Ambon – an island that is part of the Maluku archipelago east of Sulawesi and north of Timor in Indonesia – was never on my travel list until I was recently invited to it.
As part of the Maluku region famed for its crucial role as the source of spices coveted by the Europeans since the mediaeval ages, Ambon was one of the earliest places in Indonesia to be colonised. Despite its small size, Ambon is brimming with many undiscovered gems ready for travellers to experience, ranging from the Pattimura Memorial in Ambon City to the secluded island of Seram. Based on what I gathered from the trip, this island that is also the capital of the Maluku archipelago is full of potential and should be on all travellers’ list!
Ambon is populated by natives of Austronesian-Papuan descent and they speak in Ambonese Malay, also spoken throughout the Maluku islands. Most of them are either Christians or Muslims. According to Wikipedia, a typical Ambonese village consists of around 1,500 persons who live in a house made from woven sago leaves or plastered bamboo on stone foundations.
Also read: Maluku – Savouring Indonesia’s Spice Islands
Arriving & Departing
There are daily flights to Ambon from Jakarta, takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes on a direct flight. However, there are also connections to Ambon via Makassar or Surabaya.
What to buy
Smoked ‘ikan cakalang’ (Katsuwonus pelamis), known as skipjack tuna, which is popular as a souvenir.
1. World Peace Gong
World Peace Gong symbolises that Maluku is safe and peaceful, therefore both domestic and foreign tourists are invited to visit the province anytime. This is one of the several world peace gongs such as those that can be found in Bali, China, Switzerland and Hungary, among others.
2. Liang Beach
Located about 40 kilometres from Ambon city centre, this beach offers a tranquil experience because it is still natural and quiet. Liang Beach is suitable for those who love snorkelling and swimming because the waves are fairly calm with relatively shallow depth. Travellers can also take a boat ride to Pulau Pombo, an uninhabited island nearby.
3. Ambon War Cemetery
The green oasis of Ambon War Cemetery was constructed on the site of a former camp for prisoners of war to commemorate the fallen 440 officers and men of the Australian forces who had no known grave. It is open from Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If the gates to the cemetery are locked, entry can be made through the side entrance of the resident head gardener’s house.
4. Pintu Kota Ambon
Pintu Kota, also known as The City Gate, is a naturally formed sea-side cliff shaped like a city gate. The scenery from this place is beautiful, especially during sunsets. Travellers can walk on top of the cliff and witness the mesmerising Ambon bay from there. Swimming is not allowed and travellers need to don footwear when walking on the tiny beach
5. Pattimura Monument
This monument was built to pay tribute to Thomas Matulessy, also known as Pattimura, who is recognised as one of Indonesia’s national heroes. Pattimura led a rebellion against the Dutch in May 1817 and then made leader by the people in Maluku, but he was defeated by the Dutch in November 1817. The monument stands on the place where he and his followers were hung by the Dutch.
6. Ora Beach
Ora Beach is located north of Seram Island. Its white powdery beach, crystal clear water and unperturbed corals make it popular among beach and sea lovers. It takes five hours to get to Ora Beach from Ambon, but by the time travellers arrive, their tiredness will surely melt away at the sight of this pristine hideaway. Travellers must book their tickets now because this is definitely one of the most amazing beaches that I have ever set foot on. As a matter of fact, I think the visit to Ora Beach was the highlight of my trip to Ambon.
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 11.2. Read the magazine for free HERE.