Places to visit

The Karimun Islands, Guarding the Straits of Malacca

Overview

The Karimun Islands : Guarding the Straits of Malacca Located west of Singapore and Batam, the Karimun Islands stand guard south of the busy shipping lane that is the Straits of Malacca. Together with Batam and Bintan, Karimun forms part of the Batam-Bintan-Karimun Free Trade Zone, which is being developed into an industrial and tourism region.

Capital of the Karimun Islands district in the Riau Islands (Kepri), is Tanjung Balai, a busy medium town largely built on stilts, with a significant Chinese Peranakan population. Here are found a number of Chinese temples, oldest of which is the Vihara Cetiya Vidya Sagara at Jalan Jenderal A. Yani at Meral, built in 1926. Others along the same street are the Vihara Bodhi Maitreya.an the Vihara Sasana Diepa. Further away at Jalan Athena is the Klenteng Tua Pek Kong.

Tanjung Balai Karimun should not be confused with its namesake Tanjung Balai in Asahan on the main island of Sumatra. Similarly, Karimun in the Riau Islands province should also not be confused with the Karimunjawa Islands, located north of Semarang, capital of Central Java .   

With trade and investments mounting fast in this region, it comes as no surprise, therefore, that this once sleepy town has become a hive of activities, although still retaining its coastal rural character.

The Karimun Islands : Guarding the Straits of Malacca But, to enjoy rural life on this tropical Indonesian island, you need to get away from Tanjung Balai and go to some local village or “kampung” at Meral or Pasir Panjang.

For holiday makers, the islands of Karimun offer long stretches of white beaches, snorkeling opportunities, and of course succulent seafood dishes of fish, crabs, prawns and oysters all freshly caught from the sea. The nearby Terkulai and Soreh are popular holiday islands, while Palawan Beach and Pongkar Beach offer white sandy beaches ideal for watersports and relaxation under the palm trees.  The island of Telunas in Karimun has also been developed into a holiday resort, a favorite with Singapore expatriates and students. (for details click www.telunasbeach.com)

Frequent ferries connect Singapore, Johor in Malaysia, Batam and Bintan with Tanjung Balai Karimun. And with more people visiting the islands for trade, investment and tourism, Karimun now has also a number of good hotels.

To Stay

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Harris Resort Batam

Jl. Kh Ahmad Dahlan 29422 Batam Centre

Holiday Inn Batam

Waterfront City, Batam, Indonesia, 29422 Batam

SouthLinks Country Club

Jl.Gajah Mada km 9, Sei ladi, 29444 Nagoya

Swiss-Inn Batam

Komplex Villa Idaman Baloi, Jodoh, Indonesia, 29432 Jodoh

GGi Hotel

Jl.Duyung, Sei Jodoh, 29453 Batam Center

Pacific Palace Hotel

Jln. Duyung sei. Jodoh, Kepulauan Riau , 29432 Nagoya

Romance Hotel

Komplek Dian Centre Blok B No.9-11, 29432 Nagoya

Swiss-Belhotel Harbour Bay

Jl. Duyung, Sei Jodoh, Batu Ampar Batam, 29432 Nagoya

The Hills Batam

Jl. Teuku Umar No.1 Nagoya - Batam, 29432 Nagoya

Hotel Ozon International

Jl Pembangunan, Komplek Penuin Center Blok H1, 29432 Nagoya

Grand Park Hotel

Jl. Raja Ali Haji,Sei Jodoh, 29432 Batu Ampar

89 Hotel

Jl. Pembangunan Baloi Blok VI Penuin, 29432 Nagoya

To Stay

Tanjung Balai Karimun offers a number of accommodations to choose from, among which are:


Paradise Hotel:
Jalan Setia Budi Tg.Balai Kepri
Telephone: +62-777-23111, 23222, 23333, 23555.
Website:  http://www.paradise-karimun.5u.com  

Aston Karimun City Hotel:
Aston Karimun lies 2 Km from the ferry terminal. A night costs Sing $70 for a Deluxe room. Rate includes buffet breakfast which has a good variety. LCD TV 32" Samsung & mini bar fridges can be found in Deluxe rooms. Just 5 minutes walk from the hotel are good Seafood restaurants, Padimas Dept Store, Fast Food restaurants, Cafe, etc with friendly service.
Address : Jalan Pertambangan, Tanjung Balai Karimun
Telephone: +62-777-325555.

Gabion Hotel:  
Close to the ferry terminal but hotel offers free terminal pickup and drop off. Prices from S$22 or Rp. 120,000 inclusive breakfast.
Address:  Jalan Nusantara No. 45, Tanjung Balai
Telephone: Tel: +62-777-326222, 326250, 31874.

Horizon Hotel
It’s a great hotel with good and friendly services. The chauffeur can bring guests to the great seafood Rates start at US$13 or Rp12,0000.
Address: Jl Setia Budi,Tanjung Balai
Telephone:  +62-777-324008

Holiday Karimun Hotel:
Very near to the ferry terminal. Rates Between Rp. 120,000 and Rp. 140,000.
Address: Jalan Trikora Laut No. 1 Tanjung Balai
Telephone: +62-777-21065.
Maximillian Hotel
A new 7-storey high hotel, offers a karaoke lounge and much more. Rates Between S$28 and $S68.
Address: Telephone: +62-777-328028
email: maximillian@telkom.net

Paragon Hotel:
Located about 200m from the ferry terminal in the heart of Tanjung Balai, straddling one block between Jalan Trikora and Jalan Nusantara. Rates between S$25 and S$40.
Address: Jalan Trikora No. 38D, Tanjung Balai
Telephone : +62-777-31488.

Get There

From Singapore, ferry operators Penguin and Indofalcon operate 4 trips daily from Singapore’s Harbour Front Centre to Tanjung Balai. Tickets cost S$63 excluding Singapore and Indonesian port taxes. From Tanjung Balai the ferry ticket costs Rp. 65,000 excluding port tax. The journey takes one and a half hours.

Since both companies code-share, Singapore ticket holders can board any ferry between the two on your return leg from Tanjung Balai to Singapore.  But if you have bought your ticket in Tanjung Balai, this will be valid only on the ferry of the company from which you bought the ticket.

For details and booking call: Penguin at http://www.penguin.com.sg/, Telephone:  +62-777-324300 in Tanjung Balai) or +65-62714866 at the Harbour Front

For Indofalcon, http://www.indofalcon.com.sg/, call telephone: +65-62783167 at Singapore’s Harbour Front

From Malaysia, ferries to Karimun leave from Kukup in Johor. MV Ocean Indoma ferries leave Kukup at 11.45 and 17.00 hrs. From Tanjung Balai, ferries leave at 09.30 and 14,30 hrs.

There is now a new ferry service from Batu Pahat, Johor to Tanjung Balai Karimun. The new ferry service is operated by Esnergy Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. (Tel: +60-7-4288181 in Batu Pahat and, +62-777-324355 in Tanjung Balai). The fare is Rp. 170,000 one way or Rp. 240,000 return excluding Rp. 10,000 port tax.

There are also regular ferry services from Batam and Bintan islands.

To Do

When in Karimun visit the long stretch of beaches on Karimun, among which are the following:

Palawan Beach can be reached within 30 minutes by car or motorbike from the center of Tanjung Balai. Palawan has a long white sandy beach, where are available small restaurants. Palawan is a favorite haunt for local and foreign visitors especially during weekends.

Pongkar Beach is another long stretch of beach in the subdistrict of Tebing. The coast is ideal for fishing, sailing and other kinds of watersports. Pongkar is also only half an hour away by car or taxi from the town center of Tanjung Balai. Here is also a stage for cultural performances.

Sawang Beach is only 30 minutes by car from the town of Tanjung Batu.  Besides enjoying the beach, visit the village of Sawang to see the local way of life of the fishermen, which is an attraction by itself. Sawang is also famous for its salted duck eggs.  

Lubuk Beach is located in the subdistrict of Kundur. The beach is further away, and it will take about one hour to reach from Tanjung Batu by car or taxi. Different from the other beaches on Karimun, on Lubuk Beach are large picturesque rocks on the beach – not unlike the beach at Bintan island - among which grow mangrove trees. Here is also a sacred cemetery built by a Singaporean.

Besides beaches, Karimun also has a waterfall to visit. The Pongkar waterfall is hidden amongst a protected forest area near Palawan Beach and has a recreation park located close to Gunung Jantan. Come to Pongkar waterfall, climb to the top and take a dip into its refreshing cool pool after an active hike of sightseeing, then enjoy a yummy barbecue while watching the waters rush down below.

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