Alor is a small and non-touristy archipelago of about 20 islands located in the province of Nusa Tenggara East; the inhabitants of this region have a strong cultural identity and are deeply rooted in their traditions.
I had the pleasure of visiting Alor twice; the first was in May 2017 when I stayed 10 days with a group of friends camping on the beach and the second was this last August when I was invited by the Ministry of Tourism of Indonesia on “Trip of Wonders ”
What to do in Alor?
Explore its beaches
There are so many beautiful beaches in Alor; the more common one is Maimol, but I preferred to get lost on hidden beaches.
I loved the pink sand beaches…
But if I have to choose one, I’ll pick Paliboo beach, because of the pretty leaning palm tree that grows there.
Visit the village of Takapala
In Alor you can find several traditional villages with a lot of personality. I went to Takapala, located 13 kilometers away from Kalabahi, the main (and only) city in Alor. The village consists of 12 traditional houses made of bamboo and covered with coconut leaves where humble families from the Abui tribe live. They will greet you with a big smile and open arms.
Swim with Dugongs
Dugongs are mammals of the order of the sirenids. In Alor one of the locals knows how to communicate with them, so if you go with him, he will take you with his small boat in the middle of the sea, in the area where they live and once there, he will use sounds to make them come.
We put out masks on and submerged in the water. That day we only saw one, but it was an amazing experience.
In spite of being the smallest sirenids of all, they can measure up to three meters. The one we saw was about 2 meters and she was pregnant.
Sopi is the traditional alcoholic beverage of Alor that is obtained by distilling the water from the palm trees.
I went to the Abila village pier in Pulau Pura and there one of the families that produce Sopi showed me the place and the process they follow to produce the drink. After the demonstration, I was offered a drink.
From what I understood there is one version stronger and other lighter; I tried the lighter one and it was already strong for me! haha
Scuba Dive and snorkel
The crystal clear water of Alor, the colors of its seascape and the great diversity of underwater life make Alor one of the best diving destinations in Indonesia.
Pic by Mike Corey
Idived with Donovan’s team from “Dive Alor Dive” and the truth is that it was a marvelous diving trip.
In one of the dives we could also see how locals fish in their traditional way.
Pic by Mike Corey
Alor is of volcanic origin; its terrain is characterized by several mountains. I recommend hiking to the top of some of them and observe the beauty of its lands.
Get on a boat and explore the islands
Si vas a hacer scuba diving, puedes aprovechar entre buceos para explorar las maravillosas islas de Alor y si no eres aficionado al scuba diving, te recomiendo igualmente que te subas al barco y que visites las islas. Te aseguro que no te vas a arrepentir.
Interact with locals
Most locals do not speak English; some of them can speak Bahasa and many others only speak their local language (in Alor they speak 14 different languages), however, despite I don’t speak their lenguages, I had no problem communicating with them; they are very friendly and ready to help at any time.
During my first trip to Alor I was camping on a beach where my friend is building a resort and every morning, when I woke up, same woman was sitting next to me, waiting patiently to offer me some fruits for breakfats. She did not want my money, she just wanted to spend some time with me.
On my last day she gave me a hand-made sarong and asked me to take a picture together, with her and her family.
I loved interacting with the little ones on the island. They are very curious and always ready to play.
By the way, I also ventured to try Bethel Nut, an addictive plant that locals chew all day which leaves their mouths and teeth red.
Here is a video that my friend Mike Corey made about our experience
How to get to Alor?
To get to Alor you need to take a plane to Kupang and from there another plane to Alor.
Come and visit this beautiful place!
Love and gratitude