The Fascinating ALOR Islands at the east-most end of Flores

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Despite its short name, the Alor islands hide a long list of splendors, from fascinating underwater wonders up to the unique culture of the highland people. Here, one will be indulged with spectacles ranging from spellbinding marine life, the unique Moko kettledrums, the oldest Al Qur’an in Southeast Asia, and the traditional villages of the highlands.


Extending at the east- most tip of Flores Island, still in the province of East Nusatenggara, Alor is a name pinned to the regency, the archipelago, as well as the main island of the archipelago.


The Alor Archipelago comprises 20 islands and 17 sub-districts. Among these, only 9 islands are inhabited: Alor, Pantar, Pura, Terewang, Ternate (not to be confused with Ternate in Maluku), Kepa, Buaya, Kangge, and Kura. The other 11 uninhabited islands are: Sikka, Kapas, Batang, Lapang, Rusa, Kambing, Watu Manu, Batu Bawa, Batu Ille, Ikan Ruing, and Nubu.


Although not yet as popular as Raja Ampat or neighboring Komodo Island, the waters around the archipelago offer equally fascinating spectacles –if not better. There are at least 50 dive spots stretching from Alor Island to Pantar Island, and several islets around them. Among these, 20 are considered in prime condition and among the world’s best. Some of the best sites are found along the Pantar Strait.


Those who are fortunate enough to have experienced diving in these waters have said that the underwater splendors of Alor outclass those in the Caribbean. In his book “East of Bali”, Photographer Kal Muller described the waters around Alor as pristine, filled with a variety of fascinating creatures, and highlighted with night-dive spots. He considered Alor as a world class underwater paradise.


The island of Alor itself is inhabited by a number of Flores sub- ethnic groups who still preserve their traditional ways of life. One of these still produces clothing from tree bark known as the Ka Clothing. The unique cultureof the Alorese are best observed among the Takpala indigenous group who dwell in the village of Lembur Barat, North-Central Alor. The Takpala still preserve the traditional housing construction that resembles a pyramid, covered with coconut leaves, bamboo plaited walls, and four main wooden pillars.


The island of Alor is also known as the island of a Thousand Moko’s. Moko is a small bronze kettledrum which is believed to have originated from the Dong Son culture of Vietnam. However, it remains a mystery as to how these prehistoric Dong Son drums arrived in Alor. Local legend says that the moko’s were discovered  buried in the ground, and indeed until today it is still common for these mokos to be  similarly  uncovered.To observe these unique artifacts, one can visit the Museum of  A Thousand Mokos located in the main town of Kalabahi, on Alor Island. The Museum also showcases a collection of distinct Alor hand-woven clothing called Kawate.


The island also holds the oldest Al Qur’an (Islamic holy book) ever to be discovered in Indonesia and in South East Asia. The Al Qur’an which is estimated to be over 800 years old is made of tree bark and uses natural substances for ink. The special Al Qur’an was once shown to the public in April 2011, during the Legu Gam Festival of the Ternate Sultanate.


To Stay, To Do

Kalabahi is the main city, and the capital of the Alor Regency. This is where all the facilities and accommodation are centered. Here are some of the accommodations in Kalabahi:


Hotel Pelangi IndahJalan Diponegoro No. 24, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +6 2386 21251


Hotel Nusa Kenari IndahJalan Diponegoro No. 11, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 386 21074


Homestay CantikJalan Dahlia No.12, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 0386 21030


Hotel MarlinaJalan Dipenogoro No.11, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 386 21208; 21205


Hotel Adi DharmaJalan R.E. Martadinata No. 12, KalabahiN AlorTelp. +62 0386 21280


Hotel MawarJalan Dipenogoro No.34, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 386 21251; 21281


Hotel MelatiJalan Dr. Soetomo No. 1, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 0386 21073


Hotel Nur FitraJalan Pasar Paledang, Kalabahi, AlorTelp. +62 0386 2222124

There are also other accommodation available on other islands that particularly cater to divers. These are:

Homestay and Diving La P’tite, Kepa IslandKecamatan Alor Barat laut, Alor, NTTTelp. +62 386 21141; 21146Mobile. +62 81 353 709 719Website.


Javatoda, Alor DiversJalan Tengiri No. 1 Kalabahi, AlorMobile: +62 81317804133.Website:

Find a Travel agent:

Flobamora TravelJalan Hati Suci No.50, KupangTelp. +62 380 831798


Nusatin Travel Jalan Jenderal Sumdirman No.25, KupangTelp. +62 380 21086


Ellyandu TravelJalan Sumatera No. 13, KupangTelp. +62 380 821473


Stindo TravelJalan Perintis Kemerdekaan No. 17, KupangTelp. +62 380 821473


Montana TravelJalan Herewila No. 11, KupangTelp. +62 380 826814; 822272


Pitoby TravelJalan Jenderal Sudirman, KupangTelp. +62 380 832700


SKTMJalan RW Monginsidi, Komplek Ruko Lontar permai Blok B/17, KupangTelp. +62 380 8333990

Photo Gallery

Getting There and Around

Get There

To get to Alor, you can take a flight from Kupang,  capital of East Nusatenggara. From Kupang there are several airlines that serve flights to Mali Airport in Kalabahi, the main town of Alor. Trans-Nusa serves daily flights between Kupang-Alor which takes about an hour. Reservation can be made at:


Trans Nusa:
Jl.Jenderal Sudirman,No.68, Kupang
Telephone: +62 380 822555

The other option is by ferry which will take approximately 12 hours from Kupang to Larantuka, and followed by wooden boats to Kalabahi Seaport , which take  about one hour.