Overpriced but important to visit
Surrounding the islands of Kurimunjawa where there’s not white sandy beaches, there’s mangrove forests which is excellent, as these ecosystems are important to the health of our planet.
Indonesia is home to one quarter of the world’s mangroves, but unfortunately they are disappearing fast. Within the Kurimunjawa National Park a protected mangrove area offers trekking along raised boardwalks deep into the forest. We were discouraged several times by locals warning that “it’s too expensive for foreigners”, and while we agree that yes the entry fee is way overpriced and that the huge discrepancy between what Indonesians pay and what foreigners pay is outrageous, we still think it’s important to support.
The more foreign tourists who are seen to visit mangrove forests, the more the Indonesian government (and locals) are able to see their value and perhaps we can at least slow their destruction. So we say, suck up the cost, think of it as a donation to the world’s environmental future, go and enjoy! However make sure you are issued a printed ticket for your visit and don’t accept a discounted price (and no ticket issued), as these huge price differences are very tempting for corruption.
The trekking area is about 12 kilometres north from the town, so you’ll need to arrange some sort of transport (only ride a bicycle if you’re very fit—it’s hilly!) and the entrance is easily spotted with a large gateway and signage. Wear long clothing, smother yourself in mosquito repellent, and bring drinking water.
The wooden boardwalk is mostly in good condition although a few broken boards are towards the end of the track, it forms a loop walk about one-and-a-half kilometres in length, broken up with shelters to sit and spot wildlife from and at the sea’s edge, a triple-storey viewing tower which has a spectacular panoramic vista over the whole area. Signage is badly damaged and illegible on all but a couple of signs, which is unfortunate as the information tells of the plants and wildlife you are likely to spot. A small amount of plastic rubbish was washed up amongst the mangroves, but a lot less than we were expecting, however this may be seasonal.
Several species of mangroves and mangrove associates as well as many birds and other critters are there for the keen spotters. An identification chart for mangroves and birds (in Indonesian) can be found near the viewing tower. We heard much birdsong, but our feathered friends were too quick for our camera shutter, we did however spot two tiny baby snakes, who seemed just as curious to see us as we them.
Fortunately for us, but not for the National Park, we were alone which felt very primeval amongst the pops and sounds of the forest. The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon when wildlife is more likely to be active, but it’s a pleasant easy stroll anytime. We took an hour, but could have spent longer.
Address: 13km from Karimunjawa
Coordinates (for GPS): 110º28'3.73" E, 5º49'39.76" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Entry fee for foreigners on weekdays is: 155,000 rupiah, and weekends and holidays: 230,000 rupiah. For Indonesians, weekdays: 10,000 rupiah and weekends and holidays: 12,500 rupiah.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.