10 Reasons Why Visiting the Lesser Sunda Islands is an INCREDIBLE Experience
Alor, Komodo and Flores: A Treasure Trove of Wonders
Real travellers look to push themselves far out of their comfort zone, embrace the extraordinary and dare to experience things that lesser mortals shy away from. If you are one of those searching for a life-changing voyage of discovery look no further than the far-flung Lesser Sunda Islands which encompass Alor, Flores and Komodo National Park.
Technically, this part of the Sunda archipelago also includes Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa but the further you stray from these more developed islands the wilder things get.
Moreover, the main reason that people venture to this beautiful part of the world is because of the near-legendary splendour of the coral reefs and plethora of marine life. This is a single colossal reason to visit but we easily found 10 more which have nothing to do with the exceptional variety of dive sites.
1. Komodo National Park
Home of the infamous Komodo dragon and one of the most stunning places on the planet. The islands here are characterised by rambling savannahs and gorgeous turquoise oceans teeming with phenomenal marine life.
2. The Lakes of Kelimutu
The multi-coloured crater lakes of Kelimutu are the money shot of the Flores. These iconic bodies of water change colour from blue to red and green depending on the gases and mineral content bubbling below the surface. One of the best ways to enjoy this star attraction is to rise early and hike up the volcano and watch the sunrise over the lakes.
3. The Spider Web Fields of Flores
Flores means flower in the local tongue, however, you are not going to find fields of tulips or daffodils here. Much more enchanting and unusual are the lingko rice fields which are laid out in patterns resembling spider’s webs. Each part of the formation is assigned to a family and the size of the patch correlates to their wealth. Take a trip inland to search out some of these amazing feats of design.
4. Kawula Island
Any number of dive sites could be brought into this list, but this one is particularly exceptional because you can experience the surreal sensations of volcanic vents gusting hot and cold water into the ocean.
The waters here teem with marine life and there is a good chance of spotting turtles, rays, and white and black tipped reef sharks. Colourful reefs and coral gardens sway in the underwater currents and create a paradise for underwater aficionados.
5. Wae Rebo and the Caci Dance
The Manggarai people live in the western part of Flores and engage in a wealth of enchanting and totally unique traditions and celebrations unlike those anywhere else in Indonesia.
One of the most boisterous of these is the Caci dance which entails two men dressed as animals trying to hit each other with whips. Raucous drumbeats accompany their escapades and while this appears totally lawless and possessed it is really nothing more than a ceremonial spectacle. These rituals tend to happen in an unscheduled and haphazard fashion so it is best to find a local guide.
The Manggarai live in Wae Rebo in Western Flores which is a healthy 10-kilometre trek from Denge through some spectacular countryside including waterfalls, craggy cliffs and lush mountainous countryside. It is also possible to overnight here in one of the distinctive roundhouses inhabited by the tribe.
6. Bukit Cinta
Bukit Cinta translates as Love Hill and is just outside Labuan Bajo, in recent years it has gained a reputation as the perfect place to watch the sunset. From here watch the unfurling of the glittering Flores Sea and the tropical beauty of the rainforests.
7. Swim in the Nggoang
The impressive island of Flores is characterised by scenic lakes and soaring peaks. Sano Nggoang Lake is one of the deepest of these plunging to around 500 meters and is located around 35 kilometres away from neighbouring Labuan Bajo. The warm waters are said to have medicinal properties.
8. Batu Tara
This volcano, at the time of writing, seemed to have significantly less activity than previously has previously been reported. Not so long ago it was a veritable display of violent strombolian activity spewing lava high into the skies. However, it is still an exquisitely picturesque spot to visit.
9. Alor and the Tribe at Pulau Buaya Ternat
Alor is a scrap of land at the furthest reaches of the Lesser Sunda Islands and is Indonesia at its rawest and most beautiful. Alor is set more or less north of West Timor and east of Pantar, Lembata and Flores.
Alor is populated by a rich diversity of people with more than a dozen languages. Most Alorites, especially in the island’s interior, are Protestants, while the sea-facing villages have significant Muslim populations.
One of the most infamous tribes of the indigenous people here is located about 13 kilometres east of the main town of Kalabahi. These people have a rich culture and are famed for their skill at Ikat weaving.
Visiting their village pulls you right back in time and they love to regale visitors with ancient songs and chants including the infamous Lego-Lego dance. Join in the spirit of brotherhood and unity with them
The authentic village is reached by climbing a short stretch of stairs and consists of around 12 houses with 4 levels arranged in a row. If you are lucky the village chief will show you around his house and his collectio
10. Museum 1000 Moko, Alor
This charming museum in Alor is well worth visiting, especially if you are going to visit any of Alor’s traditional villages. Named 1000 Moko, according to the brochure, because of the diverse cultural experiences of Alor and its people. Moreover, the museum has an impressive collection that you could easily spend an hour exploring.
n of moko drums which are big brass drums, believed to be more than 2,000 years old and today is often used as a part of a wedding dowry.
The Lesser Sunda Isles on a Luxury Liveaboard
The best way to explore this beautiful archipelago is on a luxury liveaboard. However wild and untamed it gets on the islands you always have a lovely boat to return to staffed by a delightful and able crew. Prana is the biggest luxury Phinisi to cruise these waters, so join us for the holiday of a lifetime.