Ambon is an island in the Maluku region of Indonesia.
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
services held every year on April 25 to commemorate the Allied soldiers who died in this 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 is the airline rated safest internationally.
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.
The airport is located in Laha, 45-minute driving from the city. DAMRI bus (costs IDR 35,000) connects the airport and the city with fixed schedule four times a day.
City to Airport (04.30, 05.00, 10.00, 13.00)
Airport to City (07.00, 08.00, 13.00, 16.00).
The bus leaves the city at the peace gong on Jl. Sam Ratulangi at the big electronic advertising sign.
Taxi costs IDR 200,000 for one trip from/to the airport.
Red Bemos run from outside the airport gates to Kota Ambon for less than 15,000Rp. Ask the driver if he goes the full way to the city center, as some of the Bemos stop half way to the city center and return.
Bemos (public transport minivans, locally called angkutan kota or angkot) with pre-determined routes take people around the town and even 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 IDR 3,000 for in-town route -- 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. However taxis in Ambon look just like normal cars. They are usually Toyota Avanzas and Innovas.
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.
Ambon Integrated Transportation System Map
- Siwa Lima Museum
- Commonwealth War Graves
- Namalatu beach area
- Pintu Kota
- Waii eels
- Liang Beach
- Tulehu Hotwater
- Natsepa Beach
- Morela Bay
- Benteng Amsterdam
- Statue of Martha Christina Tiahahu - Indonesian heroine who died of self starvation resisting the Dutch. The statue is very beautiful and imposing, set in a lovely garden overlooking Teluk Ambon. The view is quite beautiful at any time of day. Take an ojeg (motorbike taxi). Costs around rp 30 000 return from downtown. The driver will wait for you. You can give a small donation to the gardener who keeps the garden looking so pretty.
Snorkeling / Diving on Latuhalat or Liang beach. Just ask your hotel/inn how to get there.
Eat Nasi Kuning(Yellow Rice) in the morning, noon, and night time. It's an anyytime 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. edit
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.
On Natsepa Beach there is a 'long' row of Rojak stalls lining the beach.
Papeda - a must try local staple made from sago palm. Its made into a gluey kind of porridge which you can eat with yellow fish soup. You eat the soup with the papeda and slurp directly. You usually eat the fish from a separate bowl so you don't slurp up dish bones by mistake!
- 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. Try the local coffee variants including kopi rarobang made with very strong coffee, ginger and kenari nuts floating on the top. Nice accompanied with all the different sago based cakes they sell. A great place for people watching.. edit
- Imperial Restaurant (Chinese food & seafood), Jl. Diponegoro No.53, ☎ 0911 315333. 11.00-23.00. clean and comfortable environment to have lunch or dinner, offering the 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. edit
- Citra Supermarket Canteen, Tulukabessy St. Affordable and delicious Indonesian and Chinese food. Also serves non-halal food. edit
- 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. edit
- RM. Bambu Koening, Tawiri, ☎ +62 821-9788-6886. 10-10pm. (specialises in Ikan Bakar and kelapa rice) Reasonable. edit
- RM Nusantara, Suli, Salahutu, ☎ +62 812-9326-1010. 10-10pm. (specialises in Sate) Reasonable. edit
- The "FRiS Fresh Market" supermarket on Jl. Rijali close to the crossing of Jl. Pituina has a good range of cold beer.
- Many Chinese restaurants sell beer.
- Most large Supermarkets sell a range of beer.
- The Natsepa Resort and Conference Center, JL. Natsepa No 36 Suli Salahutu, ☎ +62 911 362257 ([email protected]), . edit
- Imperial Inn, W.R. Soepratman Gang Kedondong, ☎ +62 911 355047. Decent inn with various types of room and the price is also affordable, starting from IDR 140,000 for single bed. Has free internet access in public area. Hotel guests may rent a motorbike for IDR 40,000 (manual) and IDR 50,000 (automatic) a day. edit
- Manise Hotel, Jl. W.R Supratman No.1, ☎ +62 911 341445 ([email protected], fax: +62 911 354145), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 11AM. A family owned hotel. Average $40. edit
- 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 ([email protected]). Friendly atmosphere, large garden with pool, scenic sunset view overlooking the bay. Great for families with children. USD 50.-. edit
- Penginapan The Royal, Jl. Anthony Rhebok. Good valued hotel right in town with budget rooms on the top floors (no lift) which are clean, AC and hot water. Incl. Breakfast from 240,000Rp. edit
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.
- Saparua. A short 1 - 2 hour boat ride will take you to this delightful next door but one island. A pleasant place to while away some days is Kulur. Take the local car ferry from Waai in north Ambon and you will get direct to Kulur. Good snorkelling nearby - try Itawaka further north with good corals right on the shore and excellent visibility. There are plenty historical things to see if you are interested, including the birthplace of Indonesian hero Kapitan Pattimura.
- 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.
- Kupang. Popular destination in West Timor.
- Sorong. Awesome diving in Raja Ampat.
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 mighty, but still big Kelimutu, finally the smaller but infamous KM.Pangrango.
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 glass-front Pelni building.
- The Fast Ferry runs twice a week to Banda Neira (in season*)
- SusiAir flys a Cessna to and from Banda Neira on Mondays and Fridays (in season)
- "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. edit