Bandanaira Things to Do

  • Collecting nutmeg on Pulau Banda Besar
    Collecting nutmeg on Pulau Banda Besar
    by Daihappydai
  • Nutmeg growing on Plau Banda Besar
    Nutmeg growing on Plau Banda Besar
    by Daihappydai
  • Nutmeg fruit, mace (red) and seed (black)
    Nutmeg fruit, mace (red) and seed...
    by Daihappydai

Most Recent Things to Do in Bandanaira

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    Great views on Banda Besar

    by Daihappydai Updated Mar 5, 2011

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    View of Lonthoir from Benteng Hollandia
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    Take a trip over to Lonthoir on Banda Besar for a chance to see a very relaxed village and some great views. Up the steep main street and then a turn right, you will find 'Kuching' well, a cat-shaped well with crystal clear water fit to drink. Further east you reach Benteng Hollandia. The old fort walls and archways, covered in moss, make a great view, but its main asset is its position. Perched above the village it offers great views of the town along with views of Gunung Api and Bandaneira. If you are unsure about walking around Banda Besar alone, ask at your guesthouse in Bandaneira, and they are sure to find you a guide.

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    Meeting the locals on Pulau Ai

    by Daihappydai Written Mar 3, 2011

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    Children playing football, Pulau Ai
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    Pulau Ai is a one hour trip on a public boat from Bandaneira and it is here I had the chance to chat to some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Take a stroll down Jalan Pelabuhan and you're sure to be met with many 'Selamat Pagi' or 'Selamat Siang'. Many of the locals like to practice their English and in return they are more than willing to help with your Bahasa Indonesia. Join in with the villagers as they fly their home-made kites or watch a friendly football game amongst the children. Ai village is kept neat and tidy with lots of flowers growing in gardens.

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    Roaming the plantations of Pulau Ai

    by Daihappydai Updated Mar 1, 2011

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    Sago planatation, Pulau Ai, Banda Islands
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    If you have the opportunity to stay on Pulau Ai for a couple of days, take the time to walk through the plantations on the hills south of the village. Start by walking west along Jalan Pelabuhan. When you walls of Welvaren Plantation House, turn left. You can follow tracks up into the hills and do a circuit that finishes near the jetty. This circuit allows you to see both nutmeg and kenari trips, along with sago crops, eggplant (aubergine), bananas and other fruit and vegetables. It is a nice walk late on a sunny afternoon with the sinking sun shining through gaps in the foliage. If you are unsure about doing this for yourself, ask one of the friendly locals, and offer a small payment.

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    Island History - Fort Belgica

    by Daihappydai Updated Feb 28, 2011

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    Plaque a entry to Fort Belgica, Bandaneira
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    There is a small entry few to the fort and you can walk around at your leisure, but for a better understanding of the history, it is worth paying a little more to one of the local people to act as a guide for you. Fort Belgica has been restored somewhat and the white-washed walls are clearly not original, but it is well worth the climb for some great views of Gunung Api and Banda Besar. There is a tunnel, which is apparently still open all the way to the original fort, Fort Nassau, some walls of which are still standing. You can walk inside the dark, damp, windowless cell where prisoners were kept and peer through the slots where sentries kept guard from the upper ramparts. Take care climbing the steep ladders. Guides can show you where the kitchen areas were and where the ammunition was stored.

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    Visit the Chinese Temple

    by Daihappydai Written Feb 26, 2011

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    Chinese Temple, Bandaneira
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    Just had lunch and needing to fill in some time before more snorkelling - pay a visit to the 300 year old Chinese Temple on Jalan Pelabuhan. The temple may look closed, but gates are usually open, just push and enter. If you are unsure, just say 'boleh' to one of the local shopkeepers near the temple and they will likely say 'ya' and show you in. There are some elegant carvings and brightly painted reliefs adjacent to a simple shrine. Even in the temple the impact of the Dutch is apparent, with a VOC embossed stone marking the step up to the shrine.

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    Playing football at the cemetery

    by Daihappydai Written Feb 26, 2011

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    Football goalie, Chinese Cemetery, Bandaneira
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    If the weather is not the best for snorkelling, take the time to explore a little of Bandaneira with a visit to the cemeteries. Both the Chinese and old Dutch cemeteries highlight some of the history of the island - they are easy to find, a pleasant ten to fifteen minute walk from the centre of Bandaneira. All available space in both cemeteries are used by the locals to grow vegetables, so be careful where you walk. There are some interesting gravestones to decipher. When I arrived at the Chinese cemetery, I found a group of children having a great time playing football on a make-shift pitch of black sand.

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    Snorkelling at Pulau Hatta

    by Daihappydai Updated Feb 26, 2011

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    Snorkelling at Pulau Hatta
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    While there is limited accommodation on Pulau Hatta, it is easy to arrange a day trip to go snorkelling and explore the amazing coral-laden reefs. Trips can be arranged through guesthouses with a day trip costing around 500,000 rupiah which can be shared amongst fellow travellers. The cost includes lunch and several snorkelling stops. The current allows for an easy drift above splendid coral and some great fish laden drop offs. The boat drivers are very aware of wind changes and choppy seas between Pulau Banda Besar and Pulau Hatta so be prepared for trip arrangements to change on the day depending on the weather conditions.

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    Visit a nutmeg plantation

    by Daihappydai Written Feb 25, 2011

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    Collecting nutmeg on Pulau Banda Besar
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    While snorkelling or diving are the usual highlights of a trip to the Banda Islands, there are plenty of other things to do and sights to see. You can't go to the Spice Islands and miss the opportunity of seeing a nutmeg plantation - after all, they were the reason for all the 'madness' of Dutch control for a few centuries!. The best places are possibly Banda Besar and Pulau Ai. A guided half-day walk through the plantations on Banda Besar can easily be arranged. It is a short boat trip from Bandaneira to Lonthoir, the capital of Banda Besar, with its steep 'stairway' streets. The climb to the plantations is steep but short - take water and mosquito repellant. Watch the islanders collect the nutmeg and 'kenari', an almond like nut, whose trees protect the nutmeg trees from the intensity of the sunlight. In the plantations small huts with raised floors have a fire lit beneath them and are used for drying the nutmeg. Learn a little about the history of the islands from your guide. A half-day trip to Banda Besar should cost about 60 to 70,000 rupiah per person if in a small group with the cost including guide and transport.

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Bandanaira Things to Do

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