Maluku Travel Information - Makian

Makian: North Maluku's Most Dangerous Volcano

The island of Makian is, like Ternate, made up by an active volcano rising out of the sea. Gunung Kiebesi is Maluku's most unpredictable and dangerously destructive volcano, whose latest eruption destroyed everything on the island, prompted the evacuation of all local people to Halmahera, and nearly split the island into two. However, by now its villages have been rebuilt, and its plantations and forests have grown back thanks to its fertile volcanic soil.
Despite this, the island is historically significant as one of the original clove isles and the original seat of the Bacanese sultanate.
There is an old colonial fort in the capital village of Ngofakiaha.
Two completely distinct ethnic groups share the island, both of whom are staunch Muslims.

Attractions Local Culture Getting There Accommodation

Main Attractions


The island's main settlement is basically just an overgrown village with few facilities to offer to visitors. At least you can get some cold drinks, and ask around to buy Makian's famed kenari nut sweets (halua kenari).

Benteng Maurizius

Makian's main historic sight is this largely unrestored fort crumbling overgrown with weeds on the slopes overlooking Ngofakiaha. Though hard to see in its entireity, its walls actually surround a large area, and rather uninviting openings in the walls and floor here and there may lead the adventurous to explore.

Kiebesi's Crater

Although it is a tough climb up Gunung Kiebesi, seeing its awesomely huge crater is the most compelling reason to come to Makian!
This is no easy walk though, as parts of the trail I took was very overgrown.

Local Culture

Traditional Music

My first visit to Makian happened to coincide with a traditional ceremony there. Here was my chance to hear Makian's distinctive, Arabic-influenced traditional music live!
On this picture, you can see as the group of traditionally clad elders is setting out from the home of the kepala desa while playing music and singing.

The most typical Makianese music is called "togal", and includes a woman singing along with traditional instruments. The Makianese must be the Malukan ethnic group who most love listening to their traditional music rather than modern styles even outside traditional context. Togal is heard played on cassettes, tuned on to on the radios, and is sold on cassettes even in Ternate

The Ceremony

The ceremony itself took place at this sacred shrine. People from the entire village gathered there, taking bottles of water with them. These bottles were placed inside the shrine, where they apparently acquired some sort of blessing during the ritual.

Getting There and Around

By Sea

There are daily boats to Makian from Ternate, some of which continue on to Kayoa.
As there are no roads, boats are also a major way of getting around - with the only alternative being walking.



There is no commercial accommodation on Makian.