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Indonesia: No, It Did Not Burn Down II – Java: Karimunjawa National Park

Published: 28.12.2015
In our last article you learned more about Mt Muria, the holy mountain. We got there accidentally as we had different reasons why we traveled to Muria peninsula. There is a ferry on the northwestern coast (it departs from Jepara town) and it transports passengers to Karimunjawa National Park. We set aside two days because the ferry can cancel its trip due to huge waves. However, even two days extra were not enough.

We stayed 6 days in Jepara before we got on a ship. First couple of days large waves prevented them from setting sails. Therefore, increasing number of people concentrated at the port. We bought tickets for afternoon for the morning tickets were sold out already (you can buy them near the port at Express Bahari travel agency for 150 000 IDR – around 300 CZK). During long waiting somebody announced an engine malfunction on the ship when it sailed to Karimun island in the morning. It meant we had to return to the hotel.

 blue mosaic in Karimunjawa national park (you can be accommodated on the sea in these dwellings)

We were told to be at 5 in the morning at the port to buy a cargo ship ticket on time (at a stall at the port). In the morning, however, we found out that no tourist (there were about 10 of them including us) had no chance to win the battle and we became even more desperate when we saw young people selling the tickets for twice the price back to tourists. But there were none that got into our hands. We were hopeless and angry. We got back to the hotel and planned what to do next at the breakfast (usually included). We either wanted to continue in our journey or continue in wasting time. Employees took notice of us as well as a man from the adjacent room and asked us why we were not sailing. The man, a friendly Indonesian, said he has some land on the islands. He picked up the phone, called the port and said to arrange for tickets for us. He accompanied us to the port and arranged VIP tickets for us to a ship that would sail there on the following day. We thanked him a lot. Then we rented a scooter to take a ride to Mt. Muria to find some peace. You know what is great about this place already.

mangrovníková stezka na západě ostrova Karimun

We really reached Karimun on the following day (thanks to friendly locals). It was worth the waiting and all the problems. In case you intend to visit this island bear in mind that sometimes it may be difficult to get there. And the same problem was on our way back. They can just say: „Nor today or tomorrow a ship departs. We even don’t know when it will. You are on an island after all.“

houpačka v moři

I recommend you to take a lot of money from an ATM in Jepara. There is one ATM on Karimun (really just one!) but at the time of our visit it was out of order. To be honest, we found out an unpleasant thing – it does not accept VISA cards so don’t underestimate money because things can get difficult for you, as did in our case. Once again, locals were really helpful. An Indonesian family on holidays there lent us a considerable sum of money. They trusted us to return the money once we get back to Java. Once again we want to express our gratitude!

even here everyone wants to take a photo with usa beach on the east of Karimun

Karimunjawa National Park is an archipelago that consists of 27 islands. The largest island is Karimun, the only with mountains. Other mountains are covered by forests and it is really hard to access them. The most popular places at higher altitudes are Love Hill and Joko Tuwo Hill. It is really a tough problem to find a road there because every other road uphill ends up at cemetery or deep in the woods. Don’t worry, however, as the local inhabitants are friendly enough to help you with navigation. On the top of the hills you can enjoy views of the surrounding islands and blue mosaic around them. There is no better way to relax, monkeys having some good fun enhances the experience.

 Karimun nature

Along the west coast of this island the atmosphere resembles primitive villages. Otherwise the island is uninhabited. Locals are very nice. However, it is difficult to communicate with them because not many tourists arrive in the area, despite it is a true paradise. The islands are surrounded with beautiful sea underworld where colorful fish live. The landmass hosts fascinating nature which at many places runs into the sea as sand beaches. The views are marvelous. However, the sea contains a lot of waist. In my opinion, once a rich entrepreneur finds this place longing for beautiful hotels on beautiful beaches the islands will fall victim to this trend. On the other hand, the hills of Karimun can be better accessible.

Next week you can learn what other place we have seen.

GPS: 5°50'05.6"S 110°26'48.0"E

Text and photo: Martina Brožková

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