Maluku Travel Information - Intro

Maluku: The Spice Islands of the East

Scattered between Sulawesi, Timor and Papua, and long known in the West as the "Spice Islands", whose once unique cloves and nutmeg drew visitors from all over the world for centuries, Maluku is made up by over a thousand beautiful tropical islands with lush vegetation and unique fauna, stunning beaches and marine life, and very friendly, hospitable people. Overshadowed by more famous and accessible Indonesian islands like Bali, Java or Sumatra, remote Maluku receives very few visitors nowadays. On my trips around the archipelago, I never met more than half dozen foreigners in a month, and sometimes not a single one in a 2 months long trip. More than any other region in Indonesia, this is the ultimate destination for those who like island-hopping well off the beaten track!

  Maluku today is divided into 2 provinces. "North Maluku" province with its majority Muslim population and its capital Ternate stretches from Halmahera and Morotai to the Sulas and Obi. Confusingly named, majority Christian "Maluku" province encompasses the central and southern regions of Maluku from Buru and Seram to the Arus and Wetar, with its capital being Ambon. Both provinces are equally beautiful and share similar history, culture and attractions.

  I have visited Maluku every year since 1999, and its beauty and the friendliness of its people made it my favourite region in Indonesia, or indeed anywhere!

The islands

The islands of Maluku range from rugged, mountainous wildernesses to active volcanoes rising straight out of the sea and idyllic coral atolls. Fine beaches and coral reefs abound, and there are plenty of historical reminders of the region's turbulent past.

The people

Though not exactly famous for traditional culture, the over 100 ethnic groups native to Maluku are among the friendliest and most hospitable and fun-loving in all Indonesia. Music and dancing are as much part of life as are fishing and farming. However, little English is spoken out there, so you must learn some Indonesian to be able to appreciate this.