Pasir Timbul is one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth. In the middle of nowhere, walking on its waters is like floating in the world of dreams. Come with me on my journey to this deadly combination of white sands and the water that carries hues of aquamarine, turquoise, and midnight blue.
After soaking in the beauty of Pianemo Islands we retired in our cozy Raja Ampat Dive Lodge. I woke up to the music of sounds made by a hornbill. Took a walk to the deck, that was the only place to get some mobile signal, and was welcomed by the chiming of wind-chimes. I looked around and asked myself, can there be a more beautiful and more peaceful place than this. As they say, you should be careful with what you ask for, the universe conspired to show me one of the most beautiful beaches in the world later that day.
Our first half of the day was spent at a lovely Arborek village. This visit to Arborek introduced me to the culture of Raja Ampat islands. I got to hear the music played on basic instruments, I got to eat their food and soak in a bit of island life.
Post lunch at Arborek we sat in our speedboat and most of us dozed off. The motion of speedboat was a perfect lullaby. After few minutes we woke up to the jerky motion of the boat. I still remember opening my eyes, looking out of the window and seriously wondering if I am awake or in some dream sequence.
The boat was surrounded by blue waters. A lone circular island stood in the middle surrounded by white sand. I stepped out on the deck, looked down and I could see the seabed. There was no marine life to be seen but the sand and the small pebbles were clearly visible.
The captain soon parked the boat and set a ladder again the boat for us to get down. The first to go down was Budi Doremi – the famous musician from Indonesia who was accompanying us on this trip. Budi standing in the waist deep blue water with his guitar just added the musical aura to the ambiance.
We all stepped into the waters. I could sense that most of us were jumping with joy. There was a sense of euphoria in the air as we tried to absorb the magic around us. We all wanted to pick up that surrounding and pack it in our bags.
As I walked from the boat towards one of the sand islands – the color of water moved with me. The water would be transparent where I stood, with 100% visibility of the ocean bed. After 4-5 feet it started acquiring color – a light hue of aquamarine, the color then keeps getting darker. You realize the illusion as you move – colors keep moving with you. They make you feel you are the center of the universe and the colors you see depend more on where you stand.
Two sand patches stood out on either side. I decided to walk to the one on the right. It was not easy to walk holding a camera, but when nature calls you-you must walk. At one place on a narrow strip of sand, I saw the waves hitting from both sides. It was a unique sight. How many times we see a patch of sand that can technically be called a double beach. Sitting on the patch of pearly white sand, I looked at my fellow travelers. All of them jumping around, playing with the waters and trying to click the best images possible to take back. We all tried but like anyone who has been to Pasir Timbul will tell you, you cannot capture such places. They capture you.
After spending an hour or so, we bid goodbye to this gorgeous island promising to come back with our family & friends.
This is a place where I missed having a camera that can go underwater. Thanks to Sonal Paladini for clicking some of my lovely pictures at Pasir Timbul.
On our way back from we took a tour of the Kabui Bay – where again we met islands and islands. It was like driving through a maze of big and small islands. The setting sun provided a perfect backdrop to these islands.
We stopped by one of the islands and stood on the wooden platforms around it. Right in front of us was the island that looked the face of a society woman. You could look at other islands and make your own guesses about what they looked like.
Just like Pianemo islands, islands of Kabui bay also attract a lot of visitors.
Pre-historic handprints or hand stencils
The oldest of such paintings were believed to be in Europe but lately, some of the paintings have been discovered in islands of East Indonesia. It reveals a lot about the human evolution and human migration.The paintings at Raja Ampat region are in the form of hand stencils also referred as handprints. These hands are of the same size and seem to belong to a teenager. However, elsewhere they have been found of all kinds – male & female hands, left & right hands, big & small hands. Mostly they are found around the mouths of caves although at Raja Ampat we saw them on rock surfaces. Who knows they may have been caves 40,000 years ago.
I had goosebumps when I saw those handprints 20 minutes away from Kabui Bay. It was like looking at a communication written thousands of years ago. I wondered what they wanted to say, have we been able to decipher their message. Archaeologists guess that these were some kind of message or marking to indicate dwelling caves or to indicate animal hunts. There is no concrete consensus, though. Is it not intriguing that this kind of hand stencils are found in so many distant places.
We, humans, are no less in creating mysteries for future generations.
Travel Tips for Pasir Timbul
- Pasir Timbul is 20-30 minutes from major tourists spots like Wasai Island or Arborek village.
- Most lodges in Raja Ampat would be able to arrange a trip to Pasir Timbul for you.
- Most sand islands are visible during the low tide, so do check with your lodge for the right time to visit. Visiting during high tide would keep the sand islands hidden, though you can still appreciate them from the comfort of your boat.
- Carry an underwater camera or a cover for your camera. You will miss it like I did if you don’t carry.
- Use the sunscreen or your skin will remember it for many days to come.