Lesser Sunda Islands
March 24, 2016
By: MHPosted in indonesia
Tags: Bali, Excursions, excursions-tours-indonesia, Gili-Islands, Indonesia, Komodo-Islands, Lesser-Sunda-Islands, Lombok, Moyo-Islands, Sumbawa, Tours, West-Tenggara
The Lesser Sunda Islands are part of a volcanic arc,the Sunda Arc, formed by subduction along the Sunda Trench in the Java Sea.
The main Lesser Sunda Islands are, from west to east: Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Alor archipelago, Barat Daya Islands, and Tanimbar Islands.
Provinces of Lesser Sunda Islands and their Capitals
Bali, the famed Island of the Gods, with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colourful, deeply spiritual and unique culture with over 6000 temples. This is one of the world’s most popular island destinations.
West Tenggara: Consist of Lombok & Gili Islands, Sumbawa, Moyo & Komodo Islands
The Wallace Line, named after 19th century naturalist, Alfred Russell Wallace, marks a point of transition between the flora and fauna of Western and Eastern Indonesia and acts as the western boundary of West Nusa Tenggara, which includes the island of Lombok and Sumbawa. The northern part of the island is mountainous and lush with tall trees and shrubs. The south, on the other hand is arid and covered by savannas.
Large Asian mammals are absent and replaced instead by marsupials, lizards, cockatoos and parrots. The difference becomes more pronounced as one moves further east, where dry seasons are more prolonged and corn and sago are staple food, instead of rice.
Lombok with its capital Mataram all though less developed than Bali, is place many tourist want holiday, away from the hustle and bustle. Many claim Lombok now is Bali 30 years ago. Lombok is served by an International airport only a 30 minute flight from Bali or a 1 hour fast ferry ride. Lombok has tropical climate with average temperature ranging between 28°C and 34°C. Lombok and Bali are separated by the Lombok Strait.
In the Indigenous language of the Sasak people of Lombok the word “Lombok” which literally translates into Bahasa Indonesian as lurus (“straight ahead”). Lombok a tropical island with beautiful beaches, enchanting waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani (2nd largest mountain in Indonesia) combined with relatively few tourists. Calling Lombok paradise does not mean it is all things for all people. With a few exceptions, the natural landscape and the traditional way of life have remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Virtually all small to medium size businesses are run by local families. Many of these businesses sell a wide variety of merchandise, where villagers can find food, hardware, and toys all in a single small store. While it is possible to find five-star hotels run by global corporations this is the exception not the rule. The ubiquitous global fast food franchises are restricted to two outlets in the precincts of Mataram Mall in the main City of Lombok and are well sign-posted.
The Gili Islands are an archipelago of three small islands — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air just off the northwest coast of Lombok Indonesia. The islands are a popular destination for tourists looking for a remote island experience. Each island has several small resorts, usually consisting of a collection of huts for tourists, a small pool and restaurant. Most local inhabitants live on Trawangan in a township stretching along its east side just inland. Automobiles and motorised traffic is prohibited on the islands by local ordinance, so the preferred method of transportation is by foot and bicycle or the horse-drawn carriage called a cidomo. Diving in and around the Gili’s is also popular due to the abundance of marine life and attractive coral formations.
Sumbawa is an Indonesia island, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, and Sumba further to the southeast. It is part of the province of West Nusa Tenggara, but there are presently steps being taken by the Indonesian government to turn the island into a separate province. Traditionally the island is known as the source of Sappanwood used to make red dye, honey and sandalwood. Its savannah-like climate and vast grassland is used to breed horses and cattle and to hunt deer.
Sumbawa has an area (including minor offshore islands) of 15,448 km2 or 5,965 sq mi (three times the size of Lombok) with a current population in 2014 of around 1.4 million. It marks the boundary between the islands to the west, which were influenced by religion and culture spreading from India, and the region to the east that was less influenced. In particular this applies to both Hinduism and Islam. The Southwestern extreme portion of Sumbawa is monopolized by American firm Newmont Mining Corp. a large gold and copper mine.
Moyo Island is off the north coast of Sumbawa, and has an area of about 350 sq. km, a little more than an hour from Bali. The island is mostly uninhabited and unknown to the majority of tourists; the population is about 1000 inhabitants distributed in 6 villages, all of them living on fishing and farming. In 1986 a National park was established in order to conserve and protect the extraordinary vegetation, its uniqueness and the many animal species (birds, bats, monkeys, wild pigs, and deer) and a Marine Reserve with the goal of preserving the unspoiled reefs surrounding the island. A visit to Moyo Island takes the traveller on a discovery adventure of immense marine and land life and provides an escape from reality in a world where man and nature blend together offering unforgettable emotions. Most of Moyo is a nature reserve called Moyo Island Hunting Park covering 22,537.90 ha and is inhabited by macaques, wild cattle, and wild pigs, barking deer, deer and several varieties of birds. The island rises 648m, and its centre is composed mainly of savannah and some strands of forest.
The Marine Park of Moyo Island occupies the southern island. The National Park is home to long tail macaques, wild bovines, wild pigs, deer and 21 bat species, including flying foxes. Bird watching enthusiasts can observe 86 species of birds, 2 of them endangered: the yellow headed parrot and the Tanimbar Megapode bird which is endemic to Indonesia. It nests in large sandy heaps, litter and other debris, where the heat generated by the decomposition of the organic material serves to incubate the eggs. Inside the Park there are also a few waterfalls, the biggest one is about 2 hours from Labuan Aji village, the others are in easy reach, within 15 minutes walking distance, in the forest where you will find a multitude of colorful butterflies. Most of the east and west coasts and the entire south coast of Moyo Island have been declared Marine Park. Pristine coral reefs and all their inhabitants are now protected from fishing and pollution. Divers and snorkelers have the chance to visit a truly untouched paradise, in fact, the Marine Park was established long before tourism reached this area. These two natural reserves are managed by an Office of Natural Conservation of West Nusa Tenggara, as a Technical Operation Unit of Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation-Ministry of Forestry
Komodo Island is particularly notable as the habitat of the Komodo dragon in part of Komodo National Park. Komodo dragon is the largest lizard on Earth, which is named for the island. In addition, the island is a popular destination for diving. Komodo island also contains a beach with pink sand, one of only seven in the world. The sand appears pink because it is a mixture of white sand combined with red sand, formed from pieces of Foraminifera. Komodo Island has a surface area of 390 square kilometres and a human population of over two thousand. The people of the island are descendants of former convicts who were exiled to the island and who have mixed with Bugis from Sulawesi. The people are primarily adherents of Islam but there are also Christian and Hindu congregations.
The arid landscape and southeaster Nusa Tenggara is a result of hot dry winds blasting in from Australia. In fact most of the coastal areas do not get a drop or rain during most of the year. Flores, Sumba and Timor are the three largest islands in East Tenggara. Flores is a Portuguese name which means “flower”, and ideally described the beauty of this place. Being mostly of Catholic faith, the Easter procession held in Larantuka and royal regalia of the former king in Maumere. Formerly known as Sandalwood Island, Sumba is now famous for its horses and it superb style of ikat cloth.
West Sumba is famous for its enormous megalithic tombs and traditional thatched and peaked huts raised on stilts. Timor is the principal island in the province in terms of population and it is here that the provincial capital of Kupang is located.
Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo, to the southeast of Flores is Timor, to the south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north beyond the Flores Sea is Sulawesi. The peoples of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians, most other Indonesians in Flores are Muslim. The prominence of Catholicism on the island results from its colonisation by Portugal. Flores thereby also has less religious violence that has sporadically occurred in other parts of Indonesia. There are several churches on the island.
- Manggari Barat – Labuan Bajo — launching point for Komodo Island and diving and snorkeling, big ship port
- Manggari – Ruteng — ethnic minority center interesting local villages
- Ngada – Bajawa — is one of the best areas in Nusa Tenggara to see indigenous architecture in local ethnic minority villages of Luba and Bena, Bena also noted for its Stone Age “megaliths”.
- Ende – Ende — lazy capital of the Island and departure point for ferries to West Timor, 3 Colored lakes is at Kelimutu. Plus ferry from Ende or Aimere in Central Flores to Waingapu in East Sumba.
- Sikka – Maumere — diving/snorkeling center and easiest place to fly in and out of Flores, dock for Fast Ferry to Bali
- Flores Timor – Larantuka — port town on the eastern end of the island with a large Catholic community and Portuguese influences, known for its Holy Week festivals
In addition to tourism, the main economic activities on Flores are agriculture, fishing and seaweed production. The primary food crops being grown on Flores are rice, maize, sweet potato, cassava , while the main cash crops are coconut, candle nut, cashew and Indonesian coffee with new demand because of its heavy body and sweet chocolate, floral and woody notes.
Sumba is located northwest of Sumba is Sumbawa, to the northeast, across the Sumba Strait, is Flores, to the east, across the Savu Sea, is Timor. Sumba is one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia. The largest town on the island is the main port of Waingapu, where the ferries comes from Flores. The landscape is low, limestone hills and most of the island was originally covered in deciduous monsoon forest while the south-facing slopes, which remain moist during the dry season, were evergreen rainforest. The western side of the island is more fertile and more heavily populated than the east. There is a dry season from May to November and a rainy season from December to April.
A quarter of a million people in the eastern half of Sumba speak the local Kambere language, 25% of population practice the animist Marapu religion, the remainder are Christian, Roman Catholic and only a few in coastal areas are Sunni Muslim. Sumba is famous for the Ikat textiles, very detailed hand-woven ikat, the process of dying and weaving ikat is labor-intensive and one piece can take months to prepare. There are a number of mammals but the island is particularly rich in birdlife with nearly 200 birds, of which seven endemic species and a number of others are found only here and on some nearby islands. The island most popular resort is the Nihiwatu Resort, which has been ranked as one of the world’s five best eco-hotels. Despite its expensive rates, the resort has always been fully booked.
Rote Island is situated to the southwest of the larger island of Timor. To the north is the Savu Sea, to the south is the Timor Sea, to the west is Savu and Sumba. The main town, Ba’a, is located on the northern side of the island, in the south around the village of Nemberala, good surf area. There is a daily ferry to the island from the city of Kupang, the provincial capital on West Timor, which provides transport for local passengers and goods as well as tourists. The trip between Kupang and Ba’a takes around two hours. Rote consists of rolling hills, terraced plantations, acacia palm, savannah and some forests.
Landu Village on the eastern part has a pond with the white sand beaches and a non-poisonous jellyfish. Agriculture is the main form of employment but fishing is also important in the eastern village of Papela. Supplement to their income is jewelry making and fine antique Chinese porcelain. A popular music instrument, Sasando, is made of palm leaves is made here also
Timor is an island at the southern end of Southeast Asia, north of the Timor Sea. The island is divided between the sovereign states of East Timor on the eastern part with the capital Baucau, and West Timor, Indonesia.
West Timor, on the western portion of Timor Island, constitutes part of the province of East Nusa Tenggara with the provincial capital called Kupang. West Timor’s main religions are Catholicism (56%), Protestantism (35%) and Islam (8%). There are approximately 1.8 million inhabitants in 2008. West Timor has an average unemployment rate of 2.39%. 30% of the population lived below the poverty line in 1998; as of 2012, it stays at 30%, with a population of about 2 million. The economy is mainly agricultural, using slash and burn methods to produce corn, rice, coffee, copra and fruit. Some timber harvesting is undertaken, producing eucalyptus, sandalwood, teak, bamboo and rosewood.