Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 25 December 2013 • Itinerary
Traveled with Baronda Maluku in May, 2013.
The idea of ‘tropical islands’ is embodied in the province of Maluku. How could it not? It has white sandy beaches that, when accumulated, can go for miles. Can you imagine the amount of coconut trees they have? The marine life is so rich! The waters are fine! The people have huge pearly white smiles, the food is awesome, the air is warm and humid, and … I can go on and on just to show you how this province is the epitome of tropical islands.
Picture from Marischka Prudence’s blog here.
While I’ve been to Ambon a few times such as my trip here and here, it’s safe to say I’ve hardly seen what Maluku is all about. That’s what Achmad Alkatiri was out to show with the Baronda Maluku project. He’s out to show there’s a lot to see in Maluku and to restore it back as one of the most popular travel destinations in Indonesia before the social conflict. So, Indohoy was honored to be given the opportunity – and the free trip – to be part of this small journey, seeing just the mere first tier of the rich province.
Ironically, I found out how rich the dive sites in Ambon were from a discussion I had with the dive guide on Tomia Island. Ambon turns out to have some iconic spots such as the underwater arch at ‘Pintu Kota’ and the Hukurila cave. Interestingly, Ambon is also known for Laha, a village port that has a rich underwater scene underneath the few parked fishing boats, popularized by the sighting of the Psychedelic Frogfish. Three dives at Laha were a sight indeed, including the spotting of a Dragonet family.
For more information of the dives in Laha, you can read more here.
Any archipelago will be scattered with beaches. There will be a beach everywhere you go and on every corner you turn. During this trip, we visited some of the dreamy beaches of the province.
We visited the Ora Beach located on the north coast of Seram Island. With corals extending forever and situated within a protected bay with water flat as sheets, this beach is a private heaven for visitors.
You can read more about Ora Beach here.
It’s where I met the pelicans, had a sand fight with the gang, and where I tanned the most. Kei Island has tons of beaches within its mini archipelago for anyone to enjoy. Considering transportation is still fairly limited, these islands are gems for slow traveling and far from touristy. We visited the Ngurtafur or Ngurtavur Beach and Ohoililir Beach.
More of the story on Kei Islands here.
One of the most famous traditions from Maluku is the ‘bambu gila’ or crazy bamboo. It’s a possessed bamboo held by an odd number of people, in this case 7 shirtless local men who, I’m sure, is appealing to some ladies out there. Can I get a ‘woot’?! It’s a ritual connecting the now and the past, evoked by an ancient language. Sounds exotic and magical, right? Believe in it or not, it’s a spectacle to see and possibly try.
For more of ‘Bambu Gila’, head to this link.
If there’s anything we did aside to getting a tan and play with water, it would be eating. Eating is part of the traveling experience, giving a little bit of something to the senses, especially the taste buds. So, on this trip, it was compulsory to try the local venues, which also included home cooking from Mad’s mother, a Malukunese.
More of what we ate, and be prepared to drool, visit the blog to here.
Mad had assembled a team who would be able to help sound out Maluku back as a travel destination. He had invited some TV personalities known for their hard core traveling and diving such as Riyanni Djangkaru, Marischka Prudence, and Dayu Hatmanti.
From left to right: Pru, Riyanni, and Dayu
He also gathered some awesome photographers and videographers such as travel photographer Barry Kusuma, who is on our recommended blog list for Indonesia, Giri Prasetyo for his videos, and Ferry Rusli for his work and his resemblance to Psy.
Clockwise from the left top: Giri, Barry, and Ferry (Psy).
Ajeng and Atre.
Almascatie was our local man, who you could probably ask anything about Maluku. Of course, we also had the team from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
The combination was awesome, with everyone so used to traveling. No hassle, just fun! As a rookie myself, I learned a lot from these experts along with getting who’s and what’s of the traveling world. Juicy!
Here are a few things I picked up when traveling with these TV beauties.
For the Baronda Maluku official website, head down to this site.
And of course, you can work that social media with #BarondaMaluku.
This trip was fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, but the opinions are my own.
Planes fly to Ambon directly or transit from Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar.
Ora Beach Resort
If you’re traveling on your own, it’s probably possible to stay at Saleman village just across the bay. From Ambon, take the daily ferry from the Tulehu port to Masohi, Seram Island. There are daily ferries and we took the noon ferry. Travel time on the boat was about 2 hours. VIP tickets are from IDR 150,000 / pax which include reclined seats and AC, while economy tickets cost about IDR 90,000 / pax. Arrangements can also be done with the Ora Beach Resort for an all in price.
Kei Islands can be reach from Ambon with daily planes by Wings Air for about IDR 1,500,000 / pax for return tickets.
You can also reach the islands by local ferries, but I have no information on it. Sorry.