Flights from Kupang (West Timor) to Alor/Mali Airport/Kalabahi
From Larantuka (Flores) to Kalabahi by ferry/ship/boat
PELNI ship KM Sirimau in Kalabahi Harbour
The KMP Namparnos at Kalabahi Ferry Port
Approaching Lembata (Mt. Uyelewun),
coming from Pantar
Boat chartered by the author for the crossing
from Baranusa to Wairiang (in the foreground)
and public boat (in the background) at Wairiang
The PELNI ship KM Sirimau calls at Kalabahi on its route ... Makassar - Larantuka - Kalabahi - Kupang - Larantuka - Makassar ... about every two weeks.
The PELNI ship KM Awu calls at Kalabahi on its route ... Ende - Savu - Kupang - Kalabahi - Larantuka - Kupang - Savu - Ende ... about every two weeks. The journey from Kupang to Kalabahi takes about 14 hours.
(The PELNI ship KM Bukit Siguntang arrives at Kupang from ... Makassar - Maumere - Lewoleba about every two weeks.
The PELNI ship KM Pangrango arrives at Kupang from Ambon ... Ilwaki [Wetar] about every two weeks.)
Apart from the PELNI ships, there are other ships/ferries/boats too, so island hopping on the route Flores - Adonara - Lembata - Pantar - Alor - West Timor is fairly easy.
From Maumere, it's only a 3 to 4 hours' bus ride to Larantuka, the harbour town at the eastern tip of Flores. There are several reasonably-priced hotels in Larantuka.
The ferry from Larantuka to Kalabahi, the KMP Namparnos, leaves on Mondays. It stops at Lewoleba (Lembata) and Baranusa (Pantar). The journey takes about 20 hours. You can rent a cabin from the crew. The ferry from Kalabahi to Larantuka, the KMP Namparnos again, leaves around 08:00 a.m. on Sundays and arrives in the early morning hours on Mondays.
There are public boats between Lembata and Pantar. You can also charter a private boat with a captain, like the one in the foreground of the picture on the left. (Travelling in the opposite direction, the author chartered that boat for the crossing from Baranusa on Pantar to Wairiang close to the eastern tip of Lembata. The author then took an ojek from Wairiang to Lewoleba). In Baranusa, there is a homestay, the Burhan Homestay, just a few metres up from the harbour.
Burhan Homestay, Baranusa, Pantar Island
(Photo courtesy of Indonesia Traveling)
There are also cargo ships between Flores and Alor that accept passengers. They do not run on a regular schedule though, so ask around in the harbours.
For PELNI ships, see above.
There are two ferries a week between Kupang and Kalabahi - from Kupang to Kalabahi around 12:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Kalabahi around 06:00 a.m., and from Kalabahi to Kupang also around 12:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays. The journey takes about 18 hours. You can rent a cabin from the crew.
There is a ferry (a drive-on car ferry), the KMP Namparnos, between Teluk Gurita/Atapupu and Kalabahi at about 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays. However, the day of the week can change, especially during the rainy season. At about 08:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, the KMP Namparnos leaves Kalabahi for Atapupu.
For information on crossing overland from Timor-Leste to Indonesia (or the other way round) see Theodora's report of June 13, 2011, on EscapeArtistes.
The possibility of getting a ship from Teluk Gurita/Atapupu to Kalabahi (see above) makes the route Australia - East Timor - Alor shorter (if you do not want to fly from Kupang): coming from Dili, you can cross the border at Batugade/Atapupu and need not go to Kupang.
TransNusa plans to open up international routes from Darwin and Dili to Kupang:
Batugade border post, 9 km east of Atapupu
See more photos in the album "Hotel Melati".
In the author's opinion, the Melati is the best value for money you can get in Kalabahi. A single room is 130,000 rupiah, a double or twin room 160,000, and a triple room 230,000 (July 2014).
Jl. Dr. Soetomo No. 01, Kalabahi, Alor, NTT, Indonesia; +6238621073
All rooms have air conditioning or fan. The Melati is close to the harbour and to the "Reklamasi" area of warung/restaurants. There is a good internet café within walking distance (Abdeenet, located a bit further up, on the main street), and there is an ATM close by. If you want to withdraw money from an ATM using a VISA card, there is a BNI bank on the main street that leads to the airport.