Scotsabroad's Weblog

August 16, 2014

Before and After

Filed under: Holidays,Indonesia — scotsabroad @ 10:39 am


We spent some time in Kota Ambon and on Pulau Saparua before and after our journey to the Banda islands. The airport in Ambon is miles away from the town’s centre across the bay. A bridge is under construction to reduce the journey time but progress has halted. The navy have found out that some of their larger warships will be unable to pass under the bridge to their base. While we were staying in the Swiss Belhotel a conference was being held to discuss the matter. Also, some people were saying that the concrete used for the support pillars was crap. Anyway, thank god for the Swiss Belhotel. It provided comfort in this drab city. We took a walk around the port area looking for the Pelni ferry terminal. As the Lonely Planet says… sights are minimal and architecture wins no prizes.

We visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery. On the sight of a Japanese prisoner of war camp the beautifully kept graves were shaded beneath huge trees fuzzed with epiphytes.


On our return to Ambon we also visited the Siwa Lima Museum. In Lonthoir on Banda Besar, Lucas had found a small model boat on the beach. He showed it to some local kids who threw it into the waves. At the museum we found out that it was a doti-doti – a voodoo-style curse boat. We recognised the Nutmeg collector called a Takiri. Model Belang boats were on display. We bought one in Banda Neira. Early European ships would be met by these boats possibly with as many as twenty eight rowers. Now they are used for competitions between villages, each boat having their own distinct colour scheme.


Having exhausted the things to do in Ambon we decided to get a ferry from Tulehu to the island of Pulau Saparua. Not surprisingly, the ferry was jammed full of people. We got off at Kota Saparua and got a bemo to a beach resort called Putih Lessi Indah Kulur. The island seemed very religious and crosses adorned houses among the numerous churches. First impressions of Putih Lessi Indah were good. Great communal area, right on the beach and Bintang. However, the food wasn’t great (problems for the only time on the whole trip) the beds were disgustingly soiled, the place was crawling with red ants and they ran out of beer. For this they were charging 300k per person a night. However, just up the road from the place was Goa Puteri Tujuh or the Cave of the Seven Princesses. These were amazing pools of crystal clear water that had religious significance to the island.




We decided to check out and head back to Kota Saparua. We checked into the Penginapan Perdana. Full of cockroaches and mosquitoes and a television left on all night – but reasonably clean beds and two rooms for 330k a night. A wonderful street restaurant across the road (Dulang Raja) that we used for lunch and dinner.


Another Dutch fort, Benteng Duurstede. It was locked at first and we sat forlornly on the beach covered in driftwood and rubbish. We eventually found the caretaker who let us in and into the museum opposite. We felt obliged to sign the visitors book and make a donation. The museum had several dioramas to do with Pattimura but the lights didn’t work and most were in darkness.


Next day we were quite glad to catch the 7am ferry back to Pulau Ambon and leave behind our melancholic mood.


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