The Kei Islands archipelago is made up of 250 mostly uninhabited islands. It has some of the best beaches in Indonesia and the world, yet there are very few people who know about it. It feels like an undiscovered tropical paradise. I didn’t see many other tourists at all – in fact many locals were surprised to see me walking around with my camera. Most of these paradise destinations are on Kei Kecil Island, where the main city is Langgur / Tual.


Ngurtavur is a sandy island surrounded by crystal clear blue. It is a WWF recognised breeding spot for the leatherback sea turtle. We also saw some migratory seabirds enjoying the calm waters.

Bair Island

Bair Island has everything you could want from a deserted tropical island. We went snorkelling in the coral reef around the island, then kayaked through a narrow pass to the inner bays. We stopped at a small mangrove beach and had an incredible lunch. There are some interesting cliffs to climb here, that reminded me of the famous Raja Ampat.

For lunch we had a local spread of fresh crab, grilled fish, shrimp and veges. To go with it was cholo cholo – a Kei Island sambal speciality (super spicy!). The sambal fish and papaya leaf stir fry were my favourites, but you really can’t go wrong with Indonesian food. Everything is so tasty!

Ngurbloat Beach

Ngurbloat is the most popular beach in the Kei Islands. It’s a must visit for the beautiful palm trees. Along the 5km white sandy beach you’ll find locals and even a few tourists soaking up the tropical vibes. We got some banana fritters and taro from the local food stall, perfect to munch on while watching the stunning sunset. We came here twice for sunset because the colours were so beautiful.

On the second night we had a dinner on the beach, complete with a bonfire.

Wearhir and Kiom

In the city of Tual I saw a rainbow village called Wearhir – all the buildings were so colourful! It wasn’t on the initial trip itinerary but I bugged everyone into visiting it. It turned out that one of our guides Ratna had grown up in the village, so she gave us a locals tour. The reason behind the colours is that the city council was split in two by the river, so they wanted to make their buildings look better than the other side.

There’s also a red and white village called Kiom. It has the national colours of Indonesia all over, as well as flags and portraits of politicians. It’s the most patriotic village I’ve been to – they even have a pet eagle which is the national animal mascot.

Hawang Cave

This rocky cave is a must visit geological wonder, a short drive from Tual and Ngurbloat beach. The legend behind this cave is that many years ago a man and his dog were wandering through the jungle, searching for food and water. They came across the springwater cave and decided to have a drink, but because he said some bad words he was cursed and petrified into stone. In the cave you can see the stone of the man and the dog side by side.

Ohoidertawun Beach

This was probably my favourite spot to explore in the Kei Islands. It’s best at low tide, when the soft white sands stretch all the way to the horizon. Bring sunglasses and sandals, have a coconut and go for a swing in this picturesque tropical paradise. I went beachcombing along the palm trees, meeting friendly locals on the way. Behind the beach is a quiet village where there are some homestays. Towards the east end of the beach are some exposed reef rocks with mysterious petroglyph rock paintings.

Getting Around

We got around the Kei Islands with a combination of boat and car. You can also get an ojek (motorcycle) or take the public bemo taxis.

Getting to Kei Islands

With Garuda Indonesia we flew from Jakarta to Ambon, then Ambon to Tual. The flights were comfortable and I recommend booking a window seat – the view is amazing. The regional airports are small but have a few small shops to get food and souvenirs. We stayed at the Grand Vilia Hotel in Tual.

A big thank you to Garuda Indonesia and the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism for making this trip possible. #ExploreWonderfulIndonesia #GarudiaIndonesia