Way off the tourist trail in eastern Indonesia sits the province of West Papua, a magnet for divers, intrepid travellers and fledgling bloggers. I’m in the last group, having been invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism to travel the country with dozens of other writers, photographers and social media influencers. The highlight of the trip was setting foot on Pasir Timbul, the most spectacular (and to be fair, one of the only) sandbar beaches I’ve ever seen.
Experiencing Pasir Timbul
Pasir Timbul (translated as “emerging sand”), in the group of small islands known as Raja Ampat, is the ultimate exotic beach destination in Indonesia. It’s quite different to your typical beach experience. We were dropped off a fair distance from the sand, which only emerges for a few hours a day, and had to wade through thigh high water, holding our cameras aloft to protect them from a watery grave.
Once on the sand I navigated the selfies, mock music videos and staged group shots to find a relaxing spot. Pasir Timbul is actually made up of a few different sand bars and it’s likely they’ll all be deserted when you visit (apart from the other people in your group obviously). A small group was just leaving when we arrived so I headed over to get a photo of their boat, which was way smaller than ours. I guess if you’re in a small group / boat you can land right on the beach, which keeps the potential for ruined cameras to a minimum.
There’s not too much else to say about Pasir Timbul. It’s definitely a low-fi beach experience, with none of the hawkers, Bob Marley tunes or crowds of tourists common in Southeast Asia. It’s all about the white sand and the bright blue water (and the selfies, if you’re into that).
How to visit Pasir Timbul
I lost touch with the common man while on that recent trip to Indonesia. I didn’t have to organise a thing, which is the complete opposite to how I normally travel. We were picked up from the hotel and driven (either on buses or boats) everywhere. So how do peasants like you (and me, normally) visit Pasir Timbul? Start a blog, write hundreds of posts over several years and patiently wait for an email from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism to land in your inbox. Or book a tour. That’d probably be easier. I’m assuming you can organise this at almost any resort in Raja Ampat.
Being a sandbar beach, it disappears at high tide, so bear that in mind (the tour operators should know the perfect times to visit).
FURTHER READING: Island hopping in Raja Ampat
Would you like to visit Pasir Timbul? Have you been to any other sandbar beaches? Let me know in the comments below.
My trip to Indonesia was organised by Indonesia Travel for their #TripOfWonders and #WonderfulIndonesia campaigns. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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