The Portuguese reached Maluku in 1511,
but the Dutch, who arrived in 1599, colonized the region later.
Once known as the Mollucas, the famed Spice Islands, were once fought
over by Indian, Arab, Chinese and later European traders.
Maluku Province is blessed with fabulous
sea gardens, idyllic, tropical beaches and spectacular landscapes
rich with an enormous variety of endemic plant and animal species.
The forest-coated mountains of the islands are home to brilliantly
colored king fishers, the red-crested Mollucan cockatoo, and many
multi-colored lorikeets and parrots. There are over 1,000 islands
in the province most of which are uninhabited, 90% of Maluku is
water, which flows over one of the world's most active volcanic
belt. Maluku is also remarkable in that it lies across the most
visible zone of transition between Asian and Australian fauna and
flora, and also because of its Malay-based cultures of western Indonesia
and Melanesia. Forts scattered all over the islands stand as reminders
of Maluku's history, when in the 16th and 17th centuries Europeans
established their influence and powered in the region. They also
left their mark on many other aspects of life in the islands including
music, dance and religion, making the local culture a fascinating
blend of east and west.
The main gateway into Maluku is through the provincial capital of
Ambon, which is served by regular flights to most parts of the archipelago.
Air and sea transportation connects the islands themselves together
very well with 79 seaports and 25 airports. Good roads on many of
the islands provide easy access to the more remote interest places.
Further to the east, is a torrid land rising from the sea with snowcaps
covering 5,000 meter-high mountain peaks, towering over glacier
lakes and some of the most impenetrable jungles in the world. The
land is Papua, which is Indonesia's largest and most eastern province.
It is a land of exceptional natural splendor, with beautiful scenic
beaches, immense stretches of marshlands, cool grassy meadows and
powerful rivers cutting gorges and tunnels through dark, dense primeval
forests. [ More >>> ]