Alor is a place that most travellers never quite get to. This being said, for those who venture this Far East in the Nusa Tenggara chain will be met by nothing short of a wild paradise. You will be greeted by a very rugged, mountainous island and pristine waters that have become in recent times a true Mecca for divers. The richness of the seas surrounding Alor are phenomenal. You will undoubtedly come across Whales and Dolphins on a daily basis. The sea plays a huge part for the people that live here as the mountains are so hardy; the only real mode of transportation is by boat. Due to the ruggedness of the island there are at least thirteen tribes that have maintained their own language and dialect due to their isolation.
Kalabahi is the only major town on Alor and travelers arriving will no doubt stop here on the ferry from Lembata or Maumere. The town itself is does not have much in the way of tourist facilities and the only real places of accommodation are found in the town. It is a good spot to base yourself while you explore other parts of the island. If you are not so keen on spending a few nights in Kalabahi there is a rather popular option of staying at La Petite Kepa. This modest guesthouse can be found 800 metres off the coast on a small island. The guest house consists of traditionally built bungalows and the hosts will offer you three meals a day all at a very reasonable price. To get there you will need to take a bemo from the Pasar Inpres and get off at Alor Kecil which is around 17 km from Kalabahi.
Three other options are:
- Hotel Adi Dharma, located on Jalan Martadinata.
- Hotel Melati, not too far from the Adi Dharma.
- Hotel Pelangi Indah, located on Jalan Diponegero.
Once you have your accommodation you can spend your days exploring with a true sense of adventure. It is mostly the waters of Alor where people come to visit, most notably a site that is gaining international recognition: The Dream. This coral covered outcrop rises majestically from the ocean floor within a few metres of the surface. What makes it so spectacular is that when the current is strong you will find yourself face to face with Skip-Jack and Dog Tooth Tuna, Spanish Mackrel, Groupers as well as Sharks and Rays only centimeters from your face. This is place is a divers dream. A very reputable dive operation in Alor is alor-divers.com, they are located on the Eastern end of the Island and can arrange pick ups and transfer. What is unique about this resort is that it is eco friendly.
One thing that is unique to Alor is the Moko Drum. Thousands of these drums have been dug up from shallow graves and nobody can seem to give an explanation of how they got here. The drums are huge with a circumference of around 2 metres and the height reaching to approximately 1.5 metres. They are beautifully molded and are etched with exquisite etchings. The drums are common in Vietnam and it has become quite the mystery on how they got here as Alor has never really been a major trading port nor a place for missionaries. Today the drums play a significant part in a bride’s dowry. The potential husband has to provide the bride to be’s family with a decent enough Moko if he wants to secure her hand in marriage.
Alor is unique in every sense of the word: shrouded in mystery, blessed with crystal clear waters, and above all populated by some of the friendliest people in Indonesia. You certainly won’t be disappointed if you are looking for adventure here.
"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."