5 Things to Do in Karimunjawa

Wondering what to do on this small island located in the Java Sea? In this blog post we are going to share 5 Things to do in KarimunjawaIt is still pretty underdeveloped and the vibes are pretty calm throughout the whole island. Just recently they have began developing their tourist attractions, so get there before it starts booming and buzzing with tourists. There are a couple of resorts and many hostel type places to stay. A handful of Western type restaurants await you as well.

Here are 5 things we recommend you don’t miss if you travel to Karimunjawa Island!

#1. Island Hopping and Snorkeling on a Traditional Boat

This was by far one of our funnest days on the island! We rented a half day tour through the Jiwaquest Breve Azurine Resort. They arranged everything for us. You can also arrange for a whole day tour. We were picked up at the resort and escorted to our boat. The view of the Java Sea was beautiful. Our first stop was to snorkel. I don’t know how long we spent there, but there were tons of fish to admire in the beautiful clear waters! Amazing!!! All the gear was provided. We boarded the boat again and were given water and watermelon to snack on. We then traveled to a small island called Pulau Cemara Kecil “Small pine tree island”. We were given time to explore the island, comb the beach for shells and starfish and take lots of pictures. We boarded the boat again and sailed to another small island where we watched the sunset and of course took lots of pictures.

You can watch our half-day tour here to get a glimpse into what you can expect when you book a tour.

#2. Kayaking

We stayed at the Jiwaquest Breve Azurine Resort, which provided kayaks for its guests to use free of charge. We launched our kayaks right off their own private beach. The water was clear and you can go pretty far before you come to the end of the reef. You can wear life vests that they provide or go without. They have single or double kayaks to choose from. Coasting on the water and soaking up the sun was so relaxing!

Check out our video about the Resort and you will see the kayaks and other swimming gear that they provide.

#3. Rent a Motorcycle (Scooter) for the day

Definitely do this! You will get a better feel for the island as your travel along its small uncrowded roads. The resort arranged for us to rent two motorcycles for the day. Don’t be alarmed, they don’t provide helmets. We were told that there are no police on the island and no one wears them. I don’t know if that is true, but from our observation very few people had helmets on.

Check out our motorcycle ride here which also features the next thing to do on the island!

#4. Visit Bukit Love “Love Hill”

If you love to take pictures, then this is a great place to visit! As they say, it’s very “Instagramable”. At the top there are great views of the sea and the city. It is cheap to enter and you can buy some souvenirs as well.

#5. Go to the Alun-Alun At Night and Buy Souvenirs

If you didn’t find the souvenir you wanted at Bukit Love, then head to the alun-alun in the evening, after 6:00 PM. This is like the city square where the community hangs out in the evenings. The city will come to life now that the temperature is cooler and there will be lots of people selling food and souvenirs. If you buy in bulk you will be offered a cheaper price.

We stayed around and bought some souvenirs at the end of a Barikan Festival. You can see some of those souvenirs plus what the alun-alun looks like by watching to the end of this video.

We hope you enjoy your vacation to Karimunjawa Island as much as we did! Keep Smiling! :)


1.  Watch here to see what it’s like to take the fast boat (Bahari Expres) to Karimunjawa Island.

2. Finding Western food can be tricky on Karimunjawa Island. If you’re looking for Burgers and Pizza, we recommend eating at Eat & Meet.

3. Great smoothies, cheap accommodation and cheap tours on Karimunjawa available at the Happinezz Restaurant. 

Why I Chose to Ride a Scooter Over a “Real” Motorcycle

Yamaha Mio Automatic

My friends here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia are always amazed when they find out that in Moab, Utah I owned a Yamaha TW200 (pictured above). Here a bike like that is considered a “boys bike”. They call me “Macho” for being able to ride one. (I’m not sure if that is a compliment or not). Here in Yogyakarta I ride a Yamaha Mio Automatic (pictured below). Many people wonder why I chose to ride a scooter over a “real” motorcycle.


My reasons for choosing an automatic are very practical:

  • The first reason is because I wear skirts a lot here and I can easily get on and off without causing a scene.
  • My second reason is because the space in front of me, designed for my feet, makes a great place to carry groceries. Limited, yes, but sufficient for a couple of bags.
  • The third, and maybe most important reason, is that the space on the seat is larger than most “real” motorcycles, like Marty’s, and I can carry both Sarah and Seth at the same time.

These might not seem like exciting features to a real adventurer who likes to off-road, but to me, who happens to be a mom and housewife, these qualities in a motorcycle are very important for daily life! ☺

Keeping Dry While Riding A Motorcycle In The Rain

Sarah and Seth in the rain

I love the rain! It gives me a sense of calmness. Maybe because I am a homebody by nature, rain gives me the urge to stop all necessary work, find a good book and a comfy couch! Having said all that, I find myself caught out in the rain frequently here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Since I drive a motorcycle as my source of transportation, I have to be a bit creative in how I handle keeping dry while riding a motorcycle in the rain. Some days I can wait till the rain is finished before heading out, but other days I feel the need to get on the road. Sometimes I am already on the road and the rain comes quite suddenly. At that point I pull over and whip out our rain gear.

I bought Sarah and Seth rain ponchos because there are no zippers to deal with. The only draw back is that they have to take their helmets off before the poncho will fit over their heads. I have a jacket and some snazzy blue rubber pants that I look pretty hot in! (Just joking, in case you didn’t catch my humor). To add to my attire, I always carry my bag/purse, which has to be protected from the rain as well. This I zip up inside my jacket, which gives me a nice pregnant look. I always carry our rain gear with us. My motorcycle has a cubby under my seat that I store them in. I sure am glad someone designed that cubby into my bike!

Oh, the joys of riding a motorcycle in the rain!

Julie in the rain

I Wish Motorcycles Came With Beepers!


I went to the mall the other day and parked my rented motorcycle in the basement parking garage. I remembered to memorize where I parked so that later it wouldn’t be a frustration to find. After doing our shopping Sarah and I walked up to the spot where I was sure my motorcycle was parked. But, it was not there. I was really confused, but Sarah assured me that was the right spot.

Trying not to panic, we decided to walk slowly up and down the row looking at each motorcycle carefully until we found it. After all, motorcycles don’t just get up and drive off by themselves! After walking up and down twice, I began to get very nervous.

I began to think about trying to describe my missing motorcycle to the parking attendant. All I could really say was that my motorcycle was black, my helmet is black, and the license plate starts with an AB. As I looked around me at the sea of motorcycles I realized that information would not help anyone because just about every one of the motorcycles are black, most helmets are black and as I looked at the license plates they almost all started with an AB. Ahhhhhhh!

I was beginning to lose hope. Just when I began to get the attention of the attendant, I saw Sarah’s helmet, which was white with some purple on it, hanging on my motorcycle. Yeah! It was definitely not where I had parked it. As I looked around I noticed that the attendants were moving and rearranging everyone’s motorcycles to make room for more to squeeze in. So, if anyone has any tips for how to keep track of my motorcycle, I sure would appreciate the advice!

Question: What tips would you give me to help me keep track of my motorcycle?  You can leave your comment by clicking here


Two Motorcycles

No MotorcyclesMarty and I rented two motorcycles for 6 days in order to get around Yogyakarta quickly and efficiently while we finished setting up our house. I am so thankful that Indonesians are forgiving people because we have made several traffic mistakes.

Mistake #1 No motorcycles allowed. Here in Yogyakarta there is large six lane road circling the city. It is called the “Ring Road.” Most of the time on the Ring Road there is a special lane for motorcycles and they are not allowed in the car lanes. We figured this out quickly after seeing all the motorcycles merge together and leave us to drive alongside the cars. Ooops!

Mistake #2 Red means stop. That should be obvious since “red” universally means STOP. Sometimes here in Yogyakarta the traffic lights are positioned in different spots than they would be in America so we have ran several red lights not realizing it till it was too late to stop. Ooops!

Mistake #3 One-way streets.  We have also entered one-way streets only to find we were driving the wrong direction. Ooops!

These are just a few of the mistakes we know we have made. I hope that there are not too many more that we are unaware of. I am thankful that no one has yelled at us or shook their fist in our direction. It helps that traffic laws are not really set in stone here, so our mistakes don’t look too awful.

Question: What traffic mistakes have you made and were others as forgiving to you as the Indonesians have been to us? You can leave a comment by clicking here


TransJakarta Busway

TransJakarta BuswayI have had the opportunity to ride the TransJakarta Busway several times since moving here. I think riding on it is a lot of fun! It has it’s own lane separate from traffic, although motorcycles and cars use it illegally at times. Sometimes, on the bus I have a lot of room to move around, but other times it gets really crowded! According to Wikipedia, the Busway was open to everyone in 2004 and carries around 250,000 passengers per day.

One time when we rode on the Busway, I got to buy the tickets! Since I do not know the language very well Mom told me what to say and gave me money to pay for them. Unlike in America, the men and women are separated on the bus. So, mom and I sat in the front of the bus and Dad and Seth in the back. We had a long ride and Dad was not there to tell us where to get off. Mom misunderstood what Dad had said before we boarded and we got off too early!

When we looked back at the bus we saw Dad and Seth waving to us from inside as we stood on the platform watching them drive away! We hurried to get back on the next bus to catch up to the boys. As we pulled up to our destination, Dad and Seth were there, waiting for us!

A few hours later, we got on again to go home and the same thing happened except we stayed on the bus and Dad and Seth got off at the right stop. We didn’t panic, just laughed at our silly mistake again. We quickly turned around and caught up to them. All of us were laughing!

I learned that on the Busway, you have to pay attention to everything around you; especially what stop is coming next!

Question: What type of interesting transportation have you taken? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Sea Transportation in Papua, Indonesia

We rode in several boats when we lived in Papua, Indonesia. We took these boats back and forth from Serui on Yapen Island and our Bible School on New Guinea. The Speedboats were the fastest, the Ferry was the slowest and the Wooden Cargo Ships were in the middle.

The Speedboat was one of my favorites. I liked it because we went really fast! It felt like we were hitting the bottom of the ocean every time we hit the waves! It was a smallish boat and there were benches that the passengers would sit on across from each other. Sadly, we do not have any pictures of the Speedboats.

I also liked riding on the Ferry. The first level of the Ferry was all open and you could sit wherever you wanted. Some of the passengers would sell fruit and sometimes we would buy some for the trip. This ship carried motorcycles and cars also. Upstairs, there were plastic chairs that you could sit on. You can check out the video below to see what it was like.

Here is the Ferry at at the pier near our Bible school in Papua.
Here is the Ferry at at the pier near our Bible school in Papua.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz_znWe4qOg&version=3&hl=en_US]


The Wooden Cargo Ships were a lot of fun too. Normally, people do not ride on this boat, but we got to. These boats were so noisy that we could not carry on a conversation so, we just sat back and enjoyed the scenery.The Cargo Ship we rode in was blue and carried things such as rice, ramen noodles and building supplies. It took a long time to get there, so I fell asleep with dad!

Wood Cargo Ships
Here are some of the ships at the pier in Serui, Papua, Indonesia
Wood Cargo Ship
I think that they were racing us to Sangge, where their pier is near our Bible school.
Fun on the Ship
My dad says I’m so cute! That is David next to me.
Sleeping on Ship
Sleeping with dad and Buddy.

These are several types of boats that we took in Indonesia. We took other kinds of boats and saw flying fish, dolphins and sea turtles! I enjoyed riding in these boats a lot!

Please leave me a comment! It makes me so happy to hear from you! 

Three Reasons to Take a Bajaj in Jakarta


Bajaj Jakarta

If you are going to travel in Indonesia, I suggest that you take a ride in a Bajaj. A Bajaj is a cheap three-wheeled taxi that is usually orange. It is best to negotiate the price of your ride with the driver before you start your trip. Don’t expect to be too comfortable. There is no air conditioning and if it is raining you most likely will get wet. I believe that riding in a Bajaj will provide you with a cultural experience you will never forget.

Here are three reasons to take advantage of this type of transportation in Indonesia.

  1. In a normal taxi it is quiet and just smells like air freshener but in a Bajaj you can hear all of the sounds and smell all of the smells of Jakarta.
  2. If Bajaj’s become outlawed you might never have the opportunity to ride in one ever again.
  3. In a Bajaj you do not have to use a booster or car seat which is convenient if you have young kids.

In conclusion, I think that you should take advantage of Bajajs while in Jakarta because they will provide you with a cultural experience you will never forget.

What kinds of fun transportation have you taken before? Please comment below!