Located in the far south of the Maluku province, the Tanimbar archipelago is a group of about 65 islands that separate the Banda Sea from the Arafura Sea. The main island is Yamdena where the regional capital Saumlaki is located at the southern end.
The islands range from densely forested hills to low swamplands and have some quite unique fauna including bird species found only in the archipelago. Beautiful beaches abound as you would expect.
Saumlaki is the destination for most visitors as it is the most accessible and along with Larat to the north has the only facilities in the archipelago.
The locals have their own unique culture including music and dance and are known for producing much of the traditional crafts in the Maluku’s. Unfortunately the locals are also known as being not particularly welcoming in Saumlaki, with excessive shouting and demands for money placed on visitors.
Saumlaki is the only place that has accommodation. Budget travellers may be in for a surprise as the prices are considered very high for what are basic rooms with fans and shared bathrooms. Upmarket accommodation is also available providing good service, food and ocean views.
There are some interesting sights around Yamdena including megalithic structures and the Stone Stairway. For those seeking something a bit more adventurous charter a boat and explore the neighbouring islands. Some are uninhabited so could be worth a day trip.
Daily services fly from Ambon to Saumlakia. The north island of Larat also has an airport and in theory is another entry point with flights from the Kei Islands to the north. If you have plenty of time and are flexible Pelni ships stop at Saumlaki a few times a month. Perentis cargo ships also service the islands.