Kei Islands: Ngurtavur / Ngurtafur and Ohoililir Beach

Submitted by mumunmumun on 13 December 2013   •  Destination

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Could the Kei Islands be place of the softest sand in the world?

Kei Islands is renowned to be the spot for the flour-like grains of the sea. It is also the place where Baronda Maluku project initiator, Achmad Alkatiri ( or Mad – and yes, we also think he is a bit mad), evolved the project around. We knew Mad had traveled a bit, yet he still believes Kei Islands has the best beaches to date. There were mixed feelings amongst us on what to presume. Should or shouldn’t we have high expectations? He could be just exaggerating to promote his hometown. But taking the benefit of the doubt, we happily marched following his lead.

Whadya know?! It WAS pretty awesome!

 Ngurbloat Beach

Ngurtafur Beach: The Sand Snake

“Where are they going?” said a man to another. I accidentally (and it was accidental) eavesdropped them as they talked in a pretty loud voice.

“To the pasir ular (sand snake),” said the other. Are we visiting a serpent? Sand serpent? Serpent on sand? I didn’t know what to make of this statement. Seems like the ‘sand snake’ is the local name for Ngurtavur Beach.

Ngurtafur (or Ngurtavur Beach. Not sure which is the official spelling of the name) is a sandspit or a stretch of sand that runs out to the ocean, kinda like a giant sand bar. From pictures online, Ngurtafur Beach looks like the place to tan. There’s no sign of any coverage that is visible during low tide; just sand and sea. What I notice during the flight into Langgur Airport is that there are several sandspits that stretch like Ngurtafur all over the Maluku mini archipelago. And yes, the sandspit swirls like a snake, as mentioned in the conversation back on the port. My God! Maluku is the province with endless beaches!

Ngurtavur or Ngurtafur Beach

Achmad Alkatiri with the pelicans.

As a beach, it was a bit overrated probably because it wasn’t the brightest day in the world. The colors didn’t pop us as expected. So it was just a strip of swirling sand. There weren’t any corals nearby either. There weren’t much to do and there wasn’t much to access. It was a nice beach. Maybe we weren’t ready to be stranded. So maybe if the circumstances were different, like if I was on a hot air balloon or I had a beach umbrella and lot of snacks with me, it would be awesome!

However, I’d have to say, the presence of the Australian Pelicans did help enhance the experience. It’s not often you meet a flock of them in the wild. They’re pretty sensitive and tend to migrate a lot. I secretly cartwheel inside as my birdwatching-butterflies started to fly. We couldn’t make any sudden gestures as it could make the flee, which was pretty impossible with a happy bunch like ours. They’re beautiful in the wild. Heart!

Fly Pelicans, fly

However, I cringed the stench their droppings made in the distance as the wind just happen to blow our way. Oh well, the smell of nature! *sniff


Ohoililir Beach – Pasir Panjang

Kei does have one of the softest sands to date for me. It’s so soft, that the sand floats and bubbles come out on every step I take in the water. I even had to extra wash my hair to get the sand out because Mad had smudged a fist full of it in between my curls. Curses, Mad!

Mad initially wanted us to see the Ngurbloat Beach, but we had found ourselves in high tide, not too different to what we had in front of our resort at Ohoililir Beach, just down the road. So we decided to spend our afternoon close to the bathroom (to clean up afterwards) and fried bananas served by our accommodation.

Ngurbloat Beach and the kids

Both Ngurbloat and Ohoililir Beach are part of the Pasir Panjang Beach, which literally translates to ‘long sand’. It is at Ohoililir Beach our group found a mini paradise and enjoyed what remained of our intimate trip. The sea had calm gentle waves, just enough to rock our slumber while floating on water. It was like a giant swimming pool all to us. The water had a slight murky haze from the soft sand that felt like marshmallow between our toes. The sky was kind, not scorching too much sunlight, yet a bit disappointing as we failed to see a red sunset. Bummer!

We slept, floated, swam, submerged, sat, drink, smoked, laid, laughed, and experimented with photos, blasting through our last couple of hours on this beach. Time and fun do not coincide with each other. We ended the day with a sand fight. It was tough to grip on a ball of sand as it easily melts away from our palms. Surely, this made things more interesting and made us sleep like babies of fatigue. Of course, also after thoroughly washing it out of my hair.

The beach was ours. No one else was seen, as the locals were busy with weekday activities. It would have been nice to hear local language as the background sound of waves but I happily settled with what I had. Happily!

Spending the afternoon on the beach


And on the ‘softest sand’ note I say, yes it was the softest sands I’ve ever encountered to date. I would also have to update my 5 best Indonesian beaches list soon enough. But don’t take my word for it, visit the beach yourself and tell me, does Kei Islands have the softest sand in the world?

Coaster Cottage, Ohoililir Beach

Price: IDR 150.000 – 200.000 / room per night. A daily meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) is an extra IDR 100.000 / person. Contact Bob at +6281343472978 or email to

If you need more convincing, head down to Marischka Prudence’s blog here. 

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2 Comments on "Kei Islands: Ngurtavur / Ngurtafur and Ohoililir Beach"

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Fahmi Anhar
6 years 3 months ago

Oh GOD !! look at the beaches, sands, coconut trees and her smile :’)