Swimming With Sharks at Karimunjawa Island, Indonesia

Karimunjawa island is a small island in north Java, Indonesia.

This island is still isolated and many Indonesians themselves do not know much about this recreational spot. 

Since several years ago, this island is well known as a paradise for scuba divers because of its underwater charm. This untouched sea is housing 242 species of fish and many beautiful corals. 

Here’s my experience of Karimunjawa and how we went swimming with sharks!

Karimunjawa island, Indonesia
Karimunjawa island, Indonesia

Getting to Karimunjawa island

To reach the island, we first took 12 hours direct bus trip from Jakarta (Rawamangun Station) to Jepara (in Semarang city). Then we took a ferry named KMP Muria straightaway to Karimunjawa Island that takes around 6 hours.

The long journey was well paid off by the beauty of the island.

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Swimming with sharks at Karimunjawa Island

We enjoyed the sunset, sunrise, seafoods which were cooked by the local people, snorkeling, island hopping, relaxing at the beach and even SWIMMING with SHARKS!!

Yes, swimming with sharks is a must try activity!

Don’t worry, they are smaller than usual and won’t bite you, but make sure you are not on period and don’t have any wounds on your body. The beach is calm and has crystal clear water, so I think it’s not suitable for surfing.

The beautiful underwater world that is still untouched has nicknamed this island as Little heaven in North Java. This island is also included as the top 5 most beautiful underwater world in Indonesia.

There are some islands in Karimunjawa and each of them offers different experience to be enjoyed.

Karimunjawa islands: Menjangan besar (menjangan means deer), Menjangan Kecil, Cemara Island, Gosong Island, etc.

Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Gosong Island because at that time that island was sank. Our tour guide told us that the best time to visit Karimunjawa is in October, when we are able to pay a visit to all the islands.

Though we weren’t diving, we already enjoyed fish feeding and saw many colorful corals by snorkeling on each spots. Traveling to Karimunjawa Island is indeed one of the most memorable experience for me.  

Karimunjawa island, Indonesia
Sunset at Karimunjawa island, Indonesia

Highlights of Karimunjawa island

  • There are local people who live at the island, so there are cars, motorcycle, local shop who sell groceries and they sell original pearls for souvenir too in cheap price.
  • Karimunjawa Island is ideal for backpackers. Because there weren’t any luxurious hotel except Kura-Kura Resort which is privately owned by an expatriate. There are homestays and motels and also lodgings in the middle of the sea called Wisma Apung (the concept is similar with resorts in Maldives, but in a very very simple and traditional way). The living cost to spend is very cheap too.
  • Karimunjawa is also can be reached indirectly by flight. First you must go to Semarang city by flight. Then take bus to Jepara which takes 2 hours then take public transport to go to the harbour, then take ferry ship (takes 3 or 6 hours depends on which ferry do you take) to Karimunjawa.  
  • There is an express ferry ship called Kartini which only takes 3 hours from Jepara to Karimunjawa.
  • Ferry is not operating daily and has limited passenger capacity. Be sure to make a booking first and always check the schedule.
  • There are some travel agents that provide tour packages, I think you should use this, if you want to explore this Island like I did. Mostly, tour packages start from Jepara, they provide boats to island hopping, daily foods, and also snorkeling/diving tools plus underwater photoshoots.

So, what do you think about it? Are you interested to go there and swim with sharks?

Don’t forget to bring anti nausea drugs to prevent yourself from vomiting while taking ferry trip.   

Looking to explore more of Indonesia? Check out these posts:

by Travel Dudes

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