A Travel Guide to Spice Islands Indonesia

As if the archipelagic heaven on earth that is Indonesia wasn’t enough, nature gave birth to the hidden gem that is The Spice Islands. While there, you will come to the conclusion that this isn’t just another perfect cruising location.

The real name of the group of islands is Maluku, which comes from the Arabic phrase “Jaziratul Muluk” that translates to “Country of the Kings”. At one point in time, The Spice Islands were the only place in the world where you could find valuable spices like nutmeg and clove. That is how these 6 groups of islands got the nickname “The Spice Islands”.

Rich with history and culture, The Spice Islands also happen to be homes to active volcanos, palm-lined beaches, and marvelous coral reefs. So if you would like to explore the Spice Islands, a cruise is definitely the way to do it. Only a boat will give you access to all the beauties that these islands have to offer. Here are the locations that you absolutely shouldn’t miss while cruising the Spice Islands.

Pulau Seram Island

Painemo, Group of small island in shallow blue lagoon water, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

The largest island of The Spice Islands, Pulau Seram has so much to offer.

All of the beaches on the island are world-class and stunning, but Ora Beach is the one to head to first. Not easily reachable, but worth the effort – Ora Beach is an untouched exotic paradise. It’s surrounded by mountains with the tropical jungle that are great for hikes because of the views that they offer. A tranquil place, where you only can hear the sounds of the waves and the jungle birds. Ora Beach is known for its crystal clear deep blue waters and vibrant collar reefs that are ideal for divers.

After a relaxing day in Ora Beach, you can visit the Sanggar Budaya Seram Museum. It teaches you about all of the things that The Spice Islands had to go through being the world’s Spice Centar. Or you can head to the west side of the island and visit the enchanting Lumoli Waterfall.

While in Seram, you can also go trekking in Manusela National Park and enjoy eating fresh Durian. You can visit the beautiful village of Sawai and crawl through the caves of Goa Akahi in Masohi. Enjoy the local cuisine and seafood and swim in the turquoise waters around the island.

The Banda Islands

Banda Islands

A group of ten volcanic islands that are rather small, The Banda Islands are a must-visit location. You can climb on the top of the majestic active volcano called Gunung Api for some breathtaking views at sunrise and sunbathe on the finest white sand on the beach of Pulau Nailaka.

Banda Api’s lava floors extend underwater and this fact alone makes the Banda Islands Indonesia’s best-kept snorkeling secret. The coral gardens on the underwater lava floors have been growing since 1988. Head to Hatta Island beach for a diving experience, among sea turtles and reef sharks, that is guaranteed you’ll never forget.

The Banda Islands are also popular for the historic Fort Belgica, a classic star fort build in 1611 right above Benteng Nassau. You can take a stroll inside it just by asking the key keeper and learn about the history of the Banda Islands and the Banda Massacre.

As a testament to the involvement of the ancient Chinese in the spice trade, Sun Tian Kong Temple was built around 300 years ago. Today it is in ruins but has some fantastic views to offer, which makes it another must-see location on the islands.

If you are interested in learning about the Dutch involvement in the history of the Banda Islands, head to Rumah Budaya Museum.

Ambon City

Ambon City

The capital of The Spice Islands, Ambon City is arguably one of the most interesting locations that you will ever visit. The mix of amazing historical sites and extraordinary beaches makes the visit to Ambon a must for everyone.

Start off with visiting some of the traditional markets in the city, to get a good sense of the spirit and the culture in Ambon. You can shop for all kinds of different spices, fresh seafood, and rare fruits.

You won’t get the true sense of Ambon whiteout visiting its three forts. Fort Victoria, built by Portuguese colonists, will capture your heart with its architecture even if you aren’t a history buff. The magical feel of the place comes from some amazing well-preserved paintings and statues, as well as from the stunning view of Ambon at dusk. You also must see the large canon at Fort Ferengi and the breathtaking ocean view from Fort Amsterdam.

Visit the beach that gave Ambon the nickname “Bali of East Indonesia” – Liang Beach, known as the prettiest beach in Indonesia. Grasp the sight that is the Hollow Cliff in Pantai Pintu Kota Beach and try rujak on Natsepa Beach.

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