Karimun Island

Karimun 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.

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 Tanjung Balai in North Sumatra province, a much larger city also known as Tanjung Balai Asahan and an international port. However, like Batam and Bintan, Karimun is also listed as a Free Trade Zone area.

Get in

Karimun's Tanjung Balai port is designated as a visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry point. Karimun does not have an operational airport, so travellers' only option is to get in by boat. 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

Penguin (Tel: +62-777-3243885 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 185.000 one-way before port taxes (Rp 60.000) from Tanjung Balai. Journey time is about one and a half hours.

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  buy the ticket.

From Malaysia

Several companies operate frequent ferries between Tanjung Balai and Kukup, pontian in the southwestern part of Johor.
Mv. Tuah 1 & 2,   the ferries leave Kukup at 0800, 1200 and 1600. From Tanjung Balai, ferries leave at 0915, 1315 and 1615.
The Ferry service operated by PENAGA TIMUR SDN BHD (Tel: +6076969098 in Terminal Antarabangsa Kukup, and +62-777-324885 in Tanjung Balai). Tickets cost RM70/90 one-way/return (excluding RM10 port tax/boarding fee).

From the other Riau Islands

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. 2.500 port tax & Rp. 2.000 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

Regular ferries link Sumatra port cities like Dumai, Pekanbaru, Selat Panjang (all in Riau province), and Kuaka Tungkal in JambiTanjung Pinang, the main town in Bintan, stopping at Sekupang on Batam

From other parts of Indonesia

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 7 pm for Belawan, the port for Medan, taking 17 hours (Ekonomi/Class III Wisata Rp 180.000/Rp 260.000).


  • Baitul Karim Mosque, Tanjung Balai.
  • Klenteng TUA PEK KONG, Jalan Antena Meral
  • Vihara Cetiya Vidya Sagara 朱王, 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.
  • 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. Have a nice and clear water, barbecue at there, etc... Really fun :D


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, 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.


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.

Traditional Market  Pasar Sri Karimun at Jalan Nusantara, it is offer many muslim clothes for man and woman, and the price is cheap

Padimas Department Store another shopping area in Karimun. Beside it, there is a game centre suitable for the families. Opposite it, is the Padimas Hotel, which is reasonably priced.

You can obtain 250g Karimun Utama coffee (Kopi Karimun Utama), local produced Kerupuk, deep fried fish crackers, snack KUS, can be found at Puakang Karimun


Seafood, For those who love to eat seafood. this restaurant will be the right place for you. they offer variety of life seafood such as Lobster, crab, fish, shell and a lot more. oh ya, they also have "HEKHO" which u cannot find in singapore. wow, this is one of the seafood that i lovee so much (Yummy). 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. oh ya, there is one more seafood that u cant find in singapore called "Spicy and sour Lome". and the drinks that i like most from this restaurant are soursoup and Avocado juice...

the location is very nice. it is right on the beach so it is very windy at night. but if u prefer to go on SUNNY day, it is also a good place because it has a nice view during day time. the payment can be paid by CASH, VISA and MASTERCARD. provide CARPARK as well.

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. Malay food is special food of this region, and nasi padang too.

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.


Much of Karimun's accommodation is in Tg. Balai Karimun, the central of the city.

Upon arrival in the Karimun Ferry Terminal you may go to the Hotel Reservation Counter at PT.UML Tour & Travel ( KAHA International Group ) or Tuah Ferry Counter +62777 326513 or +62777 324885, they will have numerous options for the hotels  on the island. These may give you a slightly better value than booking directly with the hotel itself so it is not a scam. In addition however there are budget options available such as family apartments.