island in Maluku Province, Indonesia

Ambon is an island in the Maluku region of Indonesia and also the name of its largest city: Ambon City. The island consists of two regions: Ambon City and Central Maluku Regency.

Provincial government office of Maluku in the city of Ambon.

Understand edit

Ambon, the provincial capital of Maluku, is built on a hillside overlooking the bay. It has a number of interesting historical and cultural sites, among them the remnants of forts built by the Dutch East Indies Company during the heyday of the spice trade. The ruins of the Portuguese fort at Hila are almost entirely hidden beneath the contorted roots of a giant banyan tree. The ANZAC War Cemetery near Ambon town is the site of services held every year on April 25, to commemorate the Allied soldiers who died in the region during World War II.

History edit

The origin of the name Ambon is also very difficult to trace. According to local residents, the name Ambon comes from the word ombong in Ambonese language which means dew because the mountains on the island of Ambon are always dewy or foggy in the morning.

The history of Ambon began with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1512. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to land in Ambon, and it became the new centre for Portuguese activities in Maluku following their expulsion from Ternate. The Portuguese, however, were regularly attacked by native Muslims on the island's northern coast, in particular, Hitu, which had trading and religious links with major port cities on Java's north coast. Then, the Portuguese built a fort in the Ambon area as a place of activity in trade and the spread of religion. As the first Europeans to arrive, the Portuguese mobilized their inhabitants to build a fort called Benteng Kota Laha (Fort Laha). The birthday or anniversary of the city of Ambon has been decided to fall on September 7, 1575, in a seminar in Ambon City.

Ambon was the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) from 1610 to 1619 until the founding of Batavia (now Jakarta) by the Dutch. Ambon city was the site of a major Dutch military base that Imperial Japanese forces captured from Allied forces in the World War II Battle of Ambon in 1942. The battle was followed by the summary execution of more than 300 Allied prisoners of war in the Laha massacre.

Sectarian tensions between the Muslims and Christians erupted in the wake of the fall of Suharto in 1998, resulting in numerous violent clashes between the two groups, and the deaths of thousands of people. An agreement mediated by the Indonesian government was signed between the Christians and Muslims in 2002 to end the violence, and while sporadic clashes have occurred since then, the area has settled into an uneasy peace as of the 2020s. The Indonesian government and numerous NGOs have been trying to promote dialogue between the Muslim and Christian communities in an effort to make the peace a lasting one. As of 2022, things are much more peaceful and Ambon received an award as among the Top 10 most tolerant cities in Indonesia by the Setara Institute.

Ambon became the first city in Southeast Asia to be recognized as the UNESCO Creative Cities for music category in 2019 and has been called Ambon the City of Music and is known as Indonesia's music city.

People edit

Ambon prides itself on being a multi-racial island. Ambon's population consists of, the majority of the native Moluccas including Ambonese, Alfur, Kei, Tanimbarese, and mixed of Arab-Ambonese, Dutch-Ambonese, Portuguese-Ambonese, Spanish-Ambonese, also other Indonesian such as Chinese-Indonesian, Buginese, Butonese, Flores, Javanese, Makassarese, Minang, Papuan, and Sundanese. Christianity is the majority religion in Ambon at about 60% of the population, with Islam in second place at about 39%, and the rest being a smattering of other religions.

Climate edit

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Source: Wikipedia
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

Ambon experiences a tropical rainforest climate and there is no real dry season. The driest month is November with total precipitation of 114 millimetres (4.5 in), while the wettest month is June with total precipitation of 638 millimetres (25.1 in). As it is located near the equator, the temperature throughout the year is constant. The hottest month is December, with an average temperature of 27.2 °C (81.0 °F), while the coolest month is July, with an average temperature of 25.0 °C (77.0 °F).

Events edit

Ambon conducts the annual yacht race between Darwin and Ambon called Spice Islands Darwin Ambon Yacht Race. The race usually takes place in August. Every year, on Eid al-Adha day, Karnaval Hadrat (Hadrat Carnival) is conducted in several subdistricts or locally called Negeri, those are Hila and Batu Merah.

Talk edit

While everyone is able to speak Indonesian, Ambon also has its own local language called Ambonese Malay, a creole language based on Malay, but with strong influences from Dutch, Portuguese and Indonesia's other local languages.

Get in edit

Pattimura Airport terminal

By plane edit

By ship edit

  • 2 Pelabuhan Yos Soedarso. Alternatively, there are ships from various parts of Indonesia only serviced by PELNI such as KM. Tidar sail from Makassar and KM. Dorolonda from Jakarta and Surabaya. Schedules and reservation can be checked at PELNI office or by PELNI app.

Get around edit

If you want to go to the city from the airport you can use the bus operated by DAMRI, it's located on the right side of the arrival hall and will only cost you Rp50,000 - cheaper than taking a taxi which can cost you approximately Rp150,000/trip. The DAMRI bus stops on 1 Lapangan Merdeka in the heart of the city. The taxi is like a private car, with no taxi sign above the car. It can be found mostly outside the airport.

Angkot (public transport minivans, locally called Oto) with fixed routes take people around the island. There are no fixed stops, just wave your hand on the side of the road to stop the vans and get into it. Look at the sign on top of the vans and ask the driver to make sure it's the route you want. Each cost Rp3,000 for a short trip - pay when you get out. Sitting up front is fine if it's empty and you'd rather not squish into the back. To stop where you want to get out, say minggir. Becak (bicycle rickshaws) are good for shorter distances downtown. There are many ojek (passenger motorcycles) around the island. Also, an online ojek called Gojek is available there. Getting around Ambon is easier by renting a bike or a car. Google Maps are all capable of figuring out the tourist or public destination. A map of the city is available on the second floor of the bookstore 1 Toko Buku Dian Pertiwi, near Trikora Monument.

The downtown of Ambon City is very pedestrian-friendly. Strolling around 2 Pattimura Park is one of the best way to chill the afternoon. In the evening, a dancing water fountain showed up there.

See edit

The gate of Fort Amsterdam
Liang Beach

History and museums edit

  • 1 Ambon War Cemetery, Pandan Kasturi, Sirimau, Ambon City. 09:00-17:00. The cemetery contains Australian soldiers who died during the Japanese invasion of Ambon and Timor in World War II
  • 2 Fort Amsterdam (Benteng Amsterdam), Kaitetu, Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency. 06:00-18.00. A fort and a blockhouse in Hila town, Leihitu. Before the fort was built, a trade lodge was established here by Francisco Serrão in 1512, a Portuguese explorer and a cousin of Ferdinand Magellan.    
  • 3 Siwalima Museum, Jl. Dr. Malaiholo, Taman Makmur, Nusaniwe, +62 911 341652. 08:00-16.00. Maritime and traditional object of Ambonese and Moluccas.
  • 4 Wapauwe Old Mosque (Masjid Tua Wapauwe), Kaitetu, Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency (1 km south of Fort Amsterdam). Established in 1414, it is the oldest mosque in the Moluccas.    

Landmarks edit

  • 5 Christina Martha Tiahahu Monument (Patung Christina Martha Tiahahu), Karang Panjang, Ambon City, +62 822 481 00799. Located in a hilly area. The best visiting time is in the afternoon because the statue or monument faces sunset and ambon bay. That is an amazing view to take some pictures of.
  • 6 Merah Putih Bridge. The bridge spans over Ambon Bay, connecting Rumah Tiga (Poka) on the north side, with Hative Kecil/Galala on the south side. This bridge is the longest bridge in the eastern region of Indonesia.    

Beaches edit

  • 7 Liang Beach (Pantai Liang), Liang, Central Maluku Regency. A white sand beach with trees. Very suitable for family picnics by laying out mats because of the shady atmosphere. There are food stalls sell fresh coconut drink and local instant noodles dish called Sarmento.
  • 8 Pintu Kota Beach (Pantai Pintu Kota), Nusaniwe, Ambon City. Beach with rocky cave. One of the Icon of Ambon City.

Nature and wildlife edit

  • 9 Wisata Kolam Morea Larike (Belut Morea Larike), Larike, West Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency. 06:00-18:00. Watching giant freshwater eels named Morea in a clear and clean river. You can feed them with small fish which can be bought from local people for Rp20,000.

Do edit

Snorkeling and diving on various beautiful beaches.

  • 1 Lubang Buaya Morela Beach (Pantai Lubang Buaya Morela), Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency. A diving and snorkeling spot with many fish dan enormous coral reefs. Sometimes you can see the wild dolphins from the beach.
  • 2 Hukurila Beach (Pantai Hukurila), Hukurila, Ambon City. One of the best dive spot in Ambon.

Bathing in a natural hot spring.

  • 3 Hatuasa Hot Spring (Air Panas Hatuasa Tulehu), Salahutu, Tulehu, Central Maluku Regency. A natural hot spring in the middle sago forest. There are various pools based on the level of heat of the water. Rp10,000.

Showering under waterfalls.

  • 4 Taeno Waterfall (Air Terjun Taeno / Maspait), Rumah Tiga, Ambon Bay district, Ambon City (5 km northwest of Merah Putih Bridge. Just 20-minute ride by motorcycle.). Located in a district with a forestry area in Ambon City. There is a natural pool below the waterfall. The water is really refreshing. Rp5,000.

Buy edit

You may buy oleh-oleh, souvenirs, and merchandise from Ambon.

Souvenirs edit

  • 2 Hilyah Bakery, Jl. Sultan Hasanudin, Batu Merah, +62 911 314778. 06:00-21:00. Buy bread ampas terigu that has been packaged so that it can be taken as food souvenirs.
  • 3 Kios Nelly, Jl. Sam Ratulangi. An antique souvenir shop. Mr. Marwizar speaks fluent English, and will help you in anyway he can.
  • 4 Petak 10 (Pusat Ole-Ole Ambon Petak 10), Jl. Dr. Siwabessy, Nusaniwe, +62 852 829 53006. 09:00-21:00. Sell various Ambonese snack like Bagea and Halua Kenari also merchandise including Ambon T-shirt and Ikat woven fabric.
  • 5 Toko Oleh-Oleh Hidayah, Honipopu, Sirimau, Ambon City (Walking across a street in front of Al Fatah Grand Mosque), +62 813 431 34473. 10:00-21:30. Buy Minyak Kayu Putih (Cajeput oil) and Minyak Cengkeh (Clove oil) to warm your body in a winter.

Shopping malls edit

  • 6 Ambon City Center (ACC), Jl. Wolter Monginsidi, Passo, Baguala, +62 911 3869522. 10AM-10PM. Fashion tenants, culinary tenants and cinema.
  • 7 Ambon Plaza (Amplaz), Honipopu, Sirimau. 10AM-6PM. Fashion tenants and cinema.  
  • 8 Maluku CIty Mall (MCM), Jl. Jenderal Sudirman No. 1 Tantui, +62 812 485 57414. 10 AM-10PM. Fashion tenants and culinary tenants.  

Traditional fresh market edit

  • 9 Pasar Mardika, Jl. Pantai Mardika, Rijali, Sirimau. Pasar Mardika is the biggest traditional market in Ambon. You may buy fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish also kitchen utensils. In the middle of the year, the specialty fruit of Ambon durian become an attraction because many are sold there with prices starting from Rp10,000 per item. The durian is known for its sweet taste and soft texture, taken from local gardens on the island of Ambon such as in the villages of Naku and Wakasihu. Besides that, gandaria (plum-mango) has become a typical Ambon fruit that is sold in this market. The seafood here is also very fresh because the fish market section is by the sea. Ikan asar (smoked sea fish) is easy to be found, made from Tuna, and can be eaten directly.

Eat edit

Ambon is a city that has a variety of foods including local Ambonese cuisine, Javanese cuisine like Ayam Penyet or locals called Ayam Lalapan, Buginese-Makassarese cuisine like Coto Makassar, and Chinese-Indonesian cuisine like Mie Ayam. Also, there are some western fast-food chains, like KFC, McDonald's, and Pizza Hut. As a port city, Ambon provides a variety of dishes from seafood, both soupy and grilled.

Ambonese food edit

Actual Ambonese food is common on the island. Notable dishes include:

Ikan kuah kuning, papeda, sambal colo-colo, and ikan bakar
  • Ikan kuah kuning — a saltwater fish in a yellow soup.
  • Papeda — a congee made from sago starch, eaten with Ikan kuah kuning.
  • Kohu-kohu — green salad with tuna, shredded coconut, and lime.
  • Nasi kelapa — a rice dish with grated coconut mixed with chillies, shallots, and orange juice.
  • Sambal colo-colo — a type of sour and spicy condiment of tomatoes, lime, lime basil, chillies, and shallot.
  • Tumis bia — a spicy stir-fried sea snail.

And, there are also some snacks, cakes, and desserts originally from Ambonese cuisine, those are:

  • Ampas terigu — bread made from flour, palm sugar, and grated coconut.
  • Kue asida — a traditional dessert in Ramadan, created by Arab-Ambonese.
  • Kue cara — savory deep-fried dough with toppings of seasoned shredded tuna, a slice of chili, scallion, and celery.
  • Pisang asar — a fried banana with peanut and sugar on top.

Some drinks has became special beverage of Ambon, such as:

  • Jus gandaria — a juice made from plum-mango.
  • Kopi rarobang — a coffee drink with spices, walnut, and condensed milk.

There are many food stalls and restaurants for the budget to mid-range, both inner and outer downtown. Nasi kuning ambon means Ambonese yellow rice is a cheap food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which has been sold in almost all corners of the city. Many seafood hawkers also provided along Jl. Sam Ratulangi (Sam Ratulangi street) in the evening with mid-range prices.

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget under Rp50,000
Mid-range Rp50,000-150,000
Splurge over Rp150,000

Budget edit

  • 1 Natsepa Beach (Pantai Natsepa), Suli, Central Maluku Regency. Daylight. Try Rujak Natsepa, slices of fruits in sticky sweet spicy peanut sauce. under Rp30,000.
  • 2 Rumah Makan Akbar, Jl. Sultan Babullah, Waihaong. Try tumis bia. The restaurant is prasmanan (Indonesian buffet) so you can take your own rice and side dishes by yourself. Rp10,000-30,000.
  • 3 Rumah Makan Arika, Jl. Kapitan Yongker, Soa Bali. 10:00-21:30. Offering some traditional Ambonese food like grilled fish, sauteed papaya leaf, boiled sweet potato, sambal colo-colo, etc. Rp20,000-50,000.
  • 4 Sibu-Sibu Cafe (Rumah Kopi Sibu-Sibu), Jl. Said Perintah No. 47A, +62 911 312525, . 10:00-23:00. Serves traditional Ambonese food and drink, and is a great spot to chill with a big open front and a wall decoration with pictures of Ambonese singers who perform on the national and international scene. Very popular with locals. Cafe has WiFi, albeit slow. The owner, June, speaks English. Cafe also provides beer, coffee, cakes, and light meals. It is double the size of what it used to be. Try coffee Kopi rarobang and Ambonese cakes like kasbi tone and koyabu singkong.
  • 5 Swalayan Citra, Jl. Tulukabessy, +62 911 353345. 08:30-21:30. Affordable and delicious Indonesian and Chinese food. Also serves non-halal food. Rp10,000-40,000.

Mid-range edit

  • 6 Imperial Resto, Jl. Diponegoro no. 53, +62 911 315333. 11:00-23:00. Clean and comfortable environment to have lunch or dinner, offering the best fresh seafood in town, with some specialty menu: Ambon traditional food (papeda, fish yellow soup with walnut), Hong Kong-style steamed fish, sweet and sour fish, black pepper beef, fresh crab in Sze Chuan style. All food is halal.
  • 7 Red Brick Cafe & Resto, Jl. Pitu Ina, Karang Panjang. 10:00-23:00. In a hilly area, so you can enjoy the view of Ambon City. It serves Indonesian cuisine and Western food like steak and burger.
  • 8 Rumah Makan Dedes, Jl. Sultan Babullah, Silale, +62 911 356188. 10:00-21:30. Try papeda and ikan kuah kuning.
  • 9 Rumah Makan Ratu Gurih, Jl. Diponegoro No. 26, Ahusen, Sirimau, +62 911 341202. 09:00-21:00. Serves seafood dishes. Try ikan bakar kenari (Grilled fish in walnut sauce) and jus gandaria drink.
  • 10 Wailela Cafe & Resto, Jl. Ir. M. Putuhena, Rumah Tiga (beside Ambon Bay), +62 823 995 22113. 11:00-21:30. Serves many Indonesian dishes. The outdoor faces the view of Ambon City.

Sleep edit

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than Rp500,000
Mid-range Rp500,000-1,000,000
Splurge More than Rp1,000,000

There are many resorts and hotels in Ambon including:

Budget edit

  • 1 Hotel Mutiara, Jl. Pattimura No.12, +62 911 353873. Near the Pattimura Park. Start from Rp331,300.
  • 2 Imperial Inn, Jl. W.R. Soepratman Gang Kedondong, +62 911 355047. Decent inn with various types of room and the price is also affordable. Has free internet access in every room. start from Rp274,000.
  • 3 LeGreen Suite Waihaong, Jl. Sultan Babullah No.48, +62 911 350068, . A budget hotel near Ambon Islamic Center and Al Fatah Grand Mosque. Start from Rp208,415.

Mid-range edit

  • 4 Maluku Resort and Spa (Baguala Bay), Jl. Raya Waitatiri (20 minutes from Ambon City & Airport - on the way to Tulehu Ferry port to Seram & Saparua island), +62 911 362717, . Friendly atmosphere, spa, large garden with pool, scenic sunset view overlooking the Bay, great for families with children. Also has a world-class diving center, diving Ambon Bay and the coral sites in the southeast of Ambon. Start from Rp860,000.
  • 5 Manise Hotel, Jl. W.R Supratman No.1, +62 911 341445, fax: +62 911 354145, . Check-in: 10:00, check-out: 12:00. A family-owned hotel. There is a McDonald's across the hotel. Start from Rp500,000.
  • 6 Nusa Ela Resort, Ela island, Ureng, West Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency, +62 813 320 66794. Check-in: 14:00. A private resort located on the northwest of Ambon island, precisely on a group of pulau tiga islands, the best spot for relaxing, snorkeling, fun diving, fishing, and spearfishing, with a stretch of white sand beach, and very clear seawater. Start from Rp600,000.
  • 7 Santika Premiere Ambon Hotel, Jl. Jendral Sudirman No.88, Batu Merah, +62911 3833888, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 4-star hotel with a supermarket on first floor. Start from Rp689,310.
  • 8 The Natsepa, Jl. Natsepa No 36, Suli, Salahutu, +62 911 362555, fax: +62 911 362111, . Has a swimming pool with a seacoast view. Start from Rp764,846.

Splurge edit

Stay safe edit

World Peace Gong monument in Ambon

Ambon was wracked by ethnic and religious violence between Muslim and Christian factions during the turn of the 21st century and much of its first decade. As of 2022, things are much more peaceful. There is a Gong Perdamaian Dunia (World Peace Gong) monument that was built on 25 November 2009 as a symbol of world peace. Also, in 2022, Ambon received an award as among the Top 10 most tolerant cities in Indonesia by the Setara Institute.

Stay healthy edit

Medical care edit

Go next edit

Ambon has become a hub city. There are some direct flights and sails to various destinations in Maluku and Papua. The flight uses a small-capacity propeller airplane served by some local Indonesian airlines, such as SAM Air, Trigana Air, and Wings Air. For the sails, PELNI provides some ships like KM. Pangrango and KM. Nggapulu to Banda Islands, KM. Dobonsolo to Sorong and so on. The ticket can be bought at 3 PELNI office Ambon Branch or ticket agent alongside Jl. A.M. Sangaji (A.M. Sangaji street) near port of Yos Soedarso. Another port is also operated, including 4 Port of Tulehu to Saparua and Masohi and 5 Galala Ferry Port to Buru.

  • Banda Islands — The Spice Islands are known for the Spice Wars. 1 hr by plane, 8–16 hr by ship. Innumerable historical sites, spice plantations, and dive spots.
  • Buru — A historic island with cajeput oil plantations. 45 min by plane, 8–10 hr by ship.
  • Kei Islands — An archipelago with numerous white-sand beaches. 1.5 hr away by plane.
  • Masohi — The capital of Central Maluku Regency is the nearest city to Manusela National Park and the most popular sights in Seram Island, Ora beach also the highest mountain in the Moluccas, Mt. Binaiya. 2–3 hr by ship.
  • Saparua — An island with Dutch colonial era historical sites and beaches. 2 hr away by ship.
  • Sorong — The nearest city to go to Raja Ampat. 1.5 hr by plane. A day by ship.
  • Ternate — A volcanic island with a vibrant city, beautiful lakes, several snorkeling spots, fortress, and sultanate sites. 1.5 hr by plane.

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