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Several of Indonesia’s greatest cultural treasures and one of the world’s rarest creatures stay safely tucked away from mass tourism in Nusa Tenggara (“Southeastern Islands”). Beginning with Lombok, Bali’s easternmost neighbor, the island chain dots its way through often-treacherous waters farther east to Timor. Lombok’s fine white beaches, diving offshore in the Gilis (there is also excellent diving at Alor seasonally, and at Komodo) and hand-thrown pottery makers, Komodo Island’s famous dragons and Flores’ Gunung Kelimutu with its tri-colored crater lakes are the biggest attractors of visitors, but stay a little longer and you’ll find ...

Several of Indonesia’s greatest cultural treasures and one of the world’s rarest creatures stay safely tucked away from mass tourism in Nusa Tenggara (“Southeastern Islands”). Beginning with Lombok, Bali’s easternmost neighbor, the island chain dots its way through often-treacherous waters farther east to Timor. Lombok’s fine white beaches, diving offshore in the Gilis (there is also excellent diving at Alor seasonally, and at Komodo) and hand-thrown pottery makers, Komodo Island’s famous dragons and Flores’ Gunung Kelimutu with its tri-colored crater lakes are the biggest attractors of visitors, but stay a little longer and you’ll find unique cultures on all the islands that have enthralled anthropologists for decades. On Flores, Alor, Solor, Rote, Savu and Sumba find women weaving traditional cloths with symbolic motifs on backstrap looms, as their female ancestors have done for generations. Infrastructure has greatly improved over the past few years allowing easier access to these small islands than ever before. It’s still best to hire a local guide for village visits, though, because little English is spoken outside of Lombok.

Linda Hoffman
About the Expert

Linda Hoffman is a contributing editor for five Periplus guides, including Bali (two editions), Papua, Java, Nusa Tenggara, and eight editions of Insight Guides Indonesia and the Indonesia section of their Southeast Asia guidebook.

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Linda Hoffman for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Translated as "Southeast Islands," Nusa Tenggara is in the eastern region of Indonesia
  • Language: Indonesian
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    If by sea, any time except January-March when the seas are rough; if by air, any time.