Rote Island

Rote Island


{Photo Courtesy: Get Lost}

Rote Island is the epitome of paradise. Untouched, clean and pristine, this island that’s located just off the south coast of Kupang remains forgotten by time and modernity. For every fantasy you’ve had about a tropical island paradise, for every Hollywood movie you’ve seen depicting an exotic tropical island with sultry and beautiful indigenous people with their unique ancient beliefs and traditions, remarkable nature, wildlife and underwater world, you’ll find it all at Rote Island.

Rote is the very south point of the amazing country that is Indonesia. Part of Nusa Tenggara Timur, Rote Island covers 1,200 km2 of land and is part of the Kupang Regency, located just off the west coast of Kupang. While Rote is a world-famous surf and diving destination, this mystifying tropical haven promises to astound travellers with its spectacular natural beauty; clear clean waters, pristine white sands, caved rock formations, plantations of rice, acacia and lontar palms, dramatic hills and unique wildlife – the endangered snake-necked turtle is endemic to Rote, and lives in the island’s highlands, lakes and rice fields. The Rote people’s ancient traditions are still very much alive today and you could immerse in their unique way of life fused with ritual traditions. Just like in Flores, the Rote people produce breathtakingly intricate Ikat Weaves and play the Sasando, a musical instrument unique to Rote Island.

[Photo Courtesy: Oki Sami]

Thanks to its majestic waves, surfing is one of the island’s main attractions. Diving is another, and those craving adventure and the likely explorers would find Rote a delightful destination. The waters surrounding the island are home to magnificent underwater species, including dugongs and manta rays, thanks to acres of coral reef that fringe the coastline. If you don’t dive or surf, you could still partake in the island’s beauty simply by snorkeling. The most popular beach in Rote is Namberala beach, brought to fame by surfers for its amazing waves. There are a few homestays and small hotels there with direct access to the sandy white beach through groves of coconut trees. Other beaches to visit are Bo’a and Fimo’ok; all beaches here promise brilliant white sands and clear blue water. Catch the sunset on Tunggaoen beach; it is also the site for a herd of wild pigs as they graze for food. These pigs are not violent or vicious and would usually run away when they see humans approaching.

[Photo Courtesy: Oki Sami]

The people of Rote are known to be shy and friendly. It is easy to interact with them so don’t be afraid to get to know them or ask for help. The main religion here is Christianity and the churches remain active especially on Sundays. The Rote people are made up of two major clans which used to be kingdoms before the independence of Indonesia. Each clan has its own rituals, ceremonies, traditional clothing and dances accompanied by the Sasando. The people of Rote rely heavily on the Lontar palm for their daily nutritional requirements, building materials, daily items, hats, cakes, sugar and tuak. Even the Sasando is made from the Lontar tree. Their main source of income is agriculture and fishing.

Getting to Rote

[Photo Courtesy: Roam Indonesia]

From Denpasar in Bali, fly to Kupang city and from Kupang, you could opt to fly directly to Rote Island and land at the D.C. Saundale airport or take a ferry from Kupang. The journey by plane from Kupang, together with the boarding process will take about 30 minutes and the journey by ferry will take about 2 hours. If you have a lot of luggage that would exceed 10kgs, it would be advisable to take the ferry instead of the plane.

When you arrive at Rote, you could bargain with the hordes of Bemo busses, public cars or private cars available for hire. Or you could arrange for a direct pickup from your selected accommodation. This would save you a lot of headache and grief. To go around, you could rent a motorbike per day or rent an entire car for yourself. There are also plenty of accommodations available in the main tourists areas that you can pre-book online.

[Photo Courtesy: Oki Sami]

District & Places to Visit – Flores Plus Magazine

Rediscover Hidden Paradise 

Flores Plus Magazine provides relevant information on the various districts that make up Flores Island, from west to east including EndeKupangLarantuka, ManggaraiNgada and NagekeoSikka and Manggarai, where Labuan Bajo is located, the gateway to the Komodo National Park. Flores Plus is part of the PT. Trijaya Dewata family, a premier publishing and media brand in Bali and across Indonesia. Established in 1996, it has decades of experience with multiple titles in three languages published over the years. With the launch of Flores Plus, the company now will lead the way as one of the pioneers of tourist media in FloresKomodo and the Komodo National Park. Available now in English and soon in Japanese, Flores Plus Magazine has a strong online presence and engagement via its website, daily e-newsletters and social media platforms which are updated daily.

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