The remote and unspoiled islands of Adunara, Lembata, Pantar and Alor are East of Flores. They are probably one of Indonesia’s best kept diving secrets. From incredible muck dive sites to impressive walls, crystal clear water to black volcanic sand sites, into stronger currents with thousands of reef fish. The Indonesian government has recently agreed to protect the area in order to secure a safe route for migrating cetaceans which pass through the straits on their migration to the feeding grounds in the deep waters of the Banda Sea.
The Alor Archipelago comprises 20 islands and 17 sub-districts. Despite of its short name, the Alor islands hide a long list of splendors, from fascinating underwater wonders up to the unique culture of the highland people.
Although not yet as popular as Raja Ampat or neighboring Komodo Island, the waters around the archipelago offer equally fascinating spectacles – if not better. There are at least 50 dive spots stretching from Alor Island to Pantar Island, and several islets around them. Some of the best sites are found along the Pantar Strait.
Those who are fortunate enough to have experienced diving in these waters have said that the underwater splendors of Alor outclass those in the Caribbean. In his book “East of Bali”, Photographer Kal Muller described the waters around Alor as pristine, filled with a variety of fascinating creatures, and highlighted with night-dive spots. He considered Alor as a world-class underwater paradise.
The island of Alor itself is inhabited by a number of Flores sub-ethnic groups who still preserve their traditional ways of life. The unique culture of the Alorese is best observed among the Takpala indigenous group who dwell in the village of Lembur Barat, North-Central Alor. The Takpala still preserves the traditional housing construction that resembles a pyramid, covered with coconut leaves, bamboo plaited walls, and four main wooden pillars.
The island of Alor itself is inhabited by a number of Flores sub-ethnic groups who still preserve their traditional ways of life. The unique culture of the Alorese are best observed among the Takpala indigenous group who dwell in the village of Lembur Barat, North-Central Alor. The Takpala still preserve the traditional housing construction that resembles a pyramid, covered with coconut leaves, bamboo plaited walls, and four main wooden pillars. Here there are still a lot of local rituals, that are practiced regularly. Visit the local market, where the people sell everything from fresh exotic fruits, seafood, spices, handicrafts and clothing. The locals are very friendly and like having visitor come to their islands.
The island of Alor is also known as the island of a Thousand Moko’s. Moko is a small bronze kettledrum which is believed to have originated from the Dong Son culture of Vietnam. To observe these unique artifacts, one can visit the Museum of A Thousand Mokos located in the main town of Kalabahi, on Alor Island. The Museum also showcases a collection of distinct Alor hand-woven clothing called Kawate.
How to get there:
To get to Alor, you can take a flight from Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara. From Kupang there are several airlines that serve flights to Mali Airport in Kalabahi, the main town of Alor.
The other option is by ferry which will take approximately 12 hours from Kupang to Larantuka, and followed by wooden boats to Kalabahi Seaport, which takes about one hour.
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