Pulau Tengah, or Middle Island as it translates to, is another must visit spot when touring the Karimunjawa archipelago, located off the northern coast of Central Java.
Measuring only approximately 4 hectares, Tengah Island is a small island. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in exquisite and natural beauty both on land and underwater. Karimunjawa, which literally means “a stone’s throw from Java,” consists of 27 small islands located in the Java Sea, just off the coast of Semarang, Central Java.
Tengah Island is a fairly flat island, with the entire expanse of its tiny landmass covered in sandy white beaches, strewn with chunks of coral and dotted with coconut trees and sea pines. Bright blue waters enclose the island, filled with table corals and brain corals and visible beneath the surface even at a depth of 10 meters.
Compared to the other small islands in the Karimunjawa island chain, Tengah island is more complete with facilities, accommodations, and snorkeling and diving gear, making it an excellent choice for group excursions, family holidays, or even just for regular beach lovers. A long, wooden pier extends out to sea, allowing fishing boats to dock on the island. Tengah Island is owned by PT. Raja Besi, a steel company, and run by a married couple who are the guardians and caretakers of the island.
A small diner is built on stilts in the water, serving young coconut, grilled fish, cold drinks and fried foods, for simple yet delicious meals. Since a popular activity on the island is fishing, there is no shortage of fresh fish and seafood which can be cooked up right on the beach.
Accommodations on Tengah Island include two resorts, built in the shade of palm trees, both of which are simple, yet nice, although many prefer to stay on the larger and more complete Karimunjawa Island. As Tengah Island is one of the more remote islands, it is possible to just walk in and find a room on the spot. Here are some of the hotels and resorts located on Karimunjawa Island itself.
Karimunjawa Inn is located in Bukit Kapuran, approximately 500 meters from the beach, and ideal for those who desire peace and seclusion. The spacious rooms come complete with color cable television, air conditioning, daily cleaning, mineral water and toiletries, while the additional facilities include jet ski rentals, glass bottom boats, a restaurant, motorbike and bicycle rentals, snorkeling equipment, tour packages and laundry service.
Explore the hidden treasures and wealth of marine life beneath the waters. Coral reefs of excellent condition are located just about everywhere around the island. The seabed is soft and sloping with a maximum depth of 20 meters, and currents are not very strong, making it a perfect spot for beginner divers and snorkelers.
Brain corals and table corals decorate the soft white sand, populated with a variety of sea creatures that seem to live and move in rhythm to the pulsating beat of the currents and tides. Butterfly fish, cardinals, angel fish, grouper fish, damsel fish, puffer fish and parrot fish are just a few of the reef-dwelling creatures that can be seen hidden in the many crevices of the coral formations. Schooling fish of multitudinous colors sweep across the waters in perfect harmony, while sea snakes, sea turtles, stingrays and even sharks and dolphins inhabit the deeper levels of the waters.
Not too far from the island is a naturally formed sandbar which rises slightly above the water. This sandbar is commonly called “Gosong Tengah,” and measures about 3 meters wide by 100 meters long. From a top this plain white sand in the middle of the water, you can watch the small fish and stingrays darting about beneath you. There are no waves, so it is perfectly suitable for swimming. It is also possible to go fishing from this sandbar, or even directly from shore.
The shallower waters near the shore are great for just taking dip, or have fun playing in the sand on the beach! Relax under the palm trees in the sand or in a hammock, and enjoy the sun, fresh air, blue skies and sea breeze, and you’ll definitely feel at home on this flawless, tropical island.
To get to Tengah Island, first fly to Semarang in Central Java. Achmad Yani Airport in Semarang is internationally accessible from Singapore via Lion Air, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia via Air Asia. Garuda Indonesia flies daily from Jakarta to Semarang. Other Domestic flights are also available from Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Bandung, Banjarmasin, and other smaller cities around Indonesia.
You can also take the train to Semarang from Jakarta, Surabaya or Bandung.
From Semarang, head to Jepara, the seaport, after which you must catch a ferry to the main Karimunjawa Island: Karimunjawa. Once in Karimunjawa, you must catch another smaller boat for a 1 ½ hour trip to Tengah Island.
The best time to visit is during the hot season between May and August.
Maintain the pollution-free environment of Tengah Island by not littering, but disposing of your trash properly in the proper place.