East Nusa Tenggara
The province consists of over 550 islands, but is dominated by three main islands: Flores, Sumba, and Timor. The arid landscape of eastern and southeastern Nusa Tenggara is the result of hot, dry winds blowing in from the Australian continent. In fact, on many coastal areas not a drop of rain falls during most of the year. Flores is a Portuguese name which means, ‘flower’, and ideally describes the island’s beauty. This elongated island between Sumbawa and Timor is crowded with volcanoes and mountains, dividing it into several regions, each with its own distinctive languages and traditions.
Predominantly Catholic and heavily influenced by the Portuguese, there are many examples of strong European cultural heritage, such as the Easter procession held in Larantuka, and the royal regalia of the former king in Maumere. Formerly known as Sandalwood Island, Sumba is now famous for its horses and it superb style of ikat cloth. West Sumba is famous for its enormous megalithic tombs and traditional thatched and peaked huts raised on stilts. Timor is the principal island in the province in terms of population and it is here that the provincial capital of Kupang is located.
Interest Places in East Nusa Tenggara
Kupang, the provincial capital of East Nusa Tenggara in western Timor, is the center of government, business, trade, and education. The only sandalwood oil factory in Indonesia is located in this town. Kupang is also the venue for an international game fishing competition held annually in the month of October.
A lovely community about 45 kilometers from Kupang with regular market days and a natural swimming pool, where local people bathe, do their laundry, and socialize as they have for thousands of years. Camplong also has a forest reserve protecting rare animals such as the ‘Cervus Timorensis’ deer and various species of parrots and monkeys.
Maumere, a port town on the northeastern coast of Flores, is a good stopover on the way to Ende or to Larantuka. It is well connected by air to Kupang, Denpasar and Ujung Pandang, and is noted for its good beaches. The bay of Maumere is considered the best diving spot in Flores, a paradise for divers, underwater photographers and anyone interested in marine biology. In Ledalero, on the outskirts of Maumere, there is a small museum with an interesting collection of archeological and historical finds of the region. Visitors are welcome but advance arrangements should be made. Ledalero also has a major Catholic Seminary where many young Florinese priests receive education. For more dive sites information, please visit Diving in Nusa Tenggara
Rote Island is a part of Kupang Regency on the west coast of Kupang. The local government has preserved many historical remains, including fine Chinese porcelains as well as ancient local arts and traditions. Rote Island also famous for its sasando, an exquisitely shaped traditional musical instrument made from palm leaves.
This town contains the home-inexile of the first Indonesian President Soekarno during the early period of nationalist movements in 1936. The house has been repaired and is today a museum.
Thirty minutes by boat from Kupang, this untainted island paradise is well worth a visit. The surrounding crystal-clear waters offer exceptional sites for swimming and snorkelling. Bamboo bungalows on white sandy beaches are available for rent, and you can enjoy dinner of barbequed fish fresh from the sea while enjoying a spectacular sunset.
Three Color Lake of Mount Kelimutu
The tree color-lake at the peak of Mount Kelimutu which is one of the world wonders is one of a number of popular tourism sites in Flores Island. The lake at the peak of the mountain with 1,690 meters above sea level boasts its unmatched natural beauty and its fascinating mystery.
Three volcanic lakes with 1,051,000 square meters wide with water volume of 1,292 million cubic meter is a natural wonder and at the same time mysterious because the lake’s color keep changing with time.
Previously the colors are red, white and blue, but in the middle of 2006, some changes have occurred, especially in the two juxtaposed lakes: Arwah Muda-mudi Lake or Youths Lake (tiwu nua muri ko’o fai) and Arwah Tukang Tenung Lake (tiwu ata polo). The first lake was previously green and in June the year before changed to blue whereas the latter, the Tukang Tenung Lake (or Evil Person Lake), was previously dark brown but it changed to reddish color. The third lake which is separated from the other two, Arwah Orang Tua Lake or the Lake of the Parents (tiwu ata mbupu) still has dark green color. Kelimutu Lake’s color is a mystery of the nature.
Morning time is the best moment to see Lake Kelimutu because approaching noon, let alone afternoon, the lake is already covered with fog that limits the visibility. That is the reason why tourists usually spend the night in Moni Village and set off for Kelimutu at dawn.
Kelimutu is located about 66 kilometers from the city of Ende and 83 kilometers from the Maumere City. From Maumere tourists can use rental car to cover the route Maumere-Kelimutu-Maumere. Tourists can decide their own time to travel to those areas and they can go to the peak of Kelimutu.
A little port nestled at the foot of a tall hill on the eastern end of Flores, Larantuka has a strong Portugese cultural heritage. The annual Easter Procession held in this town is well worth the trip if you happen to be here at this time of the year.
Lamalera Whale Hunting
Lamalera on Lembata Island is a whaling village. The months of May to September are the whale-hunting season for the local inhabitants. Using simple traditional small boats and hand-thrown harpoons, the hunters sail out to hunt these giant creatures of the sea. The catch is either for domestic consumption or sold in local markets.
Waikabubak is a quaint little town in Western Sumba full of ancient graves carved in motifs of buffalo-horns, horses and human figures. The town also has a number of megalithic tombs. The fronts of many traditional houses are decorated with huge water buffalo horns from animals sacrificed in rituals of bygone days. Tarung village, an important ceremonial center, is located on top of a hill just half a kilometer to the west of Waikabubak.
Anakalang is the site of the ‘Purung Takadonga Ratu’, an important mass marriage ceremony held once every two years on a date which is determined by the full moon.
Komodo National Park is leading tourist site. This park serves as the original habitat of komodo that is uniquely found in this area. In this park live about 2,500 komodo with 2-3 meter long and weigh up to 160 kilograms. Other than that, this area has coral reefs. There are at least as many as 253 species of coral reefs found on location and about 1,000 species of fish. The beauty of these coral reefs is so attractive for the foreign tourists and they like to swim and dive in this spot.
To reach this place, tourists can go by land from Bali-Mataram (Lombok Island)-Bima-Sape (Sumbawa Island) and then continue to sea travel by ferry to Labuan Bajo. From Labuan Bajo they can drop by the Komodo National Park using motorboat or speedboat. They can also fly from Bali (Denpasar) to Labuan Bajo every day with the flights available.
This national park consists of three big islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar Island and a number of islets. The mainland of this national park is 603 square kilometers and totally it is of 1,817 square kilometer-area.
In 1980 this national park was built to conserve komodo and its habitat. In this park there are 277 species of animals which are combination of animals from Asia and Australia comprising 32 species of mammals, 128 species of birds and 37 species of reptiles. With komodo, there are at least 25 species land animals and birds including the preserved ones because they are so limited in number or due to their limited distribution.
Nemberela Beach is the most beautiful beach in East Nusa Tenggara and is a surfers’ haven. Surfers from all over the world come here to try the rough surfs from June to October. It is located on the southwestern part of Rote Island.
Labuanbajo is a little fishing town at the extreme western part of Flores. This town serves as a jumping-off point for the trip to Komodo Island. It has beautiful spots for water skiing, wind surfing, fishing, and many other marine activities.