From January 6 to January 19 2017 me and my wife visited Maluku.
Since it was to be a real vacation visit and not a family visit, we asked Gandong Tours to arrange the holiday visit.
Although I often come in Ambon, I have not previously experienced really staying there purely as a holiday. Often, I am there for the football or to visit family.
Atha, managing director of Gandong Tours, is a niece of mine, and we know her so for some time. But it was for us the first time that she arranges the whole vacation and be our guide for our trip in Maluku.
In addition, she has built up an extensive network in Maluku so she can easily make contacts and place order for her guests to see the most beautiful sights of Maluku.
Jaco en Loes Hitijahubessy
Middelburg, The Netherlands
We enjoyed every minute of this tour. Atha showed us so many places we saw more in these days then we back 22 years ago in 5 weeks.
Fred and Hanneke Amahorseya, The Netherlands
While reading the magazine Marinjo, my eye caught on the advertisement of Gandong Tours. We were planning to go travel to Maluku including a few days to North Seram. We did not know so well where we could get information. After several attempts over the internet with no results, I tried to email Gandong Tours. All pretty easy I got reply from Atha, starting from when the communication was fine. We have presented our wishes and Atha searched everything whether it was possible. We continued to communicate just as long until we agreed with what she offered us. It was no problem for her if we want to change something again. It felt good and the price was also fine.
When we arrived in Ambon, Atha contacted us for further instructions. On the day of our trip, she has picked us up by taxi and dropped us nicely at the kapal cepat. Because Atha had other guests on the same period, she could not go with us to Sawai (North Seram).
From Amahei we were picked up by Deddy (another guide). Deddy was a little bit sick, he had asked another driver to join him. So they can alternately drive. That was a good solution. They were both very friendly and pleasant to deal with.
To hear Deddy’s stories, we could very well find that he has very good contact with the local population of Masihulan and Huaulu. Everything went very well. I was a little bit sick and they have ensured that a nurse from Masihulan came to us in Sawai and she took care of medications.
All in all, full of praise for Gandong Tours, Atha, Deddy and the other guides, continue this work and so nice to see that you also helps the population that have little or nothing.
We will certainly recommend Gandong Tours!
With much love
Jan, Shaira and Dora Malawauw
Two bigs thumbs up for Gandong Tours and in specific Atha.
In less than one month before our journey Atha was able to organize a customized 1-week trip for my friend and me.
She took us to the wonderful island Seram with its jungle and beaches. If you want to travel off the beaten path, be surrounded by local culture and wonderful (underwater) nature, you should visit this island.
As a second stop we visited the island Saparua where we visited local craftsmen processing sago and making pottery. It is great to experience how people live and work.
Atha took care of us from the moment we arrived on the airport until our departure. We have never experienced such a dedication from a tour guide. Especially in a region such as Maluku it can be quite challenging to get around, find the best spots, nicest views and the best food. With the precise coordination and dedication of Atha this was no topic for us to worry about.
Finally we would like to highlight that the price for our tour was really okay and that the money will go to a good cause (please check her website http://gandongprojects.webs.com).
We would like to thank Gandong tours and Atha for the wonderful trip.
Atha is very pleasant company. She takes her job seriously. She showed us places where we would never have been without her. She showed us the best places to eat, taught us everything about the Ambonese kitchen. We have laughed a lot. We would recommend Atha to everyone. The best way to see Maluku, is to travel with Atha!
Thanks Atha, for two lovely weeks,
Reina, Robbie and Titus, The Netherlands
At first we had communication with Atha by e-mail. It felt really good, she was very flexible if we had other plans than she planned for us. When we arrived Maluku, Atha already reserved a room in Natsepa hotel. Great to start our trip in this hotel, here you can relax and walk on the beach. Going to eat roedjak. After a few days we went to our family in Ambon city and Kairatu. Our trip with Atha, the Seram Island tour started in Ambon. The service is excellent. The drivers and cars, Gandong Tours uses are very good. Atha and all the people we met, are very relaxed. The whole trip through Seram: ferry, cars, was very good organized, well arranged. Ora Beach is a little paradise on earth, a big aquarium with tropical fish and coral. We spent a great relaxed time over there. In our trip Atha told us about her life and Gandong Tours and the projects. We have very much respect for Atha & Gandong Tours. Bringing local people and people of all over the world together. We also stayed at Sawai. Beautiful place, right near the village Sawai. We made a boottrip and Atha brought us to workers who processed sagu near the river. We had a great trip in the river to the sea. Had our lunch with a fisher family and a few hours we relaxed in the middle of the sea to relax and looking of all the beauty of Seram. We were very impressed to meet the people of the Alifuru village Huaulu. All the beautiful faces of the children in this village, broke my heart. If you plan to visit Maluku, keep a little place in your suitecase and bring some toys or clothes for kids with you. You will always meet a child who will be happy with a little gift. Atha and Gandong Tours, keep up the work in your projects!
Thank you Atha and Gandong Tours, making our visit to Seram, unforgettable. Bijzonder Atha!! Keep in contact Atha!
Big kiss Ina Lumamuly & Ward Steijns, The Netherlands
Atha, the best guide there is!
In June 2015 I have been traveling to Ambon. Atha arranged my trip from beginning until the end, and I must say that this trip was unforgettable! Atha really has a pure heart, she wants to give her very best for the people she serves but also has a huge burden for the local Maluku people.
During my trip I also had the opportunity to join her to her mission field on the inlands of Seram, where we visited local tribes and participated a project that she currently is running in an isolated village on North Seram. Experiencing what she is investing in the local community there with the money she saves from her income as a tour guide brought my meaning of traveling to a whole new stage!
Atha has a big network of people in the field, she easily makes connection with people, she has a treasure of knowledge and experience, a talent for organizing, and she is professional, faithful, trustworthy, modest, sweet and humorous. Atha really understands what a customer wants, and she has the natural ability to make every trip a trip you wish would never end…!
Myrthe Tenret - The Netherlands
In December 2013 we travelled with a group of 4 to Ambon and Seram, hosted by Gandong Tours. From the moment we landed till the time we had to say goodbye we were surprised by the hospitality and the excellent organization of Atha and Gandong Tours. With one of Atha’s guides we visited Seram where the activities where customized to our preferences, Atha herself guides us on Ambon and showed us not only the highlights but was able to connect us with local customs and traditions. In case you consider to travel to Malukku Islands, please do not search any further we highly recommend Atha and Gandong Tours. Dear Atha thank you for everything.
Pieterjan, Michelle, Ruben en Joelle
In the summer of 2013 I have been on a holiday to Indonesia with my husband and three kids (the age of 16, 20 and 22). Our highlight from our journey was to visit Maluku, the roots of me and my children. Atha Hitijahubessy was our guide in Ambon and Saparua (Ullath). It was really great that she arranged everything: the hotels, the cab’s, the tickets for the ferry and a lot more. The whole family enjoyed it. We could already make our wishes clear in Holland and had contact with her about it. Atha has done so much for us. Atha is also a very nice person and she also had a good connection with the kids. I can definitely recommend Atha to you!
Erica Zielhuis – Supusepa – The Netherlands
In the period 24 jan - 2 feb 2013, on my way to West Papua I could use the services from Atha Hitijahubessy. I have to say that she performed her task professionally and in such a way that on my next trip to Ambon I will make use again of her services. She showed me Ambon and the 3 days in Saparua were really very interesting. Her arrangements were excellent and the trip on the motorbike (she drove) through Saparua is unforgettable. I recommend Atha to all visitors to Ambon. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. Atha once more banyak terima kasih and so God will sampai jumpa lagi. Best regards from Switzerland.
Mister Adelbert Rappange - Switzerland
During our 4 weeks holiday on the Maluku Islands in July 2012, we have used the services of Atha twice. I am very very satisfied about her professionality and customer focus, and I can honestly say my whole family thinks the same. First of all Atha has organised a short trip to Saparua for 7 persons. All the transport, accomodation and meals were perfectly planned by her. All we had to do was enjoying this beautiful island! The second trip was much more complex, but nonetheless perfectly organised by Atha as well. For a group of 17 persons, she has planned all necessary transport from Hative besar on Ambon to Ora beach on Ceram near Saleman. We needed a bus, fast boat, cars and finally a speedboat to reach a very beautiful resort (Ora beach) where we have stayed for 5 days. Atha accompanied us during the whole trip and made sure that everything went smoothly. For the accomodation she has negotiated a very sharp price for us. I highly recommend Atha Hitijahubessy as a travel guide. When you hire her you are assured of an enjoyable and pleasant trip. She knows the Maluku Islands very well, knows where the interesting places are and knows the right people. She can tell a lot about the environment and very important: Atha is a very sympathetic and lovely person :-)
Arianne Sipman - Nunumete - The Netherlands
Atha is very fast in arranging all my flights and she knows the best prices and flight connections. I trust Atha to book all my flights and hotel arrangements. She is also a good tourist guide and she speaks very well English. She knows what a customer needs.
Nancy Bentvelzen - managing director Living Water co.
The Hague - The Netherlands
'Atha, "Our super fixer",
'Without a local guide we would absolute be lost in all ways. Via Tjitske we got to know Atha. She was our walking encyclopedia, guide, translator, contact person, producer and especially our essential link between two cultures. If you ever plan to travel to Ambon; ask for Atha! She is a super fixer, hardworking, modest, great, good and funny'.
Peter Hoogendijk from Dammas Films - The Netherlands
'I know Atha since 2001. She really is the most fantastic guide I know. Atha is friendly, trustworthy, efficient and fun. She always want the best for you. Moreover, she absolutely loves the islands of Maluku and its people. I just can't think of a better tour guide than Atha.'
Tjitske Lingsma, author of "Het Verdriet van Ambon. Een geschiedenis van de Molukken - the Sorrow of Ambon. A history of the Moluccas."
With this letter I, Wineke Onstwedder; photographer from the Netherlands, declare that Atha Hitijahubessy was a professional producer during our stay in Ambon. Our team - consisting of a filmmaker, cameraman, sound engineer, journalist and photographer - visited documentary and a magazine - both for children in The Netherlands - about the lives and friendships of children on Ambon. Atha Hitijahubessy was unbearable for our team; she is professional, she takes social skills wonderful sense of humor. She made very long days without any complains. After a day of work she left us to rest at the hotel, while she made preparations for the next day. She arranged everything we asked for and she has inventive ideas of her own too, which gave our product more value. During our stay of 14 days on Ambon, we had one day off. Atha organized for that day a great touristic trip on the island including a diving experience for the whole crew. This was for me an experience I will never forget. I certainly recommend Atha Hitijahubessy as an honest, responsible and professional producer with a great personality.
1015 RC Amsterdam
Tel +31 (0)6 44352918