The sun was bright when we landed at Sultan Babullah International Airport, Ternate. From the runway, the airport looks small but the view was spectacular as it is located at the slope of Mount Gamalama, an active volcano that supported the island.
After dropping our baggage at the hotel, we embarked on our journey to explore Ternate. To begin with, I must say that this city has a complete package, beautiful scenery on land and water, as well as rich in history. Formerly, Ternate was the capital of North Maluku, a new province established in 1999. Only in 2010, the capital was officially moved to Sofifi. Hence, it is common for the residents to go back and forth between the two cities as it is only 40 minutes away by speedboat.
We spent one and a half day trying to figure out what the island has to offer, and it was not enough. Though based on our driver’s information, it will only take approximately two hours to go around the island. There are too many places yet too little time, as always. Should there be another opportunity to revisit the island, I’ll jump in right away.
To explore the island, we went counter-clock-wise, starting from east Ternate at around 9 am, and finished at the southern part of the island, along with the sunset. However, this part will only cover half day of our exploration.
Let’s proceed with how the tour went, shall we?
- The Palace
First stop of the day was the Palace of Ternate Sultanate. The Palace has a strategic location overlooking a strait connecting Ternate and Halmahera. The kingdom still maintains its existence despite of leadership vacuum after the passing of the late Sultan Mudaffar Syah II in 2015.
We entered the palace from the back gate. There was some kind of Javanese Joglo, where a giant symbol of the sultanate was stored. Little did I know, the symbol has been the inspiration for Garuda Pancasila, the state symbol of Indonesia.
Inside the palace, there is one sacred chamber where a king’s crown is kept, called Kamar Puji. Traditionally, the Kings only have the chance to wear the headpiece once during his coronation. Sounds strange but true, attached to the headpiece is hair that keep growing day by day. In some occasion, the hair has to be cut off since it keeps growing. Only selected staff is allowed to enter the chamber, aside from the King himself. Notwithstanding, rumor has it, only those who has a great luck can witness the crown inside the chamber. Unluckily, luck isn’t part of my prowess.
Also, there is a museum next to the palace, but It was closed during our visit.
- Fort Toluko
Move on to the next destination, we visited a historical site namely Fort Toluko/Tolucco. My first impression was, “how is this called a military fort?” Locals might find it attractive as it was beautified with decorative plants and stuff, but for me, it looks more like the architect for the restoration did not take the construction seriously. Anyway, it was well maintained, so the mistreatment was partly forgiven.
Description about the fort and history is provided near the entrance gate. To sum up, the fort is of Portuguese remains built by Fransisco Serao in 1540 and later renovated by Dutch in 1610 to serve against Spaniard whom also eager to take over Ternate at the time.
Despite its historical importance for those colonizers, the fort is also undoubtedly has a magnificent view.
- Batu Angus
After witnessing human’s creation, we continued the tour by visiting Batu Angus. Batu means stone, while angus means scorched. So the name was given based on the the stones appearance. The site got created due to eruption of Mount Gamalama. Originally came out as lava, it got cold rapidly then turned to stone with unique structure. Upon seeing all this, I was wondering whether the site was submerged under water back then, which could explain the process for the structure to form.
On a side note, I was quite pleased that the site was kept mostly clean.
Being in an island surrounded by the sea will not complete unless you go down to the beach. So, off we went so Sulamadaha. There are two separate spots in this location, one is called Sulamadaha Beach and the other is Hol Sulamadaha.
The beach is typical, as it has been commercialized but sadly does not managed seriously. Too many neglected stalls which are slowly decaying and left an ugly impression. Thumbs down to the government who decided to develop this location without following up with real program.
On the other hand, Hol Sulamadaha was more promising as it takes more effort to reach, unless you go there by motorcycle then there won’t be any problem whatsoever. Since we went by car, we had to walk through hills which we did not expect beforehand. However, the struggle was paid of. Hol Sulamadaha was that beautiful. It has white sandy beach, and since the came mid-day the water looked sparkling and crystal clear.
Since I decided not to go on exploring its under water view, coconut drink was enough to cope with my disappointment. Cheers!