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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Hike Volcano
    • Nutmeg Island’s spices
    • Empty Beaches
    • World-class Diving 
    • Hammerhead shark
    • 17th century fort
    • Liveaboard
    • Multi cultural
    • Seafood 
    • BBQ on the beach
    • Manta Ray

Diving and HikingBanda Islands

World-famous scuba diving takes places in the Banda Islands where you can encounter incredibly diverse marine life, healthy corals, impressive visibility and the yearly season for hammerhead sharks. Visitors to Banda Neira may wish to check out the amazing Mandarin fish! The best time to see these tiny fish is around dusk, 5:00-6:00 pm in the shallow areas of the reef just on the edge of the island. Mandarin fish are brightly coloured and stand out primarily hiding in the rubble near the pier.

Looking to see more of Banda? It is possible to take a guided hike up Mount Gunung Api where you will have an incredible view from the top. If you would like to see some of Banda’s history, you can’t miss out on the Benteng Belgica Fort. It was originally constructed in the 17th century while protecting the important nutmeg spice trade. Visitors can walk inside the fort and see the view from the top which looks out over the ocean and is a popular place for organised sunset dinners. 

On the island, there is a small local pasar (market) on the waterfront selling fresh produce each day as well as a handful of cafes and restaurants. The street food in Banda Neira is most commonly found in the evening where visitors can enjoy local delights such as grilled ikan (fish) with rice and spicy sauce, nasi kuning (yellow rice) steamed with turmeric served with a selection of different vegetables, noodles, tofu and fish and the simple chicken satay. Banda Neira has a slower pace of life, with friendly people and a welcoming atmosphere. Learn more about the trade of Manhattan 

Can I rent a bareboat in Indonesia ?

No, unfortunately, the government does not allow bareboat. In some way, it is safer for you, as the maps are not always accurate in these remote areas. The captain with his crew will show you the best places.

Can I participate in the manoeuvres with the crew?

Yes, if you know how to sail and want to participate, you are welcome to help the crew.

How do I get to get there?

The Bandas were really off the beaten track, but transport offers (from Ambon) are increasing and making it easier to access these islands. Flight or boat cancellations are very frequent, and therefore you should only go to Banda Islands while having plenty of time (i.e. not having a visa expiring soon, or booked flights). Transport offers and schedules are highly subject to changes, so check schedule when arriving in Ambon.

By plane

The Banda Islands are served by the small  Bandaneira Airport (or Banda NeiraNDA IATA). Susi Air is operating the flights under a subsidy, making this slightly cheaper than a speed boat. This is not a fixed route (only operating around Sep – Nov), therefore the route cannot be found on the airline’s website and tickets must be bought at Ambon Airport. Booking is available through ambon@susiair.com. It is a very small plane (12 people capacity), and you can only bring 10 kg of luggage. The airplane returns to Ambon on the same day.

In addition, since there are regular airlines (Wings and Garuda) flying between Kei islands and Ambon, going to/from Ambon through Karel Sadsuitubun Airport (LUV IATA) in the Kei Islands can also be an option, if everything else is cancelled.

By boat

  • A fast boat (6 hours) goes from Ambon (Tulehu Harbour) to Banda Neira twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday. The boat returns the next day from Banda to Ambon. Note that the fast boat can be cancelled if the weather is bad! For example, there was no service in January 2017.
  • Pelni‘s ferry runs twice monthly from Ambon, stops in Banda Neira, and continues to Kei Islands. Though uncomfortable and inconvenient, this is the cheapest option.

An alternative is the rather more regular but still unpredictable twice-monthly Pelni ferry (KM Ciremai) to Bandaneira, which usually leaves Ambon on Saturday afternoon (7 hr). Every other week a 150-passenger boat (KM Gravilla) leaves for Banda (around 15 hr). Check at the small harbour in Ambon.

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