Maluku Islands

Maluku Island

The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas  islands were also historically known as the Spice Islands by the Chinese  and the Europeans, (also been applied to other islands outside Indonesia). They have been known as the Spice Islands due to the nutmeg, mace and cloves that were originally found only there, in the 16th century.

There are 1027 Maluku Islands that have a total area of 850,000 km2, 90% of which is sea. The largest two islands, Halmahera and Seram are sparsely populated, while the most developed,  Ambon and Ternate are small. The majority of the islands are forested and mountainous. The Tanimbar Islands are dry and hilly, while the Aru Islands are flat and swampy. Mount Binaya (3027 m) on Seram is the highest mountain. A number of islands, such as Ternate (1721 m) and the TNS islands, are volcanoes emerging from the sea with villages sited around their coasts. There have been over 70 serious volcanic eruptions in the last 500 years and earthquakes are common.


The Maluku Islands have been occupied by different countries since the 1400’s for spice trade and different faiths, started , by the Arabic, bringing Islam, then the Portuguese and the Spanish bringing missionaries promoting Christian faiths. The British came and smuggled the spice seeds to be planted in Malaysia and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Soon Maluku did not become the center of spices because one could find them elsewhere. The Japanese took control of the Maluku Island  during WW2. Religious conflict erupted across the islands in January 1999. The subsequent 18 months were characterized by fighting between largely local groups of Muslims and Christians, the destruction of thousands of houses, the displacement of approximately 500,000 people, the loss of thousands of lives, and the segregation of Muslims and Christians. It was during this time now that the Indonesians fought for independence and the Maluku Islands finally formed a single province since Indonesian independence until 1999, when it was split into two provinces, North Maluku is predominantly Muslim and North Maluku Province the area, between  Morotai and Sula, with the arc of islands from Buru and Seram to Wetar , Ternate, Tidore, Bacan, Halmahera and the Obi Islands, these are predominantly Muslim with the capital city of North Maluku is Sofifi. The Maluku Province has the remaining islands and these are dominated by Christians and having their capital is Ambon.

North Maluku

North Maluku is a tropical paradise located in the eastern Indonesia. It consists of many small and big islands, approximately 353 of them, which spread out surrounding the ocean. Moreover, not all of the islands in north Maluku are inhabited. One example of the uninhabited is Dodola Island. This island serves as an example of magnificent tropical beach. White sand with approximately 16 km of length surrounds it and the water is clear. In this island, visitors can do allot of exciting activities, such as swimming, sunbathing and diving. Beside Dodola Island, Maitara Island also offers a fantastic sea life. This island is located in the middle of Tidore and Ternate Islands.

north maluku

Ternate can be reached by Domestic flights from Jakarta via Makassar or direct flight from Makassar and Manado. Furthermore, the European people actually have already known North Maluku since long time ago. North Maluku is dominated by Muslim, and for those who are interested in fantastic buildings might want to take a look at Sultan’s Mosque. Multi-tiered pyramid form, this mosque is located on the south of palace in Ternate..


Maluku is blessed with incredible sea gardens, idyllic, tropical beaches and rugged, forest-coated volcanic mountains.. The British briefly occupied Maluku during the Napoleonic Wars, but Dutch rule was restored in 1814 and it wasn’t until 1863 that the compulsory cultivation of spices was abolished in the province. Now fish and other sea products are Maluku’s major sources of revenue, but nickel, oil, manganese and various kinds of timber also contribute to the province’s wealth. Perhaps the name is derived from the Arabian Jazirat-al-Muluk, meaning The Land of Many Kings. The kings were wealthy from spices, especially clove. Clove and spices were very expensive due to their ability to preserve food, in the era that knew no freezers and fridges. Spices were also used as medicine back then.  The main gateway into Maluku is through the provincial capital Ambon, which is served by regular flights to most parts of the archipelago. Air and sea transportation connect the islands with 79 seaports and 25 airports. Roads on many of the islands provide access to the more remote places of interest.


Due to its history, the people here are very mixed. Malay, Indian, Arab, Chinese, Portuguese, Bugis, Javanese are found anywhere. Tribal communities of Uaulu choose not to garb themselves in traditional outfits. Uaulu men can be distinguished with red headscarves that they wear. And as for their head hunting habit? It all belongs to folklore and legend.

The Cuisine in the Northern Islands since it’s dominated by Muslim people, you can find plenty halal food here. Sea food dishes are also abundant. Various rice and fish dishes should be sampled. You might want to order cool drinks as well because the weather can be hot.

cuisine in maluku

Cuisine in Maluku; there are numerous dishes of sea food can be found here. Try grilled or baked fish and enjoy the spectacular view that several eateries provide. Nasi-ikan (rice and fish meal) is also worth a try. For those interested in concocting their own dishes, you can buy the fresh ingredients in nearby supermarkets and mini markets.

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