Karimunjawa Marine National Park: Idyllic Paradise in the Java Sea
Situated some 90km northwest off the northern coast of Jepara Regency in Central Java Province, the Karimunjawa Archipelago is a chain of breathtaking coral-fringed islands replete with underwater splendor secluded in the open Java Sea. Here, the white beaches are sublime, swimming is wonderful, snorkeling is extraordinary, and the pace of life relaxed as a destination defined by coconut palms and turquoise seas.
The archipelago was formally declared a Strict Natural Reserve in 1986 and has since been one of the priority areas for the conservation of marine biodiversity in Southeast Asia. In 1999, the Ministry of Forestry established the Karimunjawa Marine National Park encompassing a total area of 111,625 hectares. In 2001, an area of 110,117.30 ha was declared as Marine Protection Area (MPA). Karimunjawa Marine Park is one of six such parks in Indonesia, and was among the first areas recognized as being important for the conservation and protection of marine biodiversity.
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In total, Karimunjawa comprises 17 islands, where only 5 are inhabited. These are: Karimunjawa Island (the largest and the archipelago's center of facilities and the local's economic activities), Kemujan Island (where the Airport is located), Nyamuk, Parang and Genting .
As a marine national park, Karimunjawa has a mix of 5 different ecosystems, that promise a series of nature adventures for any visitor. Coral reefs, sea grass and seaweed are three marine ecosystems next to the lush mangrove forest that splendidly reflects images over the rippling water surface. As your boat cuts across the still water in the morning, you will see the warmth of the early sunrays fall on the lowland tropical forest along the coast. They look fantastic.
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The biodiversity found in Karimunjawa is wondrous; among the most significant are the 44 different species of mangroves, 11 species of sea grass, 9 species of sea weed, and 444 species of fish. The coral itself has 176 different species that you will likely see while snorkeling. Two protected biota species here are the black coral (Antiphates sp.) and organ pipe coral (Tubipora musica). Others include the triton trumpet, the hornet helmet, and the pearly-chambered nautilus. Here are also hawksbill turtles, common green turtles, and on land are the red-breasted parakeet and other tropical bird species.
Among the many, the favorite spots for snorkeling are at Gosong Island, Menjangan Kecil Island, Tengah Island, Tanjung Gelam Island, and Cemara Kancil Kancil. At Menjangan Besar is a shark pool where you can safely swim around. You don't need to worry since these are a relatively tamer sharks species, while a guard will brief you about safety and security and keep a close watch as you swim with the sharks.
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Some of the uninhabited islands make a perfect place for a lunch picnic or other fun relaxing activities under the swaying palm trees. Nearing sundown, the beach at Tanjung Gelam presents a spectacular sunset which will make it a perfect experience to end your day.
If you wish to enjoy the splendor of the islands from a height, be sure to hike to the Love Hill. Here you will be presented with the mesmerizing views of the vast open sea and the beauty of nearby islands. At the Joko Tuo Hill, there is a skeleton of a giant whale which is placed here as monument to honor the fish in the sea.
Eco-Park Mangrove Forest in Karimunjawa Island
At the main island of Karimunjawa, you can also explore the 10.5 square kilometer mangrove forest and nature's beauty that lies within. Situated only about 2Km from Karimunjawa's main harbor, you can reach this place on foot or by bicycle.
Entering the forest, you will be greeted by lush mangrove trees and schools of little fish swimming along the beach. A wooden raised footpath made from old and dead mangrove wood will take you deeper into the forest. The trekking route is winding with lots of turns, and adds to the surreal tranquil sensation far from the humdrum of concrete jungles you face every day.
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There are about 45 species of mangroves in 25 families here. Among others, here you can also find rare species of mangrove Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea or locally known as Duduk. While dominating the forest is Exoccaria Agallocha or as the local call it Betah. Among the mangroves, you will also encounter a number of endemic wildlife, from black tailed monkeys to a variety of birds.
Reaching midway in your adventure, there is a gazebo and a watchtower where your eyes can gaze upon the beauty of the vast stretching mangrove forest as well as the many beaches and mountains nearby.
Don't forget to bring a bottle of water since the heat of the scorching sun will eventually get to you. Also, remember to have the batteries of your cameras and mobiles at full and make room in your memory cards because you will definitely want to take selfies and lots of pictures here.
How to get here
With improved accessibility, you can now reach Karimunjawa from Semarang (the capital city of Central Java Province) and Surabaya (the capital city of East Java Province) by air. In both cities, Susi Air serves flights to Dewandaru Airport in Karimunjawa twice a week on Thursday and Friday. From Semarang, the flight will take about 30 minutes, while the flight from Surabaya will take about 40 minutes.
From the harbor at Jepara Regency, you can get to Karimunjawa Archipelago by ferry. The Siginjai Ferry departs from Jepara on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. As for the return trip from Karimun to Jepara, the ferry operates on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. The ferry trip will take approximately 4 hours. There is also the Bahari Express Ferry that will cut the trip to just about 2 hours. On Monday and Saturday, Bahari Express serves the route from both Jepara and Karimunjawa. On Tuesday and Friday, the ship only departs from Jepara, and on Wednesday and Sunday, it only departs from Karimunjawa.
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Komodo National Park
Flores is one the most fascinating and beautiful island, located in the southern part of Indonesia in East Nusa Tenggara province.
Geographically, Flores is part of Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands. From west to east the main Lesser Sunda Islands are Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Alor archipelago, Barat Daya Islands and Tanimbar Islands.
Long hidden in the shadows of its more famous neighbor Bali, the island of Flores is finally emerging as a unique destination of its own.
So, after visiting the lair of the Komodo dragons, take time to marvel at some of the wonders of Flores. Here, you can swim in pristine lakes and waterfalls, dive at one of the 50 spectacular dive sites, go kayaking among craggy coasts and mangrove shores, explore mysterious caves and be warmly welcomed by the island’s people in their rituals, dances and daily life.
Flores spell adventure, diving, eco-tours, and mountain climbing interspersed with visits to prehistoric heritage sites, traditional villages and cultural events. Find some of the world’s most exotic underwater life, dive in the pristine seas of Komodo, or swim along with huge manta rays, dolphins, and dugongs on the island of Flores!
One of several histories of the name “Flores” was said to come from Tanjung Bunga, a sub-district in East Flores. In the 1500s a Portuguese navigator António de Abreu reach this place and saw blooming flowers all over the island.
Then came S.M Cabot who described this place as Cabo das Flores, translated as the cape of flowers.
In 1636 Hendrik Brouwer, the Dutch Indies Governor General validated Flores as the official name for the Island.
Flores also was known as Nusa Nipa, or the Snake Island. The name was said to depict due to the shape of the island, the fact that Flores is a habitat for snakes and the ancient belief that the snake was the ancestor of the island.
You can come by to the Blikon Blewut Museum in Maumere, and learn a glimpse of Florinese history.
There are 8 major ethnic groups in Flores, namely the Manggarai, Riung, Ngada, Nage-Keo, Ende, Lio, Sikka and Larantuka.
There are also 8 regencies in Flores: West Manggarai, Manggarai, East Manggarai, Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende, Sikka and East Flores.
Labuan Bajo is the capital of West Manggarai, the gateway to many splendors of Flores.
You can watch Caci dance in Manggarai, a live war dance performed in numerous traditional ceremonies. The dance is also popular as a warm greeting to welcome important guests.
In East Manggarai, you can visit Rana Tonjong, a vast lake covered with giant lotus flowers that bloom from April to June. If you love beaches, don’t forget to sunbathe at Laing Lewe! In Ngada, you can come by and explore Taman Laut 17 Pulau. Translates as The17 Islands Ocean Park, it was also named in accordance to Indonesia’s anniversary date on the 17th. Here, you can discover exotic wildlife on land and beneath the ocean’s waters.
Nagakeo is famous for Pulau Pasir Putih Rii Taa, a pristine pearly white-pinkish sandy island located just around an hour boat ride from the Marapokot harbor in Mbay city.
The renowned three colored Lake Kelimutu is located in Ende. An amazing natural wonders that you definitely must experience yourself. While in Ende, you can also visit the unique Pengganjawa beach. With black sand and plenty of stones in turquoise hues scattered on its shore, a sight that you don’t see often!
Maumere is the capital of Sikka. Besides the museum and beaches, you can head to Tanjung Kajuwulu and Nilo hill, to enjoy the soothing view unfolding beneath you.
Last but certainly not least is Larantuka, the capital of East Flores. The city is famous for its Easter celebration named Semana Santa. A festive march carried off the day of Good
Friday, across the heart of Larantuka.
The two main gateways of Flores is Labuan Bajo in the west and Maumere in the east. The daily flight from Denpasar to Labuan Bajo’s Komodo Airport takes around 90 minutes and to Maumere’s Frans Seda Airport takes around 115 minutes.
Getting to Flores overland requires perfect planning. Public bus is available to take you across from harbor to harbor. Sea crossing is available on speedboats and local ferries, all depending on the availability.
From Benoa harbor in Bali, it takes around 36 hours voyage on the sea before you reach Labuan Bajo. For sea cruises, you should really consider your time, the season and the updated schedules at www.pelni.co.id for convenience.
There are also boat trips between Lombok and Flores, that may stop by at Komodo before ending its journey at Labuan Bajo.
You can get around with rented cars, motorcycle or try the local public transportation of bemo and busses.
Bemo is a minivan, where you sit facing each other throughout the routes that connect the main cities in Flores. It is a local experience that you can try because bemo is quite unique in Flores. Prepare for full music, colorful exterior and the eye-catching name made up so that passenger would not forget their ride!
Feeling excited to go? Book your flight now!
Mandalika: The Ultimate Paradise in the Heart of Lombok
Along the south coast of the beautiful Lombok island lies a long and wide stretch of beautiful white sand beach facing the glistening Indian Ocean. On the background are lush green hills and mesmerizing landscapes. This is Mandalika, once a surfers’ best-kept secret, now it has emerged as the island’s capital of leisure. Mandalika shouts heaven from all of its enchanting corners.
The special tourism economic zone boasts vibrant bars and nightclubs, thrilling racing circuits, exciting water parks, luxurious hotels and resorts, fascinating golf courses, rejuvenating spas, and plenty more; there’s everything for everyone at this 1,250-hectare paradise. The tourism industry in Mandalika is equalling its neighboring island, Bali. Mandalika is also a melting pot of tourists from all parts of the globe. Here, the tourism industry fused seamlessly with the unique and colorful culture of the local people that is still well preserved for generations.
Mandalika is also conveniently located near some of Lombok’s most outstanding beaches. These include Tanjung Aan, Kuta, Gerupuk, Serenting, and Seger Beach. From the top of the Merese Hill and Batu Payung Beach, you are presented with some of the most amazing panoramas of Lombok. All kinds of fun water sports activities await at Kuta Beach. Those who enjoy swimming, surfing, and fishing can head to Gerupuk Beach, while those who prefer peace and serenity can head to Serenting Beach. For a one of a kind cultural experience, head down to Seger Beach during the annual tradition of Bau Nyale Ritual and join in the local festivity you won’t find elsewhere.
Blessed with beautiful nature and enhanced by the hands of professionals, Mandalika is designed to make your dream vacation a reality. With all its exceptional splendors, a trip here will be unforgettable and will make you long for more.
Getting around in this area is quite simple. A public transportation vehicle called Bemo runs all over Lombok including Mandalika, and it will get you to most places. You can also rent a car, a motorcycle, or a bicycle. However, since most of the facilities in the area are within walking distance, you can simply walk or stroll as you enjoy the vibe.
From Singapore and Malaysia, you can take a direct flight to Lombok International Airport, which is located not too far from Mandalika. Flights are also available from various major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali. From Jakarta, the flight will take about 2 hours, while from the nearby Bali, it will only take about 30 minutes. From Bali, you can also take a ferry from Padang Bai Harbor to Lembar Harbor in Lombok. From there you can take a bus or a taxi to Mandalika that will take about 2-3 hours.
Gili Meno, Gili Islands Indonesia
If you dream of being completely away from it all, or honeymoon on a remote island, but you still want to be near “civilization”, then Gili Meno is your answer. Situated only some 20 minutes from Senggigi Beach by speedboat on the west coast of Lombok island, Gili Meno is one of three islands now gaining worldwide popularity. These are Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. In the local Sasak language, “gili” means island. So take note that there are many “gilis” around Lombok that are either stand-alone or are in cluster.
Among the three islands in this cluster, Gili Meno is the quietest, and Gili Trawangan the most popular. If Gili Trawangan looks more like a tourist village, Gili Meno offers more of serene nature, besides superb diving opportunities. Meno is the smallest island with the least inhabitants, located in the center of the cluster. Here are white beaches, and shady palm trees interspersed with grassland, where cattle graze.
Gili Meno is a most idyllic and romantic retreat for honeymooners, but has sufficient attractions and things to do. Around the island are three dive spots that are favorite with scuba divers, they are called the Meno Wall, Sea Point Turtle, and Point Coral Blue. Besides, there is a seawater lake and a Bird Park that comes complete with homestay facilities.
Amidst amazing scenery of white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, crystal clear seas and the soft lapping of waves, you will hear the chirping of many birds. The Gili Meno Bird Park was built by an Australian in a dome-like structure and has over 200 species of Asian and Australian birds, that include flamingos, cuckatoos, eagles and pelicans, besides other beautifully feathered friends. Uniquely, visitors must pass through labyrinths before reaching the dome.
The Gili islands strictly ban motorized vehicles. Therefore, transport is by bike or on a “cidomo” the local horse-drawn carts. But to really absorb the beauty and serenity of nature you can hike, taking care to bring sufficient drinking water with you.
The small port at Gili Meno is called Bangsal Port, and you must wait until there are 20 passengers before the boat leaves. If you are in a hurry you can rent speedboats. When arriving by plane at the Lombok International Airport, you can take a taxi to Senggigi. You can also take the DAMRI bus to Mataram, capital city of Lombok and continue by taxi. There are direct ferries that ply between Bali and Gili Trawangan. At Gili Trawangan, find a boat to take you to Gili Meno.
Explore the Natural Beauty of Gili Trawangan and the Gilis in Lombok
White sandy beaches. Tropical coral reefs. Warm inviting waters. All this awaits you on the Gili Trawangan and the Gili islands in Lombok. And with no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions other than beautiful tropical island scenery, the Gili islands off the northwest coast of Lombok are truly an ideal destination for a tropical getaway.
Offering spectacular reefs and ominous dive sites like Shark reef, the Gili Trawangan and the Gili islands in Lombok are the perfect escape for anyone wanting to get away to beautiful, natural and relaxing surrounds. This is why these islands have become a popular destination for Western tourists looking for a remote island experience.
For divers and snorkelers, there are few places better than the Gili’s where you can get up close to all kinds of marine life including a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in all its glory. Swim up and watch this graceful creature glide through the ocean. You should be able to spot these turtles at depths of 10-20 meter below sea level.
The Gilis consist of three islands: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air. In local Sasak language, "Gili" means "island". In the Indonesian language, plural is denoted by repeating a noun. So "Gili Gili" literally means "islands”.
Renowned for friendly locals and superb natural beauty, each of the island’s are well prepared for tourists. Gili Trawangan is the largest and most popular of the three islands. It has a vibrant nightlife to keep you entertained once the sun goes down. With a wide collection of restaurants and bars, you’ll never be short of entertainment here.
If you're after a quiet getaway, try Gili Meno or Gili Air. Gili Air is closest to the mainland and is the most populated of the Gili’s. Gili Meno is the smallest island and, with only a few hundred permanent residents, it has the most remote feel to it. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants built in keeping with the islands’ homely village atmosphere.
Cars and motorbikes are prohibited on the Gili’s giving each island a very peaceful atmosphere. The best way to get around and explore the islands is by bike. You can rent a bike and take a ride and look at the spectacular views of the tropical landscape.
A horse-drawn carriage or cidomo is another popular way to get around for both locals and visitors. A tour around Gili Terawangan in a cidomo taking around half an hour. When you want to stretch your legs there’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll around the island. If you want to travel between the Gili’s you can also hire a motorized boat
The Gili islands are easily reached by speedboat from Senggigi, taking only some 20 minutes boat ride. Many tourists also travel direct to Gili Trawangan by ferry that leaves Bali daily from Serangan or Padang Bai. Travel on the islands are only by bike or “cidomo” the small horse-drawn carts taking 3 persons per ride.
No motorized vehicles are allowed here. There are also regular passenger boats from Senggigi harbour. There are also regular fast ferries from Bali direct to Gili Trawangan, departing Serangan at 08:00 am and 10:00 am, and daily from Padang Bai, leaving at 11:15 am.
Wonderful Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat
Among the wonderful Raja Ampat Islands, Waigeo is the largest of the archipelago’s four main islands. Waigeo is also known as Amberi, or Waigiu, located in the West Papua province near the town of Sorong. The three other largest islands in this cluster are Salawati, Batanta and Misool. On Waigeo is the town of Wasai, capital of the Raja Ampat regency, located in the west of the island.
Waigeo is home to a wide range of attractions. It is also the easiest island to reach by public transport, though exploring its full diversity still remains a challenge. Waigeo Island offers diving, rock islands, scenic bays walled in by towering cliffs, a jungle interior offering good birdwatching, and the cheapest accommodation options in all of Raja Ampat. All in all, it's the perfect place to start your exploration of the Raja Ampat cluster.
Waigeo has a wild and jungly interior, much of which is still largely unexplored and inaccessible. There is a large variety of animal species which have made their homes in these jungles. The world renowned crimson Bird-of-Paradise is found here, together with opossums, snakes, tortoises, frilled and giant monitor lizards, plumed herons, and honeyeaters.
One of the most popular attractions in Raja Ampat is the deep sea diving and snorkeling as this is a location with an astonishing amount of marine life. Dive in and swim among the colorful fish groups along the coral reefs. At a depth of approximately 30 meters along the Waiwo Beach, you may get the chance to see white tip reef sharks as well as the black tip reef sharks that are commonly spotted sleeping and sometimes patrolling the blue waters’ depths.
Aside from diving, Pulau Waigeo has also been bragged as a place for excellent underwater photography due to its bio-diversity and exotic sea creatures. The list of species spotted include a huge variety of nudibranch species, sea dragons, blue-striped flagtail pipefish, pygmy sea horses, green sea turtles, giant napoleon wrasse, and Indian lionfish. There is also an abundant growth of corals and sea fans here that serve as homes for large groups of small fish.
The easiest way to get to Raja Ampat is to fly to Sorong from Jakarta or Bali with transit in Makassar or fly by SilkAir from Singapore to Manado and on to Sorong. Domestic Travelers can also fly via Makassar or Manado. Regular flights from Manado to Sorong are offered by Lion Air.
From the Jefman Airport in Sorong you can rent transportation to take you to the Sorong port where you will find several boat options available to take you to Waisai on Pulau Waigeo. The boat ride should take approximately 2-3 hours to reach Waigeo Island. From there you can hire a motorbike to take you to your homestay or hotel.
The Enchanting Arborek Tourism Village of Raja Ampat
The village of Arborek is fast rising as a pioneer among the 18 beautiful villages in West Papua that have embarked on developing local regulations for community-based marine conservation, With recently claiming the 1st spot in 2015 Provincial village Competition for West Papua ,the village of Arborek has gained an outstanding reputation among both the local authority and international community. With the assistance of the national and local government, from research centers, and non-government organizations, the local people have succeeded in formulating local regulations.
With a population of only 197, interaction with locals is a stones throw away from a number of Homestay options available on this island. Finding underwater beauty is not so difficult here. Along the Arborek pier, divers can simply plunge into the water and instantly find a most intriguing illumination of the glittering of a gorgonian fan just below the surface. People in Arborek are hospitable and very industrious, creating exceptional handicrafts from sea pandan leaves to make the most of their time each day. Arborek is fascinating both underwater and in the village.
Known as the Arborek Tourism Village, the community is known for its handicraft in making hats and noken (string bags). Unlike most women in other villages who also give a hand to their husbands as fishermen, nearly all mothers in this village produce handicrafts for a living. Although they are convinced that catching lobsters and work in pearl agro-production are much more profitable, yet they feel that handicraft is more distinguished and more graceful work for women. This is a village worth visiting. Only one and half hours from Waisai, Raja Ampat’s capital, the village of Arborek is awaiting visitors from around the world.
This tourism village is not too extensive in terms of size. The land covers around a 7-hectare area, so that it will not take much time and energy to travel around the village. There are around 40 families living in the village. Should you stay in the village, walking is probably to only means to be familiar with your holiday destination.
For snorkeling, you don’t need to travel far because you can find interesting underwater world even by the Arborek pier. Walking down the village trails will give you the very opportunity you will not want to miss, as people and especially children will warmly greet and get acquainted with you. For diving, it will take about 15-20 minutes by motorized boat to the dive spots.
The Arborek Tourism Village is located in MeosMansar in the district of Raja Ampat, West Papua. To reach this location, it is easier to start your journey from Sorong. There are several flights that you can take from Jakarta, Bali or Makassar to Sorong.
For sea transportation, ships calling on the Port of Sorong are the Dorolonda, the Labobar, GunungDempo, Sinabung, and Tatamailau. From Sorong, you can take a motorboat from the Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, capital city of the Raja Ampat district.
There is a boat from Sorong to Waisai. From Waisai, you can continue your less-than-two-hour journey by using a rented longboat. The longboat can be arranged via homestay or the local dive shop.
Misool Island, a Tropical Hideaway in the Raja Ampat Archipelago
Misool Island is a remote, tropical hideaway, one of four largest islands in the Raja Ampat archipelago, world renowned dive destination in the province of West Papua. Located off the west coast of the main island of Papua, directly bordering the Seram Sea, the waters are a veritable traffic lane for many large sea creatures, including whales.
The crystal clear turquoise sea-waters allow spectacular views of Misool’s sub-surface colorful treasures even when still aboard your boat. The sea gardens of Raja Ampat hold 75 percent of all known species of corals and ornamental fish in the world, and boast the highest level of marine biodiversity on the planet.
On land, the wild territory of Misool is one of the most visually breath-taking and captivating sites in Raja Ampat. The island is heavily forested, and at first sight reveals nothing but a thick green carpet of dense forests and mangrove swamps. To the east and west of the island, a maze of limestone pinnacles jut sharply out of the blue sea, carved and eroded by the waves and carpeted luxuriantly in vegetation.
The rare beaches on Misool are pure white sand, fringed with coconut trees leading out to the stunningly turquoise waters. Aside from the enchanting panoramic scenery and wealth of marine life, Misool is also home to ancient cultural sites. A number of petroglyphs can be found on walls of caves throughout the island, dating back approximately 5,000 years.
To get to Misool Island, first fly to Sorong Airport in West Papua, Indonesia. This is a domestic airport with available flights from Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Manado, Ambon. From Sorong, a private speedboat will take you to the Resort. Boats depart on a pre-arranged schedule by the resort, usually at 7:30 am on alternating Sunday mornings.
The trip takes between 4-5 hours but will seem like no time at all as you journey through some of the most mesmerizing sceneries you have ever seen or ever will see. Transfer fees from Sorong to Misool are included in the resort’s package price.
Explore the Pristine Aquamarine of Weda Bay in Halmahera
The little known underwater sea gardens of Weda Bay in Halmahera, in the province of North Maluku, recently emerged into world’s media limelight when the rare Walking Shark (Hemisayllium halmahera) was discovered in this remote area. Located in Central Halmahera in the subdistrict of Weda Tengah, Weda Bay offers divers amazing sights in these pristine aquamarine waters. Here are abundant fish life, from pygmy seahorses, tuna fish, dolphins, to napoleon wrasse and sharks, and numerous other species of underwater life.
By the steep walls, black sand sites with critters to the majestic shallow coral gardens and a historical Japanese WW II shipwreck. The currents is calm and you can make incredible beautiful shallow dives. Perfect place for beginners and very experienced “seen it all” divers. And it is hard to find a better place for snorkeling in the world. Many of the reef are situated 10 kilometers from the shore. The top of the reefs are in excellent condition and very rich in fish-life.
Wedged between the Lembah Strait near Bunaken in North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat in West Papua, Weda Bay offers the best of both worlds, from shallow reef tops to steep drop offs, abundant with strange and colorful species of underwater life-to amaze both beginners and professionals. Next to the wonders in the sea, lovers of wildlife can also enjoy Weda’s pristine rainforests, habitat of the blue Wallace’s Standardwing Bird of Paradise, hornbills, eagles, cockatoos, parrots, fruit doves, nicobar pigeons as well as the cuscus.
The nearest airport to the Weda Resort is the airport of Ternate. There are daily flights to Ternate from Manado, Makassar and Jakarta. From Ternate it takes some 4 hours journey to the Resort using speedboat, then a drive through the forest pass picturesque villages and panoramic views before you arrive at the Resort on the Beach of Weda. International airlines fly to Jakarta, Manado and Makassar, where you connect on domestic flights to Ternate.
Locals who still remember World War II would tell visitors that back in 1944-145 Morotai was a hive of military activities with tens of sorties roaring daily from aircrafts taking off and landing at airstrips along Daruba Bay,endless stamping of thousands of military boots marching across the island, and navy ships anchoring daily carrying supplies and reinforcement. For Morotai back then, was the strategic base of the Allied Forces from which they attacked posts in the Philippines and Borneo in their fight against Japanese forces during World War II.
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On 15 September 1944, Allied Forces from the USA and Australia under leadership of Supreme Commander for the West Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur, landed on Morotai’s south west corner, where some time before, the Japanese had constructed an airstrip but abandoned it in favor of the island of Halmahera to its south. In Morotai the Japanese command left only some 500 soldiers to guard the island. With such overwhelming odds, the advancing Allied Forces were no match for the small number of Japanese troops. The Japanese Navy later tried to recapture the island but also to no avail.
When the Japanese abandoned Morotai, Gen. MacArthur saw this as the golden window of opportunity to take the island which he considered was at the most strategic location for a counter invasion to recapture the Philipppines from the Japanese. With over 50,000 troops the Allied Forces settled on Morotai. Losing no time, Mac Arthur immediately constructed a number of airstrips over the rough coral ground. At one point, Morotai was said to house no less than 60,000 soliders, and had a large hospital with 1,900 beds. There was also a busy naval base nearby.
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Later, Australian Forces also sortied from Morotai to stage attacks on North Borneo. This hive of activities continued until the end of World War II at the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. Before leaving the island, Allied Forces are said to have burnt down all constructions on Morotai.
In 1974 a lone Japanese soldier called Taruo Nakamura emerged from the jungles of Morotai having hidden there for decades unaware that the War was long over.
Today, Morotai has become a vague memory in the annals of World War II military operations in the Pacific Theater, and its role in the fight for freedom of the Philippines almost forgotten.
The island itself with a total population of 53,000 people is now back to its routine as sleepy tropical paradise. Nevertheless, its decisive role in World War II is forever etched in history books.
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Now the government plans to make Morotai into an economic hub and gateway into Indonesia from the Pacific Ocean. Morotai will be developed as a fishery, tourist, trade and services center.
The island of Morotai has now been designated as one of Indonesia’s Top Priority Tourist Destination for intense resort development.
Where in the world is Morotai?
Located north of the larger island of halmahera in the province of North Maluku, the island of Morotai has a number of great beaches and interesting diving spots. The largest town here is Daruba in the south. To Morotai’s north are the Philippines, to its east the Pacific Ocean. Not much remains to be seen from those hectic World War II days, except for a number of interesting wrecks to be explored underwater.
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A lone statue of General Douglas MacArthur on the island of SumSum near Daruba serves to remind following generations that this famous general, best known for his words “I will return”, once made Morotai his military base.
Nearby at Kao Bay in Halmahera a half submerged Japanese wreck named the Tosimaru can still be seen from shore.
A shack filled with memorabilia of World War II collected by a private citizen and known as the Morotai Museum can be visited to remind visitors of those terrible war days, which will hopefully never occur again on this planet.
Besides serving as US and Australian military base in WW II, the island of Morotai later also served as base for Indonesian forces in the liberation of West New Guinea from Dutch colonization.
The best way to get to Morotai is on your own yacht or liveaboard, which will ensure your easy access and accommodation.
The nearest airport to Morotai is on the island of Ternate. Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air serve regular flights to Ternate. From here you must travel overland to Tobelo, in North Halmahera, then take a ferry to Daruba on Morotai. The sea journey takes around two hours.
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