Maluku, the lost islands of Indonesia

Written on : 26 January 2018

Maluku: a paradise hidden at the end of the world

True Robinsons islands, the Moluccas conserve an exceptional equatorial landscape in Eastern Indonesia. With an extraordinary fauna and flora, they are full of abundant vegetation but mainly volcanoes, most of which are still active. In the heart of the ancient sea route spices, discover a surprising archipelago where you’ll find cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. You will be charmed by the great hospitality of their inhabitants more than anything, but even more so by the small local treasures to be found. After a visit of the nutmeg plantations, it is good to walk in the heart of the villages to discover local specialties and handicrafts such as hand-woven textiles, wooden sculptures, mother-of-pearl paintings or even jewels. To discover colonial remains and fishing villages in the heart of fabulous scenery is the promise of the Moluccas!

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Banda: Spice Islands

In the region of Maluku, the Banda Islands are worth the trip with their volcanic landscape and their trees of Myristica, the source of nutmeg and mace. In full colonial setting, the old Dutch buildings face the impressive size of the volcano gunung api, the mountain of fire. To reach the summit and overhang the crater, you have to take a rough path through a thick forest and as a real reward you can admire a breathtaking view of the archipelago. At the foot of this giant, coral corollas that have developed under water with the spill of lava offer a wonderful sight. In this lava flow, swim with dolphins or rub hammerhead sharks in sensational underwater parks.

Among the 10 small islands that make up the archipelago, Hatta, Neira and Ai shelter corners of pure beauty. Northeast of Banda Besar, the Skaru Atoll contains one of the most beautiful snorkelling spots. To totally disconnect from the outside world, all you have to do is admire the coral with its unicorn fish, riflemen, turtles or even rainbow runners. Relaxing and soothing, the little corner of paradise of the beautiful deserted beaches of Ai, near a natural cave and the impressive underwater wall, is the ideal setting. For more authenticity and history, you have to go to Neira and visit its small village, its humble market and its colonial buildings. Symbol of Portuguese colonisation, a visit to Fort Belgica is just as memorable.

Ambon and Kai: a collection of wonders

Nestled between the Seram Sea in the North and the Banda Sea in the South, the Ambon Islands immerse you in the heart of charming countryside and coastlines. The hiding places within this atoll: the small fishing port isolated from Séri, the sacred lake of Rana with the calm waters covered with lotus or even the seductive capital of Ambon, are wonderful places to explore in natural and preserved settings. Extend the experience on beautiful expanses of white sand with translucent waters. Known as Suli Beach, Sopapei Beach, adjacent to high cliffs, mingles with a pool of hot water that flows into the shore. How nice to play beach volleyball and enjoy the sun with friends or family! In Natsepa, close to local markets, tasting freshly caught seafood has an exquisite flavour. According to legendary myths, this place could cure ailments like the flu or fever thanks to the benefits of its warm waters. Incredible, isn’t it? Another peculiarity of the area is Pintu Kota, a rocky beach and a cliff throwing itself into the sea with a singular hole in the heart of its rock or also to the South, the cave of Hukurila with its rich coral reefs with shades of  turquoise and emerald.

To other countries, to the East of the Moluccas, far from the tourist sites, the long white sand shores of Kai, Ohoidertawun in Kecil and Madwaer in Besar, are the calmest and wildest of the region. Only local residents come to enjoy a good time in the sun at the edge of the water. For those who feel like they have a traveller's soul, looking for off-the-beaten path sites, you'll certainly enjoy climbing the mountains and crossing the dense forests on the hiking trails. Or, all else, explore the natural pool caves... an expedition that will surprise you in summer and winter! The incredible authenticity of these natural backdrops will surprise you, as will the warm welcome of the locals. Arrive on the archipelago, welcomed by the children and the villagers who come to meet you and introduce you to the traditional dances of the region. Do not resist any longer and fly to distant horizons!

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