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Tobelo is the capital of the North Halmahera district in the Maluku islands of Indonesia. It is also the second largest town in the province of the North Maluku after the provincial capital, Ternate.


Tobelo and environs is predominantly Christian and this is expressed colourfully at Christmas with bamboo poles arching over the side of the roads hung with lights and multi-coloured flags. At Easter, local church congregations hold a competition to see who can create the best Easter garden. Tobelo and environs boasts large swathes of locally owned coconut plantations, supplying hundreds of tonnes of copra (dried coconut flesh) every month to the ports of Bitung (North Sulawesi) and Surabaya (East Java).

Get in

The best way to get to Tobelo is to take Lion AIr flights from Manado direct to Kao (Tobelo's airport). The flight lasts less than an hour and fly three days per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Be prepared for an early departure as the flights leave Manado before 7 am. Manado also has flights daily direct from Singapore, arriving in the afternoon, allowing for an overnight stay in Manado. Tobelo is also accessible by ferry from Bitung (Manado), North Sulawesi. It is accessible by a very good road from Sofifi (four hours by car), the Halmahera port with hourly speedboat connections to Ternate (1 hour journey time). There is also a small airport Galela with flights from Manado by small plane run by Merpati Nusantara and Trigana airlines. They fly on one or two days a week and schedules vary.

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