Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Jepara.
Transport from Jepara goes in two general directions. Across the ocean to Karimunjawa or south to Kudus and beyond. A smattering of angkots ply other local routes, but these are of little use to most travellers.
Direct buses head from Jepara to Semarang and Kudus, with Kudus being a fairly major transport hub given its location on the main northern highway across Java.
Sample fares include:
Kudus: costing 8,000 rupiah and taking 1 hour
Semarang: costing 15,000 rupiah and taking 2 hours
Three ferries ply the Jepara-Karimunjawa route, with the Bahari express being the most popular with tourists due to its speed and comfort. Other ships such as the Muria and Kartini are slow, less comfortable and less regular. Schedules appear to change quite regularly and services are cancelled in bad weather. In other words, a two-day visit can turn into a few more if the weather turns nasty.
The Bahari Express is by far the most professional of the ferries to make the journey to Karimunjawa, with all classes getting coach-like seats and air-con. It also only takes an hour and 45 minutes for the crossing at a cost of 69,000 rupiah.
The express departs Jepara on Mondays at 10:30, Tuesdays at 10:30, Fridays at 14:00 and Saturdays 10:30. For the return journey from Karimunjawa, it leaves Mondays at 13:00, Wednesdays at 10:30, Saturdays at 08:00 and Sundays at 14:00. So if you arrive on a Monday or Tuesday, the next practical service to leave on is the following Saturday, as the Wednesday service will probably be too fast a turnaround -- especially once you see the beautiful beaches of the islands.
The Muria is a mixed vehicle, cargo and passenger vessel. It takes approximately six hours for the crossing and costs 28,500 rupiah in economy class. It departs Jepara at 09:00 on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays, and on the return journey departs Karimunjawa at 08:00 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Kartini's schedule changes regularly and was out of service at the time of writing. However, this vessel has made calls to Semarang as well as Jepara on alternate days in the past; our advice is to not rely upon it running at all.