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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Travel Karimunjawa Vacation

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Get Carried Away in Karimunjawa

Blue is as far as the eye can see for the many miles of ocean ahead. The great sea adventure has just begun.
Once upon a time, there lies an archipelago of 27 islands in the Java Sea called Karimunjawa. Its name means ‘a stone’s throw from Java’ in Javanese, and its ambiance is the perfect setting for faraway untold tales and adventures unknown to many — simply because of its lack of access.
     Today, getting to the 9,000-odd population and crystal blue waters of Karimunjawa Islands in Indonesia is quite breezy. From Jepara Kartini Harbour, Central Java (after about 2-hour bus ride from Semarangairport), take the slow ferry ride to the islands. Unless you prefer the natural salty breeze caressing your face for 6 straight hours, I would suggest opting for the VIP room (IDR80.000 per pax) that offers a reclining seat, a TV, and air-conditioning. On the ferry, there is a canteen, prayer room and toilets for usage while you watch the antics of locals transporting all sorts of fresh produce and furniture from the mainland to Karimunjawa Islands. As the waters got bluer, my pulse quickened in anticipation!

 Sparkling blue waters welcoming visitors at the harbour of Karimunjawa Islands!

Six hours later, without any motion sickness, we were greeted by the beautiful sight of Karimun’s harbour. Very quickly, folks were unloading items off the ferry and passengers—mostly Javanese locals and tourists alike—rushed out as if they had just been released from their ferry gaol, eager to begin exploring the largest island among the cluster.
     A short van ride later, I checked-in into Karimunjawa Inn, a rustic-looking accommodation offering quaint little chalets for guests with a price difference dependent on your choice of a squat or sit toilet business! Depending on season, each room can be from IDR200.000 to IDR300.000 per night. To my surprise, the chalets offered no electricity during daytime, and will only have it switched on from 5pm to 7am daily. Oh well, what can I say but…welcome to the simple life! I learnt that there were a few higher-end resorts which provide electricity around the clock for those who just can’t leave their gadgets behind.  Still, it was quite an experience to shower with a manual-winding torchlight whilst checking for python and gecko visitors from the lush green jungle behind my chalet.

Our first dinner meal, as with all other meals on the islands, was thoroughly simple yet satisfying–lots of greens with freshly-grilled fish, complete with fish crackers and a dollop of oh-so-good sambal (chilli sauce). We all turned in early after a long day so we could be well-rested for an early start to our island-hopping adventure tomorrow. The moment the sky turned dark, I turned my eyes up towards the sky and fell in love with Karimun immediately.

Amazing sunset at Karimun’s harbour.

The night was serenaded with cool breeze; the sky filled with gleaming stars as if someone punched holes on a wide black fuzzy blanket covering a very bright light above. It was a mesmerizing sight and I recalled my  very first stargazing moment back in Club Med Cherating in Kuantan, Malaysia, many moons ago. I felt the same stillness and peace, all over again. If only we have such sights to enjoy in Kuala Lumpur….



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