HomeBlogs The Tanimbar Islands The Tanimbar Islands, southwest of the Keis, have a distinct culture
most similar to that found in Southwest Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara.
They remain a major centre for the production of traditional crafts
like ikat cloth and carved wooden statues in Maluku, and also have
their own forms of music and dance, though as usual, you will have to
be lucky (or pay up) to experience these first hand. Cultural
attractions apart, the Tanimbars also have their own distinct fauna,
including 8 species of birds endemic to the archipelago, and the usual
Most of the above attractions can be found on the main island of
Yamdena, which is also home to the regional capital Saumlaki. This is
the most accessible of the islands, and the main focus of most visits.
Of the other islands, Larat in the north, with its town of the same
name is the most accessible one, and the only one to offer any
There are now 3 airlines offering flights from Ambon to Saumlaki:
Merpati (the last resort only!), Expressair and Trigana. Between them,
they fly at least daily. Fares are high, though as compatition
increases, they seem to be going down. Merpati also connects (at least
in theory) Saumlaki with Kisar in SW Maluku.
Within the Tanimbars, Merpati is scheduled to have a weekly flight
between Saumlaki and Larat, though this is usually very heavily-booked
and frequently cancelled.
Two or three Pelni ships stop at Saumlaki a few times a month between Nusa Tenggara, Central Maluku, Tual and Papua.
There are also several Perintis cargo ships from Ambon, SE Maluku and the remoter islands of SW Maluku.
The most regular way to reach the Tanimbars by sea has long been the
weekly Karomolin car ferry from Tual in the Keis (on Mondays), but as
of 2010 that was no longer serving Saumlaki, just Larat in the northern
Irregular local boats and the odd Perintis are the only way to reach villages on the north-western coast of Yamdena.