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Famed as the best woodcarving centre in Java, Jepara’s booming furniture business has brought it all the trappings of prosperity. As you enter town you’ll pass dozens of furniture showrooms offering contemporary, ‘distressed’ and ‘antique’ designs. Even the fields here are full of wood carvings and half-finished wardrobes rather than rice and vegetables.

The town’s broad avenues, relaxed atmosphere and nearby beaches make it a tranquil spot to take a break from the road. The area is home to quite a few expats and visited by buyers from all over the world so it’s more cosmopolitan than many Indonesian towns.

Jepara is also a jumping-off point for the Karimunjaya Islands.

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