Nusa Tenggara

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Nusa Tenggara

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Introduction

Village elders near Bajawa, Flores

Village elders near Bajawa, Flores

© All Rights Reserved theo1006

Nusa Tenggara, or the "South-East Islands", is a chain of islands in the South East of Indonesia distributed over two provinces. They are sometimes referred to as the Lesser Sunda Islands, although strictly the latter include the island of Bali which enjoys the status of a separate province. The rural areas of these islands remain relatively untouched by modernity and traditional ways of life are still strongly adhered to.

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Geography

The two Nusa Tenggara provinces are West Nusa Tenggara (including Lombok and Sumbawa) and East Nusa Tenggara (including Flores, Komodo, Sumba, Lembata, Alor, West Timor and Rote). Geologically, the islands of Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores, are of volcanic origin, while islands like Sumba and Timor are non-volcanic and are part of the Australian Plate.

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Towns

Lombok

  • Mataram - Capital of West Nusa Tenggara province and the biggest town of Lombok with around 375,000 inhabitants. Mataram is situated in Lombok Barat Regency (Kabupaten Lombok Barat) on the western side of the island.

Sumbawa

  • Bima - Capital of Bima regency and former Bima sultanate, the eastern part of Sumbawa.
  • Sumbawa Besar - Capital of Sumbawa Regency, the largest regency of Sumbawa island in area.

Flores

  • Bajawa - Capital of Ngada regency. It is the base from where to visit traditional villages of the Ngada tribe. The environment also features volcanic scenery and natural hot springs which are used for bathing.
  • Ende - Capital of the regency of the same name, counting about 30,000 inhabitants. Like Bajawa a base for visiting traditional villages. Located a 2,5 hours' drive from the Kelimutu coloured crater lakes.
  • Labuan Bajo - Originally a fishing village on the west coast of Flores, now the busy entry door to the island as well as Komodo National Park.
  • Maumere
  • Ruteng - Capital of Manggarai regency, formerly of the Manggarai kingdom.

Lembata

  • Lewoleba

Alor

  • Kalabahi

Sumba

  • Tambolaka - The capital of newly established South-West Sumba regency and the seat of Sumba's bishop.
  • Waikabubak - The capital of West Sumba regency, a town of 33,000 inhabitants.
  • Waingapu - Sumba's biggest town and the capital of East Sumba regency. The town has about 40,000 inhabitants and is the preferred base for exploring Sumba.

West Timor

  • Atambua - Border town for entering Timor Leste
  • Kefamenanu - Capital of North Central Timor regency.
  • Kupang - Capital of East Nusa Tenggara province. The town has about 450,000 inhabitants and is an important hub for travel in the eastern half of Indonesia, both by plane and by boat.
  • Soe - Soe, pronounced as two syllables: Sou-ei, is the capital of South Central Timor regency. Located at an altitude of 800 metres the town has a relatively cool climate.

Rote

  • Ba'a

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Sights and Activities

Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are located just off the northwest tip of Lombok. There are three islands. First, Gili Trawangan (the largest and most visited of the three islands, also known as the party island). Second, Gili Air (the closest of the three islands to Lombok, and the one with a well developed local community). Finally Gili Meno is sandwiched between the others. Gili Meno is very laid back indeed.

Gunung Kelimutu

Gunung Kelimutu is a volcano, close to the small town of Moni about 50 kilometres to the east of Ende on central Flores. The volcano contains three striking summit crater lakes of varying colours. Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually dark grey and is the westernmost of the three lakes. The other two lakes, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are separated by a shared crater wall and are typically green or red respectively. The lake colours vary due to volcanic activity at their bottom.

Mount Rinjani

Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. It rises to 3,726 metres, making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia. On the top of the volcano is a 6 by 8.5-kilometre caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak (Child of the Sea). This lake is approximately 2000 metres above sea level and estimated at being around 200 metres deep. You can fish in the lake. The caldera also contains hot springs. From the top of the volcano, you can see Gunung Agung, the Gili Islands, Sumbawa and the vast sea.

Tambora Volcano

Since the bicentennial of its 1815 eruption Tambora volcano on Sumbawa has become the ultimate in crater trekking. With a guide one can descend into the one kilometre deep and six kilometres wide crater.

Komodo National Park

Komodo Dragon - Rinca, Kmodo National Park

Komodo Dragon - Rinca, Kmodo National Park

© All Rights Reserved phileas

Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site and the volcanic islands are world famous because of its gigantic komodo lizards, which are an impressive sight. The animals can be extremely aggressive so be alert at all times, especially when you have small children with you. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. The park also offers good snorkelling and diving opportunities, because of its pristine reefs with some of the greatest fish and coral diversity in the world. Every evening at Kalong Island thousands of flying fox bats put on an amazing display.

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Events and Festivals

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Getting There

By Plane

Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) is located in the southern part of the island, just 13 km south of Denpasar. It is the third busiest airport in the country and now meets international aviation security standards. The airport has extensive international service and good domestic service, including flights to Jakarta, Surabaya, West Papua, Borneo, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Pretty much every country in the Asian and pacific region can be reached directly by flights from this airport.
Garuda Indonesia flies to/from Hong Kong, Melbourne, Nagoya, Osaka, Perth, Seoul, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo and lowcost airlines Air Asia serves Kuala Lumpur.
Several other airlines have some more destinations, including Taipei, Amsterdam, Dili, Darwin, Brisbane, Doha, Bandar Seri Begawan, Guangzhou, Broome, Bangkok, Moscow and Adelaide.
Some of the other islands, like Lombok and Flores, have connections to other Indonesian cities as well, and some international connections.

By Boat

There a car and passenger ferry connecting Bali (Gilimanuk) and east Java (Ketapang), crossing takes about an hour.

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Getting Around

By Plane

Most of the main islands have one or more airports with regular connections between them.

By Boat

There's a car and passeger ferry between Bali (Padangbai) and Lombok (Lembar), crossing takes about 4 hours.
To get to the Gili Islands from Lombok, you can travel there from Senggigi or Bangsal. It is 15 minutes to Air, 30 to Meno and 45 to Trawangan.
There are now also some direct services from Bali as well, all of them either via Lombok, or continuing to Lombok after the Gili Islands:

  • Blue Water Express travels from Benoa to Bangsal on Lombok, continuing to Gili Trawangan, taking about 2 hours
  • Gili Cat travels to Gili Trawangan from Padang Ai (1,5 hours).
  • Island Getaway travels there from Serangan (2 hours)
  • Perama Express to Trawangan from Padang Ai, continuing to Senggigi.

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Eat

With a drier climate, there is less rice and more sago, corn, cassava, and taro compared to central and western Indonesia. Fish is popular including sepat, which is shredded fish in coconut and young-mango sauce.

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Drink

Jus pokat (avocado juice), often including a swirl of chocolate, is generally very good.

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This is version 41. Last edited at 21:10 on Jan 12, 19 by Utrecht. No articles link to this page.

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