and there are limited seats on the air-conditioned VIP / Business cabins, so do call in advance to book and then call another time to confirm that the ship will depart (no high storm, bad weather etc.)

The fast ferry serves Karimunjawa from both Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang and Kartini Port in Jepara (on different days). It is called KMC (Kapal Motor Cepat) Kartini 1. The journey on KMC Kartini 1 will take approximately 3.5 hour from Semarang and 2.5 hour from Jepara.  The schedule and pricing are as follows

KMC Kartini
  • Semarang - Karimunjawa - Semarang
    Semarang - Karimunjawa: Saturday, 09.00-12.30
    Karimunjawa - Semarang: Sunday, 14:00-17.30

    Business Class: 130,000 IDR/pax (lower part of the deck)
    Executive Class: 150,000 IDR/pax (upper part of the deck)
  • Jepara - Karimunjawa - Jepara
    Jepara - Karimunjawa: Monday 10:00 - 12:30
    Karimunjawa - Jepara: Tuesday 11:00 - 13:30

    Business Class: 69,000 IDR/pax
    Executive Class: 84,000 IDR/pax

    Note: With this one, you can still return to Semarang (every second week), but the ship will transit for around one hour, arriving in Semarang at approximately 17.00. Fare for Jepara - Semarang is the same as that of Jepara - Karimunjawa
These figures and timing are provided for estimation and planning purposes only. For the latest updates and bookings, do contact Mr. Purwanto (Dinas Perhubungan Semarang) at +62-24-70400010.

The slow ferry will be useful if you want to bring your car / motorcycle, or if simply there is no fast ferry on that day. The ship KMP Muria carries all sorts of commodities, into the islands from Jepara, so you are more likely to meet locals travelling on this ship. The journey from Jepara will take about 6-7 hours. The Departure schedule are as follows:
  • Jepara – Karimunjawa
    Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 09.00
  • Karimunjawa – Jepara
    Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday 08.00
KMP Muria
Tickets are IDR 30,500/pax (Economy), IDR 60,250/pax (VIP). If you plan on bringing vehicles, tickets are IDR 27.500 for motorcycles and IDR 300,000 for cars. For further information and on KMP Muria, do contact ASDP Jepara +62-291-591048, or Mrs. Retno +62-81-22895510. For your return, you can book from the ASDP office in the centre of Karimunjawa.

Take not that for this ferry, even though the departure is stated as 9.00 am, you are advised to be at the Kartini Port much much earlier, because once the ship is loaded to capacity it may depart somewhat earlier. Be there at 7 am, or even 6 am if you could, have breakfast or chit chat, and of course claim your precious seat as soon as the ferry opens.

Public transport in Karimunjawa are almost nonexistent, so do arrange with your lodging for pickup beforehand, or be prepared to haggle hard with the local pedicab drivers or van drivers. Prices may be steep.

If you do need to travel between Semarang and Jepara, there are buses from Terminal Terboyo (eastern part of Semarang) to the bus terminal in Jepara (from 15,000 to 30,000 IDR one way). The port is a  walkable 2 km or so from the terminal, but of course you can take local transport (becak / pedicab) too. But then, why not just stay in Jepara and admire their famous wood carving

Hope this summary can help anyone wishing to come to Karimunjawa. It is a beautiful island yet to be discovered by many!


    1. Hello!!
      Thank you very much for yoir help. We a re a couple willing to go to Karimunjawa this August.
      Could you tell us if it is easy to deal a boat to Kura Kura from Karimunjawa with any local people? The Kura Kura resort fares for transportation are quite high!!

      Could you ease any contact, please?

      Best regards!