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Last updated : Nov 2009
East Indonesia
East Indonesia - TravelPuppy.com
The least visited and wildest of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands are in the east, gathered in two great archipelagos north and south of the treacherous Banda Sea.

Moluccan Archipelago

Also referred to as the Maluku Archipelago, it is made up of over 1,000 islands, several uninhabited and others so isolated from each other and (since the decline of the spice trade) from the outside world that every one has its own culture and very often its own language.

Halmahera is the largest of the islands in the Moluccan group and 1 of the most diverse. On the coast are the remaining populations of all the great powers who competed for power of the Spice TradeDutch, Arabs, Gujuratis, Malays and Portuguese. Inland the people speak a unique language that has slight or nothing in common even with other unique languages on the more remote islands. Morotai, situated to the north, was home to a Japanese air base during World War II, but is now engaged in the production of copra and cocoa products.

Tidore and Ternate, tiny volcanic islands off the west coast of Halmahera, were once the world’s most important source of cloves. It consequently combined far more wealth and power than their size would seem to merit. The Sultanate of Ternate was an independent military force of substantial muscle before the arrival of the Portuguese, applying influence over a lot of South-East Asia. Both islands attract more tourists than their larger neighbour.

Ambon was another significant centre of the clove trade and has over 40 old Dutch fortresses dating from the early 17th century. Banda, in the middle of the Banda Sea, known as the original ‘Spice Island’ and is well known as a nutmeg-growing centre.

Nusa Tengara Archipelago

Nusa Penida was once a penal colony, but now draws visitors to its spectacular seascapes and beaches. Komodo is home to the world’s largest and rarest species of the monitor lizard, while Sumba is famous for its stunning Ikat cloth. Mount Keli Mutu is 1 of Indonesia’s most spectacular natural sights, the famous 3 crater lakes, whose striking colours change with the light of the day.

The islands north of Timor including Adonara, Lembata, Alor, Pantar, Solor and Wetar – are seldom visited by tourists. There are several old fortresses on the islands, from where seafarers used to set sail on whale hunts. The cultures on Ndau, Roti and Sawu have seemingly changed little since the Bronze Age. The islands’ inhabitants are renowned as musicians and palm weavers.

Terawangan Islands is a small cluster with beautiful beaches and coral gardens. Lucipara has great waters for snorkeling.Bone Rate, Kangean, Tukand Besi and Tenggaya is a group of isolated atolls in the Flores and Banda seas, epitomising a tropical paradise.

Irian Jaya

The western part of the island of New Guinea is 1 of the last great unexplored areas of the world. Even today, visiting boats are often greeted by flotillas of warriors in war canoes. All those wanting to visit Irian Jaya must acquire special permits from State Police Headquarters in Jakarta.

Travellers are advised to avoid this area.
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