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Banda Island: A Hidden Gem in Indonesia

Indonesia is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse culture, but few places can match the unique history and charm of Banda Island. Located in the Maluku province of Indonesia, Banda Island is a small but breathtaking archipelago that is often overlooked by tourists. However, those who venture to this hidden gem are rewarded with stunning scenery, rich history, and a truly unique cultural experience.


History and Culture

Banda Island has a rich and fascinating history, dating back to the days of the Dutch East India Company. In the 17th century, Banda Island was the world's only source of nutmeg and mace, and the Dutch fought fiercely to control the spice trade in the region. Today, the island's nutmeg plantations and historic forts are a testament to its colonial past, and visitors can explore these sites to learn more about the island's unique history.

 Aerial view of Banda Neira in Indonesia

Photo 125521303 © Bidouze Stephane |

In addition to its colonial past, Banda Island also has a vibrant local culture that is unlike anywhere else in Indonesia. The island's inhabitants, known as the Banda people, have a distinct language, cuisine, and way of life that is deeply rooted in their history and traditions. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture by attending traditional ceremonies, sampling local cuisine, and interacting with the friendly and welcoming locals.

Banda Island is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and welcoming locals, Banda Island is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic Indonesian experience.

Things to Do

Despite its small size, Banda Island offers plenty of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the top things to do on the island:

Explore the historic forts: Banda Island is home to several historic forts, including Fort Belgica and Fort Nassau. These forts were built by the Dutch to protect their interests in the spice trade and offer a fascinating glimpse into the island's colonial past.

naira fort maluku

Photo 146996987 © Fabio Lamanna |


Visit the nutmeg plantations: Nutmeg and mace are still grown on Banda Island today, and visitors can tour the plantations to see how these spices are harvested and processed.

Snorkel or dive in the crystal-clear waters: Banda Island is surrounded by stunning coral reefs and is home to a diverse array of marine life. Snorkeling or diving in the waters around the island is a must-do activity for nature lovers.

maluku diving

Photo 47342996 © Fenkie Sumolang |

snorkeling maluku

Photo 133843377 © Fabio Lamanna |


Visit the local markets: Banda Island's markets are a hub of activity and offer a chance to interact with locals and sample local cuisine.

Attend a traditional ceremony: The Banda people have a rich cultural heritage and hold traditional ceremonies throughout the year. Visitors can attend these ceremonies to learn more about the local culture and way of life.

women in maluku

Photo credit


Getting There

Banda Island is not the easiest place to get to, but the journey is well worth it for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. The island can be reached by boat from Ambon, which is the closest major city. Visitors can also fly to Ambon from Jakarta or other major Indonesian cities.



Here are some must visit places for expats before leaving Indonesia. With more than 17 thousand islands and over 300 hundreds of ethnic groups spread in 34 provinces, it is no surprise that Elizabeth Pisani calls Indonesia  an “Improbable Nation.” in her book “Indonesia Etc”