Adonara

Adonara

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Adonara is an island in the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia, located east of the larger island of Flores in the Solor Archipelago. To the east lies Lembata, formerly known as Lomblen. It is the highest of the islands of the archipelago, reaching an altitude of 1,659 metres, and it has an area of 497 km2.[1] It is in the East Nusa Tenggara province.

Local history on Adonara is documented from the sixteenth century, when Portuguese traders and missionaries established a post on the nearby island of Solor. By that time Adonara and the surrounding islands were ritually divided between a population of coastal dwellers known as Paji, and a population mainly settling the mountainous inland called Demon. The Paji were susceptible to Islam, while the Demon tended to fall under Portuguese influence. The Paji areas on Adonara contained three principalities, namely Adonara proper (centered on the north coast of the island), and Terong and Lamahala (on the south coast). Together with two principalities on Solor, Lohayong and Lamakera, they constituted a league called Watan Lema (“the five shores”). The Watan Lema allied with the Dutch East India Company(VOC) in 1613, confirmed in 1646. The Adonara principalities had frequent feuds with the Portuguese in Larantuka on Flores, and were not always obedient to the Dutch authorities.

In the course of the nineteenth century, the ruler of Adonara (proper) in the north strengthened his position in the Solor Archipelago; by then, he was also the overlord of parts of eastern Flores and Lembata. The Demon areas stood under the suzerainty of the principality of Larantuka, which in turn was under Portuguese rule until 1859, when it was ceded to the Netherlands. The principalities of Larantuka and Adonara (proper) were abolished by the Indonesian government in 1962. Some post-independence local officials trace their roots to past rulers, called raja, of Adonara (proper).

Waiwerang

Waiwerang

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Waiwerang is a village on Adonara Island, Indonesia.[1] In the center of Waiwerang stands an obelisk built from September 1960 to August 1961 in a square beside another square that hosts government and social events.

Waiwerang is a transit harbour used by sea transportation from and to Lamakera in Solor Island, Larantuka in East Flores and Lewoleba in Lomblen Island.

Lewoleba

Lewoleba

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Lewoleba is a subdistrict and also the capital of the Lembata Regency, East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. Lewoleba is located in Lembata Island.[1]

Lembata

Lembata

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Lembata is an island in the Lesser Sunda Islands, formerly known as Lomblen island; it is the largest island of the Solor Archipelago, in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia. It forms a separate regency of the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur. The length of the island is about 80 km from the Southwest to the Northeast and the width is about 30 km from the West to the East. It rises to a height of 1,533 metres.

To the west lie the other islands in the archipelago, most notably Solor and Adonara, and then the larger island of Flores. To the east is the Alor Strait, which separates this archipelago from the Alor Archipelago. To the south across the Savu Sea lies the island of Timor, while to the north the western branch of the Banda Sea separates it from Buton and the other islands of Southeast Sulawesi.

Kalabahi

Kalabahi

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Kalabahi is the chief town on Alor, located at the end of a spectacular 15km-long, palm-fringed bay on the west coast. Yet the town’s main drag is a long, hot concrete sprawl that doesn’t so much as hint at the sea. Thanks to the punishing heat, the streets only come to life in the morning, and again an hour before sundown, when the city park is a jumble of volleyball and basketball games.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/kalabahi

Takpala is a stunning traditional village etched into a hillside about 13km east of Kalabahi. There are several lopo (traditional high-roofed houses), held together with lashings scattered beneath mango trees, papaya and banana groves. The villagers are charming, and will be more than happy to teach you how to use a traditional bow and arrow, or roll you one of their home-cured cigarettes, which go well with a pinch of betel. To get here take a Mabu bus (3000Rp) from the terminal at Kalabahi market. Walk about 1km uphill on a sealed road from where the bus drops you off.

You can also do a fascinating village tour of Alor’s bird’s head. From Kalabahi head to Mombang, up through the clove trees and coffee plots of Kopidil to Tulta, and then down to the stunning sweep of white sand and coconut palms that is Batu Putih. It’s backed by granite bluffs and cornfields, and cradles a turquoise and emerald lagoon 10km north of Mali. You’ll either need to hire a motorbike (60,000Rp to 70,000Rp) or charter an ojek (100,000Rp per day) for this. Bring plenty of water, a boxed lunch, sirih pinang (betel nut), smokes, a few essential food items, and the best Bahasa Indonesia you’ve got to share with your new friends.

For hikers or motorbikers who like rugged back country, consider a longer, two or three days hiking along the verdant, mountainous spine of Central Alor. One route connects Mainang with Kelaisi and on to Apui. Another loop begins in Ateng, stops in Melang and ends in Lakwati. These are all very poor, pure traditional villages. The roads and trails are very bad and they are not easy trips. You’ll be sleeping in basic village accomodation (per person 50,000Rp), and meals will be extremely basic too. Be prepared. Not all villages have latrines, and you’ll need to bring extra food and water! The trip will be easier if you hire Pak Marlon, an English- and German-speaking guide.

Nearby, the fishing village of Alor Besar is where you’ll find Al Quaran Tua, a 12th-century Koran integral to the seeding of Islam in the Alor archipelago. Take care if you choose to handle the handmade parchment. It’s held at the town mosque, Masjid Jami Babussholah, and is open to tourists by donation from sunrise to sundown.

There are also nice white-sand beaches in both Alor Besar and nearby Alor Kecil, with excellent snorkelling. The best is at Sebanjar, 3km north of Alor Kecil. The water here is wonderfully cool, with a gorgeous soft-coral garden offshore. Alor Kecil is also the jumping-off point for beautiful Pulau Kepa.

Buses and blue bemos to Alor Kecil (3000Rp, 30 minutes) and Alor Besar leave from the Kalabahi Pasar Inpres. You can also charter a bemo (50,000Rp) or a taxi from the airport (100,000Rp to 150,000Rp). If you’re heading to Kepa, stop by the pier and the resort will ferry you across for free.

Pantar

Pantar

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The second-largest island of the Alor group is way off the beaten track. A daily ferry from Kalabahi docks at Baranusa, the island’s sleepy main town, with a straggle of coconut palms, a homestay, and a couple of general stores. Smouldering Gunung Sirung (1372m) draws a few hearty climbers each year. From Baranusa take a truck to Kakamauta and walk for three hours to Sirung’s crater. Bring water from Baranusa and stay with the kepala desa (50,000Rp) in Kakamauta.

Pantar is also home to the area’s newest and most upscale dive resort. Alor Divers, built and operated by a French-Slovenian couple on the island’s eastern shore, caters exclusively to divers and their plus-ones. Guests stay a minimum of six nights, in smart, thatched bungalows, and dive at least twice daily. Orcas, sperm and pilot whales migrate off the west coast in June and December.

Alor

Alor

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The final link of the island chain that stretches east of Java is wild, volcanic and drop-dead gorgeous. There are crumbling red-clay roads, jagged peaks, white-sand beaches and crystal-clear bays that have some remarkable diving – with plenty of pelagics and sheer walls draped in vast eye-popping coral gardens. The cultural diversity here is simply staggering. In this tiny archipelago alone there are over 100 tribes who, by some accounts, speak eight languages and 52 dialects. The terrain and lack of roads isolated the 185,000 inhabitants from one another and the outside world for centuries. Although the Dutch installed local rajas along the coastal regions after 1908, they had little influence over the interior, where people were still taking heads into the 1950s, and indigenous animist traditions endure. Though a network of new roads now covers the island, boats are still a common form of transport. The few visitors who land here tend to linger on nearby Pulau Kepa or dive these waters from liveaboards. But if you take the time to explore the tribal interior, you will meet some of the most upbeat, charming people on earth; folks who are always psyched to share their culture – and their home-cured tobacco – with visitors. And if you want to spend the night, all you have to do is ask.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/alor

Introducing Alor Offshore

The top destination in the entire Alor archipelago is La Petite Kepa. This French-owned solar powered dive resort, the only nest on Pulau Kepa, offers 10 bungalows, three of which are replicas of traditional Alor homes and have shared baths. The others are more standard thatched woven bamboo casitas with attached outdoor baths, one of which is big enough for a whole family. All have sea and island views. The delicious meals, crafted from fresh ingredients (their sambal could launch a thousand ships), are eaten family style. There are two beaches on Kepa, including an exquisite sliver of white sand on the west side with spectacular sunset views and good snorkelling offshore. The owners offer two dives per day (€27 to €33 per dive, including equipment), with price breaks at six dives or more. Snorkelling equipment is available for 50,000Rp per day, and snorkellers can join the dive boat for 100,000Rp per day. In July and August it only reserves one bungalow for non-divers, as that’s their busiest season. Phone service is hit and miss on Kepa, so to book your room send them an SMS a few days prior to your desired arrival.

Alor’s dive operators regularly visit upwards of 30 dive sites, sprinkled throughout the archipelago. There are wall dives, slopes, caves, pinnacles and really good muck diving in the Alor bay. What makes Alor special isn’t the huge number of pelagics, but rather the completely unspoiled reefs with intact hard and vibrant soft corals. The water is absolutely crystal clear. Dive sites are never crowded, and pelagic disclaimer aside you may well see a thresher shark, a pod of dolphins or even migrating sperm whales wander past. Just know, there is frequently unpredictable current and the water can be cold (as low as 22C), which is what keeps the coral well-nourished and spectacular. It’s best to have 30 dives under your belt before venturing into these waters.

All divers must pay a marine park fee of 35,000Rp per day to fund the management of a 400,000-hectare marine park. At research time the WWF was trying to influence the government to develop a park management plan but so far it hasn’t happened.

Sandwiched between Pantar and Alor is Pulau Pura, which has some of Alor’s best dive sites. Pulau Ternate, not to be confused with the Maluku version, also has some magnificent dive and snorkel sites. (Who are we kidding, it’s all magical here). Uma Pura is an interesting weaving village on Ternate, with a rather prominent wooden church. To get there charter a boat from Alor Besar or Alor Kecil (150,000Rp).

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/alor-offshore