Karimunjawa, A Spiritual Journey Part One

Karimunjawa islands is recently have been known as a recreational place for some people to relax and do some water sport activity like swimming, snorkeling, and diving. The islands consist of 27 islands with one big island in the middle. It’s located about 80 miles north of the city of Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia.

This is my second trip to Karimunjawa. My last trip was with seven Dutch nationalities students who were having an internship here in Semarang for three months. It was a pure recreational activities that we had back then. For three days we spent the days by sunbathing, diving (some were doing snorkeling) between islands, had lunch in the middle of an island, and just enjoyed the night life in this tiny village of Karimunjawa. But this trip is different. The experience that I got for the last three days is more spiritual than a recreational. Albeit I however still got the privilege to stay relaxed at the beaches in Karimunjawa for six hours.

Starting from the first day of the journey on October 21st, 2016. I planned to go there two days earlier with the friend of Ardhi, my co-founder in Bersukaria Tour, who also have a business in Karimunjawa. His name is Bangun.


Bangun and Ardhi also started a merchandising business together in Dieng, Central Java. When Bangun came to our office on October 19th, 2016 in the afternoon, he came to  have a discussion with Ardhi about their business together. They were talking about when will they go to Dieng again to inspect the progress of the construction of their new store in Dieng. Ardhi suggested that it’s better to go there next week. When the decision was made, Bangun also made his own decision to go to Karimunjawa this weekend to check out his store there. Then Ardhi said,”Why don’t you take Dimas to go to Karimunjawa with you? He wants to go there too.” Without any doubt, I also urged him to take me with him to Karimunjawa. The rain had not yet fall for 5 days, the weather was hot and sultry, the sky was so clear, so I thought that it was a good timing to go to Karimunjawa because it’s been notoriously known that if you will have a chance to get stranded in the island due to the weather and it could delay your journey up to one or two days longer than scheduled. I had a friend who has a friends who were stranded on the island due to the bad weather for almost a week.

Bangun agreed and we were planning to go to Karimunjawa via Kendal Harbor that just recently opened by the government months earlier. So it’s a brand new experience for both of us because previously the only fastest way to go there was through port of Kartini in Jepara which is located around 80 km or three hours driving from Semarang and the boat leaves at 9.00 AM, so in order to catch that boat, we have to wake up really early in order to catch that boat or sometimes it would be better for you to stay in Jepara a night prior to departure date and of course that will cost you more.

Meanwhile if you are taking the boat from Kendal to Karimunjawa, the journey will take about an hour longer than a boat from Jepara but the thing is Kendal is only half an hour away from Semarang. So you don’t have to wake up so early to catch up the boat. Even if you’re coming from Jakarta by plane or trains and arrived in Semarang at 8.00 AM in the morning, you still have a chance to go to Kendal Harbor to catch the boat.

The next day, Bangun booked two tickets for both of us and I will pick him up on October 21st at 8.00 AM because according to Bangun, the boat will leave the harbor at 10.00 AM.


I was so exciting to go to that Island again. The purpose of my second trip is to pay a visit to my fellow friends from various organisations who helped the local people to hold a thanksgiving festival, Barikan, to celebrate the Islamic new year. Because Islamic calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian Calendar. So it’s a movable feast, and this year the feast falls on October 9th, 2016 but the celebration was on October 20th, 2016. Some of my friends are already there since October 13th to give various workshops about art such as how to draw Batik (Indonesian traditional cloth), how to make the Wayang (Indonesian traditional puppet, but this one is more contemporary one), to the children on that island.

Frankly speaking, I missed the main event. But the event as Bangun described is not as big as any other festivals in Java for example like Dieng Cultural Festival that Ardhi and I organised two months ago. This festival is more private, only dedicated to the local, not profit driven, and this year is the second time the festival was held in Karimunjawa. But who knows that in years to come, this event could be big like Dieng Cultural Festival that been around for seventh time this year. I bet that they also faced a lot of ordeals when the festival was held for the first time.


After I had the meeting with Ardhi and Angga, my other co-founder of Bersukaria Tour on the night of October 20th, I decided to leave the meeting earlier and ask Ardhi to continue the meeting with our guest. When I arrived at home, I started to pack up three days supply of clothes, under wears, shorts, and raincoat because who knows that the rain will fall again and actually it’s a basic gear that need to be taken with you every time you go out to face the mother nature. I also brought my sleeping bag because I still don’t know where I’m going to stay or what kind of accommodation that I will acquired to spend the night there. So better be prepared than sorry.

 In the morning, I was so ready to go. All my bags are pack, I just need to take shower but when I about to take shower, Bangun sent me a message, telling me that there’s no need to hurry, it’s better to pick him up at 9.00 AM because the Kendal Harbor is located so near from where he lives. But actually I still prefer to leave earlier because we still don’t know the situation of Kendal Harbor, where should I park my car, do I need to grant a premission to park my car overnight, how far is it from carpark to the waiting room. But Bangun convinced me that he’ve been there before so there’s nothing to worry about. I started to leave my house at 8.15 AM because there’s a stuff that I need to buy first before I leave, and I arrived at Bangun’s house at 9.00 AM.

On our way to the harbor from Bangun’s home, he received the message from the boat company telling him that the boat is ready and about to leave in a moment. Bangun was shocked with the message that he received from his messenger, then he scrolled up his cell phone monitor to read the schedule that’d been sent by the company days before and he just realised that the company had changed the departure schedule from 10.00 AM to 9.00 AM! When I looked at the clock at my car, it’s already 9.10 AM, the boat should have leave 10 minutes ago, but Bangun convinced the company guy to wait because he misread the schedule, he thought that the company still using the old one. Then the company said it’s okay to wait for us, but they gave us another 20 minutes. I rushed my car as fast as I could to the Kendal harbor. There was a feeling that when you are in rush, suddenly the distance feels like going farther and farther. I know that the harbor is near, but I got the feeling like the harbor is farther than usual.

When we arrived at the harbor’s gate, the guy from the boat company gave us another call to ask our where about, we told them to wait because we already arrived at the harbor. After I parked my car and locked it, we both ran into the ship and when we were hit the terminal, the captain honked the horn as a sign that we are about to leave. When we entered the boat, not long after we sat, the boat left the harbor and here goes our three days journey to Karimunjawa started.


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