Planning a Trip to Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands)

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Larantuka, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Larantuka is a small and beautiful city in Easf Flores. It has beautiful beach very clear ocean. Even in it's harbour, I can see the creatures small fish in the bottom sand. Most the citizens are catholic. Almost each house, has their own chapel.

How to get there?
- by plane from Kupang (capital of Nusa Tenggara Timur province). Trigana operates a direct flight from Kupang to Larantuka.
- by plane from Kupang to Maumere, then take road trip to Larantuka. Can be reach in 6 hours. You won't even feel it. It was beautiful route. You'll see forest and mountain, traditional Flores villages, prairie, and blue ocean with small islands for pearl production. If you choose this way, make sure you already book rental car to make your trip more enjoyable, especially on Easter (public busses don't operate).

Best time to go?
On Easter!
Larantuka still held ancient Catholic tradition on Easter (Holy Friday) called Semana Sancta. It's a combination ritual of Catholic, Flores and Portuguese culture to recall the crucifixion death of Jesus Christ on Holy Friday. Start at Friday at 6 am, by picking up Jesus and Maria and bring them by boats. About 50 boats full of prayer participate on this ritual.

At the evening, after the mass, people pray, sing mourn for the celebration, walking along the Larantuka streets with candle on hands. During the ceremony, Larantuka is decorated by thousands candle along the prayer route (about 5 km).

The tradition has been known for ages, and thousands people from many places and countries outside Flores and Indonesia will come for this celebration. It is the only place that still have the tradition. The procession start on Friday at 6 a.m, end on Saturday at 2.a.m. Most of Larantuka citizen are involved in this tradition.

Other Atraction
Waiara Beach.
It is beautiful beach in Maumere, you can visit before or after your travel to Larantuka. You can just relax, enjoying sunset on the beach. Best way to spend your time. You can also join a diving trip. The water is very clear, white sandy beaches, remote small islands and beautiful underwater creatures. There are some resorts to stay along the beach.

Food
Flores coffee.
I can't event describe how great it is. Make sure you get an arabica home made one.

Money
Make sure you get the money you need before you reach Flores. Get it in Kupang or Bali. Money changer and ATM are hard to find in Flores, even more difficult in Larantuka.

What to bring?
- Sun block, sun glasses, summer hat, umbrella, it is very hot in Larantuka.
- Don't forget your camera. Larantuka and all the way down is too damn beautiful.

Hotels Accomodation
Don't expect 5 star hotels. There are only small motels and home stay. During Semana Sancta on Easter, Larantuka citizens open their house for visitor. It is cheap, but with limited service off course. On Easter, there are some travel agents in Jakarta arrange trip to Larantuka. It usually include hotels, transportation, food, etc. All you need to see Larantuka participate in Semana Sancta.

Nightlife
No nightlife
Only on Easter : it is praying, singing, mourning in Semana Sancta

Interacting with locals
They already familiar with visitors. They are friendly and helpfull. Be polite, they will help u if needed.

Danger annoyance
- dangerous roads in mountainous area to Larantuka from Maumere.
- if possible, don't do night drive. There are no street lights along the way from Maumere to Larantuka
- get a rental car or reach Larantuka before Eastern. Public busses don't operate during Easter.
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Maumere, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Maumere is the biggest city in Flores island. You can start your travel here to other cities or attraction in Flores like Ende, Kelimutu mountain, Larantuka, Lembata, etc.

How to get there?
- by plane from Kupang (capital of Nusa Tenggara TImur, province). Trigana air operates daily flight to this city.
- road trip from Labuan Bajo in West Flores. Labuan Bajo can be reached by plane from Bali or ferry from Sumba. The road trip is awsome, through mountainous roads in Manggarai, Bajawa (people call this place Switzerland of Flores) and Ende.

Activities
Waiara Beach
Beautiful beach about 4 km from Maumere. You can just be lazy, spending your time at the beach, watching the sunset. Or joining a diving trip to Pulau Besar and other spots in Waiara Beach, operate by the resorts.

Hotels Accomodation
There are some resorts in Maumere, mostly in Waiara BEach. Like The Beach Club, Sao Wisata, Maumere Sea World Club or Hotel Anjajavy.

Food
Sea food is the best. Fish are cheap in Maumere. You can get Crapoe at very low price. You can get the cheap fish in traditional market near the harbour.

Money
You better get all the money you need before reach Flores or Maumere. ATMs and money changers are hard to find in this island. Get it in Kupang or Bali.

What to bring
- sun block, sun glasses, hat, umbrella, Maumere is hot
- swim suite diving gear, the beach and ocean are beautiful
- camera, the sky is very clear. If lucky, on rainy season you'll get rainbow, dolphins, and whales passing by on their way to Australia.

Danger/Annoyances
You better book your connecting flight from Kupang or Bali on different day with your flight from Maumere. The flight schedule from/to Maumere can change unexpectedly. It can change just because the airlines get a charter order to Bali, Wakatobi or Moyo island, etc. And passengers in Maumere must wait till the plane back from those places.
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Uluwatu, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Make sure u get up the clives and watch the amazing surfers there! Best place to do that in Bali! And visit the temple there, best time in the evening for sunset, watch the Kechak dance!but watch out for the monkeys..they are trying to steal everything, including earings from the ears, so put everything away which can attract their interest:Sunglasses, food, caps, hats, earings, etc..
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Ubud, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Go to the monkey forest in Ubud. The monkeys can get a bit cheeky at times, but bring some bananas to feed them. However, don't hide the bananas from the monkeys, they wont be happy and may follow you and/or jump on you until they get them! The guides are a great help and can show you how to get great photo ops. Definitely the best place to go if you want to get up close and personal with monkeys.
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Nusa Tenggara Islands Photography  
Ubud, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Go to the monkey forest in Ubud. The monkeys can get a bit cheeky at times, but bring some bananas to feed them. However, don't hide the bananas from the monkeys, they wont be happy and may follow you and/or jump on you until they get them! The guides are a great help and can show you how to get great photo ops. Definitely the best place to go if you want to get up close and personal with monkeys.
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Nusa Tenggara Islands Visas & Permits 
Pulau Bali, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
When wanting to change money on the streets around Bali, don't always look for the place offering the highest exchange rate, as more often than not they will be trying to rip you off.

Find out what the going rate is online, (xe currency convertor is one of the best), to get a general idea of what the current market exchage rate is, as a guide.

If, for example, the online rate is Rp7500, then look for a money changer offering around Rp50 either side of that amount. Occassionally you'll come across a "nest" of changers sitting around Rp7800, which is too high above the going rate.

I have had, and heard of several experiences, where trying to change money at these higher rates has led to the customer being ripped off, or if you uncover the scam during the exchange process, they pack up and cancel the deal. This happened to a friend of mine just recently using the above exchange rates as an example.

The vast majority of Money Changers are good, honest people, but there's unfortunately a few that will try and pull one over you. Be on guard!
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Denpasar, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Carry your own bags to your awaiting transport yourself once through customs. It saves on porter money and tips and it saves you from any possible 'tampering' with your luggage, lost luggage, or mixups by others. Also, buy your bottled water upon entry as it's hot in Bali!
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Ubud, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Lots of artist are located in this area. You get the real feeling of Indonesia in Ubud. I have to admit the monkey forest is worth to visit.
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Costs in Nusa Tenggara Islands  
Denpasar, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
The doorway of Bali but not the heart. Unless you're in Bali for the night life avoid the area and go somewhere more interesting. Ubud is the next city and more relaxed (but more expensive). Keep your anti mozzie creams/sprays/oils ready! If you visit the area then remember prices are inflated for tourists. 200.000 is typically bargainable to 30-40.000. Every time a tourist doesn't bargain the more liberties the sellers take with the next person and the more locals get priced out of the island - indirectly killing the tourist industry. Has been quiet since the Bali bombings which makes it ideal for a more relaxing holiday. Good for both straight and gay travellers.
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Padang, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Padang Bai is a beautiful, small friendly fishing village on the east coast of Bali in about 54km from Denpasar.

Not all but, sadly, a lot of people dont stop to enjoy the life of Padang Bai. Padang Bai is also the main ferry port for heading east to the island of Lombok.

Most people on a limited time rush through on their way to the Gilli islands of the coast of Lombok and beyond.
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Pulau Menjangan, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
One of the best places to dive on Bali!
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Ubud, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
Eat at the Dirty Duck restaurant. The place has no walls and it overlooks a large, very picturesque rice paddy. The owner could not decide on a name for the place; a couple of days before opening some ducks from the marshy rice field flew into the restaurant and waddled about with their wet feet covered in marsh mud. Sooooooooooooo...dirty duck restaurant. They specialize in duckling dishes (a form of revenge!?). Also, do not miss the shadow puppet shows. Go backstage either before or after the show; most of the performers speak English and they are more than willing to join you for an after-theater supper.
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Pulau Bali, Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands), Indonesia
When wanting to change money on the streets around Bali, don't always look for the place offering the highest exchange rate, as more often than not they will be trying to rip you off.

Find out what the going rate is online, (xe currency convertor is one of the best), to get a general idea of what the current market exchage rate is, as a guide.

If, for example, the online rate is Rp7500, then look for a money changer offering around Rp50 either side of that amount. Occassionally you'll come across a "nest" of changers sitting around Rp7800, which is too high above the going rate.

I have had, and heard of several experiences, where trying to change money at these higher rates has led to the customer being ripped off, or if you uncover the scam during the exchange process, they pack up and cancel the deal. This happened to a friend of mine just recently using the above exchange rates as an example.

The vast majority of Money Changers are good, honest people, but there's unfortunately a few that will try and pull one over you. Be on guard!
Good tip?
(+1)

Top Cities in Nusa Tenggara Islands (Lesser Sundra Islands)