Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Traveling in Maluku

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Maluku, also called the spice archipelago, is nice tourist destination in Indonesia. Today the region consists of two provinces, i.e. the North Maluku with Sofifi as its capital and the (South) Maluku with Ambon as its capital. It is not difficult to reach Ambon. There are regular flights from Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, and Manado to Ambon served by Lion Air, Sriwijaya, Batavia Air, Express Air, and Garuda. Maluku with hundreds of small islands are surrounded with pristine coral reef. Several passenger ships operated by PELNI lines make Ambon as their port of call. Some liveaboard operators in Sorong and Bali provide diving trips to Maluku. A famous destination is Kei regency whose Pantai Pasir Panjang beach at Ngilngof village is perhaps the finest beach in the world.
During the spice trade between 1500s and 1800s, many European explorers came to Maluku to buy clove, nutmeg, cajuput oil, and enjoy sailing through the crystal blue water to the coral islands whose underwater world is one of the finest marine ecosystems in the world. Scientists like George Everard Rumphius, Alfred Russel Wallace also visited Maluku to carry out research on the flora and fauna of the tropical islands.
children at sea with their boat

Leitimor peninsula in Moluccan islands
The view of Leitimor peninsula in Ambon island
In my recent trip to Maluku, I took a Perintis boat called Sabuk Nusantara 32, from Sorong city in West Papua to Harapan Jaya village in Misool islands of Raja Ampat. In the afternoon the passenger boat that was carrying around two hundred passengers arrived in Bula - the capital of East Seram regency. Then I continued my trip to Ambon by trans-Seram bus. We passed through the Manusela National Park which is a nice hiking, birding site. In general, the road condition, from Bula to Waipirit harbor, was good. Its an ideal route for cyclists and mountain bikers who want to see or explore the nature of Seram and the unique culture of the Moluccan by cycling.
Alex, an American who has been traveling for more than 1 year around Indonesia, and is now in West Papua, told me that he plans to ride from Bula to Ambon. Perhaps, he may do that in July or August 2012. Maluku between 1999 and 2004 was a dangerous destination. All countries issued travel warning to their citizens who wanted to travel in Indonesia. Now the situation in the region is safe. Contact my friend if you need a guided tour in Moluccan islands with a customized itinerary. by Charles Roring

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