The latest information on travel to the Banda Islands.
Susi Air flights between Ambon and Banda commenced in early February; they operate 2-3 days per week: Monday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday. The flight to Banda departs Ambon at 07:00. Tickets can be purchased 10-30 days in advance, but it is a small plane with 10 seats. Please note: it is very difficult to get flight tickets. Also, these flights seem to be less reliable and cancellations are a real possibility; it is recommended you travel by boat – see below for the schedule – or combine boats and flights via Tual or Saumlaki to avoid disappointment.
Pelni operates boats on this route, an average of 2-3 times per month. The Pelni schedule is known up to six weeks in advance.
for the period to 31 October 2015
Both flights and boats to Banda use paper tickets, so our Pick Me Up greeter for Ambon would buy the tickets and hand-deliver them to you at either Ambon Airport (when you arrive) or at your Ambon hotel.
Snorkelling around the Banda Islands is famous, and rightly considered a highlight of Indonesia.
Centuries ago, European ships travelled for months to the Banda Islands, to trade for the lucrative spice, nutmeg. The promise of untold riches drew many, who would die on the journey due to malnutrition (scurvy) and disease.
These days, it is not quite that difficult. Now that tourist visas (a.k.a. visa on arrival) can be extended to 60 days, the biggest issue for planning a trip to the Banda Islands is frequency and reliability.
Pelni ships travel from Ambon to Banda once or twice a month, and the schedule is available on its website up to just six weeks in advance.
Flights from Ambon to Bandaneira in the past have been unreliable, even by Indonesian standards.
However, some intrepid travellers have reported that lately the current service by local airline Nusantara Buana Air (or NBA) is more dependable. Here is the schedule:
|Route||Days Of Operation||Departure Time|
|Ambon to Bandaneira||Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays||07:00|
|Bandaneira to Ambon||Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays||09:00|
NBA uses CASA C-212 aircraft and has a 10kg baggage allowance. If you’re bringing dive gear, excess baggage is Rp10 000 (a little over $US1) per kg.
Please note that no flight from Jakarta to Ambon arrives early enough to allow passengers to transit Ambon and head directly to Bandaneira the same day; you will need to stay one night at a hotel in Ambon. (You may also want to stow some luggage there to be under 10kg for the flight). Below are some of the more well-known and comfortable choices:
View Ambon Airport, Port and Hotels in a larger map
Ambon Airport and Ambon City are on opposite sides
of the horseshoe-shaped Ambon Bay.
Still unsure? Here is some NBA passenger feedback:
Travelled to the Banda Islands in late October and thought we might have to resort to ferries if the plane didn’t operate. In fact the flight, both there and back a month later, ran perfectly to time and we had no problems at all.
The crew were efficient, the flight perfectly comfortable and the fact that it is a small propellor plane meant that we cruised at the perfect height for taking some really good photos of The Bandas (see example above).
The flight was smooth and just a little noisy. The pilot came around and shook everyone’s hand before take-off, which was a nice touch.
If you are interested in booking a flight to Bandaneira, please fill in an enquiry form.
Please note that NBA flight tickets from Bandaneira to Ambon can only be purchased in Bandaneira; the best time to do that would be upon arrival at Bandaneira Airprt. If you are worried about being stranded, check the Pelni ship schedule or ask your hotel in Bandaneira for assistance.
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