The numerous islands stretching east from Bali are known as Nusa Tenggara, a region that has become increasingly popular in the past years. The islands attract visitors with their picturesque Balinese beaches, breathtaking landscapes, tribal traditions and cultural attractions that are truly unique. The sheer diversity of Nusa Tenggara islands makes the archipelago memorable with its white multicolored crater lakes and volcanic peaks and animist rituals, the islands are definitely worth the visit. Here are seven exotic islands of Nusa Tenggara.
Alor Island is one of the most easternmost islands in Nusa Tenggara and one of the least visited islands. Because of that particular reason, Alor Island is perfect for people looking to experience the island life in an unspoiled environment. The volcanoes in the center of Alor form a barrier so locals use wooden ferries to travel around. The only flat area of the island is the city Kalabahi which is also the capital city of the area. Among diving and snorkeling on Alor’s outlaying islets, there are also some beautiful beaches like Mali, Maimol and Batu Putih, all perfect for a little relaxation or swimming.
West Timor is located at the eastern end of Nusa Tenggara and makes up the Indonesian half of the island of Timor. The main attractions of the island include coconut palms, white sands and clear blue waters of Lasiana Beach, and an underground swimming pool located at Crystal Cave. In Kupang, the region’s main city, one can shop for authentic ikat textiles and hand-carved wood tokens.
Sumbawa is located east of Lombok and is best known for surfing, although getting to great surfing spots can be challenging because of the large and undeveloped island. Mountainous terrains and predominantly Muslim conservative population, Sumbawa lacks infrastructure and tourist accommodations of other islands in Nusa Tenggara. If you want to reach the surf spots you can catch a bus or a charter car in Sumbawa Besar, the main town.
Sumba is the most notable island for retaining its ancient traditions. Located to the south of the arcing Nusa Tenggara archipelago, Sumba features Bronze Age megalithic burial sites, lethal spear-throwing war game of Pasola, or highly detailed ikat textiles that can take months of labor to craft. For many people, Sumba can feel like an island lost in time but don’t be fooled as there are several resort bungalows where tourists can relax and enjoy the sandy beaches, or even go diving and snorkeling.
Flores is located east of Sumbawa and west of Lembata and is that one island that offers an array of natural and archeological wonders. The most famous attraction in Flores is the Kelimutu volcano which has three lakes fed by volcanic gas that change colors due to the amount of oxidation in the water. Stone Age megaliths and prehistoric bronze artifacts, the island of Flores is an abundance of archeological finds.
Komodo National Park is famous thanks to the rich population of Komodo dragons, a giant carnivorous lizard that can reach up to 3 meters in length. Also known as a scuba diving location, Komodo National Park is the perfect location for animal lovers and a great location to snorkel in areas like Pantai Merah.
Lombok is the most western island of Nusa Tenggara and is often compared to its closest neighbor Bali. With the same kind of beautiful beaches, splashing waterfalls and volcanic scenery, Lombok is less popular which means fewer crowds. The island offers many fun activities such as trekking to the giant volcano of Gunung Rinjani, surfing or simply sunbathes on the beaches.