Maluku Islands

Why You Should Visit Papua and Maluku Islands in 2024

Ever heard of Papua and Maluku Islands? Let’s talk about these beautiful and underrated Islands in Indonesia. These Islands are perfect for anyone looking for a unique adventure.

Papua is on the eastern side of New Guinea and it’s wild. It is covered with jungles, mountains, and tribes that live like they’ve been living for ages.

Then there are the Maluku Islands, also known as the Spice Islands. They’re a mix of mountains, beaches, and history from the spice trade era. The main city, Ambon, is full of stories from when Europeans used to rule there. Now, the islands are peaceful and beautiful.

So, ready to explore Papua and the Maluku Islands with me? Whether you love nature, history, or just chilling on beautiful beaches, these islands are amazing. Let’s find out why they’re a must-visit​​​​​​!

Where are the Papua and Maluku Islands?

Papua is a province of Indonesia, located on the northern coast of Western New Guinea. It’s bordered by Papua New Guinea to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the north, and Cenderawasih Bay to the west. The province includes various island groups in Cenderawasih Bay and the northern coast.

It’s known for its diverse ethnic groups, including the Papuans, Ambonese, Bugis, and others. Papua’s landscape is challenging with harsh terrain and climate, making its development quite difficult. Despite this, the region is rich in natural resources like gold and nickel.

The Maluku Islands

The Maluku Islands, also called the Moluccas or Spice Islands, are an archipelago in eastern Indonesia. They’re located east of Sulawesi, west of New Guinea, and north and east of Timor. This archipelago comprises around 1,027 islands, spread over an area of 850,000 square kilometers, mostly covered by sea.

The islands are primarily mountainous and forest-covered, with some being flat and swampy. Several of these islands are volcanic. The largest and most developed islands include Halmahera, Seram, Ambon, and Ternate. Mount Binaiya on Seram is the highest point in the Malukus, standing at 3,027 meters.

The Maluku Islands have a rich history, especially as the source of spices like nutmeg, mace, and cloves. This history includes periods of European colonial control, starting with the Portuguese in the 16th century, followed by the Dutch and the British.

The islands have been a significant trading location for centuries and are currently known for their beautiful beaches and rich marine life, making them a popular destination for scuba diving and other water activities.

Both Papua and the Maluku Islands have a unique geographical and cultural significance, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical richness. Their location at the convergence of different geological plates makes them particularly interesting from a geological standpoint as well.

Read also: Gili Islands – All You Need to Know!

How to Get to Papua and Maluku Islands?

Getting to Papua and the Maluku Islands is an adventure in itself, but don’t worry, I’ve got the details sorted out for you.

Papua, being on the eastern side of Indonesia, is accessible mainly by air. The key entry point is Jayapura, the capital city of Papua. Most flights to Jayapura are not direct and might include stop-overs in cities like Makassar or Surabaya. This means you might have to plan for a bit of extra travel time to reach Papua.

For the Maluku Islands, your gateway is Ambon, the largest city in the archipelago, which has an airport. You can catch flights to Pattimura Airport in Ambon from major Indonesian cities like Jakarta and Surabaya. These flights often have a stop-over in Makassar, Sulawesi, so you’ll need to factor this into your travel plans.

If you’re up for a sea voyage, Indonesia’s national shipping company, Pelni, offers passenger services to Ambon and Ternate in North Maluku from places like Bali and Java. Remember, these ferry journeys can take anywhere from 2 to 8 days, so they’re best suited for travelers with plenty of time on their hands.

Once you’re in Ambon, if you wish to explore further, such as the Banda Islands, you can hop on a ferry or take a small plane. The ferry ride to Banda Neira, for instance, takes about 6 hours. It’s important to note that ferry tickets can’t be booked in advance and need to be purchased on-site.

Places to Visit in Papua and Maluku Islands

Both Papua and the Maluku Islands, offers its own unique slice of beauty and culture. From the rugged highlands and lush jungles of Papua to the serene beaches and historic spice trade sites in the Maluku Islands.

Places to visit in Papua

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is in West Papua. It is a premier destination for honeymooners and divers. Renowned for its pristine rainforests and sandy beaches, it boasts a rich marine life with over 1,500 fish species and 540 types of coral. Activities like snorkeling, sailing, and swimming are popular here. The island’s unspoiled natural beauty makes it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.

Goa Jepang

Goa Jepang, or Japanese Cave, is located near Kota Biak in Papua. This historical site was used by Japanese soldiers during World War II and includes a tunnel stretching to the coast. Visitors can explore the cave and learn about its wartime history, which includes a tragic bombing event.

Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park

This expansive marine park is one of Indonesia’s largest, consists of 18 islands and stretches across 14,000 square kilometers. It’s a hub for activities like trekking, hiking, and scuba diving. Bird watchers will find this park particularly appealing due to its diverse avian population.

Base G Beach

Base G Beach in Jayapura is renowned for its golden sands and spans nearly 3 kilometers. It’s equipped with wooden picnic platforms, making it ideal for a relaxing day by the sea. The beach is more suited for relaxation and picnics due to its rocky waterline.

Fak Fak

Fak Fak, a quaint Dutch settlement, is nestled among picturesque hills and overlooks the sea. It’s a smaller town but worth visiting for its scenic beauty and historical significance. It serves as a gateway to the Banda Islands and Pulau Ambon, part of the Maluku Islands.

Places to visit in Maluku


Ambon is known for its Dutch colonial history, Ambon offers historical sites like the 18th-century Benteng Victoria fort. It’s a modern city with cultural and religious landmarks such as Mesjid Al Fatah and Mesjid Jame.

Pulau Seram

Puau Seram is an island of contrasts, with the serene bay of Teluk Sawai and the cultural hub of Masohi. Don’t miss the Sangar Budaya Seram Museum and the charming Ora Beach with its traditional stilt bungalows.

Tanimbar Islands

Tanimbar Islands are a cluster of 65 islands with rolling hills and pristine beaches. The largest Island is Pulau Yamdena and it offers scenic vistas and historical sites. It’s a popular domestic tourist spot, especially during the holiday season.


Ternate island’s history is intertwined with the spice trade, evident in its colonial forts like Benteng Oranje. The island also offers religious landmarks and stunning natural beauty.

Manusela National Park

Manusela National Park is located on Seram Island, this park is part of the Wallacea Transitional Zone. It’s home to diverse wildlife, including 2,000 butterfly species and 120 bird species, and encompasses traditional villages like Wahai and Sanulo.

Final Thought on Papua and Maluku Islands

So, that was all about Papua and the Maluku Islands. If you’re considering your next travel destination, I wholeheartedly recommend these hidden treasures of Indonesia!

From the wild jungles and tribal cultures of Papua to the historical spice trade and serene beaches of the Maluku Islands, there’s something for every traveler. Explore the untamed beauty of Raja Ampat, learn wartime history in Goa Jepang, and immerse yourself in the diverse marine life of Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or seeking a tranquil escape, Papua and the Maluku Islands are ready to welcome you with open arms.

So, pack your bags, to this magical journey, and always remember to respect the unique environments and cultures you’ll encounter.


What are the main attractions in Maluku?

The Maluku Islands are famous for their historical significance as the original Spice Islands. Attractions include pristine reefs, tropical beaches, forest-coated volcanoes, and centuries-old forts.

How can one travel to and around Maluku?

The main way to enter Maluku is through Ambon, which has regular flights from various parts of Indonesia. Travel within the islands can be done by ferry, connecting major cities and islands, or by road in places like Ambon and Seram with a network of buses, bemos, and taxis.

What languages are spoken in Maluku?

Most people in Maluku are bilingual, speaking their local language and Indonesian. English is less common, especially in more isolated areas. A common language in Ambon and nearby Ceram is Ambonese Malay, a Malay-based creole.

What is the cultural mix in Maluku?

The people of Maluku are a mix of Melanesian, Austronesian, and various other ethnicities due to past migrations and colonial history.

What are some popular activities in Maluku?

Popular activities include diving and snorkeling in various locations, mountaineering, and exploring white sand beaches.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *