Kei Islands still a hidden gem waiting to be explored

Kei Islands in the southeastern part of Maluku are reportedly attracting more and more tourists.

Home to Kei Kecil and Kei Besar islands, they can be reached by air via Karel Satsuitubun International Airport, which is located in Langgur district. Travelers can access the airport by hopping on a plane from Jakarta to Ambon, the fare starts from Rp 2.5 million (US$187).

In terms of accommodation, both islands have three-star hotels with starting rates of of Rp 400,000 per night. Affordable homestays are also available.

When 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 only one hour away from Kei Besar Island, and explore a village where the majority of residents are Hindu.

Those planning to visit Kei Islands are recommended to go during Meti Kei from Oct. 22 to 23.

“Meti Kei is a phenomenon where the seawater recedes up to 6 kilometers,” Roy Rahajaan, the Southeast Maluku Tourism Agency, told, adding that travelers can reach the other islands by foot during this period instead of using a boat.

Dubbed “the most popular hidden gem in Indonesia” by the Tourism Ministry in 2016, Kei Islands are still less known compared with other similar destinations, such as Raja Ampat and Wakatobi. Only 300 travelers reportedly visited the place in 2016 -- which is an increase compared to 2015 when it only welcomed 40 tourists. (wir/kes)

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