This is the first of a new Active Backpacker segment I’m calling “Reader Tales”. These are stories from the readers who make up the world wide community of backpackers. Whether you’re travelling the globe or just exploring the beauty of your own country, everyone has a travel story to tell! This one comes from Juanda who lives in Indonesia, who tells us about a trip to the island of Karimun Jawa – which looks absolutely stunning. Read on!
I took a trip in November 2011 to Karimun Jawa with 7 friends of mine. It is located in Central Java Province of Indonesia. From Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, you can go there by plane to Semarang and continue by a speed boat for 2-3 hours to Karimun Jawa. Or, you can go by bus to Jepara which will be a 10-12 hours ride and continue by a slow big boat for another 5 hours. We took the latter. Why? Because we are cheap hahaha.
This is the route we took.
Our journey was not a smooth one. First, we missed the boat. The boat departs at 8 am and it’s not daily. We missed the boat because we had a traffic jam going on from Jakarta to Jepara and the driver decided at that moment to take another route, which took an even longer time. Later on we found out that the other bus that stayed on the traffic jam got to Jepara faster than us!
This is the boat we were supposed to take.
So after we arrived at the port, knowing that we missed the boat by one hour, we start looking for alternatives. And luckily there were fishermen who wanted to go to Karimun Jawa too. So we offer them some money to let us on their boat, and oh boy it was a journey we will never forget. 6 hours on the sea, sailing with a small boat and feeling the heat of the sun burning our skin!
This is the boat we actually ended up on…
But it was all worth it. Once we arrived there, only one word can describe how we felt for the 3 days we stayed there. Beautiful! Marvelous! Adventurous! Magical! Okay, that’s 4 words, and I might be exaggerating a little bit… Sue me!
Who knew swimming with a baby shark was so much fun!
Our activity was mainly hopping from one island to another, which meant sharing the boat with other people. So if you’re in luck, you will be on the same boat with the most annoying, self-centered, selfish, ego maniacal and ugliest people in the world. Just kidding. Indonesians are well known for their hospitality, and it’s true for the most part, especially if you’re a foreigner.
So, we’re on the same boat with one family who had a son. This kid was being really friendly so he ended up on a lot of our pictures. Like this one!
The journey home was also quite adventurous. This time we managed to get on board the big slow boat. But even though the boat was not going to depart until 8-9 AM, we had to be on the board pretty early in the morning if we wanted to get a nice seat.
So we woke up at 4 in the morning, packed our things and were already on the boat by 5:30 AM. We waited around 3 hours before the ship departed and we had to endure another 5 hours on the boat.
The nice thing about it was we saw a group of dolphins swimming on the open sea and we didn’t have to dig deep into our pockets for the privilege. For this trip we spent less than $100 per person and that includes everything from accomodation to the activities.
Now as a bonus. More pictures!
So is Indonesia now on my list of places to visit (it keeps getting longer and longer), you bet! Karimun Jawa looks awesome – and some of those water photos make me want to get out of Holland right now and avoid the looming winter. Thanks for the excellent post Juanda, and for showing us a glimpse of travel and life in Indonesia! A pack of Active Backpacker post cards are coming your way.
Interested in submitting your own Reader Tale to share on Active Backpacker? I’m all ears, just regale me with your tales at tom [AT] activebackpacker.com.