Indonesia > Alor

Alor Island

Alor is the largest island in the Alor Archipelago and is one of the 92 officially listed outlying islands of Indonesia. It is located at the eastern Lesser Sunda Islands that runs through southeastern Indonesia, which from the west include such islands as Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Komodo, and Flores.

To the east of the island across the Ombai Strait lie the islands of Wetar and Atauro, the latter belonging to East Timor. To the south, across the Strait of Alor, lies the western part of Timor. To the north lies the Banda Sea. To the west lies Pantar and the other islands of the Alor archipelago, and further yet the rest of the Sunda Islands.

Alor Island, as well as the rest of its archipelago, is part of East Nusa Tenggara province.


Over 168,000 people (2001) live on Alor. Three-fourths are Protestants, the rest are either Muslims or in a few villages Roman Catholics. Animistic rites and traditions are still strongly practiced.


More than 15 different indigenous languages are spoken on Alor, the majority of them classified as Papuan or non-Austronesian. These include Abui, Adang, Hamap, Kabola, Kafoa, Woisika, Kelon, and Kui. In addition, Alorese (Bahasa Alor; ISO 639-3: aol) is a Malayo-Polynesian language which is spoken along the coast of the western and southern Bird's Head of Alor Island and in places on surrounding islands.

Many of the Papuan languages of Alor are endangered and are no longer being actively acquired by children. Some languages have fewer than 1000 speakers remaining. Significant linguistic documentation efforts have been undertaken recently by Leiden University. The language of daily communication is Alor Malay, a unique Malay variety with some similarities to Kupang Malay. Indonesian is taught in schools and used widely in media.


You can reach Alor Island by flying to Alor Male Airport (ARD). Alor airport is small and all incoming and outgoing flights are via Kupang Airport (KOE). Alor is serviced 3-4 times daily by both Lion Air (Wings) and NAM Air. Flights originating in Bali, Surabaya or Jakarta can be booked to Alor if flying with Lion Air, but there is still the stop over to change planes in Kupang. If coming from Labuan Bajo, Ende, Maumere, Makassar, you must first book a flight to Kupang, then book an additional flight from Kupang - Alor same day.

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