Known as Ambon Manise meaning sweet or beautiful. The capital city of Ambon has been developed by the cultivation and trade of spices and is the largest city of Maluku Province. Colonized by Portugal in 1526 who were later driven out by the Dutch until Indonesia’s independence in 1945. The city still holds a rich European history which is prominent through its colonial architecture and Fort Victoria; the centre point of the city. Here, old paintings remain of large cannons and statues and can be seen to explain the island’s history. Today the fort is a military base making public access restricted.
Ambon is widely known for its main port, tourism and education centre for the Maluku Islands where visitors can seek a wide range of experiences from nature, cultural, nautical and culinary which is suitably variable due to the mix of ethnic cultures and religions which have been inherited from the many historical events over time. Ambon International airport makes it a well-known transit hub for more remote parts of Maluku and the main port can be a good staging post for yacht provisioning, bunkering and island hopping.
The island of Ambon covers an area of 775 square kilometres most of which is hilly, steep sloping and well watered with fertile grounds which have long been the perfect cultivation areas for crops such as sago, cassava, spices and cotton. The local cuisine heavily features the use of sago as a staple food and the main ingredient in many local dishes including Papeda. The people of Ambon are welcoming and still uphold their traditions from centuries before, song and dance is a cultural expression they are proud of; often inviting visitors to take part.
It’s vast landscapes and tropical climate drive adventure and marine enthusiasts from all over. Beaches not far from the city centre deliver a tranquil experience with calm waters suitable for snorkelling and swimming with unperturbed corals make it popular with beachgoers and sea lovers. You can’t visit Ambon without hiking the city gate – a naturally formed seaside cliff shaped like a city gate or discovering the wild eels of Waai – a suburb of Ambon where the giant Morays can grow in lengths of up to three metres.
The spots around Ambon make for a wide variety of dive experiences. Well known as some of the best muck diving destinations on the planet, these remote areas also boast a full range of macro critters amongst glorious coral, wall and wide-angle diving, swim-thru’s, caves and wreck dives. As a gateway to the smaller islands of the Banda sea, remote island hopping and uncrowded sites draw marine enthusiasts to its waters where species such as Ambon scorpionfish, rhinopias, mimic, wonderpus, octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, nudibranchs, frogfish, harlequin shrimp and Coleman shrimp can be seen. The marine ecology really comes to life when dark falls and breathtaking night dives can be arranged to experience a whole other underwater world.