Maluku – The Moluccas – Jazirat al-Muluk – The Island of the Kings – The Spice Islands – the names themselves invoke a sense of adventure, of mystery, and hint of something to be discovered, stirring that yearning which lives deep within all of us who travel and demands to be fed.
When you arrive in Maluku, 1000 delightful islands will greet you with their peace and tranquility. The combined land area of all the islands is slightly more than Ireland, so as you can imagine, many of the islands are tiny, undeveloped, and uninhabited.
The major islands are Ternate, Tidore, Lease Islands, Ambon, Seram, Buru, Banda Islands, and the Kei Islands. Maluku is divided into two provinces. The island of Ternate is the capital of North Maluku Province and the island of Ambon is the capital of Maluku Province.
Maluku’s islands are remote and a bit difficult to reach so they remain an unspoiled paradise that rewards those who put forth the effort with picturesque white sand beaches and lush rainforests. The abundant coral gardens just off shore provide exceptional scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.
The terrain is mostly mountainous, has some active volcanoes, and contains abundant wildlife, providing an unbeatable combination for a rewarding trekking experience. This is the only place on earth where you can see many species of birds in their natural habitat, such as the Lazuli Kingfisher, Purple-naped Lory, and the Salmon-crested Cockatoo, to name a few. Perhaps you will get lucky and spot a rare Marbled Cat as well.
History buffs will love the array of old forts, temples, museums, palaces, and other landmarks that record Maluku’s history back to the days of Dutch and Portuguese colonization, and even earlier to when the native Bandanese people actively traded spices as long as 3000 years ago.
The economy is strong and scars of the religious conflicts of a decade ago are nearly healed. Tourism in Maluku is definitely open for business should you develop a hankering to spend some time in one of the last affordable tropical paradises on the planet.
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