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ALOR ISLAND

Alor (Indonesian: Pulau Alor) is the largest island in the Alor Archipelago located at the eastern Lesser Sunda Islands that runs through southeastern Indonesia, which from the west include such islands as Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, and Flores.

To the east of the island across the Ombai Strait lie the islands of Wetar and Atauro, the latter belonging to East Timor. To the south, across the Strait of Alor, lies the western part of Timor. To the north lies the Banda Sea. To the west lies Pantar and the other islands of the Alor archipelago, and further yet the rest of the Sunda Islands.

Alor has an area of about 2800 km², making it the largest island of the Alor archipelago.

Kalabahi is the only town on the island of Alor, with a metropolitan population of about 60,000. The variety of goods obtainable in Kalabahi is surprising considering its size and location. The 2010 census population of the island is 145,299 out of 190,000 in the regency

 

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UNDERSTAND ALOR

Alor Island has an area of about 2800 km², making it the largest island of the Alor archipelago. It has a population of around 168,000 people of which 75% are protestant. The other 25% is either Muslim or Roman Catholic. Animistic rites and traditions are still strongly practiced. Previously well and truly off-the-beaten-path, more and more adventurous travelers are discovering the delights of this remote island group.

The key attractions are water-based, with world-class diving and fishing leading the way.

Alor is of volcanic origin and has very rugged terrain. The region near Kalabahi is the only flat area. This is why the Dutch placed the capital and the main harbor (Alor-Kecil) of the area here in 1911.

"The best" snorkeling and diving in Indonesia can be found in the Alor archipelago. Due to intriguing and often very strong currents it is best to snorkel or dive with someone who knows the area well.


CULTURE

Alor's traditional culture has been influenced over the ages by the Indian, Chinese and Javanese traders as well as by the Islamic and Christian religions.  This can be seen in the silk thread woven into the original weaving's and the mix of Mosques and Christian churches dotted throughout the Island.  The traditional dances and the architectural style vary greatly from area to area.  


CLIMATE

The climate of Alor is particularly pleasant from early April to late October. Those month are fairly dry and nights are often surprisingly cold, therefore acclimatization is less harsh as one might imagine. Moreover, due to lack of standing fresh water, mosquitoes are rare to encounter for most of the year.


LANGUAGE

More than fifteen different indigenous languages are spoken on Alor, the majority of them classified as Papuan or non-Austronesian. These include Abui, Adang, Hamap, Kabola, Kafoa, Woisika, Kelo , and Kui. In addition, Alorese (Bahasa Alor) is a Malayo-Polynesian language which is spoken along the coast of the western and southern Bird's Head of Alor Island and in places on surrounding islands.

Many of the Papuan languages of Alor are endangered and are no longer being actively acquired by children. Some languages have fewer than 1000 speakers remaining. Significant linguistic documentation efforts have been undertaken recently by Leiden University in The Netherlands.

The language of daily communication is Alor Malay, a unique Malay variety with some similarities to Kupang Malay. Indonesian is taught in schools and used widely in media.


HOW TO GET THERE

By plane

You need to take a flight to Kupang in West Timor. Daily flights are available from the major airports in Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia offers direct flights from Bali for about Rp. 1,100,000 to 2,000,000.

From Kupang you need to take a flight to Kalabahi airport on Alor Island. Daily flights to and from Kupang in West Timor on TransNusa Air Services. A one way ticket costs about Rp 500,000 and the journey takes 45-50 minutes.

By ferry

The Indonesian national ferry carrier Pelni serves Kalabahi from many points in eastern Indonesia. Two ferries have schedules stopping here: MV Awu and KM Sirimau.

A current schedule is available on the Pelni website.


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