The Kei islands are located in the Southeast Maluku Regency in the Maluku province. Numerous islands make up the archipelago with the main islands being Kei Kecil and its neighbour Dullah.
The major centres of Tual on Dullah Island and Langgur on Kei Kecil are an attraction in themselves as they are separate cities on separate islands connected by bridge. Tual is predominately Muslim while the population of Langgur are mostly Christian. The cities share the sea and airport and have all facilities travellers need including supermarkets, travel agents and a range of accommodation. Dumatubin airport is in Langgur, Kei Kecil.
While most visitors are in search of the beautiful beaches and island hopping which abound in the archipelago there are other attractions in the Kei’s for those looking for a bit more adventure.
There are numerous islands to be explored, many uninhabited. Hire a boat for the day to find some islands and secluded beaches or explore coastal villages. Dullah is probably the easiest place to hire a boat from.
Kei Besar is different to the other islands in the group as it is hilly and heavily vegetated. The island has a number of attractions.
Banda Ely is a group of villages stretching along the northeast coast of the island. The villages are isolated and represent great examples of traditional culture. You can also see mosques, a museum and craftsmen and women at work creating some of the Maluku’s best pottery, wood carvings and silver works.
Elat on Kei Basar has a few places to stay and some basic facilities. It is also the islands arrival and departure point. Speed boats commute daily between Langgur and Elat. On Kei Besar motor boats commute between villages regularly. The roads are terrible and public transport limited. Ojek’s are an option or walking. The island has some interesting and scenic walking trails connecting villages.
Venture to the southernmost island of the archipelago. Tanimbar Kei is considered one of the last places in Maluku where traditional villages remain. The homes are old and run down but offer a glimpse into the past. If you feel like a hike there is a lighthouse on the south coast. The views are worth the effort to climb it. There is no accommodation on the island. Be sure to check you have a return passage unless you can find a helpful villager to take you in or you’re camping the night. The village boats don’t have a set schedule and will cancel if the weather is bad.
Well off the tourist trail the Tayando Islands are about a three hour boat ride west of the main island group. Be totally self sufficient as the islands have no facilities or accommodation. There is an old mosque, cemetery and village ruins amongst other things see. A ferry calls at Tayando weekly. If you go, be prepared to stay a while.
Kur & Kaimeer Islands
Located to the west of the Kei Islands and on the border of the central Muluku Regency the islands attract few visitors. Kur is pleasant forested island while Kaimeer is relatively barren. The population is Muslim with fishing the main industry.
Kur Island is serviced by Koromolon Ferries weekly from Tual in the Kei Islands. From Kur to Kaimeer hitch a ride or charter a boat. There is no accommodation on either island so take your camping gear.