The Banda islands are easiest accessed from Ambon. Direct flights to Ambon with Lion Air, Batik Air, Garuda and others are available from Jakarta, Surabaya and Makassar and some smaller airports in Maluku (Wings Air from Tual) and West Papua. From Bali, Ambon is easily reached with Garuda or Lion air with a stopover in Makassar or Surabaya.
Once in Ambon, these are the options to get to Banda:
Fast Ferry (recommended):
The Express Bahari 2B fast ferry (picture above) is currently covering the route from Tulehu (Ambon island) to Banda twice a week. It has been very reliable since February, suffering no cancellations until now. It departs Tulehu harbour every Tuesday and Saturday at 9 am and returns to Tulehu from Banda next day -every Wednesday and Sunday at 9 am. Trip takes 5 to 6 hours. Tickets do not need to be booked, they can be bought in the harbour before boarding -the boat is quite large and we never heard they ran out of space in the past. Price for economy ticket is around IDR 415,000 (recommended); VIP is around 650,000. For any enquiries regarding the Express Bahari 2B, please contact Mr. Farouk on +62 813 4329 2900. Tulehu can be easily reached by taxi from the airport or from Kota Ambon in less than an hour -depending on the traffic- for around IDR 200,000, so there is enough time to reach Tulehu harbour after landing with Batik Air or Lion Air around 6am or 7am in Ambon. Regular service angkots (local minibuses) also go to Tulehu for much less, but it can be much slower and uncomfortable if you travel with luggage.
A small plane (12 seater) operated by DimonimAir (http://www.dimonimair.com) covers the route Ambon-Banda. At the moment it is flying on Wednesdays, although it has not been very reliable so far,
suffering a few cancellations and schedule changes in without notice. It departs around 6:15am from Ambon, and after going to Amahai and back, it goes back to Ambon from Banda around
Big liners that cover various large routes throughout Indonesia. Currently there are two ships that include direct Ambon-Banda and Banda-Ambon in their routes once or twice a month: NGGAPULU (8h trip) and PANGRANGO (12h trip), as well as a third ship, LEUSER, going to Amahai in between. These PELNI ships also make it possible to reach Banda from Tual. They are the slowest, cheapest and most reliable option (no random cancellations), but they can be challenging as they can be packed with locals, and getting on and off the ship can be quite a mission -make sure you keep your belongings in a safe place from pickpockets. The situation seems to have improved lately, though, since they have instated a better system to get on and off the boat. PELNI Ambon office phone: +62 911 348219; 353161; 342328. National Call Center number is: +62 21 162. The full schedule and current prices are available online at www.pelni.co.id (Indonesian).
Please keep in mind that even though these travel options have been mostly reliable, this is still a very remote area of Indonesia and we cannot guarantee 100% reliability of getting to/ off Banda on the planned day. Also, both fast ferry and planes usually stop operating during the off-season due to bad weather (January and July), and then it takes a couple of weeks for them to operate reliably again after the weather improves in February and August.
STATUS (as of APRIL 2017)
TUESDAY and SATURDAY
WEDNESDAY and SUNDAY
+62 813 4329 2900
|OPERATIONAL WITH CANCELLATIONS||WEDNESDAY 6:15 AM||
WEDNESDAY 10:05 AM
-NGGAPULU: 23th APR (23:00h)
-PANGRANGO: 21st APR (16:00h)
-NGGAPULU: 28th APR (10:00h) -PANGRANGO: 23rd APR (17:00h)
*approximate prices, may vary slightly.
***no need to book; fast ferry tickets bought at the ticket office in the harbour before boarding.
****Pelni schedules from www.pelni.co.id as of 9th Feb 2017. Departure times may vary.