Southeast Maluku Regency, also known as the Kei Islands, is rapidly gaining the reputation as one of the most exotic hidden paradises in the eastern part of Indonesia – housed with unspoiled beaches pieced up by the crystal clear blue sea, white soft sand and the crisp sea breeze.
While you are flying over the Kei Islands, you are greeted by the breathtaking view of these clusters of 68 islands. When viewing from the air of Kei - or Nuhu Evav (Evav Islands) as locals may call it, the stunning islands you found below is drawing you a map to perfect tropical getaway. Moreover, the day-long sun with clear blue sky, quiet beaches, unique local food and big grins from the locals are what you can expect from the islands.
The all-time favorite and most popular destination is the island of Kei Kecil (Little Kei), which is bridged to the neighboring island of Dullah; also connecting the twin towns of Tual and Langgur; and Langgur is the capital of the entire Southeast Maluku Regency with 68 Islands in its territory.
In contrast to these two flat, coral reef based islands - Kei Besar (Great Kei), is the second largest of the Keis, it is long, mountainous and forested.
Kei Islands are populated mostly by Christians (Catholics and Protestants), with Kei being one of the few islands in Maluku where Catholics, rather than Protestants, dominate. In fact Kei is seen as the centre of Catholicism in all Maluku! Churches dominate most villages, and you may well be invited to join services on Sundays.
Taste their delicious traditional meals when you are here! Seafood is commonly found, and fish is the most seen in every meal. One of the special side dishes includes “enbal” (cassava), or food such as cassava leaves and papaya flowers are too worth a try. Dessert in Kei ain’t the same like others, but it is definitely something you will love – fried banana with local spicy sauce!
Getting ThereBy Air
There are four and flights daily between Ambon (AMQ) the capital of the Province of Maluku and Langgur (LUV) on Garuda Indonesia, Wings and Trigana. Langgur is expanding its runway up to 2.6km anticipating the high interest of International and National tourists, which would enable larger aircraft to land here directly from Java and Sulawesi.
One can fly Garuda Indonesia (highly recommended!) from Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali) and Makassar (South Sulawesi) to Ambon and with connecting flight to the Kei Islands.
Places You Must Visit In Kei Islands
[Recommended by The Sophie's Choice Explorer Team]
1. Ngurbloat Beach
The word ‘ngur’ and “bloat” in Kei means long sand or long beach. It is located approximately 20 minutes from the city center of Langgur by land transport, on the village called Ngilngof. Road infrastructure to this part of the Islands is superb.
Ngurloat has the softest white sand in the world; it is just like stepping on a 3.5km stretched of milk powder.
2. Ngurtavur Beach
This is one of world’s nature wonders you can only find in Southeast Maluku Regency. A 2.5km stretched cape made of sand dune from its mainland called Waha Island. To the sides of the cape, are seaweeds farming laying on the left and right sides of the land. In mid of October when Australia is facing its spring season, with luck, one may witness flocks of pelicans having a rest in the land when they are on their way heading to Australia.
In the north of Ngurbloat beach, another exotic bay beach is worth a visit. The beach is called Ohoidertawun, which offers view of 5 to 10 meters cliff guarding the beach. At the most endpoint of this cliff, hundreds of small ancient relics can be seen, which are dated back to prehistoric age.
These paintings depict human figures, trees, boats, crocodile, fish and handprints. The patterns are similar to those found at Tewet Cave, East Kalimantan, Wamkana (Buru Island), Sawai (Central Maluku), Speelman Bay (Papua) and Kotobu (Southeast Sulawesi).
4. Bair (Baer) Island
Bair is a cluster of reef islands on the north of Lesser Kai Island portraits the smaller version of Raja Ampat in Papua or Phi Phi Islands in Thailand, but its panoramic view is comparable. Boats can float up to the middle of the island. A 20-meter sand dune lies between shallow waters. If you arrive on regular days, you would probably be the only guest at the island.
A 7-meter cliff in the South part of the beach you will be tempted to climb; where from up there, you can view the entire stretch of the beach. The small reef based Islands are situated in such way that you will find gorgeous and clear water lagoons where snorkelers can swim alongside colorful fish, octopus, and crabs and various other sea creatures.