Tanimbar Kei

Tanimbar Kei

Tanimbar Kei village

(See also Trip to Tanimbar Kei and Nuhuta islands)

The village is separated into an upper village that has traditional houses and a lower village that has concrete houses like the ones that are found everywhere in Indonesia.  This is a small place with maybe 300 inhabitants (just a guess) and a very quiet and tranquil atmosphere.  There are plenty of animals wandering about and the people are super friendly and welcoming.  I used to get annoyed with guidebooks that would describe small cities as fishing villages.  Well, this is definitely a fishing village!

Tanimbar Kei - village
Tanimbar Kei – upper and lower village

The upper village has traditional houses–that while atmospheric, probably aren’t a reason to come to Tanimbar.  The view is great and this is the only place in Tanimbar where a phone signal is a possibility.   Prepare to wait a long time for email or Facebook!

Tanimabar Kei - upper village
Upper village

The lower village has a small store and is also where I stayed:

Tanimbar Kei - lower village
Lower village

Beach

The most accessible beach is about about a 20 minute walk to the opposite side of the island.  This is really a beautiful beach and it would be packed with people almost anywhere else in the world.  Fortunately, the Kei islands feel separated from world and it is very unlikely you will see anyone here that doesn’t come here with you.

Beach on south side of Tanimbar Kei
Beach on south side of Tanimbar Kei

The trail to the beach isn’t clear and there are many paths, so you will probably need a local person to come with you:

Path to beach
Path to beach

There is a nice cliff on the way along with a very small spring with fresh water to splash yourself with:

Cliff
Cliff

Tower

There is also 40 meter tower on the west side of the island that is worth going to.  It is scary to climb up though so some people may not want to go.  Also access to the top platform was locked so we were only able to go up the stairs to about 35 meters.

Tower
Tower

The steps up are steep and scary!

Tower stairs
Tower stairs

Mun

Mun
Mun

This Muslim village is located in the northeast of the island.  I did a quick boat trip to this even smaller village and it was nice to wander around for an hour or so.

Making boats in Mun
Making boats in Mun

Mun certainly isn’t a must see but it is an okay trip if you are looking for something to do.

Random stuff

The stars in Tanimbar are amazingly clear when the electricity is off.  If you charter a boat it might be possible to Ngur Tafur or other islands on the same trip.  Also, it is possible to end up staying here many days longer than you anticipate because of bad weather or boat unavailability.  Go here at the beginning of your Kei trip, not the end!

Even in good weather the sea is very rough for about the last hour before arrival.  It isn’t possible to take photos, just hang on!

This is a great place to get away from tourists and could also be a very good place to study Indonesian on a long term visit.  For most tourists, the amount of time and effort needed to get here likely isn’t worth the island’s rewards.

Practicalities

Electricity in Tanimbar Kei was only available in the evenings and internet was only possible in the upper village and is very slow with a weak signal (July 2017).

Public boats leave 2 or 3 times per week and only in good weather.  Figuring out public boat departure times from Debut is difficult but you can try asking in Debut or at your accommodation.  I arranged my visit with Lucy at Savanna Cottages in Ohoi Dertawun.