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A Travel Guide to Spice Islands – Indonesia

Islands - Indonesia
Islands - Indonesia

If you ever get the chance to explore the spice island, do not miss it for anything in the world. It will be the experience of a lifetime, and you’ll get to see so many different cultures, traditions, ways of life… all that in one small place.

The spice islands are not just the native home of nutmeg, cloves, pepper, and mace, but they also offer you a one-in-a-lifetime shot to live amongst the natives and get one step closer to their tradition. You won’t be the same after this trip, because it will affect you on so many different levels.

Why Visit Indonesia?

Have you considered putting Indonesia on your traveling bucket list? If not, this article will change your mind. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago, with over 3000 inhabited islands that you can choose from to visit. Our best recommendation would go to Banda Neira, also known as Spice Island. 

Indonesia is the perfect example of how one simple country can fit all the cultures, religions, and lifestyles in one place. The people there are different, yet so connected. They have no limits when it comes to helping each other out in making Indonesia a better place. It is the tourist’s dreamland since it offers vacation, adrenaline rush, and many important places for visitation.

Banda Neira and the spices

It is a pretty small island and more private compared to others, but every experienced tourist knows about this hidden gem among the thousands of Indonesian islands. Banda Neira is the source of most of the flavor in our foods.

The spice islands were best known because of nutmeg. Europeans fought a lot for this small piece of land since it would’ve brought them great money from trading the specific spice. And so, the Spice islands were colonized by the Portuguese and by the dutch shortly afterward. They praised the nutmeg because they considered it a superfood with a heavenly taste that also has the ability to heal different diseases.

What foods to try in Banda Neira?

Now, onto the food. There are many terrific places on Spice Island that will offer you great dishes that have a unique taste to them. Because the natives have years of experience with spices, they have some recipes that we cannot simply cook at home. 

One thing that you must try if you’re a coffee-lover, is nutmeg coffee. If you like regular coffee, you’ll love this one, because its taste is indescribable. Nutmeg is a spice with a heavenly smell and bittersweet taste, and it is also known to be a mood improver. There are many food places located near Fort Belgica where you can have a delicious meal.One thing that you must try is the nutmeg jam pancakes served with squeezed juice. It’s the perfect way to start your morning. For lunch, you can try the traditional Soto Ayam dish, which is spicy chicken soup with rice or noodles. It is commonly served with turmeric and it is well-known in Asian cuisine, but every country has a unique way of preparing it. If you want something spicier, with chili inside, opt for Nasi Ayam. be prepared to wait for the food, since locals have a more laid-back lifestyle.

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Where to stay on spice islands?

In recent years, lots of tourists are visiting the spice islands, and because of that, they started developing differently and becoming more accommodating. What once was a problem, now it’s an easy decision. There are tons of places where you can stay, and they all offer great terms.  We’ll mention few places in the following:

  • Cilu Bintang estate- it is actually rated at an overwhelming 4.5 out of 5 stars by tourists. It offers great overnight accommodations as well as food during the day. It is actually really affordable too.
  • Zahira Guesthouse- another well-accommodating place that has way fewer reviews but it’s still worth your money. Locals won’t risk your presence by giving you a low-standard room. They are trying really hard to give you the best in any way possible.
  • Mutiara Guesthouse- once more, an affordable place, located at the old Dutch colonial building. The place has a beautiful garden and it offers great food for you. You won’t be disappointed.

Tip of the day

If you ever visit Banda Neira, make sure to do your homework beforehand. This means mapping out all the places that you want to visit since there are quite a few of them. You may even need more than 2 days to visit them all without feeling burned out and exhausted. Make sure to try some of the food, the coffee, and of course, buy a jar or two of nutmeg jam, since you cannot find it anywhere else made with that much love and quality.

Written by Colin Thompson

Colin Thomson is living proof that the Soviet Union lives forever. He drives a Lada.

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