Maluku is a region consisting of a group of islands. Divided into two regions, that is North Maluku and South Maluku. The capital of North Maluku is Ternate, and the capital of South Maluku is Ambon.
In Maluku, Banda Sea marine tourism is the most interesting tourist attractions. The location of Banda Marine Park is among the Banda Neira Island, Volcano Island, Ai Island, Sjahrir Island, and Hatta Island. Administratively, the location is situated in Central Maluku Regency, Maluku Province. Banda Sea has a wide range of marine tourism activities, such as seeing sea park from the boat, diving, sea fishing, swimming, and fyling and watching Arombai Manggurebe (Belang or boat race) from shore. Besides viewing the coral reef, when diving tourists could see some fish such as sea turtles, lobster, and tuna fish. The location of Banda Sea must be reached by ferry from Ambon.
North Maluku is a tropical paradise located in eastern Indonesia, made up of some 353 islands, large and small. Not all of these are inhabited, one example being Dodola Island. This magnificently beautiful island has about 16 kilometers of white sands bordering a crystal clear coastline. On this island, visitor can choose to swim, sunbathe or diving, among others. Besides Dodola Island, Maitara Island offers the excitement of exploring underwater life. This island is located between the islands of Tidore and Ternate.
In Tidore and Ternate Islands have relics of the bygone spice trade and wars. There are remains of Portuguese and Dutch forts that dot the islands’ landscape.
This island lies to the east of Ternate, separated only by a narrow strait. It is mountainous island, still largely covered with forests. The coastlines are white sand and coral reefs are found in its waters. Offering a beautiful spectacle, Mount Mamuya (930 meters) spews burning lava from time to time, adding to the allure of this island. Pearl oyster breeding farms on Mangaliho Island can be reached by motorboat.
Ternate, an island off the west coast of Halmahera, is just 15 square kilometers in size but offers a treasure of sights and experiences. There is an active volcano named Gamalama, two lakes, an old Sultan’s Palace, a picturesque port and a number of fine beaches. The peak of Gamalama is 1,271 meters high and can be reached by trail. It has three craters and has a magnificent surrounding environment. Stones from Gamalama’s eruption are scattered across the landscape. Both Lake Laguna, 7 kilometers from town and Lake Tolire, 24 kilometers from town, can be reached by car. About 4 kilometers west of the town, is the Afo clove tree, which is said to be more than 350 years old. Good beaches are to be found at Bastion, Ngade, Sulamadaha and Tobololo. Ternate Bay is popular for fishing and motorboats can be hired to take you to the best fishing grounds.
Morotai Island, lying to the North of Halmahera, was an important air base during World War II, first for the allies and later for the Japanese until its recapture near the end of the war. The ghosts of war still linger in this area, where many wrecks of aircraft and rusting guns lie abandoned in the bushes. The coral reefs here are not easily forgotten. Wayabula, Berebere, Busu-Busu, Sangowo and Daruba are villages on the beach. See more info Dive Sites in Maluku Islands.
Legu Gam is a folk festival held in April to celebrate the birth of His Highness the Sultan of Ternate. Loyal subjects from throughout the province gather at the Sultans Kedaton (Palace) to watch or participate in colorful traditional performances of the regions
Maluku is blessed with incredible sea gardens, idyllic tropical beaches and rugged forest-coated volcanic mountains. These are the famous ‘spice islands’, which lured the Chinese, Arab and eventually European traders of yore in search of cloves, nutmeg and other valuable spices. In 1511, the Portuguese built their first fort in the area on the island of Ternate, and cornered the clove trade. The Dutch, who arrived in 1599, mounted the first serious threat of Portuguese control of Maluku’s treasures. Armed conflicts broke out, taking a heavy toll from the island’s population as well as the rivaling European powers.
When the Dutch finally emerged as victors they enforced their trade monopoly with an iron fist. Whole villages were razed to the ground and thousands of islanders died, especially on the island of Banda. The British briefly occupied Maluku during the Napoleonic Wars, but Dutch rule was restored in 1814 and it wasn’t until 1863 that the compulsory cultivation of spices was abolished in the province. Now fish and other sea products are Maluku’s major sources of revenue, but nickel, oil, manganese and various kinds of timber also contribute to the province’s wealth
Interest Places in Maluku
Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku, is built on the hillside overlooking the bay. It has number of interesting historical and cultural sites, among them remnants of forts built by the Dutch East Indies Company during the heyday of the spice trade. The ruins of the Portuguese fort at Hila are almost entirely hidden beneath the contorted roots of a giant Banyan tree. The ANZAC War Cemetery near Ambon is the site of a memorial service held every year on April 25, to commemorate the Allied soldiers who died in region during World War II. The Siwalima Museum has a fine collection of local arts and crafts. Ambon is at the Maluku end of the annual yacht race between Darwin, Australia and Ambon. The race usually takes place in July and August.
Beaches and Coral Reefs
Good beaches with coral reefs just off shore are found around Hunimoa, Latuhalat, and Namalatu beaches on Ambon. Namalatu has the nicest beach and a hike to Latuhalat will take you some excellent secluded coves.
Namalatu Beach looks out over the Banda Sea on the south coast of Ambon in the Latuhalat village, some 15 kilometers away from Ambon. Namalatu has a strip of white sand and coral beach and crystal clear unpolluted waters. The scenery is beautiful and attractive. It is an ideal place for sunbathing, swim, snorkel and scuba diving. Additional facilities Namalatu Beach offers are sheltered open air stage for dance and music performances and also ‘rujak’ (mixed fruit salad with sweet peanut sauce), coconut peddlers, and on prior request people can serve you with barbequed fish and lobster.
Pintu Kota (gates of the city) lie between the villages of Airlow and Seri off the south coast of Ambon island. A huge rock with a hole in the bottom stretches out to the sea, resembling a gate, where through it one can see the coastline and the Banda Sea. It is an ideal place for snorkeling and diving.
Latuhalat Village is the main center of brick production. The sub-village of Waemahu is also well-known for the production of clove miniature boats handicraft.
This group of islands, about 132 kilometers southeast of Ambon, consists of three larger islands and seven smaller ones, perched on the rim of Indonesia’s deepest sea, the Banda Sea. Near Manuk Island the water reaches a depth of more than 6,500 meters. Gunung Api Island is an active volcano, the last major eruption occurred only a few years ago. The sea around Banda is the site of famous Maluku sea garden with their fantasyland coral reefs and kaleidoscopic array of multi-colored fish darting through the crystal clear water.
The islands also bear witness to Indonesia’s colonial past. Old plantation homes, or what are left of them, and an old church still in the port town of Bandaneira still retain its peculiar colonial character. Two old forts, Belgica and Nassau, are located within the town limits. Others are scattered elsewhere on the islands. See also the former Dutch Governor’s mansion, the Museum of History in Neira, and the huge nutmeg plantation nearby. Accommodation and information are mostly readily available on the ‘heavily populated’ south coast. The north coast boasts some of the best snorkeling in all of Maluku at Asele, one hour east of Wahai.
Karaka Island, Pisang Island and Ai Island
Karaka Island, Pisang Island and Ai Island are particularly well-known for their amazing snorkeling and diving. Facilities for sightseeing, snorkeling and skin diving as well clean, comfortable cottages are available on some islands.
Seram Island the second-largest island in Maluku, Seram is virtually untouched because of its wild rugged interior. Seram receives a lot of rain throughout the year, and is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Trekking in the Manusela National Park is about as far offs the beaten track as you can get in Indonesia; the park receives fewer visitors than Baliem Valley in Papua.
Unique Tourism Event
The Darwin – Ambon International Yacht Race.
This event is aimed to promote sportsmanship, friendship and pride of cultural heritage among locals and foster relations between Indonesia and Australia. The race starts in Darwin and ends in Ambon.
Bambu Gila (Bamboo Gila)
Bambu Gila is a unique traditional game of the region. A group of sturdy men would hold on and try to still a 2-meter long bamboo pole as it mysteriously moves and sways on its own, usually pushing and dragging the men along.
Pukul Sapu Lidi
Pukul Sapu Lidi is performed by two groups of 15 men from the villages of Mamala and Morella on the seventh day following Iedul Fitri. The men face and strike each other’s bare bodies with thorny twigs of the enau tree until they bleed. These duels are staged to commemorate the bravery of the captains of local freedom fighters in their struggle against colonialist forces.