Banda Islands surrounded by crystal clear water with exotic seabed and sea life beneath. It spreads in Maluku Province. Banda islands is suitable for diving. The beauty of Banda's underwater is widely known around the globe. As a spice-producing islands, the Banda Islands has been widely known to the world since the 16th century.

Sailing is another activity that can be done. Sail Banda festival is one of the most exciting activities. Sail Banda 2010 festival is an annual sailboat race at international level. Sail the Moluccas in 2011 was held in July-August, next year will be held sail Morotai 2012.

Walking in Bandaneira there will be green and peace views along the road. You may see the remnants of the history of the islands when conquered by the Portuguese, Dutch and English. There is also some historical building from the pre-independence period such as, the exile house of the first vice president, Mohammad Hatta, Sutan Syahrir, and Dr. Cipto Mangunkusumo. Feel the sensation of the past while capturing a satisfactory object for your camera.

Fort Belgica:
Fort Belgica located at the east of Fort Nassau. Fort Belgica was built by Dutch in 1611 under the leadership of General Governor Pieter Both. This fort became the headquarters of the Dutch military forces until 1860. The fort is experiencing massive restoration several years ago and is currently in good condition. Entrance fee is IDR 20.000

Fort Nassau:
Fort Nassau was a Dutch stronghold. Fort Nassau was first built by Portuguese in 1529 when they came to Bandaneira from their base in Ternate for the first time. But before the construction of the fort was completed the Portuguese had force to leave the islands when the Dutch (VOC) came and conquered Bandaneira. Dutch then continued to complete the construction of this fortress. Currently, this building is only three walls and a main gate left.

History of Indonesian Heroes:
In 1936 two leaders of Indonesian independence movement, Mohammad Hatta and Sutan Sjahrir exiled to Bandaneira. They were live in two different houses during their exile in Bandaneira. Mr Hatta's house has some old typewriters, furniture and clothing that was left during his exile time. Mr Syahrir's residence contains the old furniture and a variety of memorabilia from the independence movement period. Other nationalist leader was Dr Cipto Mangunkusumo, who also been exiled in Bandaneira between 1928 to 1940. The residence of the doctor are also found in this city.

The Old Church:
This Dutch Church is called "the old church" by the locals because it was rebuilt in 1852 after previously destroyed by earthquakes. The church is located on Jln Gereja Tua and has been subject of intensive renovation after the riots of 1999.

Mini Palace:
Mini Palace was the residence of VOC Governor, JP. Coen. In addition to historical stories of JP Coen, there is also a mysterious story. JP. Coen used to has a house keeper named Spock. He was feeling depressed living on a desert island and far away from his family. This made Spock suicide.
Before the suicide, he wrote his feeling in a sheet of a glass by carving it. In his testimony, he mentioned that he really wanted to gather with his family. Until now, Spock's scratches in the glass is still there which is protected with an additional glass.

History of Captain Cole:
Former house of Captain Cole, a British Navy leader who succeed in conquering Fort Belgica in 1810

Fort Concordia:
Banda Besar Island is the largest island in the Banda islands. In this island there are the remains of Fort Hollandia, which was built in 1624. The fort has a beautiful panoramic view towards the islands around Banda Besar. This fort was once a majestic building before rocked by an earthquake in 1743. Another fortress on the island is Fort Concordia is located in the east coast.

If you want to feel the thrill of mountain climbing, Gunung Island with it's Mount Api summit is the right choice. By hiring a local fishing boat about IDR 10.000, you reach the island. After climbing about 90 minutes long with or without a guide, you can see the sunrise view of the Banda Islands. While swimming can be done on the southern coast of Banda Besar island or the island Nailaka. Hiking can also done by visiting a traditional village and an 4 centuries old nutmeg plantation on the Banda Besar island.
View of Banda Islands from the Mt. Api summit

This islands has 25 diving points. Some of the most popular places is the Ai island, Batu Kapal, Hatta Reef, Keraka Island, and Nusa Sea.
The following is the list of some diving sites spread across Banda.islands
  • Sonegat: five minutes by boat from the hotel. It lies between Banda Neira and Gunung Api.
  • Keraka Island: Keraka Island or Crab Island is just minutes from the entrance way of the islands, north of Gunung Api-Neira. It's north coast beach is perfect for picnics.
  • Sjahrir Rock and Ship Island: formerly called Banana Island, 20 minutes by boat from Bandaneira. Both are is a good combination for morning diving or evening diving, and beach picnic.
  • Lontar Island: it is the hollow part of the caldera that offers you some amazing diving sites.
  • Dutch stone: there are lots of barrels, foam tubes, small caves, and cracks. Fishes here are varied, including snappers, banner fish and many other species.
  • Ai Island: north and south-west coast surrounded by beautiful reef wall, full of caves also the habitat for harbors fish.
  • Hatta Island: 25 km from Banda Neira. Skaru Atoll, is the name of a coral, few hundred yards south of the island, there is some colony of unicorn fish, Fusiliers, jacks fish and rainbow runners, white-tip sharks measuring almost two meters, napoleon wrasse, dogtoothed tuna, and turtles.
Diving spots map:

diving sites in Maluku

diving sites in Banda Islands

Tips and warnings
Tourist Information Office, Jl. Pattimura 1, Ambon, Phone 62 911 5247 1 or 62 911 9712 6
  • Diving can be done throughout the year, but during the rainy season (July-September), you are restricted to choosing some places to dive.
  • There are no ATMs around the Banda Islands, prepare some cash before visiting the island. Save your money in a safe place, especially when you are around the harbor.
  • Mobile telecommunications provider is limited to Telkomsel and XL. You can refill your prepaid card in Bandaneira.
  • Novice divers are encouraged to be more careful for safety because ocean currents can be strong in some places.
  • Diving is usually comfortable with visibility about 15-30 meters in the calm water conditions, but in some places are only suitable for experienced divers. Ask for advice from your diving supervisor.
  • The depth of the diving sites ranging from 5 meters to over 40 meters with a temperature of 26-29 Celsius so make sure you have a fit condition.
  • Bring more swimsuits and clothing.
  • There have been frequent reports of pickpocketing at the ferry terminal, pay high attention and safely store your valuables!
  • Indonesian ferries generally have low safety standards. In particular overloaded small boat, e.g. to Pulau Ai, is hazardous during rough sea.

Small boats and vast sea:

crystal clear:

underwater view:

Sea life:

Near Mt. Api:

Pearl Breeding Sites:

A spot in mini palace:

A spot in mini palace:

Bandaneira entrance way initiated from Ambon. Ambon is located 132 km north of Banda. There are several flights that stopped at Ambon airport
  • Batavia: Jakarta, Manokwari, Surabaya, Makassar,
  • Garuda: Jakarta, Makassar,
  • Lion Air: Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Fak Fak, Yogyakarta, Kaimana, Tual, Manado, Medan, Manokwari, Nabire, Sorong, Semarang, Surabaya, Makassar,
  • Merpati: Sorong, Makassar,
  • Srivijaya: Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, 
From Ambon to Bandaneira served by Buana Nusantara. There is only one-way trip; IDR 320,000. Flights operate twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. Ambon-Banda: 07.00. Banda-Ambon: 08.00. Contact: Ambon (Ms. Lin) 081 244 410 690, Banda (Mr Musri) 081 380 323 231

Besides planes, there are ferry crossings by PELNI. Scheduled twice a week by KM Ciremai. Make sure you do a recheck schedule for unexpected changes. (PELNI Ambon branch phone: 62 911 3415 57 / 62 911 3414 31)
Another alternative is to hire speedboat from Ambon, Masohi or Tulehu with negotiable price.
For inter-island cruise you need to rent a boat. Hatta Island IDR 500.000 / day; Batu Island + Banana Island IDR 350.000 / day; Lava Stream north of Mount Api IDR 120.000.

In Bandaneira, most people get around for sightseeing on foot. Or with a motorcycle taxi and becak to travel a little further.

    Hotel Maulana is the most luxurious hotel in the Banda Islands. Princess Diana, Mick Jagger, and Jacques Cousteau once stay at this hotel in room number 40. There are also en-suite bathroom overlooking the pearl factory. Please contact +62,911,210 24.
    Mutiara Guesthouse, it has air-conditioned rooms with a large yard for you to relax. Prices start about IDR 70.000 to IDR 125.000. Please call +62 813 303 4337 7.
    Vita Guesthouse is the right place if you expect detailed information about specific destinations in Banda. This guesthouse has a private dock overlooking Gunung Api. You can rent a boat and diving equipment. here. Prices start around Rp 80,000 to Rp 100,000. Please call +62 819 450 9011 0.
    Fresh seafood taken directly from the sea is the best menu in the Banda, try traditional grilled fish. There are several small restaurants serving a variety of Indonesian food.
    As long as you are in the spice island, do not forget to try the nutmeg fruit jams, candied nutmeg and nutmeg chips. Other local menu is the eggplant filled with almond paste and fish sauce nutmeg. In December try some grapes that looks like an olive but sweet.
A chilled big bottle beer: IDR 30.000, fresh juices: IDR15.000, coke IDR 25,000
You can shop for souvenirs made of seafood, traditional meals and snacks. Pearls of Banda is a wonderful souvenir to take home with you.


1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    This is really excellent blog abt one of world´s most beautiful countries. Thank you very much!


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