Pantar Strait, Alor Archipelago

Indonesia has many famous diving sites. For professional divers, Pantar Strait Marine Park is one of the most beautiful in the country and comparable only with that of the Caribbean Sea near Central America. This Marine Park has its own unique characteristics and beauty.

This strait is located between Alor and Pantar islands in the Alor Archipelago, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). This narrow strait has a number of small and beautiful islands such as Kepa, Pura, Ternate, Buaya and Tereweng islands. The waters have a strong current and its sound is as loud as a waterfall.  At unpredictable times, a cold current comes, killing small and medium size fish near the beach.

Pantar Strait Marine Park, Alor
Pantar Strait Marine Park, Alor (Source : nusa-tenggara.com)

There are at least 26 diving sites around Kepa, Pura, Ternate, and Tanjung Matap islands, and Papa Jahe beach (Alor) – including the famous Shark Close. At this site, divers can play with groups of friendly sharks. In the waters around Papa Jahe, you can also go diving at night.

ACTIVITIES

Hotels and inns usually have their own restaurants. At Kepa Homestay, the room rate includes three meals, usually fresh fish. In Kalabahi, there are a number of restaurants such as Rumah Makan Kediri and a restaurant belonging to Hotel Pelangi Indah. At night, many food stalls sell grilled fish, Soto soup and chicken satay near the port.

You may complete your personal collection with the famous Alor woven fabrics. You can buy the best quality fabrics at Alor Kecil village, some 12 kilometers from Kalabahi, or from officials of the Alor Museum on Diponegoro Street, or at the Kalabahi market.

La Petite Kepa Homestay on Kepa Island belongs to a French national and is a favorite place for foreign tourists. Bungalows are available here. In Kalabahi City, comfortable hotels are available such as Hotel Pelangi Indah, Hotel Adi Dharma, and Hotel Nusa Kenari Indah.

Diving in Pantar Strait, Alor
Diving in Pantar Strait, Alor (Source : travel.padi.com)

For divers, Pantar Strait is paradise on Earth. Experienced diving service agencies such as Dive Alor (www.divealor.com) and Alor Dive (www.alordive.com) are available. In addition to diving, snorkeling is also fun. You can walk around and enjoy the quiet and clean beaches on Kepa Island and Alor Kecil while waiting for groups of dolphins to pass through, or enjoy the underwater current to hear the sound of waterfall.

GET AROUND

You may take a rented car or motor taxi available at Mali airport in Alor to Kalabahi. From here, you can take a motorboat or speed boat to the Pantar Strait or nearby islands. For land transportation in Alor, you can take a bemo (city transportation only within Kalabahi), motor taxi, rented car, or modified jeep (locally known as a panser).

GET THERE

Everyday there is a flight from Kupang to Alor by Trans nusa and four times a week by Lion Air. From Kupang, the official flight schedule is in the morning from 06.00-07.00. When the weather is bad, the flight is usually postponed to the afternoon or even canceled.

Nusa Tenggara with Alor, Pantar and Lembata islands
Nusa Tenggara with Alor, Pantar and Lembata islands (Source : starfish.ch)

Twice a week, there is a motorboat from and to Kupang and once a week from and to Atapupu on Timor Island. In addition, twice a month, the Pelni ship comes from Kupang, Ende, Lombok, Makassar and Bali and arrives at Kalabahi Port in Alor.

Tips

The Alor Archipelago, including areas near the Pantar Strait, is an endemic area for the malaria mosquito. Make sure you bring along your anti-mosquito, anti-insect, or anti-malaria medicines.

In Kalabahi at night, many drunken teenagers sit by the street sides and sometimes create problems so please be careful when walking at night.

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