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Karimun [1] is a small island offerring a range of tourist activities in the Riau Islands province of Indonesia. It is also the name of a group of islands and regency (kabupaten) to which it belongs.


Tanjung Balai town, observed from high.
Vihara Cetiya Vidya Sagara.

Karimun is located just off the east coast of Sumatra, guarding the southern entrance of the busy Straits of Malacca. It lies west of Batam and to the southwest of Singapore and is the furthest west of the Riau Islands.

Its proximity to Singapore has made the islands quite affluent and busy. Its main town, Tanjung Balai is a bustling port town with a lot of commerce, boosted by tourists from Singapore and Malaysia, however, it must not be confused with the two Tanjung Balais in North Sumatra province, essentially a much larger city also known as Tanjung Balai Asahan and an international port. Technically, there is both an independent city of Tanjung Balai formerly part of Asahan Regency and an adjacent district still within Asahan Regency, where the port lies. However, like Batam and Bintan, Karimun is also listed as a Free Trade Zone area.

Get in[edit]

Jalan Nusantara, a traditional Tanjung Balai street
Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal


For details on visa requirements for visiting Karimun, please see the Indonesia page. Karimun's Tanjung Balai port is designated as a visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry point.

Karimun does not have an international airport, so travellers' only option is to get in by boat from other countries. Karimun has good ferry connections with Singapore and Kukup in the southwestern tip of Johor, Malaysia as well as the other Riau Islands and the Sumatra "mainland".

From Singapore[edit]

Sindo Ferry (Tel: +62-777-324300 in Tanjung Balai; +65-62714866 in HarbourFront) and Indofalcon (Tel: +65-62783167 in Harbourfront) ferry companies operate ferries between Tanjung Balai and Singapore's HarbourFront Centre. Between them, they run 4 trips.From Singapore:0800,1140,1500,1820 (in Singapore time).From Tg. Balai:0730,1100,1400,1700 (in Tg. Balai time). From Singapore, tickets cost S$63 return before Indonesian port taxes or Rp 110.000 one-way before port taxes (Rp 65.000) from Tanjung Balai. Journey time is about one and a half hours. RT tickets to Tanjung Balai are 66SGD each using Indofalcon. You may have to go to the Indofalcon and book in person as their website is down and staff doesn't want to book on the phone.

Please note that the two companies' code-sharing agreement allows you to board any ferry at Tanjung Balai for the return leg to Singapore only if you hold a return ticket that was purchased in Singapore. If you buy your ticket in Tanjung Balai, you can only board the ferry of the company from which you buy the ticket.

(code sharing is no more active, so you'll have to take the same company ferry back)

Connections to Singapore is by way of Harbourfront Ferry Terminal owned by Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC). SCC Travel Services operates [ Ferry Ticket Search] (Tel: +65-6513-2191 in Singapore) has the most complete list of ferry services for sale on its website.

From Malaysia[edit]

Several ferries operate between Tanjung Balai and the southwestern part of Johor.

  • Ferries depart from Kukup at 8am, 10am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4pm. The on-line timetables I have seen do not seem to be accurate but these times were advertised at the Kukup terminal at time of my visit in February 2019.
  • Four ferries a day depart in each direction from Puteri Harbour; see Puteri Harbour web site for the timetable.

From the other Riau Islands[edit]

Numerous companies offer ferry services to/from Bintan, Batam and the other Riau Islands.

  • From Batam: Regular ferries link Tanjung Balai with Sekupang domestic ferry terminal on Batam. Many of these ferries originate from or are heading to the Sumatra mainland or Kundur Island. Tickets cost Rp. 70.000 one-way (excluding Rp. 1.000 port tax & Rp. 1.000 insurance)
  • From Bintan: Ferry company Arena operate regular ferries between Tanjung Balai and Tanjung Pinang, the main town on Bintan. The ferries also stop at Sekupang on Batam enroute.
  • From Kundur Island: The Miko Natalia 3 links Tanjung Balai with Tanjung Batu, the main town on Kundur Island several times daily. Tickets cost Rp. 46,000 one-way before port taxes. Journey time is over one hour, longer if stops are made at islands along the way. The ferry continues its journey to Sekupang on Batam.

From the Sumatra mainland[edit]

Warning:This info may be confused with Tanjung Balai Asahan

Regular ferries link Sumatra port cities like Dumai, Pekanbaru, Selat Panjang (all in Riau province), and Kuala Tungkal in Jambi with Tanjung Balai. Most of these ferries continue to Tanjung Pinang, the main town in Bintan, stopping at Sekupang on Batam enroute.

From other parts of Indonesia[edit]

A Pelni boat KM Kelud leaves Tanjung Balai every Wednesday at 8am for Jakarta, taking 31 hours (Ekonomi/Class III Wisata Rp 255.000/Rp 375.000). The same boat leaves Tanjung Balai every Saturday at 7pm for Belawan, the port for Medan, taking 17 hours (Ekonomi/Class III Wisata Rp 180.000/Rp 260.000). For more information on Pelni departure schedules and fare, contact PT. Biro Perjalanan Karimun at Jalan Nusantara No. 1, Tanjung Balai, Pulau Karimun. ☎ +62-777-324132 (fax: +62-777-327176).

Get around[edit]

By mikrolet[edit]

The cheapest way to travel in Karimun is by mikrolet. These small minibuses run a fairly standard route and pick up and drop off passengers anywhere along the way. By the way, the locals call them "oplet".You can get almost anywhere in Tanjung Balai for Rp. 3.000. Tanjung Balai to Meral is 2.500rp.

By bicycle[edit]

This would be one of the ideal ways to explore Karimun. There is a bicycle rental shop named ORDI along Jalan Ahmad Yani, which rents out mountain bicycles and has at least one electric bicycle available for rental. Alternatively, most of the ferry companies will take your bicycle for a SG$10 fee, so if you are coming from Singapore, just bring one over.

By motorbike[edit]

That is not so easy to find any rentals in Tanjung Balai, although some hostels provide "my friend has scooters" service. The cheapest option found was for 70.000 IDR. You can find it heading from ferry to the west, after church just turn right. There is a hostel on the left side, where you can bargain for the price. Gasoline costs around 15.000 IDR for the full tank. Roads are not that bad, enjoy!

Ojeks which are motorcycle taxis are available in Tanjung Balai.

By private car[edit]

To have a more pleasant and relax trip, you may wish to hire a local Chinese Speaking Driver. Daily rate is 200.000rp - 250,000rp, or SGD 25-30.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Karimun Coastal Area, just north of the ferry terminal. You can walk several kilometres along the foreshore while taking in views over the water, visiting the huge "Karimun" sign welcoming visitors, and seeing the ship on a pedestal at the roundabout. If you walk far enough you'll come to a construction site where a new resort and residential complex is underway. You can get food and drink at the built-up area a block or so north of the ferry terminal but there's not many supplies beyond that.
  • Cetiya Adipati (张府二王爷庙), Address : Jalan Kampung Bukit Meral Karimun. History: the God was originated from Taiwan "Jin Men" (Chinese: 金門, Hokkian: Kim Meng). During the period when Chinese migrated to across south east Asia (南洋) in the 1900s.
  • Vihara Buddha Diepa, Bukit Senang.
  • Vihara Bodhi Maitreya, Jalan A.yani
  • Baitul Karim Mosque, Tanjung Balai.
  • Klenteng TUA PEK KONG 大伯公庙, Jalan Athena Meral
  • Vihara Cetiya Vidya Sagara 朱王庙, Jalan Jenderal A. Yani, Meral. This chinese temple was built in 1926.
  • Vihara Sasana Diepa 妈祖宫, Jalan Jenderal A. Yani, Meral.
  • Palawan Beach, a beautiful beach. There is a nice small restaurant under the palm trees, overlooking the sea. On Sundays and holidays, it is a popular destination for the locals. Beach was not crowded but full of rubbish.
  • Pongkar Beach, another nice and beautiful beach. It's very refreshing and relax place that you have to visit when you are in Karimun
  • Waterfall usually call Air Terjun, climbing to the top of the waterfall. Nice and clear water, barbecue , etc... Really fun :D

Do[edit][add listing]

Stroll around Tanjung Balai, which is the main town on Karimun Island, and one of the busiest towns in the Riau Islands. You can walk around and explore on your own or you can take a mikrolet (small public bus) for Rp. 2.000.

To enjoy the rural lifestyle on a tropical Indonesian island, you need to get away from Tanjung Balai and go to some local kampung areas in Meral or Pasir Panjang.

Vist the Chinese temples of Klenteng TUA PEK KONG, Cerita Adipati (张府二王爷庙), Vihara Cetiya, Vidya Sagara and Vihara Sasana Diepa in Meral. Take your time to look at the temple drawings such as "General Xue and Lady Fan" and "Lady Warriors of the Yang Family".

Visit the "Air Terjun" (waterfall in Indonesian) which is not far away from Pantai Palawan. You can bath in the man-made pools built to capture the water flowing from the mountain. It's definitely refreshing.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Karimun's main department store is Indo A. Yani Swalayan & Dept. Store in Tanjung Balai. Pasar Swalayan means supermarket in Bahasa Indonesia. This 3 storey department store offers food, clothing, housewares, stationary and basic necessities.

Padimas Department Store is just off Jalan Pertambangan opposite the KFC. There are several cafes and restaurants there also, including Padimas Beer Garden behind the department store where you can get beer and karaoke. Opposite the department store is the Aston Karimun Hotel, and on the next corner is another restaurant called McDota.

You can obtain 250g Karimun Utama coffee (Kopi Karimun Utama) for Rp. 7.150 (Agent: Toko Utama, Jalan Nusantara No. 43, Tanjung Balai, Pulau Karimun. ☎ +62-777-21003), local produced Kerupuk, deep fried fish crackers, can be found at Bona Kerupuk Atom 50 and cost Rp. 7.000 per packet. and famous " Karate Coffee " at Jl Kampung Tanjung No 72 RT/TW: 003/004 ( near nusantara street )

And Asli Mart The new & restaurant ( jl.kolong < near yonada > ) There is Free WI-Fi Hotspot...

Eat[edit][add listing]

'Fresh seafood', you can try Restoran Andrew's Kitchen (address: Pramuka 42, Phone: 0777-327353). Chinese 'HALAL' food, it means that all kind food is 100% no pork. There are fish, crab, prawn, any kind of seafood and ala carte you can find there.

Bakso, a meatball made from low quality meat is just as popular as nasi goreng. Both are sold from street side stalls, or push carts that make their rounds through the neighborhoods.

Several chinese restaurants can be found along Jalan Trikora Laut (opposite Holiday Karimun Hotel). This is probably the central area for Teochew-style Bak Kut Teh. Noodles are also available.

The long stretch of open-air food and drink vendors that convenes outside the ferry terminal after 5pm is a great place to try out authentic, cheap Indonesian food.

  • Restaurant Seafoods 188, Baran 1, +6277731372, +628127092047. Offers a variety of live seafood such as lobster, crab, fish, shell and a lot more. Oh ya, they also have "HEKHO" which u cannot find in singapore. if you happen to go there, remember to order the pepper crab, sauce crab, kangkung belacan, ALL the grilled seafood, hekho, fried chicken, cereal prawn, fried sotong, lobster and a lot more. Located on the beach so it is very windy at night. Accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard.

粿汁( kue chap), address=Pujasera ... Traditional food ala Tio chiu.... Nice and black soup with white kue. Must Try. Two thumbs up. Chiak...

  • Pujasera Padimas, jl. Pertambangan. a special SeaFood restaurants with a lot variety food and low price  edit

Gado - Gado an Indonesian dish or Indonesian salad consisting of boiled vegetables served with a peanut sauce dressing PLus Some Crackers Sold In Kopitiam Beside Apotik Mitra Medika They Sold Tasty Gado Gado THeir Business Always Very Good Operating Hours 7 A.M Until 1 P.M

Drink[edit][add listing]

Try Lasegar, an Indonesian refreshing soft drink for Rp. 3.500 per can. One can of Carlsberg beer costs Rp. 5.500. Try Sosro, an Indonesian refreshing tea, or chinesse traditional herbal tea @ jl.trikora no.15 (next to kedai kopi AHIANG's coffhe shop) only cost RP.2000,-

  • D'Best. another Softdrink from Tanjung Balai Karimun  edit
  • Warung Yonada, Jl.kolong. they sell nice food western and Traditional food from Jogjaa  edit
  • YONADA, Jln kolong. Western Food and Traditional Food From Jogja,  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Gabion Hotel: Jalan Nusantara No. 45, Tanjung Balai. Situated close to the ferry terminal, the hotel nevertheless offers free terminal pickup and drop off. Tel: +62-777-326222, 326250, 31874. Prices from S$22 or Rp. 120,000 inclusive of breakfast.
  • Horizon, Jl Setia Budi, +62-777-324008. It's a great hotel with good and friendly services. The chauffeur can bring guests to the great seafood places. '''US$13''' or Rp120000.  edit
  • Holiday Karimun Hotel: Jalan Trikora Laut No. 1 Tanjung Balai (very near to the ferry terminal). Tel: +62-777-21065. Email: [email protected] Between Rp.242.000 and Rp.495.000
  • Maximillian: A new hotel opened, it is 7 storeys high, offers a karaoke lounge and much more. Tel: +62-777-328028 email: [email protected] Between S$28 and $S68.
  • Paragon Hotel: Jalan Trikora No. 38D, Tanjung Balai (about 200m from the ferry terminal in the heart of Tanjung Balai, straddling one block between Jalan Trikora and Jalan Nusantara). Tel: +62-777-31488. Said to be the best hotel in Tanjung Balai. Between S$25 and S$40.
  • Aston Karimun City Hotel: Jalan Pertambangan, Tanjung Balai (2Km from the ferry terminal). A night cost 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 lies a good SeaFood restaurants, Padimas Dept Store, Fast Food restaurant, Cafe, etc with friendly service. Tell: +62-777-325555.
  • Wisma King Star, Jl Setia Budi, +62-777-22348. This motel is small yet cozy and has friendly serving staffs. From this place, you can access easily to great food and pubs. Breakfast is provided free. Transport services to harbour and restaurant are provided. S$20 / Rp:100000.  edit
  • Hotel Rasa Indah: Jalan Nusantara No.127 B, Tanjung Balai Karimun-kepri, Indonesia. A five storey hotel with prices ranging from S$18-S$25 or Rp.100,000-Rp.130,000, inclusive of breakfast (prices may vary). For more Information, please contact:+62-777-327687,27689.
  • Nirwana, Jln.Nusantara no.12, 62777-31820. Rp.85.000 - Rp. 125.000.  edit
  • H3 Hotel, Jalan Ampera (in front of Minang Jaya), Tanjung Balai Karimun-Kepri, +62777 326798/+62777 326788 (). A budget hotel with unique boutique style in town. Serving breakfast and Free Wifi in rooms. Along the district, there is Nasi Padang restaurants, Chinese restaurants as well as a BCA bank, 3 minutes walking distance to K-one (Family KTV)  edit
  • 21 Karimun Hotel: A new 6-storey hotel consists of 100 standard king size rooms. It is situated along the seafront in the coastal area, within walking distance from the ferry terminal. 21 Coastal Area, Tanjung Balai, Karimun-Kepri, Indonesia. Soft launching from 3rd April 2016. Room rates from Rp.280.000. For reservations or +62 777 21221 or +62 822 8817 1221 (Janrin Harry).
  • Balai View Hotel: Rooms here start from $25 per night. A google search for more info is advised.


Telephone numbers[edit]

The country code for Indonesia is 62. The area code for Tanjung Balai is 777.

Postal services[edit]

Post office (known as kantor pos in Bahasa Indonesia) in Tanjung Balai is open daily except Sundays and public holidays. Sending a postcard costs Rp. 5.000.

Get out[edit]

The nearest airport is on Palau Batam, so you'll need to head back there for domestic flights.For International flights heading to Singapore or Kukup (Pontian, Malaysia)would be the best option. International seaport tax is 60,000 IDR.

Connections by sea are limited to one Pelni boat per week and various fast boat services to different Sumatran ports.

Connections by the sea are various - Malaysia, Singapore and other Indonesian islands. Ferry to Dumai costs 325.000 IDR and takes about 6 hours, only one departure per day, at 08:45 a.m. There are 2 stops on the way. First one is in Selatpanjang, second one in Bengkalis, where you can of course finish your ferry trip. On each stop many food vendors offer you local food, which is a bit overpriced.

Stay safe[edit]

  • All travellers who wish to explore the various places on the island on foot should be more careful at night. A moderate level of knowledge and formal training in self-defense is strongly recommended before venturing into the deeper, darker areas of town.
  • Travellers who are driving or riding should similarly practice the same level of caution, as roadblock robberies, although rare, are known to periodically happen in various parts of Indonesia.
  • It should also be said that venturing into uninhabited areas such as jungles or wilderness is generally not recommended at all times, unless it is with a local and trained tour guide or you possess extensive prior survival skills and knowledge. This may sound pretty elementary but you never know...some people may get a tad too adventurous.
  • When changing money at a teller, always check that you have received the correct amount before you walk off. Magicians abound in Indonesia.Create category
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