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. Look at the sign on top of the bus to make sure it's the route you want. 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.
Taxis are also available for hire and can be found mostly in major hotels.
A map of the city is available on the second floor of the bookstore Dian Pertiwi, at the corner of Jl. P. Diponegro and Jl. Said Perintah, by the tall white Trikora monument.
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
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.
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.
Traveling by boat requires patience and a relaxed schedule. Delays and breakdowns are just part of the experience.
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.
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.