Are seeking remote islands in Indonesia with spice plantations, underwater coral gardens, lush volcanic islands, and historical forts? Then Banda Islands is the perfect travel destination!
Here are 9 amazing places in Banda Islands that are off the beaten tourist track:
1. The Great Nutmeg Island
One of the main commodities of the Banda Islands since ancient times is nutmeg. This spice is commonly used for food, flavoring ingredients and cosmetics. The main location of fragrant nutmeg plantations can be found on Banda Besar Island, one of the islands in the Banda Islands. Therefore, Banda Besar is also known as the Great Nutmeg Island. Visitors can join a Spice Tour to learn about the history and ways of cultivating nutmeg.
2. Active Volcano in Banda – Mount Banda Api
Mount Banda Api is a volcanic island located in the Banda Islands, with a height of 656 meters above sea level. Mount Banda Api is still active today, and has erupted 20 times with the last eruption occurring in May 1988. The eruption produced an eruption column of 3,000-5,000 m high accompanied by large volcanic rocks/bombs.
3. Naira Island Aquatic Park
As an archipelago, 80 percent of Banda’s area is oceanic and home to least 34 scattered dive spots. There is Naira Island which is a favorite place for tourists to snorkel and meet Napoleon fish. Other favorite dive points are the lava avalanche area of Gunung Api Island, the coast of Run and Nailaka Island, and the beach of Hatta Island. In the waters of Hatta Island, divers can directly see the deep trench which is only about 20 meters from the shoreline.
4. The Largest Fort in the East Indies: Fort Hollandia
Fort Hollandia was founded on Lonthoir Island or Banda Besar in 1642. This fort was once the largest in the East Indies until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1743. Apart from its history, one of the attractions for tourists to visit Fort Hollandia is its gaping position right at the Banda Volcano. From a height of 100 meters above sea level, tourists can see the activities of fishermen, boats passing by, and the sunset. To be able to reach Hollandia Fort from Banda Neira, tourists must cross use sea transportation from Lamane Pier to the Boiyau Bridge which takes 10 minutes.
5. Fort Belgica, UNESCO nominated site
Located in Banda Neira, Central Maluku Regency, Maluku province, this fort was built by the Portuguese during the colonial period. The fort is unique with its pentagon shape. It is located 30 meters above sea level. From this height, visitors can take pictures with the backdrop of the sunset and the Banda Volcano. Its just 500 meters walk from the port of Banda Neira. In 1915, Fort Belgica was officially registered as a National Ranking Cultural Reserve. The fort has also been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
6. Sun Thien Kong Temple in Banda Neira
Sun Thien Kong Temple is a building of worship for followers of the Confucian religion and some of Chinese descent in Banda Neira. The location is in Nusantara Village, Banda Neira. The name of this pagoda means House of God’s Power in Mandarin. This pagoda is more than 300 years old. This pagoda bears witness to the trade relations between the Chinese and the Bandanese in Banda Neira.
7. Mini Palace Similar to the State Palace in Jakarta
The Mini Palace Complex is the former VOC government office in Banda Naira which was occupied by the VOC Governor before moving to Batavia (Jakarta). The governor who once occupied this palace was the Governor General of the VOC, Jan Pieter Coen. The building is European in style with some marble floors and some floors made of natural stone. There is also a statue of King Willem III which is located in the side yard of the governor’s office building. This palace building is very similar to the State Palace in Jakarta, although a smaller version. It was built in 1622 and collapsed due to an earthquake.
8. Museum Rumah Budaya Banda Neira
At the cultural house of Banda Neira, visitors can see the remnants of the Dutch colonial era. There are cannons, musical instruments, Chinese ceramics, ancient coins, bells, paintings depicting the Dutch colonialism of the Banda and many other things about colonialism here. In the main room of the museum there is a painting that attracts attention as well as causes a sense of sadness, namely a giant painting that tells of the massacre of prominent people in Banda in 1621.
9. Nailaka Island or Small White Sand Island
Nailaka Island is on the north side of Rhun Island. During low tide, visitors can walk to this small and beautiful island via Rhun Island. During high tide, the island can be reached by boat. The sea water in this eastern Indonesia paradise is very clear. The best time to visit Nailaka Island is around October to November. At that time, in addition to diving and snorkeling safely, visitors can also enjoy the beautiful sunrise and sunset here.
Are you an outdoor adventurer and a history buff who are ready to explore the Banda Islands? Share what you think in the comments section below.