In Ambon you can experience some of the most extraordinary diving in the world. In particular underwater video- and photographers will relish the opportunity to observe the behaviour and capture extraordinary pictures and movies of rare creatures, virtually alone at dive sites with dive time only limited by their air.
However, it is a pity to see the rubbish which detracts from the natural beauty of the area. This is an issue across Indonesia, as most parts of the country lack efficient rubbish collection and recycling systems, and Ambon is no different. Actually, this is not a disadvantage for muck diving; but those who are used to western standards may have to adjust to the reality of the situation. Locals are beginning to realize that this is a problematic issue and finding solutions, like the local projects of Green Moluccas. For more information read here.
Language & Communication
Some Ambonese, particularly in the tourist industry, speak limited English. However, you have an advantage if you know some easy-to-learn bits of Indonesian. You can find apps or dictionaries (eg Kamusku) for your Smartphone.
The homestays in Laha are simple, acceptable and clean. The lack of western standards will be more than balanced by the friendly atmosphere. Indonesians like it colorful and you might find a somewhat unusual choice of colors. Hotels in town provide a higher comfort.
Angkots (local mini busses) cost 3.000-5.000 IDR per trip.
Ojeks (motorbikes who take pillion passengers) cost between 5,000 and 10,000 IDR for short distances.
The waste problem in Indonesia cannot be overlooked because there is no regular waste collection in many parts, and Ambon is no exception. This is not a disadvantage for muck diving, but its not comparable to any western standards. On the positive side, there are efforts to find solutions. We therefore ask you to leave as little waste as possible during your stay and to leave unnecessary packaging directly at home. For example, do not use the numerous free plastic bags when shopping and minimise your consumption of plastic bottles. You are welcome to fill your bottles with water again and again at our diving center.
Internet & Telephone
Travellers with smartphone or USB ‘dongle’ modem for their laptop, can buy cheap internet simcards across Indonesia (from 100, 000 IDR one month). Ambon has 3G phone signal. Prepaid Simcards for mobile phones are cheap and easily available. Top up credit is called ‘pulsa’. We recommend Simpati Cards from Telkomsel.
Cheap international calls can be made by dialing 01017 before the foreign country code and phone number (minus the initial zero from the foreign phone number)
Credit Cards & Money Exchange
Some ATM machines at Ambon airport accept Visa and Mastercard.
Caution: a maximum of 1,500,000 IDR (approx $US150) can be withdrawn at a time. Due to this low maximum, your foreign bank’s transaction fees can quickly add up. Banks in Ambon give bad exchange rates for foreign cash. You are better to change money in larger centres, such as Jakarta or Bali.
To avoid adding to the local garbage problem, please use rechargeable batteries for your electronic devices. Recharge can be done at the Dive Centre.
Dresscode & Clothing
Laha is a small community and we respect the local culture. Bare shoulders and knees, or low-cut tops should be avoided. It is a no-go to walk about in swimwear (but wearing pyjamas all day long is perfectly ok!). It is best to wear loosely fitting clothes made from breathable fabric. It is especially important to have a well-groomed appearance for occasions such a visit to local authorities.
Smoking & Alcohol
Cigarettes are very cheap all over Indonesia. It is best to bring rolling tobacco and papers yourself , eg from Duty Free Shops if you have a stopover. Liquors with more than 22% vol. are very expensive and only available in some shops. Alcohol below 22% vol. such as local beer, are more reasonably priced. A 0.6L bottle of beer is around 22,000 IDR (around 1.80 € / $USD2.50). Homemade palm schnapps (sopi) is widespread but best avoided. It is often of very bad quality, and can cause serious damage to eyes. We want you to see our Bobtail squids! Indonesia is extremely strict about drug use and this should be never be risked.
There is practically no nightlife or clubbing in Ambon apart from some Karaoke and Hotel bars.
Most toiletries for daily use are easily available and cheap in Indonesia. Caution: In Asia skin lotions often contain whiteners. You can rarely get tampons and you should bring your own condoms to make sure they are suitable for you.
We hope we gave you some useful information here so you know better what to expect travelling in Indonesia. We would like to improve this section and are happy to hear your comments and critique. What information is missing? Is something described wrongly?
If you still have questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us: Contact