Banda archipelago consists of ten volcanic islands scattered in the Banda Sea, ± 140 km south of the island of Seram and 2000 km from east of Java. The islands consist of consists of Lontor Island, Volcano Islands, Neira Island, Ay Island, Rhun Island, Hatta island, Syahrir Island, Manukang Island, Kurukan Island, Nailoka Island and Ship Island. This archipelago is located in Maluku Province, with the largest city of Bandanaira.
Until the mid-19th century, the Banda Islands were the only source of nutmeg spice. Portuguese was thefirst European who stop in Banda to bought these spices in early 1512. They came to Banda who guided by the navigator who sailed down the Malays of Java, Lesser Sunda Islands (NTB and NTT now) continue toward the Moluccas.
Unfortunately, The Dutch seems to be more interested inthe nutmeg than mace and cloves, so they had focus their attention on North Maluku. It isno wonder that in North Maluku, especially in Ternate and Tidore the heritage from the Dutch, in the form of forts and others are still to be found.
The Portuguese arrived in the Banda Islands in 1512, followed by Spain (1521), England (1601) and the Netherlands through Vereneeging Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) under the leadership of Jan Pieter zoon Coen in 1609.
Regarding the dark history of those colonialism, the heritages are still exist today. For instance, the nutmeg gardens which was abandoned after the period of colonization by the Netherlands, still on the island of Banda and Banda Besar. The remains of the Portuguese and Dutch colonial building are still well-build and well maintained like the ancient fortresses, harbors and an old colonial-style houses, those are such a silent witnesses of the historical existences that ever lies in small island in Central Maluku, and once became a center of world economy.
Banda Neira Islands also has number of tourism sites, looking from the nature and historical sites.
Moreover, for those who are so much into diving and snorkeling, Banda Islands are the perfect gateway to find the right place to explore the sea, the marine park, the sunrises and everything related.
Banda Islands is famous for its underwater natural beauty and biodiversity of coral reefs. The effect of the volcanic eruptions have damaged some of the coral reef island of Banda Besar. But according to research from UNESCO, this phenomenon precisely make the world’s fastest growth of coral reefs in this place. In elsewhere, the coral reefs can take decades to grow up. On the island of Banda Besar only takes less than ten years.
Almost all areas of diving on the island of Banda Besar, Ai Island, Run Island, Hatta Island and the Sjarir Island until the pier of Banda Neira has charm and full of natural diversity under the sea that could not be seen elsewhere in the world.
While, base on historical time lines, Banda island has some destinations that amazingly worth to be visited like, Nassau Fort, Belgica fort, The Mini Palace, The Old Church, The Bung Hatta’s exile house, and some more heritages.
To reach Banda Naira, there is a ferry that leaves every two weeks from the port of Tanjung Priok, Jakarta. In addition it can also be achieved through Ambon by speed boat. Now there are flights serving the routes of Ambon-Banda Naira, once a week.