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For other places with the same name, see Ternate (disambiguation).

Ternate is an island in the province of North Maluku, part of the Maluku islands of Indonesia.


A view of Ternate City and beyond in 2010

Ternate is the seat of the Sultanate of Ternate. The nearby island of Tidore has its own sultante. The two sultanates have ruled much of the Maluku islands for centuries, and during the era of the spice trade, Ternate allied with the Dutch while Tidore allied with the Spanish and Portuguese.

Like the other Maluku Islands, Ternate was the scene of vicious combat between European colonial powers intent on monopolizing the spice trade, and between those European powers and local rulers. The various conquerors left behind forts that can still be visited today. However, unlike in centuries past, Ternate and neighboring islands are no longer central to world trade, and are not among the best-known tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Like everywhere else in untouristed Indonesia, people are very curious when they see non-Indonesians walking down the street. Expect to be stared at and expect everybody you see to say hello to you, and try to practice their English. Most of the time this curiosity is good-natured, so smile and be friendly in return.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Sultan Babullah Airport (TTE IATA). There are frequent flights from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta Airport, operated by Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, and Sriwijaya Air. In addition, there are regular flights from Ambon, Manado, and Makassar, as well as flights from various other smaller airports in the Maluku archipelago. Babullah Airport (Q2581136) on Wikidata Sultan Babullah Airport on Wikipedia

By ferry[edit]

National ferry operator PELNI visits 3 times a week

Get around[edit]

View of Mount Tidore from Ternate Island

Taxis to the airport cost and average of Rp 50,000.

The public ferry leaves from Ternate to Sofifi at 06:00. It returns at 09:00, then makes the second journey at 11:00, and returns for the final time at 16:00. Each trip takes 2 hours and costs Rp 15,000. The boat departs from "Kota Baru" which is costs Rp 10-15,000 by Ojek or Rp 5000 by Angkot. Port Tax is Rp 2000.

Speedboats operate between Ternate and Tidore, and Ternate and Sofifi all day. It takes 20 minutes to get to Tidore from Ternate and 40-45 minutes to Sofifi. They only run when there are 8 or more individuals making the trip though. Each journey costs Rp 50,000.

There is a central station for all of the Angkots near the tourist market.


Fort Tolukko, a colonial fortification built on Ternate by the Spanish in 1611, later occupied by the Dutch and used as a royal residence by Ternate's Sultan
  • The Sultan's Palace.
  • The Sultan's Mosque.
  • Benteng Oranje (Fort Oranje), Jl. Hasan Boesoeri, Gamalama. The largest fort in Ternate island. It has thick walls that are, despite of frequent earthquakes, still in good conditions. One of the buildings houses a small branch of the National Indonesian archive (Arsip) that can be visited free of charge.
  • Sultan's Tomb.
  • Batu Angus Lava flow.
  • Beaches
  • Lagoons
  • Various memorials to massacred Christians during the riots of 1999-2000. Many abandoned churches too.
  • Graffiti murals dedicated to various punk bands (and Osama bin Laden too).
  • The big mosque (with minarets in the sea)
  • Statue of Vasco da Gama.
  • 1 Mount Gamalama. Hiking is strictly forbidden due to the eruption in December 2011.
  • Mount Tidore. The mountain on the Rp 1000 banknote.


  • The Kora-Kora festival, held every November.


Nasi Bambu is a regional speciality.



Stay safe[edit]

Mount Gamalama is an active volcano. The last eruption in December 2011 shut down air traffic in the region and killed 4 people in a lahar.

Go next[edit]

  • Sofifi, a new provincial capital and transport hub being built from scratch, is accessible by speedboats. It has bus and taxi connections to the rest of Halmahera.
  • Tidore, a few km southeast, accessible by speedboat.
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