Have you ever been to Indonesia? It’s the biggest archipelago on the planet with around 3000 inhabited islands and it offers a remote journey like no other! The scattered lands unite the rich tradition and culture of the people that live here, with numerous historic tales and a mystic vibe to experience. The laid-back lifestyle that will welcome you to Indonesia is perfect for relaxation.
But this is also a great destination for explorers and tales seekers. From all the beautiful and popular islands that you might want to visit along the way, we decided to present to you the Spice Islands. The magical islands that were once so attractive due to being a rich source of spices and are still the most pleasant sight to behold. So, if you are planning on visiting Indonesia, we recommend you to take a cruise that will take you to the lands of Ambon and the Spice Islands. Let’s dive into details and mention some of the reasons why you should take our advice and go visit the land of spices!
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Traveling to the Spice Islands
The Spice Islands are officially known as the Maluku Islands and are well-known for the spices that originate from there. Nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, and cloves. They are located in the east part of the Indonesian archipelago, and they consist of two main provinces: Maluku and North Maluku. A really important part of the Maluku province is the Banda Islands, the original place where nutmeg was growing.
The Maluku Islands are known for their volcanoes and beaches lined with really tall palm trees. They have amazing sandy beaches and crystal clear, warm water for you to swim, snorkel, and dive in.
Why should you visit the Spice Islands?
There are many reasons to visit not just Maluku, but Indonesia in general. You should visit as many islands as you possibly can, but if we’re talking about the Spice Islands, there are few good reasons why you should stick around there longer.
First off, the Spice Islands have a rich history behind them. In the 17th century, they were the main topic in between the great forces of that time. Spices meant great money, and so did owning those islands. They were first colonized by the Portuguese, but soon after that, the British, Dutch, and Spanish forces joined, and the Spice War occurred. The islands were the only source of nutmeg and clove at the time, and they wanted full control over them, no matter the consequences. A lot of the locals were killed during it, and the ones that were left alive managed to pull themselves together and carry on nurturing their culture and tradition. You can see many preserved historical objects in Maluku.
The second great reason to visit the Spice Islands is of course- the spices! In the modern era, spices are easily accessible and a lot cheaper than they used to be. You can even grow them in your small backyard garden, or in a pot next to your kitchen window. But, spices grown in their natural habitat taste richer and different. Also, while you’re there, you can try the homemade nutmeg jam and purchase a jar or two to take with you.
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Best time and way to visit the Maluku Islands
There is no such thing as the wrong time to travel, but for an excellent experience, you would want to visit the Spice Islands from October through to March, when the temperatures are just right for you to feel comfortable, without being cold or sweating profusely.
A great way to reach them is by cruising. That way you’ll be able to see much more of Indonesia, and you will travel by seas and oceans which can be really exciting and if you haven’t tried it already, a new experience for you. You can always hop on a plane, but that won’t feel the same as cruising.
Places to stay while in Maluku
If you’re staying overnight, there are some excellent hotels and places that will do their best to accommodate you. Their prices range from super cheap to more expensive ones, depending on your preferences. Here’s a list of a few of them:
- The Nutmeg Tree Hotel and Dive- actually offers simple accommodations with a dive center;
- Cilu Bintang Estate- a luxury hotel with Dutch-style rooms with a terrace and mountain view;
- Maulana- offering you spacious rooms, fresh food, and really friendly staff;
- Vita Guesthouse- offers a great stay for a really small price. Excellent overall service as well;
- Mutara Guesthouse- another place filled with extra friendly staff and great food, especially at dinner time;
Food to eat
The food there totally depends on your dietary preferences. We’ll give you an example of a simple day filled with great, delicious food, morning, lunch, and dinner. Feel free to add something tasty in between, you’re on vacation after all!
First thing when you wake up, get yourself a big cup of nutmeg coffee and a pancake filled with nutmeg jam. A glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice will do wonders! For lunch, get yourself some Soto Ayam, it’s delicious. It’s actually a chicken soup, served with noodles or rice. They also add turmeric to get that yellow color going. It is a famous Asian dish, but every nation has a different, unique way of making it. If you want something hotter, try Nasi Ayam, since it contains chili. Hotels usually offer buffet nights, so you’ll have a lot to choose from. If it’s possible for you should try some seafood, it will be fresh 100%.
Other delicious foods to try while you’re there:
- Sambal Tappa- traditional salad with tuna, shallots, mango, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. If you didn’t think that fruits and fish mix together, you’ll change your mind after this.
- Nasi Jaha- sticky indonesian rice cake. Made with rice, coconut milk, lemongrass, and spices. It has a rich taste and you’ll ask for a second.
- Acar Kuning- traditional Indonesian pickle, made with cucumber, carrot, chili peppers, shallots, and spices. It is served as a side dish with rice, also known as Nasi Kuning.
We’ve covered everything related to the Maluku islands, also known as the Spice Islands. Now you’re ready to go there and explore nature, have fun, and enjoy yourself. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and a jar of nutmeg jam before you leave!