Kei Islands: Indonesia's hidden gem waiting to be explored

One of Kei Islands' picturesque beaches.
One of Kei Islands' picturesque beaches. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK/JAKARTA POST

White sandy beaches and activities such as snorkelling await those who visit Kei Islands

(JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Kei Islands in the southeastern part of Maluku are reportedly attracting more tourists.

Home to Kei Kecil and Kei Besar islands, they can be reached by air via Karel Satsuitubun International Airport, which is in Langgur district. Travellers can access the airport by hopping onto a plane from Jakarta to Ambon. Fares start at 2.5 million rupiah (S$254).

Both islands have three-star hotels. Rates start at 400,000 a night. Affordable homestays are also available.

On the islands, visitors can opt to stroll the soft, white sand on the beach or snorkel deep into the Banda Sea. They can also travel to Tanimbar Kei Island - which is one hour from Kei Besar Island -  and explore a village where the majority of residents are Hindu.

If you are planning to visit Kei Islands, go during Meti Kei from Oct 22 to 23.

“Meti Kei is a phenomenon where the seawater recedes up to 6km,” a spokesman from  the Southeast Maluku Tourism Agency said,  adding that travellers can reach the other islands by foot during this period instead of using a boat.

The scenery of Tanimbar Kei Island. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/JAKARTA POST

Dubbed “the most popular hidden gem in Indonesia” by the Tourism Ministry last year, Kei Islands are still less known compared with other similar destinations, such as Raja Ampat and Wakatobi. Only 300 travellers reportedly visited the place last year,  which is an increase compared to 2015, when it welcomed only 40 tourists.