Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku which is built on a hillside overlooking the bay, has a number of interesting sites of historical and cultural interests. Among them are the remnants of some old forts built by the Dutch East Indies Company during the heydays of the spice trade and the Museum Siwa Lima with its collection of local arts and crafts. More ruins of forts are found such as the Dutch one at Lima and those of the Portuguese at Hila, which are almost entirely hidden underneath the contorted roots of a giant Banyan tree.
The ANZAC War Cemetery near Ambon town is the site of services held every year on April 25, to commemorate the Allied soldiers who died in the region during World War II. Ambon is at the Maluku end of the annual yacht race between Darwin, Australia and Ambon. The race usually takes place at the end of July and the beginning of August.
Coral Sea Gardens
Good beaches with coral reefs just off the shore are found around Pombo island Namalatu beach and at Hunimoa Beach on Ambon. A popular recreation beach on the same island is Natsepa, Honimua and Namalatu.
Ternate, an island off the west coast of Halmahera in northern Maluku, was once the seat of an important kingdom which prospered from the spice trade. The Portuguese, the Spanish and the Dutch vied with each other for influence on this island. A stronghold of Islam in the otherwise predominantly Christian province of Maluku, Ternate nevertheless carries the clear imprints of both its pre-Islamic past and its period of contact with the West, especially the Portuguese. The old sultan's palace in Ternate town is now a museum. In the vicinity are the ruins of old Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch forts. The remnants of the Dutch Fort Orange are right in town.
About five kilometers west of the town, on the slope of a 1,715 meter tall volcano in the middle of the island, is Afo, with its giant clove tree, said to be more than 360 years old to be the ancestor of all clove trees in the world. Morotai Island, just off Halmahera's northern arm, was an important airbase 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 Banda group, 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 the island Manuk, the water reaches a depth of more than 6,500 meters. Of the three biggest islands Banda, Banda-Neira and Gunung Api, the first two are covered with nutmeg trees and other vegetation. The third however, is entirely bare and highly volcanic.
The last eruption of Mount Api occurred only a few years ago. The seas around Banda are the site of the famous Maluku sea gardens with their bright corals and colorful fish darting through the crystal-clear waters. Facilities for sightseeing, snorkeling and skin diving are available, as well as clean, comfortable cottages.
Banda saw some of the bloodiest episodes of Maluku's past history during the 17th century. In 1609, the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) dispatched Verhoeff to the islands to obtain the contested spice trade monopoly at any cost. Confronted by a superior power, the people of Banda were forced to allow the company to establish a fort, but in that same year Verhoeff was killed together with 45 of his men.
The Company retaliated, but peace was not restored. In 1619, V.O.C. Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen arrived at the head of a penal expedition and exterminated the entire population of Banda. The land was divided into lots, called perken and given to former company employees, the perkiniers, who were obliged to grow nutmeg and sell them at predetermined prices to the company.
Slaves did the actual work in the fields. The old perkenier>-houses, or what is left of them, and old churches still retain a peculiar colonial character to the port town of Bandaneira today. Two old forts Belgica and Nassau, are inside the town limits. Others are found elsewhere on the islands. See also the former Dutch Governor's mansion, the Museum of History in Neira, and the huge nutmeg plantation nearby.
One of the biggest island in Maluku. The beaches in Ceram are generally beautiful and suitable for swimming, fishing etc. Sea gardens, Sago woods, Maiden forests. Naulu race, who still keep their habits and traditional way of life. Exotic nature, flora and fauna, Manusela National Park, Kasa islet and Babi islet surrounded by white sandy beaches, beautiful spots for swimming and fishing and gorgeous sea gardens. Wonderful waterfall and beautiful surrounding panorama in the village of Rumakai Antiques.