Year End Trip: Explore Tidore Part 3

Back in Jakarta, heat is my biggest enemy that always wins against my noble intention to at least do something outside for the sake of my own mental health. But mostly during vacation, the sun up there, is my best friend. The hotter it gets, the better. As this will be my last post from my trip to Ternate-Tidore, I should say that I was blessed to have the blazing sun throughout the weekend. I was worried since the weather in Jakarta had been so horrible for the whole week prior to my trip to the islands.

Anyway, after 2 days of exploring the land, or island, the third day was the perfect time to cover the under water. I also got to visit a small island called Failonga, which was fascinating.

We were scheduled to leave at 8 in the morning but failed to do the mission. We went back to hotel super late the night before after having a late dinner and wandering around the city riding bentor. The “alien” pedicabs are everywhere, some of the even have sound system installed. I wonder if passenger can actually request a song. That will be terrific to have your own soundtrack like in a movie.

Night time entertainment. Too bad, we cannot get one with a boombox, but it was still a fun ride.

1. Failonga and Tanjung Rum

Finally, we got to the port at around 9.30 AM where Rio, Rian, and the boat crews are ready to take us to Failonga, as our first snorkeling spot. It took us nearly 45 minutes to reach the island. We were not alone there as some people had made themselves comfortable around the island by blasting dangdut songs to exercise with. What a joyful morning, right?

This was snapped by Rio.

Side note: I was so out of mind, I neglected my camera on the boat, and I regretted it all my life. Dear reader, learn from my mistake. Don’t ever, leave your camera anywhere. Keep it with you all the time. Thus, all the courtesy of these following photos goes to Mbak Evy or Mas Har whom generously let me borrow theirs. Mbak Evy also manages a cool blog full with information about places she had visited and knowledge, and whatnot. If you are interested in travelling and understand Indonesian language, go check her blog.

Upon getting the boat anchored, we immediately followed suit by jumping into the water. It was super refreshing, the water was quite warm, and it had amazing underwater view. However, according to Rio, the island’s underwater state was degrading due to increasing visitors these past few years. It used to have more diverse ecosystem and marine species. I also noticed that some of the corals were dead. I understand that there are a lot of consequences from a growing tourism spots. It is sad to learn that the increasing number of visitors will contribute to the further damage of nature that will take decades to rehabilitate. I hope that the local government and society will acknowledge this issue and figure out of a way to keep the nature in its pristine condition while also developing the area for a better ecotourism.DSCN4696e


Not only it has a magnificent underwater view, the island itself offers another charm that lures visitor to spend their time. She is beautiful from head to toe. However, it takes quite an effort to see as it is located at the other side of the island. We got to literally climb the island that consisted mainly of giant rocks.

Fun fact: the island used to be mystical due the the existence of a sacred tomb at the top of the island. Years ago, none would dare to go near the island to fish, let alone visit it.

Despite not knowing that we had to climb that high, we made it anyway, and we were astonished to see some kind of heaven on earth.

See that contrasted white sand, and blue sea, and everything in between?

A few hours will not be enough to fully immerse with the beauty of this island. If only we were not promised to see a giant corals in the next location called Tanjung Rum.

The place was fantastic with full of giant table coral or acropora despite its position, next to a commercial ships lanes. Due to its location, this snorkeling/diving spot has stronger tides than the previous one. I was so amazed that most of the table coral was almost perfectly preserved.

I wholeheartedly apologize for the lack of photos, but you definitely should see it yourself. I promise you will not regret it even a bit. Anyway, if you’re curious, here is the picture of giant table from from Tanjung Rum that I borrow from google.

The image was actually from a video that you can watch here. That pretty much what I saw, only, I could not dive and still have to try harder.
This photo is taken by AllWinner's v3-sdv
That was pretty much the best I could go under, I am still eager to learn tho.

2. Fort Torre

Despite having our energy drained already after playing in the water and getting a lot tanner, we decided to rush to Fort Torre to complete our check list. The fort is not far from our hotel, in fact, nothing is considered far here in Tidore.

Still cannot get why they decided to turn this place pretty. It’s like putting a flower on a military commander’s hair.

Most of the fort was destroyed and only left around 30% of the building intact. There are not a lot information I can get about this fortification turned flower garden beside what i read from the board sign which was still mainly based on assumption. It said that the fort was built under the order of Sancho de Vasconcelos after acquiring permit from Sultan Gapi Baguna (the name of the Sultan is unheard of before) in 6 Januari 1578 after Portuguese was driven out of Ternate by Sultan Baabullah for killing Sultan Khairun in 1570. Most likely the fort mentioned to be built was this Fort Torre. The name Torre was assumed to relate with the name of Portuguese captain at the time, Hernando De La Torre.

Tried to bear the sun. Pic by Mbak Evy
I surprised to see dozens of frangipani and bougenvill trees insite the building. This place is losing its identity for good.
I could totally get a wrong idea about this vandalizing picture. But I saw a raccoon.

Finally, we survived 3 days exploring Ternate and Tidore with flying colors. We visited most of the places we had on our list. We got to enjoy beutiful scenery, good food, and know some of the nicest people on the planet. On the last day, we had to pack and prepare our heart content to leave. But, catching a sunrise is a must before we bid our farewell to the spice islands.

Came a bit late, but still managed to catch the sun rising.
Surprise.. Surprise.. This is what I saw under the pier.
Early riser get the best lighting for photos. Pic by Mas Har.
Hello, gorgeous. Til we meet again.



Year-End Trip: Explore Tidore Part 2

       1. Tahula Fort

After spending some time to have a courtesy visit with Tidore Sultan, we got to rush for another check on our list that day. So off we went to Tahula Fort. The car stopped not far from our hotel. Upon seeing the gate, I was stunned as there were too many stairs to reach only the lower part of the fort. There were hundreds of stairs there, but there were also trees along the way, or stairs, and it helped a lot to cope with the heat.

Not a fan of steep stairs, but curiosity won. Pic by Mas Har.
Benteng Tahula sign. I’ve tried so many ways to get it captured properly, but I guess I will need to fly a drone for it.

According to Spanish archive, the Fort was built aroun 1607, a year after Spain conquered Ternate. The plan to construct a fort in Tidore was initiated a year after, but only came to realization in 1610 and finished by 1615. The fort that was named Santiago de los Caballeros de Tidore hosted 50 Spanish armies stuffed with artillery to protect their docked ships. Spanish used the fort until 1662, left neglected until Dutch came in 1707 and instructed the fort to be destroyed but was refused by Tidore Sultan, Hamzah Fahroedin.

This was taken at the upper part of the Fort. To reach here, visitor has to climb another stairs. There is some kind of a pool there. I wonder what it was used for. Surely not to swimming. Why would anyone want to swim there where people can do it right at the sea down there?

2. Gurabunga

I had enough heat for the day so we decided to go straight to the cooler part of the Island. The village Gurabunga has been mentioned several times by my travel mate, Mbak Evy, as a must-visited. Gurabunga is situated at the foot of Mount Marijang, also marked as the starting point for those who wish to hike to Kie Matubu, the peak of the mount. We were told, to reach the highest point of the island, it only took around 5-6 hours with normal pace. It sounded interesting, but we have no time for it, so we had to skip the offer.

On the way led to the village was so refreshing, we passed by clove and nutmeg plantation. Nutmegs were spotted here and there, but no clove flowers in sight as it was off season. I was amazed to learn that the smell of clove young leaves were similar to its flower, and a cigarette.

One of Tidore’s gem, nutmeg.

It was around 2 in the afternoon when we set our foot in the quite yet peaceful village. The first thing that caught my attention was this vast field with thick green grass that brought back the memory of my childhood where I used to play in the kind of field next to my house. Typical to many, goalpost is a must have item in every grass field across this country.

The village is indeed beautiful, but I still cannot get the idea of why there are to mosques, side by side. OK, this is getting out of context.


 A jump to celebrate. 

The main attraction of this village is the existence of Sowohi traditional houses. I got the chance to visit one of them. The house has quite unique architecture that express the closeness to deity and nature. Its wall is made of bamboo and the roof from sago leaves, while the floor is the earth.

Up front.
Inside the Sowohi house. The floor is harden soil.
Looking out.

In my previous post, I talked about this coffee that change my perspective about that addictive drink. As a person cursed with such a weak ulcer, i kind of have a love-hate relationship with coffee. But, kopi dabe, or dabe coffee is an exception. I don’t exaggerate when I say that the coffee is super duper tasty as it is rich in flavor due to addition of various kind of spices, though I have to admit that I found it tasted strange at first. But hey, it was my first time sipping the kind of coffee anyway, and I loved it. Here, in Gurabunga, we got to taste the coffee again, for the second time, in one day. Great.

We were too excited to wait for the coffee to cool down just a little bit.
Hydrangea is signature flower here. 
The salute of nutmeg seed called fuli/mace/macis is used as aromatic enhancer for various kinds of cuisine or warm drink when dried.
Nutmeg, cloves, fruit trees, you name it,
I was surprise of the cleanliness of the village. No trash spotted.
We moved to another location after taking a break at the village to this kind of view. 
The forest is turned into a farm.
Pardon my awkward pose. I have to be cautious there, but picture is a legit prove that I was there. So taking it at the most stunning place where I visit is a must.

 3. National Flag Monument

First, I have to admit that I know too little about my own country. I’ve been too ignorance especially about history. Apart for having unforgettable vacation, I also got to learn more about part of Indonesian history that is often unheard of. This time I learned that Tidore was the first in eastern region of the archipelago to ever raise our glorious red and white national flag, on 18 August 1946 to be exact. At the time, communication technology was so under-developed, hence the information about our independent was delayed until a year later. However, once people heard about it, they took no time to take action.

A monument was built to commemorate the heroic action of Tidore’s youth against Dutch colonization by raising National Flag as a symbol of independence.

It was Amina, who had the initiative to recreate the flag and sewed it using pineapple leaves fiber to be raised by a group of youth fighters. She was only 19, but her heroic action, along with other youth compatriots has given tremendous amount of contribution and sacrifices to this country. The flag supposed to be raised in Ternate, yet due to tight security of Dutch Colonials, they had to think of the plan B. Finally, they found suitable location where they deemed safe, that was in Tanjung Mareku in Tidore. The raise of the flag marked their refusal of Dutch prolonged colonization as the Dutch only admitted the independence of Java. This action was answered by a quick response by the Dutch by capturing and torturing those who involved. But this did not stop them from insisting the independence of Indonesia, including North Moluccas.

Salute is merely a symbol. My generation has took independence for granted, but we should not stay silent when it was taken away from us, not literally, but in many other forms. Pic by Mbak Evy.

Though I only spent a short time in this location, I left with so many thought in my head. There are so many things that I did not know, and will take a long time to learn and eventually I wish to figure out of what I can give to this country in return. I guess I should stop before it gets too emotional.

To sum up, the first day of my exploration in Tidore went perfectly and super exciting. What happen the next day was even more thrilling as we will visit Failonga, a beautiful island, south east of Tidore and Tanjung Konde for snorkeling. Here’s a hint, it has the most preserved coral reef I ever saw. So, stay tuned for the next part, aye!

Year-End Trip: Explore Tidore Part 1

One cannot talk about Ternate without mentioning Tidore. Situated at the south of Ternate, Tidore also holds significant importance along with its neighbor for its supply of spices, such as nutmeg and cloves, that attracted foreign explorers to the islands.

Compared to Ternate, Tidore Island is bigger in size but with smaller number of population. No wonder the city felt noticeably quieter and more laid back. After some observations, I could tell that everyone in this island was familiar with each other, as greetings became common practice.

From our hotel in Ternate, we took an angkot to Port Bastiong. Followed by a quest to charter a speedboat at reasonable price. It took only about 10 minutes to travel by speedboat from Port Bastiong to the Island of Tidore.

At the Rum Port of Tidore Island, my travel mates and I were welcomed by Alex and Bang Shul that practically would be our guide for the rest of our tour. After stacking our backpacks at the back of our rented car, our trip in Tidore Island officially began.

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We stopped here for some pictures, and I became obsessed with taking panoramic photos.
  1. Juan Sebastian Elcano Monument
One can pass this site everyday without realizing its importance for Tidore history.

First stop was the Juan Sebastian Elcano monument that was built next to Port Rum. The site was abandoned and mostly covered with fallen leaves.

Looking back to the history, initially, the first commander of the fleet that departed from Spain in 1519 in search for a route to East Asia was Ferdinand Magellan. However, the death of Magellan in Mactan, Philippines, raised Elcano into the position as the commander. He, along with other 18 crews finally found the Island of Tidore, came ashore, and hence, the name of the monument. A year later, they reached the Spain in 1522, and declared as the first men to circumnavigate the globe in a single expedition.

“In memory of Juan Sebastian Elcano and the crew of ships Trinidad and Victoria who landed in this islan of Tidore on November 8th, 1521 and set out its course for Spain on December 8th, 1521 to accomplish the first circumnavigation of the globe.”

In regards of this past event, there will be an international commemoration to retrace the same route as five centuries earlier. Tidore is set as the final port of the event dedicated to the captain and the whole crew. The event itself is called as Ferdinand Magellan’s Voyage 500 Years Commemoration Sail Expedition, and they are scheduled to reached Tidore in 2019. It will not be a bad idea to visit Tidore that time around, where you can see dozens of ships sailing from all over the world.

2. Akesahu Mafumuru

For a region that is located in the ring of fire, hot springs are common phenomenon. You can find it in almost all active volcano throughout Indonesia. But, as I always mentioned, this place always has its own charm that is rarely seen somewhere else. Hot springs are normally found in mountains, or at least you have to travel to a higher land to enjoy bathing in a natural hot water. Here, hot springs are located at a beach, which is fascinating. Hot spring meets the sea, what a perfect combo!

We had to go down the slope to reach the beach and the hot spring.

There are two locations where people often visit, one of them was already developed and constructed, while the other one was still in its quite original state. Owing to our preference toward a more natural looking places, we chose to visit the latter.

The water flows from underneath, between the rocks structure, and creates some kind of knee-high pool of hot water. It will normally be piping hot during low tide. However, it was high tide  during our visit, and the hot water was mixed with the seawater, making it a perfect temperature to just dip into the water

Locals usually gather here to swim, or just soak their feet into the pool of lukewarm water like we did. It was relaxing and helped to cure my sore feet. It made me feel more energized afterwards, and ready to discover all the new things this island has to offer.

The hot water flown out at around the spot where Mas Har stood
I envy locals for having this picture perfect place to just chill and relax. It was very hot and humid at the time, so the shade from the trees helped to avoid the scorching sun, at least for a moment.

3.  Tidore Sultanate Palace

The palace is situated on a higher ground east part of Tidore overlooking the sea and Halmahera Island. The building is well-maintained since the Sultan stays there and often used as a gathering place.

Tidore Sultanate is among the greatest Islamic kingdom across this archipelago, and its legacy remains until today. Given its long-standing and influential historical background, it is safe to assume the existence of great leaders as the essential factor, and the kingdom, or I should say sultanate, was blessed to have several of them. Among the notable king or sultan in Tidore was Sultan Nuku (1738-1805) which resting place is only across the palace. Due to his bravery in fighting Dutch which led to victory has earned him a title of national hero. Currently, the Sultanate is under the leadership of Sultan Husain Sjah whom has a noble vision to dig out and bring back the long forgotten Tidore’s own culture and tradition and use it as means to improve the life of its people.

Dominant color of the palace is green, which is commonly seen in majority of Islamic Kingdom.

It was all thanks to Mbak Evy whom happened to encountered a very helpful and generous acquaintance that gave us all the information needed to have a splendid vacation on the island and ultimately recommended us to visit the palace at the right time, so we could personally greet the Sultan himself. It was a rare chance for a common peasant, like me, to actually meet a royal or any notable figure outside of work. We got a chance to listen to his explanation pertaining the kingdom’s past glory. He also told a story about another Tidorean influential person named Tuan Guru which due to his tact and persistence to assure the rights of muslim to conduct their religious duties as well as contribute to the development of society through education has been named as one of South African hero.

It was an honor to meet the number one person of Tidore’s society. ‘Cause we’ll never be royal…
Beside boat, I also have a thing for chandelier.
Some sort of exhibition was arranged at the ground floor, but the collection was only limited as some of them has been moved to a new museum.

While waiting at the lobby, we were treated to a special blended coffee named Kopi Dabe (Dabe Coffee) as a welcome drink. The coffee has a unique taste as it was mixed with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and pandan leaf, resulting in a richer flavor and less acidic drink. It did not leave my stomach full of gas the next day, which was a good news. In fact, I even drank another cup of the coffee in different place, which details will be in the later chapter of my trip in Tidore Island.



Year-End Trip: Explore Ternate Part 2

After enjoying coconut water while taking a short break at Sulamadaha, the journey went on. So, here we go!

  1. Tolire Besar

The lake is located at the slope of Mount Gamalama.  God knows how deep the lake is since there has no research conducted to find it out yet. The color was dark green and surprisingly calm, only disturbed by small ripple as the cold wind swept in. Surrounded by a chasm that is approximately 50 meters deep, it is quite hard to access the lake. Hence, we could only observe the lake from afar.

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The mythical yet magical Lake Tolire Besar and Mount Gamalama

At the view point of the lake, I saw a group of small white birds flying around in the distance. As it was too far and unclear, my travel mate mistook it as somebody having a relax time on the lakeside. However, based on my small research nobody has the courage to do any activities there as it is rumored to be sacred and haunted by a white giant crocodile.

Aside from the giant croc, there is a legend surrounding the lake’s creation. Formerly a prosperous village, it was cursed after one of its resident impregnated his own daughter. Both tried to flee the village. However, something unfortunate happened and the place where the father stand turned to Tolire Besar (Great Tolire), while the daughter’s turned to Tolire Kecil (Small Tolire).

Now come the more interesting part. There is a myth that if you throw a stone no matter how hard, it won’t reach the water. Triggered by this myth, we were challenged to give it a try. A group of 4 ladies and a gentleman failed miserably. As we threw the stones into the lake, it was suddenly gone or fell on to the trees by the water. Some men with strong arms tried, the stones indeed reached the water but not as far as we predicted. Anyway, it was fun trying to figure out what kind of force was with this lake.

  1. Fort Kastela

I was surprised to find out that this site is located behind a mosque where we had another short break for praying. The fort was completely ruined. None will expect that this place had witnessed a tragic history for the people of Ternate. A monument with a unique statue of a clove, one of the most important riches of Ternate, is built here added with relief that tell the story of Sultan Babullah war against Portuguese.

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The entrance gate of Fort Kastela. There is a Goheba (two headed birds with one heart), the symbol of Ternate Sultanate at the top. Jou Se Ngofa Ngare means me and you.

Fort Kastela, also known as Fort Gam Lamo was built by Portuguese in 1522-40. In 1570, Sultan Khairun was slaughtered in this exact location which set fire at the heart of Ternate people that they began to take action against Portuguese.  Sultan Babullah rose as a hero by defeating and driving the colonialist out the island in 1575. Later, Spanish conquistadors came to the island and let the fort burned to the ground as they left in 1660.

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A sign board describing history of the fort.
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The remains of Fort Kastela, Frangipani could be spotted here and there.

The description board near the gate is appreciated but better care for this site is much more needed. The site is neglected despite its great significance to the history of Ternate and its people. I wish local government will take more notice of the importance of historical sites for educating future generation.

  1. Fitu

One cannot say to have visited Ternate without going to Fitu Village and taking photos of a landscape that is depicted on the back side of 2013 series of IDR 1000 banknote. This spot was the highlight of the whole tour in Ternate Island. We had anticipated the hype right from Jakarta by looking for the currently almost rare banknote as it is already replaced by new design.

The exact same location of the picture was at the backyard of the village, where some small boats of local fishermen are anchored during the day.  The spot presented us with the landscape of Maitara Island and Tidore as displayed on the said banknote.

Without further ado, here’s my own version of the picture.

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Not bad, right?
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Always have a thing for boats.
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Not only did the location have the perfect spot for recreating the banknote, the sun also painted a wonderful color should you point your camera on its direction.
  1. Ngade Lake

Time flies when you have fun. How I hate this quote but what can I do? The sun was almost set when we reached our last destination for the day. We were rushing here before it got dark and lost its magical view.

On a sign board outside the view point, the lake was called Laguna Lake, yet since it is also located at Ngade Village, it is also known as Ngade Lake. I prefer the latter as it gives more sense of identity to the greenish looking lake.

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Where the lake and mountain meet the sea.

Surrounded by lush green trees, from up here, the lake looked close to the sea. It gave some sort of connection between the two. With Maitara and Tidore Island joining in the background, it created a magnificent complete package of a landscape. One cannot be grateful enough having such view before one’s own eyes.

Locals installed some sort of decorated wooden bridge where visitors can have a closer look of the lake or, more importantly, take pictures and some selfies.

Time passed by too quickly while we spent our time here trying to capture the beauty and suddenly the sun began its own journey to the other part of the earth. Sadly, we were on the wrong side of the island. As a sunset person, it was a let-down not to get the chance to see how it went. We could only catch a small glimpse at it. However, the sight on its opposite side was equally majestic. All thanks to the Laguna Lake in Ngade, first day of our journey in this beautiful small island ended perfectly.


On our last day in Ternate, before going back to the airport, we took our time to visit one last fort  on our list that we had no chance to before, namely Fort Kalamata. Located near Bastiong Port, we went straight there after we got off ferryboat that took us from Tidore Island.


I was happy with this fort since its construction was almost intact and well-preserved. The fort is located on a seaside, so the view was, again, fantastic. Description board is located a bit far from the gate, near the fort.

IMG_5865Based on the board, the fort was built on 1540 by Portuguese in order to gain more power on this island, but it was taken over by Spain and used as trading post. During Dutch era, the fort got its function back as it was intended in the beginning, for military purpose. Later, Dutch, Spain, and England as well as Tidore Sultan, took turns to claim the ownership of the fort until it was neglected in 1843. The name Kalamata was taken from Kaicil Kalamata, brother of Sultan Madarsjah of Ternate.

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The fort will look great should you fly a drone and take picture from above.

If any of you are interested to visit Ternate, I might have some useful information to share.

  1. Take early morning flight from Jakarta, preferably using Lion Air departs at around 3AM. Thus, you can have more flexible time to explore the city and save some cash for accommodation. I made a mistake by choosing Sriwijaya Air that supposed to depart at 2AM. The flight got cancelled and I had to take connection flight from Makassar which make the flight time longer, and also practically no sleeping time.
  2. Delicious foods are everywhere. So beware.
  3. Renting a car is advised. We came during Christmas Holiday so the fee was a bit high around IDR 600.000/day.
  4. Accommodation here is quite tricky. You can stay at three-stars hotel and get bad service as I was told in advance. However, locally managed hotel is not a bad choice. We stayed at Surya Pagi Hotel. It has strategic location where you can stop an angkot on the intersection near the hotel if you plan to go to Port Bastiong. The hotel was relatively clean and has good service. Front desk lady was helpful. Breakfast is free and delicious. You can contact +628124305599 for reservation.
  5. Always bring sunblock and aloe vera gel, sunglass is optional, wherever you go in this island. I got a lot darker after just 4 days here, like, a lot.

Psst! Next post will be about my next exploration to the island next to Ternate, Tidore Island. Bear with me.



Year-End Trip: Explore Ternate Part 1

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.

The city of Ternate and Mount Gamalama covered with cloud as taken from Rum Port of Tidore 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?

  1. 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.

Ternate Sultanate Palace. It was a bit cloudy. On a bright day, we should see Mount Gamalama as its backdrop.

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.

Limau means state, Gapi means a highest peak, an ancient name of Ternate.

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.

The secret chamber where the sacred crown is kept.
Inside the palace is display of the Sultanate collection.
Beautiful chandelier
The Palace from different angle.

Also, there is a museum next to the palace, but It was closed during our visit.

  1. 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.

A garden fortress.

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.

Historical site with a view.
Hi, Kak Windy!
  1. 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.

From here, we could see Hiri Island, a perfect backdrop for taking picture on the east part of Ternate
The weather was no joke. Super hot.
Surprise surprise, the sea current here was strong.
Hello, Mas Har. Red is the color for holiday.

On a side note, I was quite pleased that the site was kept mostly clean.

  1. Sulamadaha

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.

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The waves are pretty tho.

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.

The water was calm, a perfect natural swimming pool.
Again, Hiri Island is on sight.

Since I decided not to go on exploring its under water view, coconut drink was enough to cope with my disappointment. Cheers!

My little maroon camera is making a special appearance.

Behind the Scene: Some of the Members and Crew


Mbak, Sulis, Mbak Windhar and me. Pic taken by Ardhy, one of Komodo Band Members.


Mbak Windhar and Mbak Sulis, getting lost at the hanging coral in Satonda Island.


Our boat crew enjoying the perfect view of Gili Laba.


The back of our youngest member. I felt like to push him off the cliff.

Continue reading “Behind the Scene: Some of the Members and Crew”

The Enchanting Komodo Island: A Short Escape to Jurassic World

After 16 hours of sailing over Flores Sea, I had the worst sea sick. I bet everyone on board also felt the same, of course except for the captain and his crew. Albeit all that, we finally arrived to the Komodo Island.


It was Gili Lawa or Gili Laba. In my own words, I’d rather call it The Entrance Gate of Jurassic World since it looks like one. Upon arriving the Komodo Island waters, I felt like entering a different world with very unique landscape combined with a deep blue sea as can be seen on the picture. It was strange and magical, almost surreal. Now I can agree if people said that Flores is among the most beautiful places in Indonesia, and it is definitely worth to visit.

We planned to hunt for sunrise atop of the hill where I took this picture but we came late and were slow to reach the spot so we missed it. One of my fellow heard a strange sound coming from the sea below and when I faced east I saw water burst. Some said it was a whale but if it turned out wasn’t one, well, lets pretend it was.


I always love how the sea has contrasting shades of blue due to difference of depth.


Your waves ride high, while mine are low. You head to sea, you’re sailing free. (Frau)

If the sun did not shine too bright, we would let ourselves to stay there longer. However, we were scheduled to visit Manta Point in Taka Makassar. Not everyone is allowed to go after the manta in the sea due to heavy current. I hesitated at first but I thought it was once in a lifetime experience. So, I decided to jump without wearing life jacket. It was fun. So many mantas were dancing and circling around us. Since I didn’t own an underwater camera, I came home empty-handed but full of the image of wild mantas in my head. Continue reading “The Enchanting Komodo Island: A Short Escape to Jurassic World”

Islands Hoping in West Nusa Tenggara

So, I was thinking of having another vacation before year end. It was in October 2015, to be precise. After doing some research from internet, I decided to sign up for an open trip  to Komodo Island and Flores arranged by Wuki Traveller. This time, I was not even bother to look for an accompany of friend to join me. I would just go no matter what. There would be a lot of people there anyway.

I departed from Labuan Lombok with 35 other people joining the trip, a captain, and 6 cabin crew. Here was the fun part. Unlike my previous trip to some islands in Java, this time, I sailed for 4 straight days. Yes, we travelled by boat from Labuan Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara to Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara. During the sailing in West Nusa Tenggara region, we stopped in 3 islands to enjoy both land and sea.


First stop, Kenawa Island. The island mainly consist of savanna. The challenge of this island was to climb the hill behind to enjoy sunset. Too bad, I hesitated to bring both my camera and phone. So I failed to capture the beauty of this island. However, this pic was taken by Mbak Windhar, one of my travel-mate. And as we waiting for the sun to descend, we also got the chance to explore the sea. So, snorkeling time!


Under water view was fine, but not as good as I expected. I used to go snorkel in the in deeper sea part about 3-5 meters, directly jump from the boat. Here, we started from beach so its pretty narrow and the coral was not really preserved. However, I could spot some small blue fish swimming around anemons. After sunset, we went back to boat, had our first dinner served by cabin crew, and rest. Continue reading “Islands Hoping in West Nusa Tenggara”