Maluku (Moluccas) was also formerly known as ‘the Spice Islands’, and it is located on the east of Sulawesi. Here’s the list of the best Maluku travel destinations if you are looking for the less-explored parts of beautiful Indonesia.
Maluku travel destinations
Ambon, the seaport town and the capital of the Maluku province Province. It is the most developed area in maluku located in between Sulawesi and Papua island.
About half of Ambon’s population had converted to Christianity by the 19th century, due to Dutch influence. Unfortunately much of the original Dutch architecture here was destroyed during the war and in the late 1990s when Ambon experienced infighting and civil strife.
However, Benteng Victoria from 8th century remains, it is Ambon’s most worthwhile colonial relic. But, please note that you are not allowed to take the picture unless you have a permit from military officer in Jakarta.
Mesjid Al Fatah is other point of interest in Ambot, located at the end of Ambon’s main street, Jalan Patty.
2. Pulau Seram
Another top Maluku travel destination is Pulau Seram, it means “Scary island”, however there is nothing to be scared about, it is now a tourist friendly and beautiful island. It is the largest and main island in Maluku province.
Some of the main sights here include the Sangar Budaya Seram Museum where you can learn more about all the cultural and historical background of the area.
Teluk Sawai is one of natural attractions in this island, the magnificently beautiful bay in the northern part of the island. Ora Beach and peruse are the gorgeous and super beautiful places to stay while you are here.
3. The pristine Manusela National Park
Manusela National Park is located on Seram, the largest islands in Maluku province, Indonesia. The museum is made up of coastal forest, swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest ecosystem. This pristine rain forest offers magnificent scenery and an incredible array of flora and fauna, particularly avifauna.
It is home for 2,000 species of butterflies and moths and 120 species of birds, covers an area of 189,000 hectares (467,103 acres).
Wahai village is the northern entrance to the park, and Sanulo village, overlooking the Bay of Teluti, is the southern gateway. It is totally worth visiting!
4. Banda Islands (Kepulauan Banda)
Banda islands are the archipelago located on the south of Seram “Founded” sits on the south park of Maluku Province.
It is said that this island was found by the Portuguese in 1512, and then Dutch arrived a century later to set up a spice monopoly. After Dutch then English came later, undercut the Dutch efforts of price control by shipping nutmeg and mace to Europe from Run island, in the Bandas.
Banda’s islands, like the majority of other part of Maluku tropical islands, featuring its world class diving and snorkelling sites. Even within the harbour is also possible to do snorkelling.
5. Banda Neira
Banda Neira is the small settlement town located in the middle of Banda Islands Maluku province.
It used to be a famous trading port and as such attracted the attention of colonialists who built two large fortresses here called Benteng Belgica and Benteng Nassau which are well worth the trip for history buffs.
If you want to try some snorkeling then make for the idyllic village of Tanah Rata where you can enjoy a range of underwater delights and great visibility.
6. Lava Flow, the spectacular world class diving site in Maluku
Lava flow is the world class diving site formed by the the lava from Gunung Api’s 1988 eruption, which was the world’s fastest-growing table corals.
Lava flow is now probably the best and most outstanding diving and snorkelling sites in Banda Islands. Therefore if you are a diving lover, Lava Flow should definitely be included in your Maluku travel destination list.
7. Ternate and Tidore
Ternate is the capital of North Maluku province located on under the foot of the volcano Gamalama. It is centre of power and communications as it is the capital of North Maluku province.
Ternate had been trading with Chinese, Arab and Javanese merchants hundreds of years before the first European arrival. The Portuguese were there in the early 1500s, followed by the Dutch in 17th century.
Benteng Oranje is one of the point interests to visit which was built by the Dutch in 1667, where you will find many ancient cannons. More historical site can be found on the way to the airport, which is beautiful mosque from 15th century.
And not only historical site, Ternate also offers magnificently beautiful natural attractions, Kahatola waterfall in Sao Sia village on the north is one of them.
Tidore is the almost identical island to Ternate. There are almost facing each other, both are located west of the large island of Halmahera. Ternate is dominated by Mt Gamalama and Tidore is dominated by Mt Kiemtabu.
8. Tanimbar Islands
The Tanimbar Islands, which is also known as “Timur Laut” are a group of about 65 islands in the Maluku province of Indonesia. Fordata, Larat, Maru, Molu, Nuswotar, Selaru, Selu, Seira, Wotap, Wuliaru and Yamdena are included in this group.
Tanibar islands are the 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.
Tanimbar islands have also its own abundant natural attractions, such as birds endemic (about 8 species), and of course superb beaches.
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 facilities.
9. Manusela National Park
Manusela National Park is located on Seram Island, and is one of the main national parks in Maluku.
The area is known its location on the Wallacea Transitional Zone, which is famous for its studies on the evolution of a range of indigenous species, where about 2,000 different kinds of butterflies can be found.
Not only numerous number of butterflies, there are also 120 different species of birds and the park sprawls over some 189,000 hectares here.
10. Pulau Halmahera
Halmahera Island is the biggest island in the Maluku which was also called Jailolo or Gigolo.
The island has K letter shaping, and looks like a miniature of Sulawesi island. White sandy beaches, pristine forests and spectacular Mamuya Mountain in the distance, the island offers stunning scenery. This islandis filled with mountains and many other islands which are still closed forest.
Halmahera island can be accessed easily from Ternate by a speedboat and it takes about 40 minutes.
11. Gunung Api Gamalama (Gamalam volcano)
Gamalama ( 1715mdpl) is a stratovolcano located on Ternate Island, North maluku, it sits in the volcanic chain off the west coast of Halmahera – Ternate, Tidore, Moti, Makian and Bacan. It is an highly active volcano which was recently erupted in 2015.
The mountain towers to a height of 1,700 meters and although it still smolders from time to time you can still climb much of the way to the top.
Enjoy the trekking within the lust forest paths and the stunning views over the archipelago.
12. Pulau Bacan
Pulau Bacan is a charming island which has its capital Labuha city, offering the relaxed seaside atmosphere and friendly people.
The island looks out over a charming bay where you will even find a traditional Dutch and Portuguese called Bentang Barnevald that lies in a ruined state but is still very worth visiting.
Most of the visitors access this island from its neighboring Ternate. The traditional Kupal Village and pebble beach at Sawadai are other attractions in this island.
13. Pulau Kei
Pula Kei is group of small islands, it is another must visit Maluku travel destination. Pulau Kei or Kei Islands, are one of the best places to come if you fancy long trips of white sand and azure waters.
Many travelers who travel to the Maluku Islands choose Kei Islands as their base as this is a truly one of the most scenic spots in Indonesia.
Some of tourist attractions here are: Ohoidertawun which is known for its caves and rock carvings as well as ancient cave paintings, and Pulau Kei Kecil where you will find a massive statue of Jesus Christ which is a popular pilgrimage site here, especially around Easter.
14. Pulau Buru
Pulau Buru is another must visit Maluku travel destination which also means Buru Island. It is one of the most famous in Indonesia as it used to be a penal colony in the 1960s.
One of its best known inmates was the writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer who wrote a series of books called the Buru Quartet which he narrated whilst incarcerated on the island.
You can now visit Buru Island and enjoy some of its other sights such as the gorgeous Jiku Merasa Beach and Waeura Waterfall.
Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park. Built in 2004, this national park is vital for the survival of numerous endemic bird species in North Maluku. The national park is also designated as home for Togutil tribe. Activities include birdwatching and jungle track. Address: Empat Puluh Road, Sofifi, Maluku Utara Province.
15. Lease Islands, Maluku Province
The Lease Islands are one of the easiest archipelagos in Maluku to visit, where you will find some of the best diving and snorkelling sites on the islands, Pulau Saparua is one of them.
If you want learn more about what happened here back in 1817 you may want to visit Benteng Duurstede and also its museum.
16. Saparua, in Lease Islands, Maluku Province
Saparua is the largest and most populous of the Lease Islands just east of Ambon, the capital of Maluku province.
It is a beautiful village with friendly people who are mostly Christian. It offers many historical sites, stunning beaches and fine coral reefs.
Nusalaut is the smaller island near Saparua which is also worth visiting if you are in Saparua and even staying for couple of days and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of tropical island.
Hopefully this list of Maluku travel destinations help you to plan your Maluku trip and enjoy this beautiful archipelago!