Finally I am here! The very South point of Indonesia. My impression after staying for few days in Rote was, I am in love with the island so much that I actually can stay here forever!
Just too unfortunate that my overland trip in East Nusa Tenggara will force me to leave Rote Island soon. But one day for sure, if I have another opportunity, I would love to come back again and stay longer. Perhaps to learn how to surf and diving, because Rote is famous with their high waves and beautiful underwater world. But after going around for some time here, I can see, this Island is not merely for those who love to surf or dive, but also for everyone who love the quiet and peaceful island with such beautiful beaches, perhaps just like Bali decade ago.
At this moment, I am writing this article while facing the Nemberala. A beautiful beach behind the hotel I am staying. The beach at the moment is not so great for surfing, because the wave so small, but it is so great for laid back and enjoying what local people do. Some kids are playing around in shallow sea water while screaming in happiness. Mama and papa try to find some seaweed, so they can dry it and sell it to the city. While there is another interesting view to see such as a bunch of pigs running so happily on the beach, in a rush to find food before sky turning into dark. Everyone looks so happy here. Or probably I can say, everything seems like in a peace mood, in a slow motion, like time in here is going so slow but also fast in the same time.
But after know the island for a bit, I would like to tell you some facts about Rote that you probably need to know before you plan to visit this lovely island.
To reaching Rote, the most possible way is through Kupang. You have two options from Kupang. Either by flight or by ferry. By flight, will be only 15 minutes flying. Around 30 minutes with boarding and departing. But with ferry, it will take around 2 hours. It is a bit strange for me, especially because the ticket price between that two only has slightly different. Flight approximately around 170-200k rupiah, while for Executive Ferry ticket (one with the Air-Con) cost me around 165k rupiah.
I arrived to Rote by Ferry, while plan to leave Rote by flying. For me, it’s like experience two different things. But if you want to be more efficient in time, better you take the flying to-and-fro. If you want to bring lots of stuff from Kupang to Rote and vice versa, boat is a good choice, because allowed luggage from the airlines only 10 kgs/passenger.
- Which Area to Stay
Once you arrive in Ba’a harbor or Rote’s airport, you need to choose which area you want to stay. Nemberala is the famous area for surfing. While Ba’a is the biggest city in Rote with some hotel/hostel as well. Since I am only staying in Nemberala, I will only able to recommend you about the area where I stay.
To reach Nemberala, you need to take Ojek (motorbike riding) for around 50k rupiah. Or sharing public car with someone else, also 50k rupiah/person. The public car is so noise with loud music, be ready with that. Or simply rent a private car for 200-300k rupiah. You can choose which one is convenient for you. There are so many guys waiting for you in the harbor so be wise and try to bargain first.
- Place to Stay
My recommendation to stay in Nemberala is Anugerah hotel. The place is so neat, cozy, lovely and having their own access to the beach that you can easily reach through back door. Anugerah also has a nice swimming pool and sun bed, so you can just chill out under the parasol if you don’t want your skin get burned so much on the beach. Otherwise, you also can bring the bean bag to the beach to enjoy the salty breeze and sunset.
For your information, usually hotel in Rote will charge you price for person not per-room, and it is including 3 times meals, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food in Anugerah is delicious and served thoughtfully. Their portion also appreciable. So Anugerah is definitely worth to try!
- Driving in the island
You can easily rent motorbike from hotel where you stay with average price around IDR 75k/day. Bike also another choice, but it won’t be so proper if you want to go far away, because even some road in Rote already well asphalted, but it also can be so hilly, broken and don’t forget about the strong heat. Rote can be soooo hot Sometimes with such sun’s stroke, even breathing can be so exhausted! That’s why we need to swimming in the sea all the time while in Rote!
Find fuel is easy in Rote, because you can see many people sell fuel in the bottle. Prices are vary, between IDR 8 – 10k rupiah, but mostly in Nemberala, you will only find 10k rupiah/liter. They put a fabric while pouring down the fuel to your tank to filter it.
Be careful when driving in the island, because there are lots of animals passing by. From pigs, to chicken, to dogs, to cows, even horses. Plus if you are not too fast, you will enjoy the village more and able to say hi to local people who will give their smile and wave their hands back.
- Where to Go
Nemberala is a lovely place to stay and going around. It’s very easy to find beautiful “private” beach for you here. Mostly beach in Rote has a long line, crystal clear water and white sands with red sands grains. You can try to go to Bo’a, the beach that so famous for surfing, but if you can’t surf like me, you also can chill out there, sunbathing, and swimming. Only the current about quite strong here.
My favorite is Fimo’ok, it’s located around 30 minutes driving from Anugerah. Water is so calm and cool. I can properly swimming here without worry the sudden wave annoys my move. Fimo’ok also have a beautiful landscape and very clear water. Perfect time to enjoy Fimo’ok maximally!
To see breathtaking sunset I always choose to go to Tunggaoen beach. One time, when in front of me the sun tried to go down, I can see exactly behind me, the moon already prepared himself to change the job of the sun. So cool! I also love to see how pigs running around the beach to find food. They always get scare when see human and running away from me. It’s very new for me to see pigs on the beach. Also very new for me to capture sunset photo while pigs as the background.