The eastern part of Indonesia is home to countless beautiful, unexplored destinations. One such gem is Saumlaki.
Although the small coastal town's fame may not radiate as brightly as that of other places surrounding it, Saumlaki, on Yamdena Island in West Southeast Maluku regency, serves as the administrative center for the Tanimbar Islands district.
If you find yourself in Saumlaki, two islands spring to the top of your must-visit list.
In the morning, head out to Nustabun Island on a speedboat. It takes about an hour to reach the island from Saumlaki port.
Nustabun is an uninhabited island in Tanimbar. As you land on its tranquil shore, gentle swashing waves and stretches of white powdery sand greet your toes.
Neglected even by locals, Nustabun is considered only a refuge for fishermen caught in storms. There are no man-made structures, only an umbrella-like great rock that serves as a sun shade.
Situated opposite Nustabun, Matakus Island is set to become the marine tourism center of West Southeast Maluku.
Around 100 people inhabit the island, which covers an area of 400 hectares.
Like Nustabun, Matakus has no piers for a speedboat to moor on; boats must be anchored a little way from the shore.
But once you plunge your feet into the crystal clear warm water and bury your toes in the soft, powdery, sandy floor, you will forget all about the hassle, as well as all the rest of your far, far away problems.
Since Matakus is still lacking any tourism infrastructure (although a plan to build a resort there has already been mapped out), the best way to savor this tiny gem is by picnicking on a mat under the waving coconut trees. You can rest your tired legs and order grilled fish from local residents to fill your empty stomach.
Buying fresh fish from the locals is easy since most of them work as fishermen. The price is also extremely cheap. For only Rp 40,000, you can expect a feast of three grilled groupers and one tuna served on your picnic mat.
How to get there
Fly to Ambon, then transfer to Saumlaki in a smaller propeller aircraft. From Ambon, a flight to Olilit airport in Saumlaki takes approximately 45 minutes.
Where to stay
There isn’t much choice of accommodation in Saumlaki, because there aren’t many travelers interested in staying overnight. Incla Hotel and Harapan Indah Hotel are the best options, according to the locals.
Thanks to its waterfront location, perched high above the calming sea, Harapan Indah Hotel offers an entrancing ocean landscape. You can observe the bustle of the fishermen or chill out while watching the sun set into the horizon.