From eTripTips Wiki
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. There is unfortunately a downside to the bordertown boom. Like Batam and Bintan, Karimun is a favourite haunt for males from Singapore and Malaysia looking for cheap sex, often with underaged girls.
 Get in
For details on visa requirements for visiting Karimun, please see the Indonesia page. 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: +62-777-324300 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 four trips on weekdays (From HarbourFront: 0750, 1120, 1420 and 1825. From Tanjung Balai: 0715, 1015, 1400 and 1700), increasing to six trips on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (From HarbourFront: 0750, 0950, 1225, 1420, 1625 and 1825. From Tanjung Balai: 0715, 0945, 1130, 1315, 1530 and 1700). From Singapore, tickets cost S$43 return before Indonesian port taxes or Rp 110.000 one-way before port taxes 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 you buy the ticket.
 From Malaysia
 From the other Riau Islands
 From the Sumatra mainland
Regular ferries link Sumatra port cities like Dumai, Pekanbaru, Selat Panjang (all in Riau province), and Kuaka Tungkal in Jambi with Tanjung Balai. Most of these ferries continue to Tanjung Pinang, the main town in Bintan, stopping at Sekupang on Batam enroute.
 From other parts of Indonesia
A Pelni boat KM Kelud leaves Tanjung Balai every Wednesday at 8am for Jakarta, taking 31 hours. The same boat leaves Tanjung Balai every Saturday at 7pm for Belawan, the port for Medan, taking 17 hours.
 Get around
 By mikrolet
The cheapest way to travel in Karimun is by mikrolet. These small minibuses running a fairly standard route and picking up and dropping off passengers anywhere along the way. You can get almost anywhere in Tanjung Balai for Rp. 2.000. Expect Rp. 2.500 if you travel from Tanjung Balai to Meral.
 By bicycle
This would be one of the ideal way to explore Karimun. However, yet to find one bicycle renter in the town. However, most of the ferry companies will take your bicycle for a SG$5 fee, so if you are coming from Singapore, just bring one over.
Stroll around Tanjung Balai, which is the main town of Karimun Island, and it is one of the busiest town among the Riau Islands. You can walk around and explore this town on your own or you can take the mikrolet for Rp. 2.000.
To enjoy the rural lifestyle on a tropical Indonesian island, you need to get away from the main town of Tanjung Balai and go to some local kampung areas in Meral or Pasir Panjang.
Chinese temple visit to Vihara Cetiya Vidya Sagara and Vihara Sasana Diepa in Meral. Take your time to look at the temple drawing such as "General Xue and Lady Fan" and "Lady Warriors of the Yang Family".
Tanjung Balai is good for visiting during all Season.....
Visit "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 to bath there.
Karimun's main department store is Indo A. Yani Swalayan & Dept. Store in Tanjung Balai town. Swalayan means supermarket in Bahasa Indonesia. This 3 storey department store offers foods, clothing, housewares, stationary and basic necessity.
You can obtain 250g Karimun Utama coffee (Kopi Karimun Utama) for Rp. 7.150, local produced deep fried fish crackers (Bona Kerupuk Atom 50) costs Rp. 7.000 per packet.
Bakso, meatball soup is just as popular as nasi goreng. It is sold from street side stalls, or push carts that make their rounds through the neighborhoods. Bakso is sold from late afternoon and throughout the night.
Several chinese restaurants can be found along Jalan Trikora Laut (opposite Holiday Karimun Hotel). This is probably the centralise area for Teochew-style Bak Kut Teh. Noodles are also available.
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.
Try Lasegar, an Indonesian refreshing soft drink for Rp. 3.500 per can. One can of Carlsberg beer costs Rp. 5.500. Try Sosro, an Indonesian refreshing tea.
 Get out
Tanjung Balai is a major jumping-off point for visitors planning to travel to Sumatra or Java.
 Telephone numbers
The country code for Indonesia is 62. The area code for Tanjung Balai is 777.
 Postal services
Post office (known as kantor pos in Bahasa Indonesia) in Tanjung Balai is open daily except Sundays and public holidays. Sending a postcard costs Rp. 5.000.