Ora Beach, Maluku: The Little Maldives of Indonesia
January 1, 1970
by Priscilla Tjitra
In the eyes of faraway overseas tourists, Indonesia is perhaps only well-known for the beauty of its Bali island. It appears to be most visited tourism spot both by domestic and foreign travellers. My country, however, is much more than just Bali! An example of a hidden tourism spot jewel is Ora Beach, Maluku, located in Eastern Indonesia, where I went for my honeymoon at end of 2015.
Although as a girl, I had never have any kind of dream wedding in mind, I do have my dream honeymoon set since many many years ago. I have always wanted the beach kind of honeymoon, with Hawaii as my first choice or Maldives the second. Since these two destinations do cost a fortune, my husband and I decided to go somewhere cheaper so that we can do more honeymoon trips. Finally, we chose Ora Beach, Maluku, the so-called Little Maldives of Indonesia, for our honeymoon. We bought the honeymoon package from Bobobobo.com, and off we go!
The long and winding road yet worth it!
Thanks to the logistic unfriendliness of Indonesia archipelago, unlocking this hidden gem of Maluku requires a little bit of your patience. Ora Beach is located in the northern part of Seram Island, Maluku. To reach there, you must first take the flight to Ambon, the capital city of Maluku province. It took 3 hours and 30 minutes flying from Ambon to Jakarta. This is so far the easiest way to reach Ambon. The midnight flight is recommended as you will arrive at Ambon by 7.00 am or so and leave you plenty time for the travelling journey to reach Ora Beach. As for our experience, the flight to Ambon was delayed. Thus, instead of taking the 9.00 am ferry from Ambon’s Tulehu port to Amahai, the port at Seram Island, we had to take the 4.00 pm ferry.
Anyway that’s okay, because of the spare hours, we have time to explore a little bit of Ambon. The local tour organiser offered us a half day trip around the city. Ambon impressed me with regards to its Christian community touch, unlike any other city in Indonesia that I have been. Be mindful that majority of Indonesians (>70%) are Moslems. It was close to Christmas (early December) when we were there and I could see the local people put up Christmas tree in front of almost every houses. Churches were also everywhere in the city, spotted within every few kilometres. We visited one of the city’s icon the Statue of Martha Christina Tiahahu (named after a famous local historical heroine), had a large seafood lunch meal and were amazed by the immensely beautiful clear water at Liang Beach.
From there, it’s time to head to the 4.00 pm ferry to Amahai Port at Masohi City. The ferry ride took about two hours. By the time we reached Masohi it’s already around 6.00 pm, time for dinner! We had another seafood cuisine. I remember the price we pay was extremely cheap, given the amount and size of the fish and shrimp that we ate!
After dinner, it took us another three hours ride on a Toyota Innova car through the middle of the jungle, to reach Ora Beach Eco resort at Desa Saleman. It was definitely so far the most scariest drive in my life as it was pitched dark and need I repeat, in the middle of total jungle. Although twisted, the road was paved quite smooth except for the last 9 km where it has not been developed. Out of the jungle, we need to again take a small boat to reach the resort. Along the boat ride, I couldn’t shift my eyes from the sparkly stars that shine above us. It was a clear night sky with no clouds, just stars…
The Little Maldives right when you opened your eyes.
When I opened my eyes in the next morning and peek from behind the cottage curtains, I instantly agreed to what people said about Ora Beach as the little Maldives of Indonesia. There you see the sea water so clear that you can see the fish and corals underneath. You can even feed the hungry school of fish from your cottage porch. The smell of sea breeze and the bright sunny day welcomed us, I just couldn’t stop taking photos of the beautiful surrounding. The long journey was totally worth it!
We spent a total of 4D3N for this honeymoon trip. While the first day was spent for the travelling time to reach Ora Beach Eco resort, on the second and third day we went on a boat for snorkelling trips to Tebing Batu, Mata Air Belanda, and Pulau Tujuh (means Seven Island – this is an optional trip). I would rate the Ora’s underwater scenery a few notches below Derawan, as the water was not as clear and the fish and corals were not that colourful. However, Ora’s mountains and sea scenery blend is second to none. In the resort, there is also a little restaurant by the pier that serves breakfast up to afternoon snacks for the guests.
Tips and Tricks:
- The midnight flight is recommended from Jakarta to Ambon, as you will reach Ambon in the morning, ready for the full day adventure. I do recommend to take Batik Air rather than Lion Air though, for the better aircraft quality and less delay probability. The price difference isn’t that much either.
- Pack light clothes, small electric fan if any, as the weather can be hot during daytime and the Ora Beach Eco Resort cottage is not equipped with air-conditioner.
- Also pack your own bathroom amenities, again the resort is no 5-star hotel like.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen rigorously to avoid being burned by the sun during the boat and snorkelling trips.
- If you happened to have leftover bread or biscuits, you can feed the fish right in front of the cottage porch or while snorkelling. This will attract a lot of colourful tropical fish to you 🙂
- Ask the local guides if they can catch you squids (from the sea water), or buy lobster at a nearby village market to be cooked for dinner. You’ll be surprised that it’s so cheap and simply delicious!!!
- As Ora Beach is located in the middle of nowhere (I repeat, middle of nowhere), you should enjoy your short trip here away from gadgets. Not only mobile signal is hard to be find, the resort only have electricity in between 6 pm to 6 am. The lack of mobile signal will drain your phone battery and there’s limited charging availability.
- When visiting Ora Beach, do also spend some time at Ambon City and check out its beautiful green mountains and crystal clear waters.