Location: East Indonesia. Capital of the Maluku Archipelago (Spice Islands) and main city and Seaport for the region. Ambon and the surrounding islands are totally un-spoilt by tourism, and remains a hidden, unknown gem nestled between Sulawesi and Papua.
Relative location: Ambon is to the west of New Guinea and to the North of East Timor, Alor Islands and Darwin Australia. South of Raja Ampat, ESE of Lembeh Strait/Bunaken, & ENE of Bali.
Time Zone: GMT -9 (1 hour ahead of Manado/Lembeh and Bali and 2 hours ahead of Jakarta)
Geography: The size of the province is 850,000 sq. km (land makes up just 10 percent of the area’s total surface). Ambon is a small island that one can drive within a couple of hours.
Relatively undeveloped mountainous terrain covered in tropical rainforest, Ambon City is built on a hillside overlooking the bay.
Population: approx. 330,000 (Maluku region has a total population of 1.5 million.) The major ethnic group is the Ambonese. With a 50/50 split between Christian and Muslim religions.
Best time to visit: September till May. Average air temperature is 27C (80F) and humid. The water temperature is around 28C (82F).
Arrival and departure: Most countries now have free VISA entry on arrvial. Please see the How to Get Here page for more information on this. Departure tax: There is no longer any departure tax, at domestic or international airports
Money Matters: Our prices are in USD. You may use USD, EURO or Indonesian Rupiah to pay. There is an ATM close to the hotel. We accept credit cards. Sorry AMEX is not accepted.
Electricity: European (two rounds pins) sockets, 220V. Rooms also have a Universal Socket, and the Camera Room at the Dive Centre has many many Universal Sockets 🙂
Basic History: Until 1512 Ambon was ruled by Ternate. The sultans brought the civilizing force of Islam to the island’s north coast. They were displaced by the Portuguese who found the less developed, un-Islamicised south more receptive to Christianity and developed a fortress around which Kota Ambon would eventually evolve.
In turn, the Portuguese were displaced by the Dutch, intent on capturing the lucrative spice trade making it their main regional base.
The Dutch were to dominate the Ambon Island for the next three and a half centuries until the World War II, when it became the headquarters of the invading Japanese forces in the region. And site of one of the most brutal POW camps for war.
Despite ridding itself of the Dutch and the Japanese in the 1940s, Ambon then became the focus of a rebellion against the newly independent Indonesia under Sukarno in the 1950s, eventually put down by the Indonesian army. Notwithstanding a recent but thankfully short-lived reappearance of sectarian violence, Ambon has made a remarkable recovery since civil conflict abated in 2002.
Medical Points: The dive center is equipped with Oxygen and first aid. All boats carry a first aid kit and oxygen. We also have two AEDs, one for each boat. Basic over the counter medicine is available from the dive center.
Medical facilities on the Island are basic. There is a hospital here which can handle the basics however for more serious injuries and/or conditions evacuation to Makassar or further may be required. All Divers are required to have medical insurance, whose advice will be followed in the event of any emergency. We can sign you up for instant DAN Short Term insurance, valid for either 10 or 30 days. Click here for more info
Malaria does exist in Ambon, though tends to be contained away from the resort. It is always a good idea to bring insect repellant to Ambon. No one we know has contracted malaria.
Bonus Facts: Dive Into Ambon Logo is the Ambon Scorpionfish [Pteroidichthys amboinensis, Bleeker, 1856]
Pieter Bleeker was a Dutch medical doctor, ichthyologist (famous for his work on the fish of East Asia) employed as a medical officer in the Dutch East Indian Army from 1842 to 1860. During that time, he did most of his ichthyology work, besides his duties in the army. He collected well over 12,000 specimens, published more than 500 papers on ichthyology, describing 511 new genera and 1,925 new species.