Have you ever wondered what paradise looks like? Earlier this year we got a chance to find out. For us paradise is somewhere that isn’t just beautiful but also hidden from everyone else. In Indonesia there are a group of islands, in the Southeast Moluccas, that are breathtaking. These islands, called Kei, Aru and Tanimbar, have some of the most beautiful beaches we have seen, if not the most beautiful. It is an excellent escape from reality and a chance to relax before venturing onto your next adventure in Indonesia. It is an unforgettable experience here. We saw some spectacular beaches, snorkeled and got a real taste of the culture. We were astonished to see one beach stretching all the way from another island; 2km long of sand. It looked absolutely beautiful. This beach is called Ngurtafur, where we also saw hundreds of pelicans resting on their way to Australia. We tried to get closer but they saw us and moved further away. However, it is said that if you swim quietly along the shore you are able to get closer to them. This spectacular sight can be seen from June to October.
Beaches are not the only thing to see on these islands. We were able to experience a lot more of the culture through exploring the villages, each with their own beauty and identity. We also got to visit a pearl farm and explore forests and the nature within them. The islands or Aru are a ideal place to spot the Greater bird of Paradise, these striking and fascinating birds are most easy to see from May to October. We witnessed some women weaving, saw excellent woodcarvings and walked to the cliffs to see some ancient rock paintings. The villagers were even kind enough to share their traditional dances and welcome ceremonies with us, not to forget teaching us how to cook some delicious meals. It was an amazing culture to be in.
There were so many wonderful walks on this trip, which we would take after travelling to each island on a small boat, which is a unique experience in itself. When we arrived on Kei Kecil we got to see some stunning caves, called Goa Hawang, with stalactites hanging over cyrstal clear blue water. Kei Kecil has a lot of amazing sights, as we found out when we got to see the scattered limestone islets. It was fun to sail through these amongst the gorgeous blue water. At one point we couldn’t go any further so we got out the boat and snorkeled behind a narrow passage of rocks. Here we saw lots of fish and coral. And if you want to adventure some more you you can climb up on the rocks and have a view right over the islands. It’s beautiful.
During our trip we learned some very interesting traditions. One including using Sopi (jenever) as offerings to solve arguments, fights and even murders. Sopi is made from the juices of the coconut tree’s trunk, which is different to the mixture made from lontar trees and enau trees, which are also present on these islands. Sopi is used in many ways, including spilling it on the floor before stepping onto a stone boat and climbing up their stone stairs. It was fascinating to learn about these, and many more, traditions as we toured through the local village and watched the daily life of these village people.
However, even though these islands are still unknown to most tourists it is becoming more popular as access is getting easier. Therefore Tari Travel explored the islands to find the areas where you will experience the local culture in its truest form. The local people are still unknown to tourism, which makes it hard to travel alone. So we discussed with them how we could make this the most enjoyable trip for our guests. We are sure you will be sad to leave this paradise!