The Pearl From East Indonesia: Best Things To Do In Ambon, Maluku

things to do in ambon indonesia

“Ambon Manise,” Sweet Ambon, is what Indonesians call the capital of Maluku Province, Indonesia. The biggest city lies on the small island which has the same name as the city. Ambon translates to “pretty,” and acts as a major harbor, tourist destination, and education center. Despite former strife, the peaceful city remains delightful to visit and holds hundreds of attractions that it has to offer from the pleasant bay to historical Dutch forts. Yet, we’ve narrowed down the many wonderful attractions into the top 10 recommended spots. Just check them out!

1. Soak up the sun at Liang Beach

things to do in ambon indonesia | soak up the sun at liang beach
Source: hestyrofiq on Instagram

Ambon is truly East Indonesia’s new Bali because it features tons of exotic beaches, including the stunning Liang Beach. The pearly white sand beach paired with the crystal clear water is super awesome. It’s no wonder that the little paradise was once crowned as the prettiest beach in Indonesia in 1990’s. Be sure to get your sun-kissed skin here from September to November.

Liang Beach

Address: Jalan Propinsi, Liang, Salahutu

Opening Hours: 24 hours

2. Escape to Nusa Pombo Island

Planning to go island hopping? Pick Nusa Pombo Island for an incredible island journey. Taking a mere 80-minute drive by speedboat from Ambon, you will find this piece of tropical heaven excellent and relaxing. The best ways to explore the island are by snorkeling and scuba diving. Enjoy the beauty of the underwater landscape, which is loaded with assorted coral reefs, clams, and unique mollusks.

Nusa Pombo Island

Address: Salahhutu, Central Maluku

How to get there?: by speedboat

3. Take a visit to Fort Victoria

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM 'Landpoort van het fort 'Nieuw-Victoria' te Ambon' TMnr 10002132
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Unknown authorUnk... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Ambon is an old city occupied by Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch, so there are numerous historical sites to visit here. History buffs shouldn’t ignore Fort Victoria, the oldest fort built by Portuguese colonists. Some objects, like old paintings, remains of large cannons, and statutes, can be found in the site. Enjoying the exotic beauty of Ambon Bay at dusk from the fort is also a good idea.

Fort Victoria

Address: Pala, Uritetu, Sirimau, Uritetu, Sirimau, Kota Ambon

Admission Fee: Free

4. Break away to the iconic Pintu Kota Beach

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Pantai Pintu Kota, meaning “the city of gate beach,” features incredible scenery, ideal for breaking away from the small city. The stony and rocky beach is one of the famed tourist destinations — the hollow cliff is the main attraction. If you are planning to try water activities to marvel at marine life, spots for snorkeling and diving are reachable from the site.

Pintu Kota Beach

Address: Nusaniwe, Kota Ambon, Maluku

Admission Fee: Free

5. Spend a couple of hours at Siwalima Museum

Siwalima Museum is where your gallery journey begins when hitting the exotic Ambon. Be impressed by the Dutch and Japanese cannon and the heroic statue of Pattimura holding a machete. In addition to the large cannon and the memorial effigy, Malukan culture objects, including a tifa drum, fish traps, and traditional boats, are indeed captivating.

Siwalima Museum

Address: Jl. Dr. Malaiholo, Taman Makmur, Nusaniwe, Kota Ambon

Admission Fee: 3,000 IDR (0.23 USD)

6. Explore Little Holland

If you want to have a little Dutch atmosphere, the historical Fort Amsterdam set in Hila would be the right choice. This fort was built in the 17th century, and was once dwelt in by George E. Rumphius, a European naturalist and historian. The ocean view from the fort is excellent from here. You can catch the public bus from Ambon to reach the fort in an hour.

Fort Amsterdam

Address: Hila, Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency, Maluku

Opening Hours: 24 hours

7. Be impressed by the unique Wapauwe Mosque

things to do in ambon indonesia | be impressed by the unique wapauwe mosque
Source: dmariskova on Instagram

Not far of Fort Amsterdam on the north coast of the island, the old Wapauwe Mosque is another cultural attraction you shouldn’t miss. Built by an important Muslim figure named Imam Rajali, the site for praying remains well-maintained and in its original form. The wooden architecture and historical objects, like a handwritten Koran and bedug drum, are fascinating.

Wapauwe Mosque

Address: Kaitetu, Leihitu, Central Maluku Regency

Opening Hours: 24 hours

8. Go sightseeing

USNS Mercy off the coast of Ambon, Indonesia
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 807th Medical Com... used under CC BY 2.0

Getting around the city to see varied sights is absolutely great. Your tour should start from Fort Ferangi, one of the historical Portuguese sites where you can learn how Portuguese colonists occupied the island. Be captivated by the large cannon and collections of valuable objects from the past. Then, be sure to enjoy the whole city and Ambon Bay from a high point of the city.

Fort Ferangi

Address: Kota Ambon, Maluku

Opening Hours: 24 hours

9. Greet giant eels

Forget the exotic beaches and museum if you are overwhelmed by the ordinary attractions. Go discover Waai, a suburb of Ambon, where you can greet the friendly giant moray eels (their length is about 39 inches to 118 inches / 99 cm to 300 cm). The sacred creatures live peacefully at the bottom of a clear pond. You can feed them chicken eggs (the eels’ favorite meal).

Seeing the giant eels

Address: Waai Village, Tulehu, Maluku Tengah

Admission Fee: Free

10. Try the gluey papeda

Papeda, Kuah Kuning, Ikan Tude Bakar 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gunawan Kartapranata used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Instead of consuming rice as the staple food like the inhabitants living in most Indonesian regions, Ambonese people love eating papeda. The stretchy gooey dish made of sago is usually eaten with yellow fish soup. To munch on this unique food, you need chopsticks. Make sure to twist the chopsticks in the papeda first and then grab the tasty fish.

Warung Papeda Panas

Address: Jl.Pasar Raya Tulehu, Ambon, Maluku

Estimated Price: 25,000 IDR (1.8 USD)

Your East Indonesia adventure starts from Ambon

If you are about to explore East Indonesia, Ambon should be on your itinerary as it offers worthy attractions. This gem is definitely a paradise for history fanatics seeking forts and old buildings, as well as underwater explorers. Before reaching the famed Raja Ampat, it’s wiser to see Maluku’s capital first.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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I am Rofiq from East Java, Indonesia. I am passionate about exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new languages and cultures. I always do solo traveling and backpacking since they are...Read more

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