The Karimun Islands

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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 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.

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

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, To Do

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

Paradise Hotel: Jalan Setia Budi Tg.Balai KepriTelephone: +62-777-23111, 23222, 23333, 23555.Website:  

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 BalaiTelephone:  +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:

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.

Getting There and Around

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, Telephone:  +62-777-324300 in Tanjung Balai) or +65-62714866 at the Harbour Front

For Indofalcon,, 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.