Heaven in the Land of the Kings

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(Photo: Muhammad Rizal Saanun)

IO – Most Indonesians consider the Maluku islands as among the most beautiful places in the country, with some even calling them “the jewel of the east”. Such a nickname is no exaggeration, given how the islands, which are located in the eastern most part of Indonesia, are replete with hundreds of kilometers of beautiful beaches, breathtaking underwater life and lush vegetation. 

It is no wonder that intrepid travelers have been flocking to the islands for the past several years, with places like Banda Neira, Run island and Ambon often making their way onto many travelers’ bucket list of travel destinations. 

Despite its growing popularity as a tourist destination, Maluku also contains another alluring traveling spot which is often overlooked by many travelers when visiting the islands. 

That very location is called Buru Island. Situated in the west of Banda Island, Buru has a distinctive feature of natural landscapes compared to other places in Maluku. Groves of eucalyptus trees blanket the entire island, with rolling green hills depicted in the background; this is the typical panoramic view of the island. 

The natural beauty of Buru is also painted in countless white sand beaches along its coastlines and its numerous clear rivers and lakes. Given its natural beauty, it is no surprise that Buru had inspired many prolific writers in creating their monumental works. 

Renowned Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer completed many of his works during an enforced stay on the island, including the tetralogy of The Earth of Mankind, which is deemed as one of Indonesian literature’s modern masterpieces. 

The Dutch writer, Beb Vyuk, also wrote her phenomenal book “The Last House in the World” during her stay in the island. She even described Buru in the book as the most beautiful place she had ever visited and that no place on Earth could ever match the mesmerizing natural features of the island. 

But the beauty of Buru not only lies within its natural landscapes. 

In several parts of the island, travelers can also see the natural wonders of Buru coalescing with historical buildings which are legacies from past colonial periods in Indonesia. 

Fort Kayeli, in the town of Kayeli, is one of those buildings. The fortress, which was built by the Dutch under the VOC administration in 1718, functioned as the center of administration, trade and defense of the island as well as the headquarters for the shipping authority officers in controlling shipping traffic in Kayeli Bay. 

Moving up north to Namlea, travelers can also visit a former residence of the governor during the Dutch occupation of Buru called Houfd Van PLastelyk Bestuur (HPB). 

The Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II also left a significant legacy in Buru in the form of a defense bunker, where the Japanese soldiers attempted to evade allied forces’ attacks. 

Furthermore, the Australia bridge, which was built in the era of World War II by the allies also left an important legacy about the role of Buru island as a base of defense to both Japanese and the Allies during the war. This place can be a great point to the travelers to enjoy their evening activities while waiting for the sunset along the coastal line of the island. 

In short, the beauty of Buru not only lies within its natural landscapes. Travelers will have many options to explore the whole island and enjoy the unforgettable experiences in creating memories to their holiday in this tiny island in the eastern part of Indonesia. Yeah, if Bali is popular as “The Island of the Gods”, Buru will always be a hidden paradise in the “Land of the Kings”.  (Muhammad Rizal Saanun)