Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku, is built on a hillside overlooking the bay. It has a number of interesting historical and cultural sites, among the remnants of forts built the the Dutch East Indies Company during the heyday of the spice trade. The ruins of the Portuguese fort at Hila are almost entirely hidden beneath the contorted roots of a giant Banyan tree. The ANZAC War Cemetery near Ambon town is the site of
serviced held every year on April 25, to commemorate the Allied soldiers who died in region during World War II. The museum Siwa Lima has a fine collection of local arts and crafts. Ambon is at the Maluku end of the annual yacht race between Darwin, Australia and Ambon. The race usually takes place in July and August.
There are daily flights from Jakarta to Ambon, either direct or via Makassar or Surabaya. Garuda and Batavia are the airlines rated safest internationally, and both fly direct.
Alternatively there are boats from various parts of Indonesia. Schedules change frequently, but any travel agent in Jakarta or a major Indonesian city can arrange this.
Bemos (public transport minivans, locally called angkutan or angkot) with pre-ordained routes take people around the island. There are no fixed stops, just flag one down in the street. Each costs 2,000Rp -- pay when you get out. Sitting up front is fine, if it's empty and you'd rather not squish into the back. To stop where you want to get out, say "minggir".
Becaks (bicycle rickshaw) are good for shorter distances downtown.
There are many ojeks (passenger motorcycles) around the island.
Taxi is also available for hire and can be found mostly in major hotels.
Siwa Lima Museum
Commonwealth war graves
Namalatu beach area
Snorkeling / Diving on Latuhalat or Liang beach. Just ask your Hotel/Inn how to get there.
Eat Nasi Kuning(Yellow Rice) on morning, noon, night time. It's everytime Ambonese meal. Be careful it's spicy
Asmat Souvenir, Jl Sam Ratulangi (just across from CIMB Niaga Bank). Book exchange, Money changer, Tourist information, Souvenir shop and great conversations. Pak Wisar speaks fluent english, and will help you in any way he can. He is my first and last stop in Ambon.
Various seafood, Batu cake (which translates "rock cake"; best to be had with tea or coffee).
Kohu-kohu is a delicious local specialty: green salad with tuna, shredded coconut and lime.
Cafe Sibu Sibu, Jl. Said Perintah No. 47A, . Serves traditional Malukan food and drink, and is a great spot to chill, with a big open front. Very popular with locals. Cafe has wifi, albeit slow. The owner, June, speaks English. Cafe serves beer, coffee, baked goods and light meals. It was recently expanded to double its size.
Citra Supermarket Canteen, Tulukabessy St. Affordable and delicious Indonesian and Chinese food. Also serves non-halal food.
Restoran Tantui Seafood, Jalan Tantui (Hygenic Market or Pasar Higenis). Lots of seafood—yellow soup fish, rica-rica, Balado shrimp, black pepper crab, black pepper lobster, bitter melon with fish, papaya flower. Local speciality fish in almond sauce is a favourite.Rp.25,000-100,000.
IMPERIAL RESTO (CHINESE FOOD & SEAFOOD), jln. diponegoro no.53, ☎ 0911 315333. 11.00-23.00. clean and comfortable environment to have lunch or dinner, offering best fresh seafood in town, with speciality menu: ambon traditional food (papeda, fish yellow soup with walnut), hongkong style steamed fish, sweet and sour fish, black pepper beef, fresh crab in "sze chuan" style. all food is halal food.
Baguala Bay Resort (Baguala Bay), Jl. Raya Waitatiri (20 minutes from Ambon City & Airport - on the way to Tulehu Ferry port to Seram & Saparua island), ☎ +62 0911 362717 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Friendly atmosphere, large garden with pool, scenic sunset view overlooking the Bay, great for families with childrenUSD 50.-.
Ambon has been wracked by ethnic and religious violence since 1999. While tensions between the main Muslim and Christian factions have been slowly waning, there were still scuffles in spring 2004 and caution is advised. In 2007 there were minor bomb blasts in March and April.
Banda Islands. A small archipelago with a great history of "Spice wars" over the power of nutmeg.
Kei Islands. Perfect white sand beach setting for doing absolutely nothing.
Traveling by boat requires patience and a relaxed schedule. Delays and breakdowns are just part of the experience.
Pelni serves Banda (100.000 Rp) and Tual (350,000 Rp) with the mighty ship Ciremai, and the less mghty, but still big Kelimutu.
Current schedules can be had from the Pelni office near the Ambon City Park (look for the big statue of the guy with the Machete). The ticket office (loket) is easy to miss in the back of the big glassfront Pelni building.
"NBA" has weekly flights to Banda Islands on wednesdays. There are rumours of flights on saturdays during the high-season. However, nobody could tell me when it was high season.
"Wings Express" (subsidy of Lionair) has daily flights to Kei Islands.
P.T Mattras Abadi tour and travel, Jl. A.Y Patty (Halfway between the port and the shopping centre). sells tickets for all of the above and has (a few) english speaking staff.