Last week, Two weeks ago Exactly 1.5 months now gosh time flies! I’ve let this post stay dormant for way too long lol.
Anyway, so I went on a 4 night 5 day trip to Kei Island (Perpulauan Kei), an island located 1 hour (typed 5 minutes LOL) away from Ambon. I have actually never heard of this island until cousin G mentioned it and was actually about to plan a solo trip to Bali. I searched it up, stalked the tour company
– Trip Indonesia Timur, and then finally decided to postpone my Bali trip and join cousin and her friends on a Kei Adventure.
It was AMAZING and I am so glad I made that decision because the island is just so GORGEOUS.
Kei is home to many clean and less populated beaches and there on the island, resides friendly natives Keis, vintage-like yet sturdy and interesting-looking houses, sheeps and dogs. It was exhilarating to see lives beyond traffic jam, the city noise and a hectic lifestyle.
The flight from Jakarta to Kei took about 6 hours (1.5 – 2 hours transit at Ambon Airport). We flew with Batik Air and a domestic flight from Ambon to Kei. We also departed Jakarta to Ambon from another airport, Cengkareng Airport (not the CGK airport).
The route to the island looks like this since I flew from Singapore:
Singapore – Cengkareng Airport, Jakarta –> Ambon Airport –> Kei Island –> Ambon Airport –> CGK International Airport – Singapore.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct flight to the island.
(View from Cengkareng Airport)
The flight from Kei to Jakarta took slightly longer because we transited at Ambon for about 4 hrs (if i remember correctly!). However this time, we arrived at CGK Soekarno Hatta International Airport.
Beautiful sky draped in purple hues. Taken during the wee hours before our plane took off.
Memorable Places / Things we did on Kei Island:
1. Pulau Bair (Bair Island)
This was where I got my tan and peeling skin. Pulau Bair is about 1.5 hour ish boat ride from Kei and is an island with a tiny beach, clear green sea and beautiful view of cliffs and rocks.
The island feels like a mini version of Raja Ampat (another heaven in Indonesia). This island is so serene and shouts paradise. But lo and behold… there isn’t a toilet so yes, you either resist peeing in the clear blue sea or take the risk (like what we did *oops) and shower the sea with human nature aka your pee.
We hiked a short hill for about 5 minutes to get an undisturbed view of the forestry and sea. Albeit a short hike up, the hill was covered with sharp corals…
Ilham, our tour guide also took breathtaking drone video of us at Pulau Bair. See the whole Pulau Bair and the video below:
2. Pulau Ngurtavur
Pulau Ngurtavur is a long stretch of island filled with what-seems like infinite sands. The island is so gorgeous. This memorable place is also where I found a Sand Dollar (Will write more about this on my next post).
Tameedan is a beach that reminded me of Iona Beach in Richmond, Vancouver but less crowded and more beautiful. We watched the sunset at the bridge by the beach. The sun hid behind the horizon so subtly but its effect was felt so prominently as it turned the bright sky to bright dark orange. It was a lovely scene.
At one point, I felt like I was standing in between clouds. The whole setting was just too gorgeous.
Every sunset experience is incredible but to watch it from the bridge at Tameedan was unforgettable.
4. Gua Hawang (Hawang Cave)
This is another gem on Kei Island. Gua Hawang or Hawang Cave is a natural Underwater Cave with fresh water to swim and a mystical history. Swimming in the cave with uneven rock bed was a challenge but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It’s just so calming and mysterious inside that you get this urge to explore.
Another memorable clean beach.
We made friends with the frequent Ohoidertutu beach dwellers. One of them climbed up the coconut tree to get us coconuts. It was my first time drinking my favourite drink fresh from the tree! The coconut was so fresh and the most amazing part I guess was to see them make a spoon out of the coconut skin so we can indulge the fresh coconut meat – an ultimate survival need. The act of carving a spoon out of a coconut actually made me think about how innovative and creative human beings are.
It is fascinating to think about the myriad of information my brain can process. And now as I am thinking, I am actually thinking about thinking. Wth. Metacognition. Haha Inception thoughts.
6. Milky Way
It was exactly like the wallpaper of one’s Macbook Pro.
So Starry Eyed.
7. Ngur Bloat Beach
We were there just in time for Indonesia’s National Day and the dwellers of Kei Islands were busy practicing their national day march and hoisting the large flag while singing Indonesia National Day song.
Villagers hoisting the national flag.
8. Kei Islanders Style Flying Fox
The flying fox was made with thick ropes being tied around trees. You hold onto a handle carved out of wood and then you jump. You either let go mid way to land in the water with your feet or find yourself being thrown into the water face down due to gravity.
I ended up the latter, landing into the water face down and got a slight cut because I was too tense lol.
9. We got addicted to Lat (Seaweed)
We actually had bowls of seaweed mixed with coconut shavings everyday for 3 days straight. I personally thought the seaweed was especially fresh there and as I am typing, I wish I could bring that bowl of lat back. An absolute must-have on Kei Islands.
Tips for First-time Explorers:
- Windy Morning Weather and scorching hot afternoon.
- Be prepared for strong winds, unpredictable weather and a sun so hot your skin could feel the burn.
- Bring vitamin C pills like Redoxon just in case you fall sick
- Network is bad except for Telkomsel. Lucky me I got to access Facebook, Instagram all the time during the trip.
- Remember to tip your guides 😉
Essentials for the trip:
- UV, Waterproof and lightweight jacket
- Long sleeve swimsuit if you don’t want to get too black
- Hand sanitizer (remember, toilets are usually out of sight but your pee will never be out of mind (pun intended lol)).
- Portable Battery
- Insects / Mosquito Repellant (quite a bit of mosquitoes at night)
- Water bottle
- Snacks! Lots of them because convenience store is such a rare sight at this ulu (deserted) island!
- Umbrella (just in case it rains. It was raining for a bit the first day we were there)
- Kindle! <- Ultimatum for those who can’t sleep on the plane!
- Swimming Goggles (Typed Google lol)
- Slippers that are comfortable and waterproof! We actually bought ours from My Bear Path. So GOOD. I have to rave because I really didnt expect it to be comfortable and so versatile! For 220,000+ rupiah – equivalent of $22 USD, this pair of slippers is a steal!
Thank you Kei. It was amazing.