Islands of Southeast Maluku a hidden paradise

(THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The charming Kei Islands in Southeast Maluku Regency are gaining fame, thanks to intense promotion from the Indonesian Tourism Ministry as well as a rapid development in hotel accommodation and transportation infrastructure.

The Kei Islands are located amid the Seram, Banda and Arafuru seas. Two of the largest islands are Kei Besar and Kei Kecil.

Kei Kecil Island is known as a hidden paradise due to its pristine environment.

An ideal destination for nature lovers, the best time of year to visit is April and May and from October to December, when the sea is calm enough to allow visitors to properly explore the island and its surroundings, according to local elders.

When The Jakarta Post toured Southeast Maluku at the end of July, the island was barraged by rain and strong winds on a daily basis, making it difficult to explore its beauty.

The quickest and easiest way to reach the Kei Islands is by air.

From the Pattimura Airport in Ambon, visitors will need to take another plane for a one-and-a-half-hour flight to the Karel Satsuitubun Airport in Langgur, the capital of Southeast Maluku. This airport has replaced Dumatubun in Tual, which is now an Air Force base.

From Langgur, the wonders of this east Indonesian island group can be further explored. In fact, Southeast Maluku offers numerous charms in more remote locations.

The reflection of sun rays on the water creates a sparkling blue glow throughout Hawang cave in Letvuan village, located 15km from Langgur city. PHOTO: P.J. LEO

Ngurtavur beach, whose name means “emerging sands”,  is one of Southeast Maluku’s most popular tourist destinations. PHOTO: P.J. LEO

Bair Island's beauty has been compared by many tourists to the beauty of Papua's famous Raja Ampat. PHOTO: P.J. LEO

A local islander drying seaweed on Hoat island. PHOTO: P.J. LEO

A resident sweeping up leaves at Ngurbloat beach. PHOTO: P.J. LEO

A dock at Bair Island. PHOTO: P.J. LEO