Situated in the province of East Nusa Tenggara, West Timor is one of Indonesia’s lesser known destinations compared to neighboring Flores or Komodo Islands, but is no less captivating and therefore well worth a visit.
Sharing the border with the young independent country of East Timor, the region is characterized by mainly rugged terrain which is home to unique traditional villages, and vast diversity of flora and fauna. Timor is in many respects one of the Indonesian archipelago’s undiscovered jewels. Some of these gems are located in the administrative district of Kupang, outside the city of Kupang itself, which serves as the capital of the entire province of East Nusatenggara.
Leaving downtown Kupang, buzzing with its bemos and honking horns, beyond the city, West Timor’s landscape captivates with its spiky Palmyra palms, rocky soils and central hills dotted with villages consisting of sharp cone-shaped thatched huts, and some fantastic coastlines.
Located about 12 Km from the heart of Kupang, one can find a 3.5 hectares flat shore covered with soft white sands called the Lasiana Beach. With hundreds of coconut and old fan palm trees nicely lined up, the beach is not only naturally sheltered, but also offers lots of genuinely fresh air. Another unique feature of the area is the lopo-lopo, the local term for their traditional cone-shaped houses, that are completely covered with thatch from the mast down to the floor with only a small opening to crawl in. These lopo-lopo are now mainly used to store foodstuff since inside these cabins it is cool and pretty dark.
As one travels further to about 25km from downtown Kupang city, a Fishing Paradise awaits off the coast of Tablolong Beach. Located at the tip of Timor Island on a strait facing the island of Rote, the waters 10 miles away from the coast of Tablolong Beach are known as a crowded migration line for many species of fish.
Marlins, tuna, barracudas, Layaran, Tenggiri, Wahui, Kuwe, and Lemadang are among the many types of fish found plentiful in these waters. Its abundance has made it the ideal site for an annual international fishing contest participated by fishing enthusiasts from around the globe.
About half an hour drive from Kupang, the Oenesu Waterfall offers the perfect place to relax and enjoy its refreshing atmosphere. As one of the few waterfalls found in West Timor, the site is a favorite for local and tourists to enjoy nature, the pleasant weather and fascinating scenery. Among the four levels waterfall, natural ponds are formed that are perfect to dive in for a cooling swim. The debit of the waterfall is quite stable, so one can still enjoy it even during the dry season.
The diversity of flora and fauna on Timor can also be observed at the Menipo Island Natural Park. Aside from its stunning white sand coast, the wildlife within the island is as colorful as its scenery. Timorese Deer (Cervus timorensis), Apes (Macaca fascicularis), Wild Boar (Sus vitatus), Giant Lizards (Varanus salvator), and Timorese Python Snake (Python timorensis), are among some of the animals that dwell on the island. Between August to November, the island is also visited by sea turtles that annually lay eggs on its shores. The 2.449,50 hectares island itself is located within the Amrasii county, Kupang Regency, about 118 Km east of Kupang.
About 46 Kilometers from the city of Kupang, near the town of Soe, lies an enchanting forest filled not only with wildlife but has also some beautiful landscape at the Camplong Forest Park. Located at the foot of Mount Fatuleu, the forest comes with a natural bathing place created by natural springs. The forest is decorated with colorful plants such as the red wood, pines, Palmyra palms, eucalyptus, and many others. The Camplong Forest area also accommodates a crocodile breeding facility. Timorese Deer and pythons, olive-shouldered parrots, and black-backed fruit-doves, are most likely the inhabitants that one will encounter as you make your way through the forest.