island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia

For other places with the same name, see Ternate (disambiguation).

Ternate is an island in the province of North Maluku, part of the Maluku islands of Indonesia.


A view of Ternate City and beyond in 2010

Ternate is the seat of the Sultanate of Ternate. The nearby island of Tidore has its own sultante. The two sultanates have ruled much of the Maluku islands for centuries, and during the era of the spice trade, Ternate allied with the Dutch while Tidore allied with the Spanish and Portuguese.

Like the other Maluku Islands, Ternate was the scene of vicious combat between European colonial powers intent on monopolizing the spice trade, and between those European powers and local rulers. The various conquerors left behind forts that can still be visited today. However, unlike in centuries past, Ternate and neighboring islands are no longer central to world trade, and are not among the best-known tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Like everywhere else in untouristed Indonesia, people are very curious when they see non-Indonesians walking down the street. Expect to be stared at and expect everybody you see to say hello to you, and try to practice their English. Most of the time this curiosity is good-natured, so smile and be friendly in return.

Get inEdit

By planeEdit

  • 1 Sultan Babullah Airport (TTE IATA). There are frequent flights from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport, operated by Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air. In addition, there are regular flights from Ambon, Manado, and Makassar, as well as flights from various other smaller airports in the Maluku archipelago.    

By ferryEdit

National ferry operator PELNI visits 3 times a week

Get aroundEdit

View of Mount Tidore from Ternate Island

Taxis to the airport cost and average of Rp 50,000.

The public ferry leaves from Ternate to Sofifi at 06:00. It returns at 09:00, then makes the second journey at 11:00, and returns for the final time at 16:00. Each trip takes 2 hours and costs Rp 15,000. The boat departs from "Kota Baru" which is costs Rp 10-15,000 by Ojek or Rp 5000 by Angkot. Port Tax is Rp 2000.

Speedboats operate between Ternate and Tidore, and Ternate and Sofifi all day. It takes 20 minutes to get to Tidore from Ternate and 40-45 minutes to Sofifi. They only run when there are 8 or more individuals making the trip though. Each journey costs Rp 50,000.

There is a central station for all of the Angkots near the tourist market.


Fort Tolukko
  • 1 Museum Kedaton Kesultanan Ternate. 08:00-14:00 T-Su, closed M. This museum highlights the past rule of the Sultanate of Ternate and is housed in the actual palace built for the sultan in 1813. No shorts allowed; must remove shoes at entrance. Free but donation requested.  
  • 2 Ternate Sultanate Mosque.
  • 3 Benteng Oranje (Fort Oranje), Jl. Hasan Boesoeri, Gamalama. 07:45-16:30 M-Th, 07:45-11:00 F, closed Sa-Su. The largest fort in Ternate island. It has thick walls that are, despite of frequent earthquakes, still in good conditions. It represented the heart of Dutch operations in the Spice Islands until that era ended and Dutch interests moved on to Batavia. One of the buildings houses a small branch of the National Indonesian archive (Arsip) that can be visited free of charge.  
  • Sultan's Tomb.
  • 4 Benteng Tolukko. 08:00-17:00 daily. Portuguese fort constructed in 1512 that has, over the years, also seen occupation by the Dutch, British, and a Sultanate. Abandoned in 1864 and then the focus of renovation efforts in 1996, it has a nice phallic shape.  
  • 5 Benteng Kalamata (Fort Kalamata). 08:00-18:00 daily. Fort Kalamata is a Portuguese star fort that was built in 1540 and also later saw occupation by Dutch and British forces and then subsequent restoration by Indonesia in 1994. It was originally called Santa Lucia and offers a good view of Tidore from its ramparts.  
  • 6 Masjid Raya Al Munawwar Ternate (just southeast of Fort Oranje, on the coast). One of those grandiose mosques that dominates the skyline, but it particularly stands out with the way it kind of hangs precariously to the shoreline. In fact, apparently some minarets were previously jutting out of the sea until the sea decided to claim them. No entry for non-Muslims.
  • 7 Lake Tolire (Danau Tolire Besar). 06:00-18:00 daily. Crater lake with green water that supposedly hosts a small crocodile population with Mount Gamalama in the background. Trails to rim of lake. There is a wild legend associated with the lake which is explained in the Wikipedia article. small entry fee.  
  • 8 Batu Angus. Observation area of old lahar from Mount Gamalama, picnic area, viewpoint of other islands of Maluka. Small admission fee.
  • 9 Taman Nukila, Jalan Sultan Muhammad Iskandar Djabir Jl. Seaside park with promenade and benches for viewing the great expanse of land and sea. Also, don't miss the Ternate Landmark immediately to the south for great selfie and sunrise viewing opportunities. Monument here to Vasco da Gama or Magellan?.
  • 10 Lake Ngade (Danau Ngade) (look for Danau Lagunna Fhitu Puncak off of Jl. Raya Gambesi). Another lake with majestic views of Tidore Island and Mount Kiematabu.
  • Lagoons
  • Various memorials to massacred Christians during the riots of 1999-2000. Many abandoned churches too.
  • Graffiti murals dedicated to various punk bands (and Osama bin Laden too).



  • 11 Sulamadaha Beach (Pantai Sulamadaha). Pretty black sand beach surrounded by trees with clear calm waters good for snorkeling.
  • 12 Kastela Beach (Pantai Kastela) (below Fort Kastela). This is a nice beach for watching sunsets.


  • 13 Mount Gamalama. Exercise caution in climbing in consideration of its volcanic volatility and its past eruption in 2011.
  • The Kora-Kora festival, held every November.


Nasi bambu (bamboo rice) is a regional speciality.



Stay safeEdit

Mount Gamalama is an active volcano. The last eruption in December 2011 shut down air traffic in the region and killed 4 people in a lahar.

Go nextEdit

  • Sofifi, a new provincial capital and transport hub being built from scratch, is accessible by speedboats. It has bus and taxi connections to the rest of Halmahera.
  • Tidore, a few km southeast, accessible by speedboat.
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